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
Inside Story about Musharraf-Mahmood Tussle Hassan Abbas: September 24, 2006
General Pervez Musharraf’s memoir In the Line of Fire is expected to generate a lot of debate and discussion in the days to come. Except some western journalists and Musharraf’s close friends (three ghost writers) hardly anyone has had a chance yet to read the book from cover to cover. The excerpts of the book leaked through Indian media and General Musharraf’s statements to some American media outlets however have already created some controversies. In the United States, controversy is considered a positive thing, so the book is bound to become a bestseller here, but in Pakistan probably the opposite is true.
This article is not a review of the book (as I haven’t got hold of a copy yet), but it endeavors to throw some light on the widely reported Musharraf comment about the Armitage threat conveyed through Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed, the then Director General of the ISI. I had done research on this speci…
Jinnah and Colonel Blimp Khalid Hasan The Friday Times, May 16, 2005
Although everyone says what a superb lawyer Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was, rarely does one get to read anything about the court appearances that earned him that reputation.
I remember years ago in Lahore, Safdar Mir, the great Zeno of Pakistan Times , telling me about the Quaid's contribution to the "Indianisation" of the British-led and officered army. Though I never made the effort to look up how and where the Quaid had made his contribution, what Safdar Mir has said remained engraved in my memory.
The other day, while reading the autobiography of the late Maj. Gen. Ajit Anil "Jik" Rudra, who originally came from Lahore, served in three armies, fought in both World Wars and died in India in 1997 at the age of 93, I came upon an episode that showed that the Quaid's reputation as a brilliant lawyer was not a Pakistani myth but a fact.
The Government of India appointed a committee of the legi…
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…