Showing posts from September, 2007

Protest - Writing on the Wall

Picture: Daily Times, October 1, 2007

Benazir Bhutto's Remark about AQ Khan

Fuss over Bhutto's nuclear remarks By Farhatullah Babar
The News, October 01, 2007

The fuss over Ms Benazir Bhutto's remarks over cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is not surprising. Indeed it is déjà vu. Those whose pastime is to dub her as 'security risk' are at it again. The monopolists of truth and wisdom are out to make a punching bag of her. Whenever she says something that runs counter to the officially certified truth she is lambasted for presumed lack of patriotism or toeing the enemy line. It is a different matter though the critics later come round to accepting the logic and reason.

For instance, when she called for promoting people-to-people contacts and pulling down the 'invisible Berlin Wall' between India and Pakistan, she was instantly accused of betraying the martyrs' blood. Call for demolishing the invisible Berlin Wall was resented not because it meant betrayal of the martyrs but because it would take away some s…

Pakistan Army and the Wars Within

Editorial: Pakistan army and the nation
Daily Times, October 1, 2007

The politics in Islamabad today is posited by the opposition as a battle for civilian rule and the confinement of the Pakistan army to its constitutional role. The lawyers’ community and the opposition political parties may have different agendas up their sleeves, but at the declaratory level it is the civilian-military relationship that everyone is supposed to be trying to correct. Even the ruling party, by keeping a general as president, promises a more reliable reversion to more democracy. The consensus is apparently shared by President General Pervez Musharraf himself. But the antagonists fall apart on whether the post-Musharraf period should be “transformational” or “transitional”.

A Pakistani scholar has tried to “define” the character of the Pakistan army in his forthcoming book. A journalist and an ex-IMF officer, Shuja Nawaz, in his Crossed Swords: Pakistan Army and the Wars Within (not yet published), compares…

Pakistan: Police Attacks Lawyers & Journalists in Islamabad


One More Push Comrades...

One more push, comrades
By Ayaz Amir: Dawn, September 28, 2007 (Written and Published before saturday clashes in Islamabad)

AIK dhaka aur, comes a cry from afar, for the towers of authoritarianism are tottering, the halls of government are in dreadful confusion, the spoons (chamchas) of this order don’t know what to say, and the crisis which erupted on March 9 – always to be remembered as a glorious day in our history – enters a decisive phase.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. As a nation we either collapse into a state of collective depression or, with luck on our side, step forward into a brave new future. It’s not a question of one man’s fate.

If it were that it would be nothing. No, it is a question affecting the country’s future. For, in the next few days we have to answer the question whether we are at all fit for

self-government or only fit to be herded like cattle by one self-appointed saviour after another?

This question can also be framed in a slightly different manner. The next few…

The Roar of Rumi - 800 years on

The roar of Rumi - 800 years on
By Charles Haviland: BBC News, Balkh, northern Afghanistan: September 30, 2007

For many years now, the most popular poet in America has been a 13th-century mystical Muslim scholar.

Translations of Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi's - better known as Rumi - verse are hugely popular and have been used by Western pop stars such as Madonna.

They are attracted by his tributes to the power of love and his belief in the spiritual use of music and dancing - although scholars stress that he was talking about spiritual love between people and God, not earthly love.

Rumi, whose 800th birth anniversary falls on Sunday, was born in 1207 in Balkh in Central Asia, now part of Afghanistan.

I came here to see whether he has much resonance in his native country which, under the Taleban, went so far as to ban music.

Still standing

A young Afghan archaeologist, Reza Hosseini, took me to the ruins of the mud-and-brick-built khanaqa - a kind of madrassa or religious school - where…

Book Review: On Pashtuns and Tribal Areas

BOOK REVIEW: Tribal stories that reveal character by Khaled Ahmed
Daily Times, September 30, 2007

Pashtun Tales from the Pakistan-Afghan Frontier
by Aisha Ahmad & Roger Boase
Publisher: Saqi Books 2003

The foremost theme of the treasure collected in the book pertains to what the Pashtunwali terms badal or revenge. In the tale titled Musa Khan Deo, it is the jinn that has to avenge the insult of a moustache snipped by a proud princess

A scion of the great Pathan tradition in Pakistan, Aisha Ahmad, has collected the tribal stories that underpin the complex Pashtun psyche in Pakistan. Somehow Peshawar in Pakistan’s NWFP province has been associated with the recall of this collective mind. There is even a Qissa Khwani Bazaar in Peshawar where visitors have flocked again and again in vain to collect the lost tales of a great ethnic stock known in India and Pakistan as Pathans.

When Aisha went in search of the tales, she predictably failed in the Qissa Khwani Bazaar which may now resonate excl…

Riots in Islamabad: Journalists & Lawyers Brutally Beaten by Police

Riots in Islamabad Over Musharraf
By Aryn Baker/Islamabad: Islamabad, Time, Sep. 29, 2007

Less than 24 hours after Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled in favor of President General Pervez Musharraf's eligibility to run for a second term in office, government forces laid siege to the Supreme Court grounds, where several hundred lawyers had taken refuge after a vicious attack on a peaceful protest in the capital, Islamabad.

More than 10,000 riot police and plainclothes officers were stationed around the court and the nearby Electoral Commission offices, where the nomination papers for 43 presidential hopefuls, including Musharraf, were being scrutinized for eligibility. Some 1,000 lawyers and political workers brandishing banners and shouting "Go, Musharraf go!" were forcibly prevented from entering the Electoral Commission grounds. Within minutes of reaching the gate, baton-wielding police charged the protesters. Yasser Raja, a 33-year-old lawyer from nearby Rawalpindi was be…

Supreme Court Says Go Ahead Musharraf: Punjabi Judges Vs. the Rest

Picture: Police guarding roads near the Supreme Court before the Judgment

Sindh, NWFP stand out again
The same thing happened in late Z A Bhutto’s case
By Rahimullah Yusufzai: The News, September 29, 2007

PESHAWAR: Why is it so that Supreme Court judges belonging to Sindh and the NWFP often give dissenting judgments in important constitutional petitions having political implications while those from the Punjab usually uphold the government’s stance?

This question arose once again Friday when the apex court gave its verdict on the maintainability of a number of identical petitions, challenging dual offices of President General Musharraf and questioning his eligibility to contest the presidential election set for October 6.

Of the six judges who dismissed the petitions filed by Jamaat-i-Islami head Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Tehrik-i-Insaf leader Imran Khan and others, four belong to the Punjab. They are Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi, Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar, Justice Falak Sher and Justice M…

Increasing Talibanization in Pakistan's Seven Tribal Agencies: Jamestown Foundation Report

Increasing Talibanization in Pakistan's Seven Tribal Agencies
By Hassan Abbas
Jamestown Foundation, September 27, 2007

The government of President Pervez Musharraf is facing policy failure in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. Taliban forces and their sympathizers are becoming entrenched in the region and are aggressively expanding their influence and operations (especially in Tank, Dera Ismail Khan and Swat Valley in the North-West Frontier Province). A lethal combination of Musharraf's political predicament and declining public support, a significant rise in suicide attacks targeting the army and the reluctance of soldiers deputed in the area to engage tribal gangs militarily further exacerbates this impasse. Observing this, many militants associated with local Pakistani jihadi groups have moved to FATA to help their "brothers in arms" and benefit from the sanctuary. In the midst of this, election season is descending upon Pakistan and Musharr…

$ 20.4 million US Grant for Pakistan' Secuirty Agencies: Will it be Utilized Effectively?

$20.4m US assistance for Pakistan security agencies
Daily Times, September 28, 2007

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and US representatives on Thursday signed a revision to an agreement to provide an additional $20.4 million assistance for Pakistani border security agencies, law enforcement reforms and anti-narcotics programmes. US Ambassador Anne W Patterson and State Minister for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar signed the revision to the letter of agreement that will add $20.4 million to a total of $300 million assistance provided to support Pakistani law enforcement agencies since 1982. This assistance will help strengthen Pakistani law enforcement agencies to implement effective border control regimes, build investigative capabilities of police and sustain counter-narcotics efforts. Patterson said, “The agreement signed on Thursday builds on the successful, longstanding partnership between the two countries. It will have lasting and positive effects for the people of Pakistan.” staff report

Naeem Bokhari and Larger Lessons for Pakistan’s Justice System

Naeem Bokhari and Larger Lessons for Pakistan’s Justice System
By Raza Rumi; Posted on September 26, 2007 (at Jahane Rumi and

Adil’s post on Kasuri incident has prompted me to recall the recent thrashing of Naeem Bokhari by his peers.

That Mr. Naeem Bokhari, documented a nasty invective against the Chief Justice of Pakistan remains a tragic event in our recent history. This letter, wittingly or unwittingly became a basis for that notoriously illegal reference against the top judge of the country. Bokhari should not have become a party to the typical power games as an officer of the court and he needs to explain much more than he already has.

What happened thereafter is all too well known to be repeated here. The apex court backed by the public opinion restored the honour of its Chief and effectively altered the destiny of this country. A new beginning was scripted by the citizenry with immense faith in the Constitution and its guardians. Never has the predatory executive …

Musharraf's "Re-election" Prospects?

Proposers and seconders risk prosecution: Aitzaz on Musharraf’s nomination
By Nasir Iqbal: Dawn, September 27, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Sept 26: An amicus curiae informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday that persons proposing and seconding President Pervez Musharraf as a candidate for a second term would be guilty of an offence carrying imprisonment for 10 years.

Advocate Aitzaz Ahsan, who is assisting the court on its own calling as amicus, based his contention on the Pakistan Penal Code, but did not cite the specific section. He said that whosoever proposed and seconded the nomination of President Musharraf for his re-election for the second term would be guilty of the offence liable to be punished to 10 years each.

At this, Justice Faqir Khokar observed in a lighter vein that the counsel was talking about ‘getting us arrested’. “But you are not proposing or seconding the president,” Barrister Ahsan replied.

Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi observed that the amicus had been called to steer the court …

"5 Minutes Over Islamabad": A Conspiracy Theory Gone Wild

5 Minutes Over Islamabad By A.H Amin
26 September, 2007:

There appears to be a strong evolving consensus in the USA as well as its NATO allies that Pakistan is the centre of gravity of the Islamists in the ongoing so called war on terror.This idea gained currency in various high US policy making circles as well as think tanks around 1987-89 and then assumed a solid shape in the decade 1990-2000.After 2001 it was adopted as a policy and concrete albeit top secret planning was started to deal with Pakistan which at the ulterior level was seen as part of the problem rather than a solution.

When the Spaniards landed in Mexico their main collaborators were indigenous Mexicans themselves ! In Pakistan thus the USA made use of indigenous collaborators ! Generals whose sons had a US passport ! Bankers who were US nationals but also dual Pakistani citizens ! Thus these leaders justified collaboration with the USA after 9/11 on the grounds that what they did was the only guara…

Pakistan: corruption Index

Pakistan at No 138 on TI’s transparency list
* Watchdog says corruption draining resources
* Iraq, Somalia top list of corrupt states
Daily Times, September 27, 2007

LONDON: Corruption is rampant in Pakistan and it has rated at No 138 out of the 180 countries analysed by a respected anti-graft watchdog in a report released on Wednesday.

Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) said in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index covering 180 countries that some of the world’s poorest nations were seen as having the most dishonest political and business elites.

The report showed that Pakistan, which is tied at No 138 with Ethiopia, Paraguay, Cameroon and Syria with a corruption rating of 2.4, has “rampant” corruption.

The index score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts. It ranges between zero, which is highly corrupt, and 10, which is very clean.

However, the group said that even countries believed to be the least corrupt — named …

Iranian President Ahmedinejad in the US

Picture: Reuters
Ahmadinejad in New York: Iranians and others react
World Views, San Francisco Chronicle, September 25, 2007

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia University in New York on Monday continues to provoke reactions and reverberations in the U.S. and abroad.

» In Iran, the state-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reports that the heads of several academic institutions dispatched a collective letter yesterday to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger to express their sense of "outrage" at the way he publicly received his foreign guest, who had come to speak at the school's World Leaders Forum. The Iranian academic officials assailed Bollinger's "ignorance of the principle of hosting the president of Iran, a country of great civilization and a 7000-year history. "

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his speaking engagement at Columbia University in New York on Monday
Their letter stated that it was…

How to Resolve Crisis in Pak-Afghan Tribal Area?

Is there a way out of the Fata quicksand?
By Ismail Khan: Dawn, September 26, 2007

BARRING the Balochistan insurgency in the 1970s, Pakistan’s history has never witnessed such a staggering number of security officials slain in such a short span of time as in the tribal badlands of Waziristan. In fact, in many respects, say some analysts, the Waziristan insurgency has proven to be more violent and lethal and has far exceeded its boundaries to manifest itself in far-off places.

Figures corroborate the assessment. According to unofficial, published figures, since July 15, security forces have lost close to 229 people in clashes, roadside explosions, sting operations and suicide attacks. These include military, paramilitary, rangers and the police. On an average, three law-enforcement personnel are being killed a day. Since Pakistan allied itself with the United States in its war on terror, official figures put the overall death toll of military and paramilitary personnel at 730. The figures…