Showing posts from March, 2006

‘92% of Pakistanis oppose violent cartoon protests’

Daily Times, April 1, 2006
‘92% of Pakistanis oppose violent cartoon protests’

LAHORE: At least 92 percent of Pakistanis support peaceful demonstrations to protest the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and oppose violent demonstrations.

A poll was recently conducted by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) in Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar to gauge public opinion about the publication of the cartoons and the subsequent rioting that killed around 10 people. The cartoons were first published in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and later in publications across Europe.

Around 97 percent of those interviewed felt that the publication of the cartoons was a violation of freedom of expression. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed opposed attacking embassies of European countries in reaction to the publication of cartoons in newspapers there. Almost everyone also opposed the publication of the holy personages of other religions in retribution to the Pro…

The Karachi Social Forum: Tariq Ali's viewpoint

Counterpunch: March 28, 2006
NGOs or WGOs?: The Karachi Social Forum
in Karachi, Pakistan.

While we were opening the World Social Forum in Karachi last weekend with virtuoso performances of sufi music and speeches, the country's rulers were marking the centenary of the Muslim League [the party that created Pakistan and has ever since been passed on from one bunch of rogues to another till now it is in the hands of political pimps who treat it like a bordello] by gifting the organisation to General Pervaiz Musharaf, the country's uniformed ruler.

The secular opposition leaders, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, who used to compete with each other to see who could amass more funds while in power, are both in exile. To return home would mean to face arrest for corruption. Neither is in the mood for martyrdom or relinquishing control of their organizations. Meanwhile, the religious parties are happily implementing neo-liberal policies in the North-West Frontier province tha…

4 Pakistani women fighter pilots graduate from Air Force Academy

Daily Times, March 31, 2006
PAF’s first 4 women fighter pilots graduate
RISALPUR: Defence services are a challenging and daunting job but our aim to join Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is to serve Pakistan, said Saba Khan, one of the four women general duty (GDP) pilots who are the first women to earn flying badges from PAF.

Talking to reporters after the passing out parade at the PAF Academy, Khan, flanked by Nadia Gul, Mariam Khalil and Saira Batool, said that they were proud of joining PAF as cadets. They urged women to join air force “because it is an attractive and honourable service”.

The four women pilots joined the PAF Academy in October 2002 and during three-year stay they had gone through demanding general service training. Two of them are from Quetta, one from Peshawar and one from Bahawalpur. Air Commodore Abid Khawaja told reporters that the women pilots performed well in all fields during their training. He said although they faced some difficulties at the start of their training…

Karachi, 29 March (AKI) - (by Syed Saleem Shahzad) - The leader of one of Pakistan's most feared militant groups, who was also once a close aide to Osama bin Laden, is currently in critical condition in a Rawalpindi hospital after surviving an attempt on his life. Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, the chief of the banned Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen, was dumped in front of a mosque in the outskirts of the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

"Don't call it an accident," said Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen's official spokesperson Sultan Zia in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI). "It was a fully managed episode," he said.

The militant organisation, which was then known as Harkat-ul-Ansar, was blacklisted as a terror group by the US State Department in 1994.

Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf banned the organisation in 2001 and Khalil has kept a low profile ever since.

"Fazlur Rehman Khalil…

A Study of the A Q Khan Network

"The A.Q. Khan Network: Causes and Implications"
by Christopher O.Clary,
Naval Postgraduate School, December 2005

The activities of Pakistan's notorious Abdul Qadeer Khan in
proliferating nuclear weapons technology are examined in detail in a
recent Master's Thesis, along with an analysis of their enabling
conditions and some of their larger implications.

"The A. Q. Khan nuclear supplier network constitutes the most severe
loss of control over nuclear technology ever," wrote author
Christopher O. Clary.

"For the first time in history all of the keys to a nuclear weapon--
the supplier networks, the material, the enrichment technology, and
the warhead designs--were outside of state oversight and control."

"This thesis demonstrates that Khan's nuclear enterprise evolved out
of a portion of the Pakistani procurement network of the 1970s and
1980s. It presents new information on how the Pakistani state
organized, managed, and oversaw its nuclear weapons lab…

President Carter on US - India nuclear deal

Dawn, March 30, 2006
A dangerous deal with India
By Jimmy Carter

DURING the past five years the United States has abandoned many of the nuclear arms control agreements negotiated since the administration of Dwight Eisenhower.

This change in policies has sent uncertain signals to other countries, including North Korea and Iran, and may encourage technologically capable nations to choose the nuclear option. The proposed nuclear deal with India is just one more step in opening a Pandora’s box of nuclear proliferation.

The only substantive commitment among nuclear-weapon states and others is the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), accepted by the five original nuclear powers and 182 other nations. Its key objective is “to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology ... and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament.” At the five-year UN review conference in 2005, only Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan were not participating — three with proven arsenals.

Our gov…

Afghanistan and the Logic of Suicide Bombing: A field study

IDSS Commentaries - March 27, 2006
Afghanistan and the Logic of Suicide Bombing
By Hekmat Karzai

For detailed report, click the title above

How expatriates can help

Dawn, March 29, 2006
How expatriates can help
By Zubeida Mustafa

THE Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP), set up in 2001 as a non-profit support organisation to facilitate philanthropy, has published a report titled Philanthropy by the Pakistani Diaspora in the USA. Based on a survey it conducted in North America in which 631 Pakistani expatriates participated, this report confirms some trends that have been observed over the years.

It also makes some recommendations, though it is not at all clear if the obstacles faced in channelling philanthropy into an institutional charity in Pakistan can be overcome very easily.

Let us take the findings first which have been reported in more generous terms than how they emerge when read with a measure of objectivity. The PCP report describes the Pakistanis in North America — mainly professionals, quite a few being physicians and surgeons — as a “generous, giving and active community”. They donate 250 million dollars in cash and kind every year apar…

A Painful Narrative in NYT

Picture: Mukhtaran bibi

The New York Times
March 28, 2006 Tuesday
In Disgrace, And Facing Death By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Aisha Parveen will live another day. Indeed, at least another week.

Ms. Parveen, the young Pashtun woman I wrote about on Sunday, was kidnapped at the age of 14 and imprisoned in a brothel here in southeastern Pakistan for six years. She escaped in January and married the man who helped her flee, but now a Pakistani court has charged her with adultery and is threatening to hand her back to the brothel owner -- even though she is adamant that he will then torture and kill her.

Ms. Parveen's court hearing was yesterday, and I was afraid that would be the end. But the court adjourned the case for one week for further investigation. And Ms. Parveen's lawyer thinks the mood is different now: the Pakistani press picked up on my column, and the attention will make judges more careful about handling her.

So the publicity may save her life, but it won't make much differ…

Extremism of the Pakistani Expatriate

Daily Times, March 28, 2006
SECOND OPINION: The extremism of the expatriate — Khaled Ahmed’s TV Review

We are all aware that our brother Muslims living abroad, particularly in the secular West, have become intensely Islamic. This is quite natural when you are living abroad and wish to retain your identity. But religious extremism has cut two ways. Sectarian feelings are alive too and that should worry us.

Digital TV (February 8, 2006) showed clerics in the UK discussing Muharram in a spirit of Shia-Sunni amity. They highlighted the common points of devotion in both sects. The programme was interactive. When the calls came in they were mostly Sunnis raising objections to the Shia faith. The clerics on the show kept reminding the callers of the goodwill-orientation of the programme but the callers insisted on asking about the “fact” that the Shias had killed Ali and his offspring and that the narrative of Karbala was not real but concocted.

GEO TV (February 9, 2006) faced the problem of id…

Pakistani Dilemma: A Perspective

Harvard Political Review, Spring 2006
Pakistani Dilemma:America’s uneasy ally searches for a way forward

Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf is in trouble. Since seizing power in a military coup in October 1999, Musharraf has been trying to lead the country toward stability and modernization. Beleaguered by problems ranging from a sluggish economy to Islamist extremism to tense relations with India, many Pakistanis initially looked at Musharraf’s administration as a positive force for change. And after September 11, Musharraf became an important ally to the United States in the War on Terror. But today his authority is growing more precarious and his future is in doubt. Ensuring a lasting alliance with Pakistan will require the United States to disentangle itself from the embattled leader and build an institutionalized bilateral relationship that can survive a power turnover.

Ambivalent Ally

For the United States , the greatest geo-strategic benefit of an alliance wit…

"Moderate Versus Radical Islam": A Perspective

Dawn, March 24, 2006
‘Moderate’ vs. radical Islam
By Ayaz Amir

FEW words today carry a more negative meaning than the term Taliban. It is supposed to stand for everything backward, reactionary and benighted: harsh punishments, the seclusion of women and a mindset conducive to the promotion of ‘terrorism’.

Opposed to Talibanism is something called ‘moderate’ Islam which is supposed to stand for progress and enlightenment. Since September 11 the United States has been spending huge sums of money (ask US-Aid) in this battle of ideas, denouncing ‘extremism’ and promoting a fuzzy picture of ‘moderate’ Islam.

Whether it is meeting with any success in this battle is hard to say because the US has never been more unpopular in the Islamic world. Most rulers of Muslim countries may be America’s friends, if not its satellites, but at the level of popular opinion it doesn’t take much to realize that anti-Americanism is on the rise.

Much of this has to do with American double standards. American atrocit…

A new book by Lord Mountbatten’s ADC: Creation of Pakistan a part of the British "great game"?

Daily Times, March 26, 2006
New book by Lord Mountbatten’s ADC:
‘Pakistan was created as part of the great game’
Staff Report

LAHORE: A controversial new book by Lord Mountbatten’s ADC claims that the British nurtured the idea of Pakistan as a sort of pro-West “forward defensive glacis” against the USSR and a potentially pro-Communist Congress dominated India.

The “Untold Story of India’s Partition: The Shadow of the Great Game”, by Narendra Singh Sarila, is a gripping narrative on the basis of the new material he was able to study. Lord Wavell, being a military commander with a global perspective, thought that the Soviet Union would threaten the British empire and the All India Congress would be more prone than the All India Muslim League to side with the Communists.

Wavell was thinking of the Middle East and its oil wealth. Linked to this feeling was the strategic “possibility” that a region within India could be separated to act as the forward defensive glacis against Communism. By 1946,…

JI demands about Waziristan Operation

The News, March 25, 2006
JI congregation demands end to Waziristan operation
By Javed Aziz Khan

PESHAWAR: Around 50,000 participants of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) congregation here on Friday roared a loud "yes" when NWFP Senior Minister Sirajul Haq questioned whether they wanted to get rid of the US and "its loyal rulers in the country".

The congregation rejected the US policies regarding the Ummah and asked the federal government to stop operation in Waziristan, initiated at the behest of the US.

The organisers of the gathering have demanded that more than 50,000 workers with over 5,000 women from all over the country registered their names on the first day.

A makeshift village decorated with national and party flags and banners inscribed with welcoming phrases and Qur’aanic verses, has been established at the spacious 32 kanal of ground of Wapda Housing Society on main Grand Trunk Road, eight kilometres from Peshawar city.

Separate tent halls for men and women have been estab…

MQM Settling Old Scores with Police Officials in Karachi

Herald, March 2006
Mean Streets
By Syed Shoaib Hasan

Over 100 police officers linked to the Karachi operation have been killed in the last six years
The past is not another country. At least not for those who have lived through Karachi in the 1990s and been affected by the bloody legacy of those years. Long after the 1990s police operation against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) came to an end, officers who participated in the campaign continue to suffer. Since 2000, as many as 111 police officers linked with the operation have met an untimely end.

Will the Real Pakistani Woman Please Standup?

Newsline, March 2006 - Cover Story
Will the Real Pakistani Woman Please Standup?
By Shimaila Matri Dawood

Who is the Pakistani woman?
Does she have an identity?

From teacher-preacher, fundamentalist icon Farhat Hashmi, covered head-to-toe in billows of black, to sassy supermodel, Iraj, clad in just a thong bikini, two images, equally compelling, vie for supremacy in urban Pakistan today. Both tell completely different sides of the Pakistani woman's story. But it is, in fact, these two extremes that capture the very essence of the conflicting realities that govern the life and frame the identity of the Pakistani woman today.

For the daughter of privilege, a select 'liberal' elite, life is one long soiree. Essentially nocturnal by habit, she's seen at all the haunts the 'beautiful people' congregate at - intimate gts, extravaganzas for charity, midnight balls at the beach. Daytime pursuits include 'doing lunch,' at any one of a clutch of trendy city eateries, a…

Pak-Afghan Relations on the Downhill

The Nation, Gulf News, Indian Express March 15, 2006
Blowback from Afghanistan
By Husain Haqqani

Pakistan ’s relations with Afghanistan are in a downward spiral. First came the war of words between President Hamid Karzai and General Pervez Musharraf over who was to blame for the resurgence of the Taliban along the mountainous Afghan-Pakistan border. Then, the Afghan parliament condemned General Musharraf’s use of undiplomatic language about Mr. Karzai. Now, the head of Afghanistan ’s Senate, Hazrat Sibghatullah Mujaddedi has accused General Musharraf and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of instigating a suicide assassination attempt on Mujaddedi’s life. In between, Afghanistan demanded that Pakistan stop naming its missiles after Afghan heroes and Pakistan claimed that it was planning to build a fence along their complex 1,125 mile (1,810 kilometers) border.

General Musharraf and most Pakistani officials blame India for the deterioration in Islamabad ’s ties with Kabul . But Mr. Kar…

Political Investments of Osama and Co.

Daily Times, March 21, 2006
Nawaz met Osama, received funds: ex-ISI officer
* Says Osama funded Sharif to help dismiss PPP govt
* Calls Bin Laden a ‘great man’

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: A former official of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif met Osama Bin Laden and received funds from him.

“Nawaz Sharif met Osama Bin Laden on at least three occasions and was desperately seeking his financial assistance,” Khalid Khawaja told news website Adnkronos International (AKI) in an interview on Sunday.

Khawaja, a retired officer of the Pakistan Air Force who was in the ISI in the late 80s, rejected a recent denial by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz that its leader had sought political cooperation from Bin Laden in the last. “Osama is above all this politicking,” said Khawaja. “He is a great man and will remain great.”

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal President Qazi Hussain Ahmed had said in a recent interview that Sharif had repeatedly met Bin Laden, who ha…

"Promise in Pakistan": Newsweek

Interview: Shaukat Aziz—Riding 'A Tidal Wave'
Pakistan's P.M. is bullish on his country, and why not? Per capita income has doubled in only two years.
Newsweek International

March 27, 2006 issue - Shaukat Aziz, a suave and savvy 30-year veteran of international banking, has been the architect of Pakistan's remarkable economic recovery ever since he joined President Pervez Musharraf's government in 1999. Last week the 57-year-old prime minister talked to NEWSWEEK's Zahid Hussain and Ron Moreau about the difficulty of restoring the country to economic health. Excerpts:

What prompted you to start an aggressive reform agenda six years ago?
The financial situation of Pakistan was precarious. We had high fiscal deficits and debt levels and our ability to pay was suspect. We didn't have enough money to pay the next month's oil-import bill. So we started ensuring fiscal discipline, containing expenditures and increasing income. We focused on investment and growth.…

Police Security for Government Officials ONLY!

Daily Times, March 20, 2006
Police will escort government officials
By Shahzad Malik

ISLAMABAD: The district administrations in the federal and provincial capitals have been directed to provide police escorts to government officials working at the Presidency, Prime Minister’s House, PM Secretariat, and governors’ and chief ministers’ houses when they go to and from work.

A list of officials working at these places has been provided to the authorities concerned, sources told Daily Times. The step has been taken keeping in view the ongoing military operations in the tribal area and Balochistan.

The intelligence agencies have submitted reports to the Interior Ministry mentioning the possibility of a strong backlash from militants against the ongoing operations.

According to the reports, the militants could target vehicles carrying the officials working at these sensitive places, the sources said. They said militants and members of banned religious groups could also exploit the situation and t…

India, Pakistan trade almost doubles

Dawn, March 20, 2006
‘India, Pakistan trade almost doubles’

NEW DELHI, March 19: Trade between rival neighbours India and Pakistan almost doubled to cross the one-billion-dollar mark this year, an industry body said. The 400 million dollar increase in the year to March 2006 was attributed to the launch of a South Asian Free Trade Area Agreement (SAFTA) and the opening of rail and road links last year, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

“The establishment of relations along with SAFTA has brought changes in customs tariffs and reduced trade-related barriers, leading to restoration of direct trade linkages and reducing the transaction costs,” said the statement quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency.

India and Pakistan launched a peace process in January 2004.

After the start of the peace talks Pakistan scrapped import duties on 13 commodities from India that were scarce in its local markets, including garlic, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and livestoc…

Tribal Areas in Pakistan: whats the inside stuff?

Daily Times, March 17, 2006
VIEW: What is happening in the Tribal Areas?— Shaukat Qadir

Peace can no longer be brokered by bribery. It requires tangible, meaningful promises of reconstruction and rehabilitation on both sides of the border. This should include a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops and an immediate end to the humiliation that the Afghans are being subjected to. The numerous successful punitive strikes against militants claimed by the government cannot succeed in themselves; they must be a part of a bigger strategy

I am astounded by the drawing room discussions these days on the developments in the Tribal Areas. In particular I am amazed by the comments of those whom I expected to be better informed about the situation. When they talk about the ‘Talibanisation’ of the tribes near the Afghan border and the rise of ‘Islamic extremism’, I wonder whether they are being deliberately simplistic or deliberately obtuse. Perhaps it is my own understanding that is at faul…