Showing posts from June, 2006

‘End of Unquestioning Support?’: At last!

Gulf News, Indian Express , The Nation ( Pakistan ) June 28, 2006
‘End of Unquestioning Support?’
Husain Haqqani

Pakistan ’s military regime might take comfort in the Bush administration’s support for reinstating the 300 million dollars in U.S. aid cut by the American Congress due to Pakistan ’s inadequate efforts for establishing democracy and respecting human rights. But the very fact that the House of Representatives voted to cut aid by a 373-34 vote and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke of the importance of free and fair elections during her recent visit to Pakistan indicates that the phase of unquestioning support for General Pervez Musharraf in Washington is now over.

Foreign aid appropriations are often the major foreign policy lever available to the American government’s legislative branch. Under the U.S. constitution, U.S. Congress is a co-equal branch of government along with the executive, headed by the President, and the judiciary. Unlike Pakistan where almost all …

"Is Pakistan ready for democracy in '07?": Why Not??

Is Pakistan ready for democracy in '07?
Secretary of State Rice's visit put the spotlight on the regime's efforts to reform local government.
By David Montero | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
June 30, 2006

In a visit as short as it was secretive, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice swept through Islamabad this week with a firm reminder for President Gen. Pervez Musharraf: Ensure free and fair elections in 2007.

Pakistan's foreign ministry delivered a blunt response: "On the democratic processes in Pakistan, we do not require advice from the outside," adding that the leadership intends to hold "free and fair elections."

The diplomatic dust-up underscores the growing concerns over General Musharraf's commitment to instilling democracy - and the sensitivity of the issue for Islamabad. Musharraf is quick to point out that he has introduced sweeping democratic reform, an ambitious devolution program that promised …

History: Liaquat’s resignation letter to Jinnah

Liaquat’s resignation letter to Jinnah
Khaled Ahmed’s A n a l y s i s
June 23-29, 2006 - Vol. XVIII, No. 18: w w w . t h e f r i d a y t i m e s . c o m

Was there ever a quarrel between Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan and Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah? Most writers who have looked into the archives say no; in fact they see the two bound in an ideal relationship within the All-India Muslim League that never soured. Liaquat was always respectful and Jinnah, in his distant way, always trusting. Recent books on the two confirm this. MR Kazimi in his Liaquat Ali Khan: His Life and Work (OUP 2003) and Roger D Long in his Dear Mr Jinnah: Selected Correspondence and Speeches of Liaquat Ali Khan (OUP 2004) have dismissed the idea that there was a Liaquat-Jinnah tension after 1947 that even exploded into mutual enmity.

But the subject keeps cropping up. Since no one can understand why Jinnah died the way he did at a railway level-crossing in Karachi, people keep writing about the ‘perfidy’…

Does the law protect those who protect the law?

Daily Times, June 28, 2006
Does the law protect those who protect the law?

By Rana Tanveer Ali

LAHORE: When people think of courts, they usually associate them with law and order or protection. But what do you do if murders, kidnappings and dacoities become a routine occurrence at even these ‘centres’ of justice?

Even lawyers, who seek justice for others, are not safe. The situation is no different when it comes to the Ferozewala Courts, where three members of the Ferozewala Bar Association (FBA) have been murdered, and cars of a judge and a lawyer stolen over the last three years.

Senior advocate Muhammad Ali Sayal was murdered 15 feet from the courts in front of the Ferozewala ASP’s office on June 13. Ghulam Nabi Nagi, a member of the FBA, was killed in a shootout between two rival groups. Seth Abdullah, another FBA member, was murdered in his chambers.

Daily Times learnt that advocate Shehbaz Waraich, also a member of the FBA, was kidnapped from the Sheikhupura District Courts last ye…

Hate Materials from "Jihadis" banned: Why not close their well-known publishing houses?

Daily Times, June 28, 2006
Islamabad orders drive against ‘dangerous’ hate material

By Hasan Mansoor

KARACHI: After receiving fresh intelligence reports about the abundant circulation of ‘dangerous’ hate material, especially by jihadi extremists, the top quarters in Islamabad have asked the provincial governments to launch an onslaught against those involved in the ‘dangerous game’, sources said.

Sources in the ministry of interior in Islamabad said it had received reports about the circulation of provocative material being used by banned extremist groups to lure and indoctrinate naïve youth to be involved in the terror game especially in large cities, with particular emphasis on Karachi.

Karachi has seen a number of suicide bombings since May 2002 when the first of the suicide attacks killed 11 French engineers among 14 people and injured over 50 more outside the Sheraton hotel. The latest incidents reported this year were near the US consulate building in March, which killed four and a U…

Rice Pushes Pakistan on 2007 Elections - finally!

Associated Press
Rice Pushes Pakistan on 2007 Elections
By ANNE GEARAN , 06.27.2006

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised two key Muslim allies who are sometimes at odds, calling Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai stalwart fighters in the fight against terrorism.

"Our view is that we have two good friends and two fierce fighters in the war on terror," the top U.S. diplomat said Tuesday following meetings with Musharraf and Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri.

But, Rice added, she expects Pakistan's military leader to fulfill his promise to hold democratic elections next year.

Rice will see Karzai on Wednesday for talks on that country's political progress and the international military campaign to quell terrorism in the south.

She also planned to meet with counterparts from the Group of Eight industrialized nations in Moscow on Thursday, where the topic was expected to be Iran's disputed nuclear program.


Huma Ke Tehre Ajnabi...Understanding Pakistan-Bangladesh Split

Daily Times, June 26, 2006

BD’s 1971 hero buried with state honour after 35 years

DHAKA: Remains of a Bangladeshi war hero were buried in his homeland with state honours on Sunday - 35 years after he was killed during the 1971 war.

M Matiur Rahman’s flag-draped coffin was received by Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and an honour guard at Dhaka’s Zia International Airport on Saturday. The funeral, held on Sunday in the presence of acting President Jamiruddin Sircar, was at a national parade ground in Dhaka, the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs said in a statement. “I am happy to see that he has come back,” Rahman’s emotionally choked widow, Milly, told reporters at the parade ground. “I am fortunate enough seeing this during my life.” A commissioned air force officer, Rahman died on August 20, 1971, in a plane crash as he tried to flee Karachi across India to then-East Pakistan in an air force training craft to join the civil war that led to Bangladesh’s split from Pakistan. Rahm…

Imagine the state of Human Rights in Pakistan!

Daily Times, June 26, 2006
ISI initiates inquiry against Law Minister Wasi Zafar

By Sadia Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) has discreetly launched an investigation into reports of misuse of million of rupees meant for victims of human rights abuses by Law Minister Wasi Zafar. An ISI officer reportedly visited the ministry offices on Friday to collect information and documentary evidence.

The ISI investigation has been ordered from the ‘top’ after it was reported that the minister had mistreated a woman bureaucrat who refused to approve funding from the human rights fund for 560 applicants who belonged to Zafar’s constituency of Jaranwala tehsil, Faisalabad.

Sources said the ISI might not have interfered in the affairs had damaging findings of the auditor general of Pakistan not been made public. The AGP has confirmed reports of the misuse of HR funds, along with the fresh disclosure that last year a total of 365 people successfully applied to get funding from the Ministr…

Oil Business: Pakistan-Turkmenistan Ties

Turkmens can supply Pakistan gas pipeline - adviser
Sat Jun 24, 2006 - Reuters
By Chris Baltimore

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Turkmenistan has told Pakistan officials that it can supply enough natural gas to justify building a pipeline from the gas-rich Central Asian nation to energy-starved Pakistan and India, a Pakistan government adviser said on Friday.

Pakistan is in active talks with Turkmenistan to build a pipeline that would run through war-torn Afghanistan, but it is also pursuing a plan to build a $7.4 billion pipeline from Iran that would also supply India, said Mukhtar Ahmed, energy adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

"We have been assured in writing by the Turkmens that the required amount of gas will be made available notwithstanding these other commitments," Ahmed said at a conference hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center.

"The credibility of these assurances is something we can talk about indefinitely," he said.

Turkmenistan is also pursuing export de…

Saudi Arabia's ban on Umra Visa for Pakistanis under age 40

The News, June 24, 2006
Saudi ban on umra visa
Rahimullah Yusufzai

As expected, the government of Saudi Arabia has refused to lift the ban on Pakistanis below the age of 40 years from performing umra. It was futile on the part of federal religious affairs minister Mohammad Ejazul Haq to visit Riyadh to try and make the Saudis change their mind on the issue. The Saudis formulate their policies after much thinking and in line with their national interest and decisions once taken are rarely changed.

Back home, Ejazul Haq sounded defensive when he told reporters that the ban would stay because the Saudi government had complained that over 100,000 Pakistanis had overstayed in Saudi Arabia after reaching there on the pretext of performing umra. Before leaving for Saudi Arabia, he had expressed concern over the Pakistan-specific umra restriction and had promised to take up the matter with the Saudi authorities. One could understand that he was on a weak wicket and could only request the Saudis…

Gagging the press

The News, June 22, 2006
Gagging the press

Being a journalist in Pakistan, especially an independent-minded one who would want to practice the profession as it should be done, has never been easy. Other than the relatively low pay compared with what one gets in many other professions, the problem has always been that there is often a heavy price to pay for investigative journalism. In carrying out their professional duties, journalists in this country face threats not only from the state and its various law-enforcement and intelligence agencies but also from non-government parties such as the land mafia, religious and political organisations and sometimes even commercial entities. The greatest threat, however, comes from the state's extensive and vast intelligence network. Journalists who do stories on, say, issues related to the armed forces, the government's US-led war against terror or those who wish to probe allegations of official corruption at high levels can expect to be …

Lull before the storm

The News, June 22, 2006
Lull before the storm
Kamila Hyat
The writer is a freelance columnist and former newspaper editor

The distance between Lahore and most other parts of the country sometimes seems to span vast oceans of ignorance and indifference. The sense of removal from many national events, some at least with potentially far reaching consequences in terms of the country's future, appears almost surreal -- as though the people of the city, and indeed the wider province of the Punjab, are living on an island across which no winds from other parts of the nation drift. It is astonishing how little is known in centres of urban privilege, including both the Punjab and the federal capital, about the situation in other provinces -- treated, as they are, like a distant realm within some colonial power about which the rulers have little care or concern.

Whereas this is only occasionally reflected in almost accidental snippets of news in the national press, there is at present a state…

Extra-judicial role of intelligence agencies

Daily Times, June 22, 2006
Extra-judicial role of intelligence agencies protested
* Najam Sethi says HRCP recorded at least 100 ‘disappearances’ last year
Staff Report

LAHORE: Participants of a debate on Wednesday strongly protested the “extra-judicial role” of intelligence agencies.

The debate – The Role of Police and Judiciary in Society – was arranged at the launch of a book by historian Dr Mubarik Ali at the Lahore Press Club on Wednesday afternoon. Participants also called for an independent judiciary in the country, a vibrant political system and urged civil society to stand up against dictatorship.

Dr Mubarak Ali’s book – Main aur mera muqadamma: The story of a decaying society – focuses on a false case against the author. The book criticises the method of investigation of the police and the role of the judiciary, and focuses on the author’s struggle against this system.

Daily Times Editor Najam Sethi presided over the function, while human rights activist Tahira Mazhar Ali Khan an…

Watch: The Story of Jinnah - The Founder of Pakistan

A movie worth watching despite its weaknesses and the controversies surrounding it.


Part 2

Note: Info about the movie thanks to Adil Najam's blog:

AQ Khan Nuclear Trafficking

Daily Times, June 21, 2006
AQ Khan-esque N-trafficking continues: Jane’s
By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: Despite the break-up of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s nuclear smuggling operation, there have been several indications in the past two years that trafficking activities along similar lines continue, according to Jane’s.

In a news report circulated on June 16, the generally authoritative British publication said that portions of the AQ Khan network appear to be intact. Several officials involved in investigating the network’s activities said it now appears that parts of the organisation are yet to be uncovered and includes individuals who are more senior in the Khan network than previously believed. The officials were part of dozens of interviews that Jane’s has conducted during the past year with people who have first hand knowledge of the issue - officials on four continents who are investigating the network, as well as some of Khan’s associates who have been prosecuted or are under investigatio…

Child Trafficking in Sindh province

PAKISTAN: Domestic child trafficking pervasive – report
Reuters, 19 Jun 2006
Source: IRIN

ISLAMABAD, 16 June (IRIN) - A new study on child trafficking has revealed that levels of domestic child trafficking in Pakistan's southern Sindh province are much higher than those for international trafficking in the country.

The report entitled, 'Fading light: A Study on Child Trafficking', released earlier this week, coinciding with the marking of International Day Against Child Labour, also highlighted the lack of recognition of complexities involving domestic child kidnapping, smuggling and trafficking in the country's existing laws.

The report focused on both trafficking of children within Sindh province and across the border. The province has recorded a high occurrence of human trafficking compared with other provinces, according to child rights activists.

"[The] primary objective of this research was to explore the links between child labour and child trafficking and a…

Pakistan beats India in ‘gift diplomacy’!

Daily Times, June 20, 2006
Pakistan beats India in ‘gift diplomacy’

WASHINGTON: The one-upmanship between India and Pakistan may have become a no contest now with New Delhi’s economic and strategic leap forward, but there is one area where Islamabad is still a clear winner. Its munificent leaders are by far the most generous visitors to Washington, lavishing expensive gifts on American government officials from President George W Bush down to unnamed Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers.

A list of gifts accepted by US officials from foreign government sources in 2004 published in the Federal Register last week shows that Pakistan outdid most countries in the world, gifting US officials carpets, rugs, shawls, jewellery and antique pieces.

Pakistan’s ‘gifting’ diplomacy starts right at the top with President Pervez Musharraf presenting Bush with a dark wood table inlaid with bone valued at $1,400, an antique muzzleloader from the 1800s, a cream wool Pakistani coat and a hat, during …

India's influence soars

India's influence soars
The 'un-China' could be world's next economic superpower
Sunday, June 18, 2006 CNN

( You may not be aware of it, living in the United States, but your world is increasingly being shaped by India.

Even if you've never been to India, eaten its food or watched its movies, there is a good chance you interact with it every day of your life.

It might be the place on the other end of that call you call you make if your luggage is lost on a connecting flight, or the guys to whom your company has outsourced its data processing. Every night, young radiologists in Bangalore read CT scans e-mailed to them by emergency-room doctors in the U.S.

Few Americans are surprised today to learn that their dentist or lawyer is of Indian origin, and the centrality of Indian brainpower to California's high-tech industry has long been documented.

In ways big and small, Indians are changing the world, and may become even more influential in the decades ahead.


"One woman's journey to the home of the 7/7 bombers"

Young, British and Muslim: one woman's journey to the home of the 7/7 bombers
Next month is the anniversary of the attacks on London. Three of the terrorists came from Leeds, two from the suburb of Beeston. Here, writer Urmee Khan reveals her remarkable experience living with the community which was home to the men who killed in the name of religion.

Urmee Khan
Sunday June 18, 2006 Observer

'I would rather die than support Leeds United. I would never support Leeds; they're a bunch of racist scumbags. Did you hear the rumours at the end of last season when Leeds played Cardiff at Elland Road? There's was stuff on Leeds fan sites about teaming up with the Cardiff fans to come here to Beeston and beat the shit out of Paki terrorists. They are racist fuckers.'
Meet Imran, 28, a Beeston boy, who would later boast of his friendship with one of the London bombers and his love of fish suppers. His paranoia about living in Beeston is not unique or surprising.

To get under the ski…