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Showing posts from December, 2009

Robert Fisk: Why did no imams plead for Akmal Shaikh's life to be spared?

Robert Fisk: Why did no imams plead for Akmal Shaikh's life to be spared?
How many Muslim clerics condemned the execution of Chinese Uighur Muslims?

The Independent, 30 December 2009

Akmal Shaikh got a raw deal from his co-religionists. Not from the West, mark you. From the Foreign Office down to the humblest humanitarian agency, the heirs of the Age of Enlightenment pleaded for the life of this 53-year-old mentally disturbed drug smuggler whom the Chinese authorities cruelly executed by lethal injection yesterday morning. But from the imams of Al-Azhar and the great teaching mosques of the world – from Cairo and from Mecca and from Qom and from Mashad – there came only silence. Well, did you really expect the Islamic experts in jurisprudence to speak up for a man caught with 4 kilos of heroin in Urumqi?

I can see how China's roaring economy would mute the voice of even the most courageous and humanitarian of clerics in the Islamic homeland. When China promises to oppose the U…

Haqqani Network Challenges US-Pakistan Relations

Haqqani Network Challenges US-Pakistan Relations
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, New York Times, December 29, 2009

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- The bodies kept surfacing -- hanged, shot, beheaded -- and always with a note alleging the victims were anti-Taliban spies. ''Learn a lesson from the fate of this man,'' warned one message found on a corpse in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region.

A senior Pakistani intelligence official told The Associated Press that at least 30 of his agency's operatives have been killed over the past year in the region partly controlled by the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network. The autonomous Afghan Taliban faction -- whose leader was once a U.S. ally -- is a serious threat to American and NATO troops in Afghanistan's east and operates on both sides of the border with Pakistan.

The U.S. wants Pakistan to expel the network from its North Waziristan sanctuary, especially as 30,000 more U.S. troops head to Afghanistan. But Pakistani officials sa…

Karachi: The Return of Yazid

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The return of Yazid By Nadeem F. Paracha
Dawn, 28 Dec, 2009

After enjoying a little more than two years of relative peace, Karachi was rudely dragged back on the mutilated map of terror today. A single suicide bomber managed to slip his dynamite strapped body inside a large procession of Shia mourners on Karachi’s M A Jinnah Road and blow himself up, killing and injuring dozens of innocent people, including some security men who were patrolling the fringes of the procession.

The attack has come as a rude shock to the citizens of Karachi and the Sindh province who had been witnessing horrific scenes of similar carnage perpetrated by extremists in the mosques and markets of Punjab and NWFP, and had, for the last couple of years, been somewhat spared from the madness that the terrorists have been displaying in the country, especially ever since 2003. Although the Taliban have yet to claim responsibility for the attack – and given Karachi's history, the attacker may well hail from one…

Sayedah Zainab’s sermon

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Sayedah Zainab’s sermon by Farhan Bokhari
The News, December 28, 2009

“It is quite sufficient that Allah is your Judge and Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon his progeny, is your opponent and Jibraeel as the supporter (of Muhammad). All those who instigated you to do what you did and all those who put you in charge due to which you are a playing havoc with the lives of Muslims will know for certain how evil the end of the oppressors is and which of you shall have the worst place and will be the least protected.”

(An excerpt from the sermon of Sayedah Zainab bint-e-Imam Ali, the fourth caliph of Islam.)

Almost 1,400 years after the epic battle in Karbala led to the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of prophet Mohammad and son of Imam Ali and Sayedah Bibi Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Mohammad, the words spoken by Sayedah Zainab still hold true.

In a world which has seen mounting conflict for years, including that in Iraq — where Imam Hussain’s passionate followers will come t…

Significance of the Tragedy of Karbala

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Is this the best use of remembrance?
From: Dawn, Jan 7, 2009

Abbas Husain is the Director of the Teachers’ Development Centre and has served as a Professor of Islamic Studies at the Aga Khan University for 19 years. He has completed an English tafseer (interpretation) of the Quran which relates the text to modern issues. Here he sits down with Dawn.com to discuss the Karbala tragedy’s relevance in today’s world.


What is the significance of the month of Muharram?

My understanding of the way Muharram works is that it is a counterpart to Ramazan. Both months serve as punctuation marks to the year. Ramazan is a filling in, Muharram is a speaking out. In Ramazan, one empties their day of activity so that they may receive grace. In Muharram, one articulates how they wish to spend the next (Islamic) year and to what values they wish to dedicate themselves.

As (Maulana Syed Mohammad) Zaki Baqri Sahib put it, Muharram is like an open university. (During the month) we gather to once again ‘rememb…

A Year of Turbulence in Pakistan

ANALYSIS: A year of turbulence —Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi
Daily Times, December 27, 2009

Pakistan needs institutional balance where different state institutions respect each other’s autonomy and avoid unnecessary encroachment in each other’s domain while recognising their inter-dependence

Pakistan’s troubled march on the road to democracy has survived another year. It is difficult to suggest at this stage if it will manage better in 2010. Too many things have happened too quickly in 2009. Some people have developed an aura of self-righteousness and a strong desire to apply puritanical justice on high visibility political personalities. Such a selective approach is always popular with the common people but it does not necessarily end corruption in a society where corruption manifests itself in so many forms and is deep-rooted.

In the past we experienced several efforts to cope with corrupt political leaders and other civilians. In 1949, the PRODA was enacted to take firm action against cor…

"Let India Help Afghanistan": An Indian Perspective

Let India help Afghanistan
Shashank Joshi, guardian.co.uk, Friday 25 December 2009

In the 19th century, Indian armies twice crossed the Hindu Kush, hoping to stitch together the patchwork political authority of the territory in the service of their British masters. Over a century later, the sovereign republic of India once more has a renewed presence in what was once its mountainous buffer from the Tsarist, and then Soviet, giant to the north.

A year ago, Indians completed the construction of Afghanistan's new parliament building and, to compound the symbolism, provided training to the legislators who would make the country's laws. Over a billion dollars in aid and investment, multiple consulates, and a little-reported thousand-strong troop presence all testify to the flourishing ties between the two democracies.

India is Afghanistan's fifth-largest donor, pledging $1.2bn since 2001 and providing aid that spans education, health and infrastructure. The most eye-catching pr…

Pause, sirs, and ponder By I.A. Rehman

Pause, sirs, and ponder By I.A. Rehman
Dawn, 24 Dec, 2009

The fact that in its response to the Supreme Court judgment of Dec 16 the nation is divided cannot be denied, and prudence demands that the causes of this division should not be brushed aside without careful scrutiny.

A large section of society believes that Pakistan has become a corruption-free entity and a judicially controlled democracy while a none-too-small section feels deeply hurt. Much can be said for and against both sides.

The hailers are largely guided by their desire to wipe off the shame of becoming one of the most corrupt states in the world. They appear full of zeal for righteousness. However, they will do their cause enormous harm if they fall for the universally repudiated view that the ends always justify the means. The people of Pakistan paid a heavy price for taking this route when they welcomed the usurpation of power by Ayub Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf.

The wailers are largely moved by the app…

Army and Zardari: A handshake, not a Fistfight!

VIEW: A handshake, not a fistfight —Syed Talat Hussain
Daily Times, December 24, 2009

Pakistan’s security establishment should have no problem in coexisting with a president who co-chairs the country's largest political party. They must admit that losing political calm in these crucial years is not an option

‘Coup’ is the most popular four-letter word in Pakistan these days. It is on everyone’s lips. An outright military takeover, a sudden political change, ouster of President Asif Ali Zardari, formation of a national government – all sorts of scenarios are being debated in all four corners of Pakistan. It is almost as if a military-backed change has become an inevitable, imagined reality. The only question that remains is its shape and form.

Seemingly what has triggered this flight of analytical imagination is the Supreme Court’s verdict against the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). But at a deeper level, the issue is not about 17 judges’ judicial slant against a sitting gov…

Prospects of an Arab-Iran Deal?

Will America's Arab Allies Strike Their Own Deal with Iran?
by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, MR Zine, December 22, 2009

On Sunday, the Speaker of the Iranian majlis (parliament), Ali Larijani, met for two hours with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. Ostensibly, Larijani was in Egypt to attend a meeting of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which includes Turkey, Kuwait, Niger, Azerbaijan, and Uganda in addition to Egypt and Iran. Larijani publicly described his meeting with Mubarak as "very good and constructive," and official Egyptian and Iranian media reported that the two men discussed bilateral relations and regional issues of mutual concern. After meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, Larijani declared Iran's support for Palestinian unity and, following a meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, noted that "relations between the two countries could be a great help for…

Plight of Pakistani Prisoners in Indian Jails: Dawn Editorial

Editorial Dawn
Plight of Prisoners
December 23, 2009

THE plight of Pakistanis in Indian prisons is appalling. Many were picked up for no serious violation of the law — although overstaying or straying across the border inadvertently is a major crime in New Delhi’s legal lexicon. There are some prisoners — reportedly 32 in number — who have completed their jail terms but still remain behind bars. Cases of prisoners falling victim to torture have also come to light. What does one make of all this? Considering the fact that Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails suffer an identical fate, this is fast becoming a tit-for-tat game between New Delhi and Islamabad. This should not be the case, and the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi should be playing its due role in seeking to arrange the repatriation of prisoners who have served out their sentence as demanded by their relatives. It was recommended by the India-Pakistan Judicial Committee on Prisoners, formed in 2007, that such prisoners sh…

A case of unchecked terrorists - By Ishtiaq Ahmed

view: A case of unchecked terrorists —Ishtiaq Ahmed
Daily Times, December 22, 2009.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has ruled out the presence of any US terrorists in Pakistan. “There is no presence of Blackwater in Pakistan...Unfortunately, all the terrorists in the country are Pakistani nationals.” He further informed that so far 74 terrorists had been apprehended (Daily Times, December 11, 2009). Now, if there is no US terrorist in Pakistan and all the terrorists in the country are Pakistani nationals, it does not mean that there is no Blackwater presence in Pakistan. I am not sure if the honourable minister was quoted fully and properly.


However, the reference to Blackwater is a bit of a diversion from the real object of writing this essay. For several months now Mr Malik had been insisting on his having conclusive and incontrovertible proof of Indian involvement in terrorism as well as secessionism in Balochistan. He challenged India’s Defence Minister, AK Antony, to come to Paki…

Tom Friedman on Muslims and Terrorism: Getting it Wrong Again

Tom Friedman on Muslims and Terrorism: Getting it Wrong Again
John Esposito and John Voll, The Huffington Post, December 20, 2009

Thomas Friedman, in his Dec. 15 column "www.jihad.com" repeats and reinforces the same tired, totally incorrect, but commonly-made generalization preached in his July 9, 2005 column, "If it's a Muslim Problem, It Needs a Muslim Solution," that "no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden." In his most recent column, Friedman continues to assert, despite readily available information to the contrary, that " a "violent, jihadist minority seems to enjoy the most 'legitimacy' in the Muslim world today" and that "Few political and religious leaders dare to speak out against them in public"....."How many fatwas -- religious edicts -- have been issued by the leading bodies of Islam against Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda?" Friedman asks and the…

How We Dealt With Pakistan: A Former Envoy’s View - NYT

How We Dealt With Pakistan: A Former Envoy’s View
New York Times, December 20, 2009

To the Editor:
Re “How to Mend Fences With Pakistan,” by Asif Ali Zardari (Op-Ed, Dec. 10):

I was serving as American ambassador in the early 1980s when the United States first worked with Pakistan in supplying support to the anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan. President Zardari implies that we exploited Pakistan during this time, but the Pakistanis were wholeheartedly in favor of the program, and their suspicion of Soviet intentions seemed genuine.

American participation in this effort was managed out of the hip pocket of William Casey, the C.I.A. chief, and on-the-ground liaison was handled by our station chief. I was present whenever a clandestine Casey visit reviewed the program with President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq and his intelligence chief.

The American team occasionally raised doubts about help to more extremist elements of the mujahedeen (some of whom are still around), but the answer was usually…

A Profile of Babar Ali by Sabrina Tavernise in New York Times

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One Pakistani Institution Places His Faith in Another
By SABRINA TAVERNISE, New York Times, December 18, 2009

LAHORE, Pakistan
SYED BABAR ALI, a businessman and philanthropist, is two decades older than his country, Pakistan. He has witnessed every turn in its tumultuous history. Now, at 83, he feels he has earned the right to give it a bit of advice.

Mr. Ali is an institution in Pakistan. He has started some of the country’s most successful companies. But perhaps his most important contribution has been his role in creating the Lahore University of Management and Science, or L.U.M.S., begun as a business school but now evolved into the approximate equivalent of Harvard University in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s biggest problem, he believes, is one of leadership. A corrosive system of privilege and patronage has eaten away at merit, degrading the fabric of society and making it more difficult for poor people to rise. The growing tendency to see government positions as chances to profit, tog…

Reversal of Amnesty Law Roils Pakistani Politics

Reversal of Amnesty Law Roils Pakistani Politics
By: Larisa Epatko, PBS NEwshour, December 17, 2009

A day after Pakistan's Supreme Court overturned an amnesty law for thousands of politicians, including President Asif Ali Zardari, opposition groups renewed pressure on the president to resign.

The National Reconciliation Ordinance -- implemented by former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007 -- was aimed at letting former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto back into the country without facing legal problems when establishing a possible coalition government with Musharraf. But Bhutto was killed while campaigning for office weeks after her return.

Bhutto's husband Zardari took the helm of the Pakistan People's Party and with other politicians, created enough pressure on Musharraf to force him to resign. Zardari later became president, though he continued to be shadowed by allegations of corruption.

Zardari has spent a total of 11 years in jail on charges ranging from corruption to…

Another aspect of the judgment By Asma Jahangir

Another aspect of the judgment By Asma Jahangir
Dawn, 19 Dec, 2009
The NRO case, Dr Mubashar Hasan and others versus the federation, has once again stirred a hornet’s nest.

There is thunderous applause for bringing the accused plunderers and criminals to justice and widespread speculation on the resignation of the president. Very little analysis is being done on the overall effect of the judgment itself.

While, the NRO can never be defended even on the plea of keeping the system intact, the Supreme Court judgment has wider political implications. It may not, in the long run, uproot corruption from Pakistan but will make the apex court highly controversial.

Witch-hunts, rather than the impartial administration of justice, will keep the public amused. The norms of justice will be judged by the level of humiliation meted out to the wrongdoers, rather than strengthening institutions capable of protecting the rights of the people.

There is no doubt that impunity for corruption and viol…

Little Support for Terrorism Among Muslim Americans: Pew Global

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Little Support for Terrorism Among Muslim Americans

by Richard Wike, Pew Global Attitudes Project, Greg Smith, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life; December 17, 2009

Recent events such as the Fort Hood shootings and the arrest of five Muslim American students in Pakistan have raised questions about the threat of homegrown terrorism in the United States. However, the Pew Research Center's comprehensive portrait of the Muslim American population suggests it is less likely to be a fertile breeding ground for terrorism than Muslim minority communities in other countries. Violent jihad is discordant with the values, outlook and attitudes of the vast majority of Muslim Americans, most of whom reject extremism.

A Middle Class, Mainstream Minority Group

As the title of Pew Research's 2007 study suggests, Muslim Americans are "middle class and mostly mainstream." Compared with their co-religionists in other Western societies, they are relatively well integrated into mainst…

Coming up Short on Pakistan: Ahmed Rashid, Hassan Abbas, Maleeha Lodhi, Hasan Askari Rizvi and Shuja Nawaz

Coming up Short on Pakistan
Interviewer: Jayshree Bajoria, Staff Writer, CFR.org : December 14, 2009

President Barack Obama's strategy approving a U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan called success there "inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan." But the U.S.-Pakistan relationship is riddled with problems. U.S. officials are concerned about terrorist safe havens in Pakistan's border areas, and there are reports that the United States may expand its covert airstrikes in the border region. In Pakistan, there are concerns about U.S. plans to withdraw from the region starting in 2011. Five independent Pakistani experts assess Obama's strategy, explore the largely negative response in Pakistan, and discuss the military and political pitfalls of the plan.

For journalist and author Ahmed Rashid and Asia Society fellow Hassan Abbas, Obama's plan fails to address the question of India, Pakistan's biggest security concern. Former Pakistani ambassador to th…

Peshawar Declaration against Terrorism - Deserves Recongnition and Appreciation

PESHAWAR DECLARATION (short version)
AIRRA, Dec 12 and 13 2009

A joint declaration by Civil Society and Anti terrorist political parties and groups was issued as “Peshawar declaration” after deliberations in a two-day conference held in Peshawar on Dec 12 and 13 2009.

1 All organizations attached with Amn Tehrik, AIRRA and political parties, i.e., ANP, PPP, PPP(S), PMAP, National Party, Awami Party Pakistan, PDC, and FRM participated in the conference.

2- It was unanimously agreed that the main and real factor behind the present chaos and instability in the region is the Strategic Depth policy of Pakistan. This is the root cause reason of terrorism in the region. Therefore, this forum strongly demands of the abolition of this policy and accountability of all architects of this policy because the policy has caused far more financial damage to Pakistan than NRO and debts waive-off put together. This policy is also responsible for killing and maiming millions of the innocent people in Puk…

New details on Obama's $7.5 billion aid package to Pakistan: Foreign Policy Magazine Exclusive:

Exclusive: New details on Obama's $7.5 billion aid package to Pakistan
Foreign Policy: 12/16/2009

The administration sent Congress its first mandated report on Pakistan strategy yesterday, part of the terms of the Kerry-Lugar Pakistan aid bill. The document isn't public, but a copy was obtained by The Cable, and it shows in new detail how the Obama team is thinking about Pakistan and how it intends to distribute the $7.5 billion in the package.

The report is notable in that it doesn't just focus on problem areas, as some observers had feared, and actually tackles nationwide and longer-term problems beyond the extremists now operating in Pakistan's northwest region. The message of the report is clear: The administration intends to show demonstrable results soon to justify and vindicate the program, while sewing the seeds for longer-term progress all the while.

The biggest chunk of the funds, $3.5 billion spread over five years, will go to "high impact, high visib…

NRO Thrown in the Dustbin of History

Pakistan Strikes Down Amnesty for Politicians
By JANE PERLEZ, New York Times, December 17, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Supreme Court struck down a controversial amnesty on Wednesday that had dismissed corruption allegations against thousands of Pakistan’s politicians, including President Asif Ali Zardari, effectively restoring the cases against them.

As president, Mr. Zardari is granted immunity from prosecution under the Constitution. But the Supreme Court order is expected to reverberate across Pakistan’s rocky political landscape and to further weaken the standing of Mr. Zardari, whom the United States has tried to support as a partner in the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Petitions challenging Mr. Zardari’s eligibility as a presidential candidate are expected to follow from the ruling, and about a dozen senior members of Mr. Zardari’s coterie of advisers will most likely face renewed corruption cases, some many years old.

They include the interior minister, Rehman M…

Inside Pakistan Today...

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Abracadabra! By Kamran Shafi
Dawn, 15 Dec, 2009

And quite suddenly not only is there a Quetta shura, large as life itself, it has also been ‘significantly damaged’ by Pakistan’s security forces!

Now, all of this must have happened in one day flat, for everyone and Charlie’s Aunt were going blue in the face till three days ago, and for months now, telling us there was no such thing: that it was a figment of the Americans’ imagination and of those the ‘Ghairat Lobby’ calls traitors and friends of the Hindu/Christian/Jewish lobby.

That it was one more brick in the Americans’ case for taking out our bombs through Blackwater. Since when, please, has yours truly been yelling and screaming that we should hear the cries of good people like Mir Hasil Bizenjo, a sitting senator and son of that good man of fond memory, Mir Ghous Bux Bizenjo; Sardar Akhtar Mengal, a former chief minister of Balochistan, and son of Sardar Ataullah Mengal; Habib Jalib Baloch, and other Baloch leaders when they s…

The Confessions of a Groveling Pakistani Native Orientalist: Pervez Hoodbhoy

Is the Check in the Mail?
The Confessions of a Groveling Pakistani Native Orientalist
By Pervez Hoodbhoy; Counterpunch.com; December 14, 2009

Here ye, Counterpunch readers! The victory of Native Orientalists – the ones which the late Edward Said had warned us about – is nearly complete in Pakistan. It has been led by “the minions of Western embassies and Western-financed NGOs” and includes the likes of “Ahmad Rashid, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Najam Sethi, Khaled Ahmad, Irfan Hussain, Husain Haqqani, and P.J.Mir”. Thus declares Mohammad Shahid Alam, a professor of Pakistani origin who teaches at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachussetts. [CounterPunch, 2 Dec 2009]

I ought to be thrilled. Now that I am a certified foreign-funded agent/orientalist/NGO-operator who “manages US-Zionist interests”, a nice fat cheque must surely be in the mail. Thirty six years of teaching and social activism at a public university in Pakistan – where salaries are less than spectacular – means that additions…

SECRETARY HILLARY CLINTON TETE-A-TETE WITH DR. HASSAN ABBAS

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SECRETARY HILLARY CLINTON TETE-A-TETE WITH DR. HASSAN ABBAS: A Conversation about Pakistan and the United States' Relations with the Muslim World
WATANDOST BLOG, December 14, 2009; FP - The AFPAK Channel blog

HASSAN ABBAS: During your recent visit to Pakistan, you won the hearts of many through your courageous outreach - visiting Badshahi mosque, participating in television talk shows, interacting with students at country’s premier educational institution Government College Lahore, and most importantly going to the mausoleum of Mohammad Iqbal, the poet-philosopher who gave the idea of Pakistan. Even those who are critical of the U.S. policy were appreciative of these gestures and it served an important message to those Pakistani politicians also who are not in touch with masses.

What were the signs of hope that you gauged during this visit?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, the resilience and the courage of the Pakistani people. Everywhere I went, I met people who are speaking out and …

The New York Times - Getting Pakistan Wrong

The New York Times - Getting Pakistan Wrong
Wajiha Ahmed, Huffington Post, December 11, 2009

In her December 5, 2009 New York Times article, reporter Sabrina Tavernise looks to history to explain why many Pakistanis are so critical of America. Unfortunately, Tavernise looks to the wrong history, focusing on Pakistan's trauma after the partition with India. Instead, she should have focused on US support for successive Pakistani military dictatorships.


No doubt, as Tavernise highlights, there are conspiracy theorists in Pakistan, and criticizing America can be a powerful tool to elicit populist support. However, Tavernise's analysis ignores very real grievances regarding American interference in the country.

It is worth noting that the last US-supported military dictator, General Musharraf, left the stage less than a year and a half ago. He allowed the Taliban to fester, ignored burgeoning economic problems, and institutionalized the military's illegal hold over governance…

A requiem for freedom By Ayesha Siddiqa

A requiem for freedom By Ayesha Siddiqa
Dawn, 11 Dec, 2009

One is often asked whether or not Pakistan will survive the current crisis. You tell them that, yes, Pakistan will survive. After all, territories don’t grow feet to walk away with.


There is a sigh of relief and those asking the question happily walk away despite one’s attempts to draw their attention to the fact that there is something fundamentally changed about Pakistan.

In fact, there are some seriously sad things happening around us that do not grab people’s attention because all they are bothered about is the survival of the physical. Saving the soul is not an idea that catches the public’s attention.

I wonder how many people notice the rapidly changing world around them. Suicide attacks and bomb blasts add to the din created by those who are busy establishing a new brand of nationalism which has no shade of tolerance, pluralism or multi-polarity. There are young bloggers who believe that all forms of dissent especi…

Dangers of Mistrust in South Asia and what that means for Afghanistan

Dangers of mistrust
Kuldip Nayar, The News, December 10, 2009

PAKISTAN Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani demanded some time back that America “gives Pakistan and its interests a consideration and consult us when they design a new Afghan policy.” There is no reason to believe that President Barrack Obama ignored Islamabad before announcing the surge of another 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan. Nor is there any protest from Pakistan that “its interests” were not considered.

Whatever the truth, the induction of additional US forces—20,000 are already there—is not a healthy development for the region. Afghanistan’s Commander Stanley McChrystal reportedly remarked that “a tremendous amount of things are going to happen, and they are good things.” He is leading the forces in the area. It is too early for America to make such observations because the past experience tells us that the US forces, wherever they have gone, either to Vietnam, Iraq or elsewhere, they have left ruin and…