Watandost in Urdu, Turkish and Farsi means "friend of the nation or country". The blog contains news and views about Pakistan and broader South West Asia that are insightful but are often not part of the headlines. It also covers major debates in Muslim societies across the world.
Muslim States and Human Rights Issues: A Commendable Initiative
Global Human Rights Group Aims to Bridge Gap Between Islam and West Ismira Lutfia | February 21, 2012, Jakarta Globe
Jakarta played host on Monday to the inaugural meeting of the human rights commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an event that the commission said carried “profound historical significance.”
Indonesia’s deputy foreign minister, Wardana, said the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC was expected to bridge the growing divide between the Muslim world and the West on the issue of human rights.
“Our hope is that this commission will be the engine that drives the reform process to transform the OIC into an organization that can effectively address the challenges facing the Muslim world,” he said.
“We also hope it can address the misunderstandings in both the Muslim world and the West about the compatibility between Islam, human rights and democracy.”
The IPHRC, agreed upon at a summit of OIC foreign ministers last June, has 18 commissioners, six each from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Four of them are women, including the Indonesian representative, Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, and those from Malaysia, Afghanistan and Sudan.
The commission will serve in an advisory role and promote human rights in the OIC member states, which have a combined population of 1.3 billion Muslims.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the group’s secretary general, said the establishment of the rights commission was testament to the “moderation and modernization” of the OIC in the face of global challenges.
“This is a moment of profound historical significance,” he said.
Ihsanoglu said misconceptions about Muslim communities failing to respect human rights were feeding a rising Islamophobia worldwide and leading to greater discrimination against Muslims.
“While no country in the world can claim a perfect human rights record, there always is room for improvement, including in the OIC member states,” Ihsanoglu said.
“There is a motivated campaign at portraying Islam as inherently incompatible with international human rights norms and standards. I am of a firm belief that the case is exactly the opposite. Islam is not incompatible with human rights standards.”
He added that the human rights framework offered the “most plausible avenue of structured engagement” to address these misconceptions.
“An engagement geared toward removing misconceptions and promoting interfaith harmony. An engagement that could underwrite global peace,” he said. For complete article, click here
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…
The Indian chromosome By Dr Farrukh Saleem
The News, December 09, 2007
Twenty-five thousand years ago, haplogroup R2 characterized by genetic marker M124 arose in southern Central Asia. Then began a major wave of human migration whereby members migrated southward to present-day India and Pakistan (Genographic Project by the National Geographic Society; http://www.nationalgeographic.com/). Indians and Pakistanis have the same ancestry and share the same DNA sequence. Here's what is happening in India:
The two Ambani brothers can buy 100 percent of every company listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) and would still be left with $30 billion to spare. The four richest Indians can buy up all goods and services produced over a year by 169 million Pakistanis and still be left with $60 billion to spare. The four richest Indians are now richer than the forty richest Chinese.
In November, Bombay Stock Exchange's benchmark Sensex flirted with 20,000 points. As a consequence, Mukesh …
Measure for measure: What Pakistan needs to do for effective and sustainable counterterrorism By Hassan Abbas,
Herald, January 2015 Annual edition
“Extremis malis extrema remedia,” is how a famous Latin saying goes, expressing the idea that “extreme situations require extreme remedies”. This sounds logical on the face of it but in reality it is a myth. Over the years, I have heard from so many Pakistani friends with various backgrounds that “Pakistan needs an Imam Khomeni”, implying that nothing short of a bloody revolution, which may take thousands of lives, is going to work for the country. Those who make this argument know little about the causes that led to the Islamic revolution in Iran – or for that matter the factors leading to the French or Russian revolutions.
The idea of military courts to tackle terrorism is a similar notion based on the fallacy that the use of hard power can deliver goods under all circumstances. Military means can indeed be – and, perhaps, must be – part o…