Showing posts from April, 2011

How to support education in Pakistan?

Three Cups Of Tea Won't Be Enough For Pakistan by Nadia Naviwala, NPR, April 25, 2011

Nadia Naviwala is Pakistan Desk officer at USAID, a recent graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School, and a former national security aide in the U.S. Senate. This article reflects her personal views and does not represent the views of the USAID.

Since the publication of Three Cups of Tea, Americans have lavished nearly $60 million on Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute, to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last week, four years after the book came out, someone — CBS's 60 Minutes — finally visited the schools that Mortenson claims to have built, and found many empty, misused or nonexistent.

Reading about the extent of financial irregularity and lack of oversight at CAI, is heartbreaking. But worse, I dread how the crumbling of Three Cups of Tea will reinforce American skepticism and Pakistani cynicism about positive efforts in the region.

The shoddiness of Mortenson'…

Why culprits in Mukhtaran Mai rape case were released in Pakistan?

The second sex
By Babar Sattar, The News, April 23, 2011
The writer is a lawyer based in Islamabad.

The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal work on feminism published in 1949, defined a woman in the following terms: “...humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being...And she is simply what man decrees; thus she is called ‘the sex’, by which is meant that she appears essentially to the male as a sexual being. For him she is sex – absolutely sex, no less. She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute – she is the Other.”

The Mukhtaran Mai case establishes that the picture painted by de Beauvoir over half a century ago continues to define the reality for women in Pakistan, especially those belonging to the most vulnerable segments of our society. Notwithstanding o…

"Three Cups of Tea" Spilled?

Cup Half-Empty By Mosharraf Zaidi,
Foreign Policy, April 19, 2011

Under the burden of a 60 Minutes exposé on CBS and a blistering, 75-page takedown by adventure writer Jon Krakauer, Greg Mortenson's phenomenally successful weaving together of fact and fiction has already faced more scrutiny than most pop philanthropy ever receives in its entire shelf life. While opinions about Mortenson have always varied within the international development community and among humanitarian workers, that debate never really got a full airing. The ideas and philosophy driving the Three Cups of Teamania for school-building has become a bit of an orthodoxy. Orthodoxies usually have the effect of muting debate. Pakistanis should know. Pakistan has endured far too much unjustified and illegitimate orthodoxy in its short history. Until the60 Minutes exposé, only the very brave ventured to openly mock Mortenson. The fact that there is now unforgiving scrutiny of every aspect of his two books and the cha…

Why some terrorism suspects go scot free in Pakistan?

The Reason Terrorism Suspects Go Free
Mudassar Raja, The News, April 18, 2011

RAWALPINDI, April 18: No less than 23 sus- pect terrorists have been acquitted of the charge in the past six months by the trial courts in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

That sounds alarming but only until one learns the reason – weak prosecution. Each of the 23 accused went free because the prosecution failed to connect them firmly with the seven terror attacks they were said to have a hand in. Mostly, the prosecution’s case collapsed because the trial judge found the witnesses and confessional statements unreli- able.

“In my experience, the prosecution in sui- cide attack cases overwhelmingly relies on eyewitnesses to the incident who later identify the suspects during the identification parade in jail,” said Advocate Basharatullah Khan who has repre- sented accused people in such cases.

However, the prosecution case is usually very weak legally; for instance eyewitnesses are found by the inves…

Who Controls Pakistan's Security Forces?

Who Controls Pakistan's Security Forces?
USIP, April 19, 2011

After heavy U.S. investment in Pakistan’s defense forces since 9/11, there is growing interest in the state of the broader security sector in Pakistan. Civilian oversight is weak as the military exercises an outsized influence over domestic and foreign policy, hampering democratic governance. A panel of distinguished experts will discuss the challenges impeding security sector reform in Pakistan and the implications for the region.

Hassan Abbas, Panelist
Quaid-i-Azam Professor, South Asia Institute, Columbia UniversityShuja Nawaz, Panelist
Director, South Asia Center, The Atlantic CouncilMoeed Yusuf, Panelist
South Asia Adviser, U.S. Institute of PeaceRobert Perito,Moderator
Director, Security Sector Governance Center, U.S. Institute of PeaceFor complete C-SPAN video of the event, click here

Debate: Is racial or religious profiling ever justified? - New York Times Upfront

Is racial or religious profiling ever justified?

Ten years after 9/11, the U.S. is still trying to balance safety and security with protecting Constitutional freedoms
The New York Times Upfront, Vol. 143, April 18, 2011


The issue of profiling is part of the ongoing national discussion about how to balance liberty and security in the post-9/11 era. First and foremost, racial and religious profiling is inconsistent with America's core constitutional principles of equality and fairness.

Despite the threats of crime and terrorism, we must not compromise on what we cherish and celebrate—the rule of law. Under American law, every person is innocent until proven guilty. When officials use profiling, they are indirectly blaming entire communities because a few among them have committed horrible crimes. Not only is that wrong, but it's also a waste of law-enforcement resources.

It's not just American Muslims who are affected by this. African-Americans have long complained that th…

Abdul Sattar Edhi - A Living Saint of Pakistan

The day I met Abdul Sattar Edhi, a living saint
Telegraph, April 13, 2011

Sixty years ago, Abdul Sattar Edhi, 82, gave up everything to devote his life to helping Pakistan's poorest. Here, Peter Oborne hails a truly selfless spiritual sage

In the course of my duties as a reporter, I have met presidents, prime ministers and reigning monarchs.

Until meeting the Pakistani social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi, I had never met a saint. Within a few moments of shaking hands, I knew I was in the presence of moral and spiritual greatness.

Mr Edhi's life story is awesome, as I learnt when I spent two weeks working at one of his ambulance centres in Karachi.

The 82-year-old lives in the austerity that has been his hallmark all his life. He wears blue overalls and sports a Jinnah cap, so named because it was the head gear of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

No Pakistani since Jinnah has commanded the same reverence, and our conversations were constantly interrupted as people…

'Frank discussion' between CIA and ISI chiefs means Hardtalk...

ISI chief meets CIA head and leaves Washington
The News, April 12, 2011

WASHINGTON: Pakistan's ISI chief Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha held an important meeting with the CIA chief on Monday but apparently cut short his visit and was leaving the US capital on Monday night.

A Pakistan Embassy official confirmed that Gen Pasha was scheduled to leave Monday night although earlier reports had indicated he may be staying in Washington for three days and leave on April 13.

There was no official word from the Pakistani side but the New York Times quoted a CIA spokesman, George Little, saying that the two spy chiefs had held "productive" meetings and that the relationship between the two services "remains on solid footing."

Political analysts were, however, a little surprised that Gen Pasha, who had arrived on Sunday evening, was leaving the US capital in just about 24 hours. There was no word of his meetings, if any, with other senior US leaders, including the Defence…

Good News: American Public Sees Democratization of Middle East as Positive for US

American Public Sees Democratization of Middle East as Positive for US
Wrld Public, April 11, 2011

Favors Democratization Even if Countries Become Less Friendly to US

An overwhelming majority of Americans think that it would be positive for the United States if the Middle East were to become more democratic and a solid majority would favor this happening even if this resulted in the country being more likely to oppose US policies.

These are some of the findings of a new poll conducted by the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and directed by Shibley Telhami and Steven Kull. The poll of 802 Americans was fielded April 1-5 by Knowledge Networks.

The poll is being released in conjunction with the opening of the seventh Forum on US-Islamic World Relations being held in Washington DC April 12-14. The Forum is a joint program of the Saban Center of the Brookings Institution and the Fo…

Inside Baluchistan Today

Pushed to the Wall
Raza Rumi, The News, March 27, 2011

There must be something terribly wrong with the state of Pakistan that in its largest province, state schools no longer recite the national anthem and are giving up on the Pakistani flag. Tragic, that such alarming reports flashed in the national newspapers and on the internet are a subject of little debate and introspection across the country. Either that nobody really cares as to what happens to the tribals in the southwest of Pakistan, or that there is soft censorship at play. Such is the level of self-censorship on the issue of Balochistan that the ongoing insurgency finds scant mention in the otherwise, hysterical electronic media of Pakistan. True, there are brave exceptions in the public arena, but the eerie silence on Balochistan is disturbing for any Pakistani who believes in the territorial and federal integrity of Pakistan.

Only during the last six months, dozens of Baloch political activists have been reported dead. It…

The Unending Tragedy in Kurram Agency

COMMENT: More misery in Kurram — Dr Mohammad Taqi
Daily Times, March 31, 2011

As US pressure mounts on Pakistan to take action against the Haqqanis in North Waziristan, the need to relocate the jihadist assets to safe bases in Kurram has now become urgent

It had taken the Talib terrorist Nek Muhammad Wazir one day to renege on his April 2004 Shakai Treaty with the Pakistan Army. The September 2006 Miranshah Agreement between the Pakistani state and the warlords in North Waziristan lasted 10 months before the militants repudiated the deal in July 2007. The March 2007 deal between the government and the Taliban in Bajaur Agency was literally a nonstarter but was really dead by August of 2007. Then came the mother of all deals when, in May 2008, the Pakistani state inked the agreement with the murderous hordes of Mullah Fazlullah in Swat. While the people of Malakand knew from the word go that the Pakistani state had merely capitulated and there was no ‘agreement’ as such, the deal offici…

On Cricket Diplomacy - CBC Radio Program

Cricket Diplomacy
CBC Radio: The Current, March 31, 2011
Audio link:

After two years of icy-cold relations, the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan are sitting down for a face-to-face meeting this week. All it took was a cricket match. We ask about the potential for cricket diplomacy.

The game was a heart-breaker for Pakistani fans. But from a go-political point of view, the real action off the pitch was happening where Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Gilani sat side-by-side at watched the game. Their meetings did not produce breakthrough agreements but they did end a two-and-a-half-year-long diplomatic stand-off between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

So the obvious questions ... why it took a cricket match to make this happen? And of course it isn't the first time that cricket has played such an important role. For some perspective from the Indian side, we were join…