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  #61  
Old Friday, January 18, 2013
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A Tale of Events


When Pakistan came into being the first national tragedy occurred when Quaid-e-Azam expired in 1948. This resulted in the quick change of governments and we became a laughing stock for other countries.


The nation is going to celebrate yet another independence day in August amid enormous difficulties. We are passing through critical phase of our history. Unending social and economic issues and deteriorating law and order situation have gripped the mind of the people. The question comes to the mind of every individual as to whether we have achieved the objectives for which this country was achieved? The answer is definitely “No”. Everyone is looking towards each other but there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Every government, whether military or civilian, has failed terribly to yank the nation out of the mess it is in. This is a national tragedy that we still have to go a long way to become a nation. Ironically, our society has been polarized to a greater extent. Pakistan's geo- strategic location has rather added to our difficulties. Highly volatile neighbour, Afghanistan, and America's vested interests have also made our country unstable. Resultantly 64 years down the road, we are facing a number of serious national crises, including terrorism, linguistic and ethnic division.

Struggle for Pakistan
The movement of the Indian partition started when the Englishman Allan Hume helped some Indians to form the Indian National Congress in 1885. At first it did not challenge British control, but in early 1900s a radical group emerged, headed by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, whose aim was to challenge the British rule in India. On the other hand, in 1906 another crucial split took place; a few Muslim delegates left the Indian National Congress, and a faction formed the Muslim League. The reason was that the Muslims were becoming alienated by the increasing Hindu nationalism. They were feeling sense of insecurity because of the attitude of the Congress and its leaders. From 1906 onward, Indian National Congress and the Muslim League started working for safeguarding the interests of their communities.

The circumstances forced the British Parliament to pass the Government of India Act in 1935. The Hindus and Muslims were not satisfied with this Act. During the period of the Indian National Congress' limited rule, the Muslims became the victim of Hindus' wrath. The Indian National Congress resorted to every tactic which was aimed at obliterating the Muslims from the Indian political scene. They were not allowed even to build new mosques. During this phase, the policies of the Congress left no breathing pace for the Indian Muslims. That is why the Muslims celebrated a Day of Deliverance when the Congress rule came to an end. This marked a major shift in the political scene and Muslims and the Muslim League decided not to settle for anything less than a separate Muslim state.
Rule of law is the first prerequisite of the good governance in any country. For this purpose a constitution is framed for running the government affairs. In the beginning of our independence, provincialism, parochialism and sectarianism hovered over the newly formed state.
In 1939 with the start of the Second World War, the circumstances were changed to a greater extent and the British Government in India was forced to reset its priorities. The Indian National Congress responded by quitting the government. They tried to use the war as a tool to force the British to talk to their terms by demanding immediate independence. The British promised to offer independence at the end of the war, and the Indian National Council cooperated perhaps seeing a worse future for India if Britain lost the war, as was looking quite likely in 1940.

After the war, British Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, managed to negotiate a deal whereby northwestern and the far eastern sections of India became a Muslim state – Pakistan – and the remaining territory a Hindu country. In Kashmir, the Hindu ruler hesitated in deciding whether to join Pakistan or India, but when his Muslim-majority populace responded with violent protests, he chose India. Within a year of gaining independence, India and Pakistan were at war in Kashmir. The first Kashmir war ended in a compromise, but the area remained fortified on both sides. The tension continued between both the countries. Resultantly, war sparked up again for a short time in 1965.

When Pakistan came into being the first national tragedy occurred when Quaid-e-Azam expired in 1948. This resulted in the quick change of governments and we became a laughing stock for other countries. After Quaid's death Liaquat Ali Khan tried to sail the country's ship to the shore but he too was assassinated on October 16, 1951 while addressing a public meeting of the Muslim City League at Company Bagh (Now Liaquat Bagh), Rawalpindi. The real motive behind his murder has never been revealed till today. The killer, Saad Akbar Babrak, who was an Afghan national and a professional assassin from Hazara, was immediately shot dead after the incident in order to conceal the conspiracy.

Another serious issue which came to surface was lack of good governance. Before the creation of Pakistan, British policies caused a split between the Hindus and the Muslims. The Hindus were quicker to side with the ways of the Britishers. On the other hand, Muslims did not take any interest in the national affairs. As a result, the Muslims kept themselves aloof from the government affairs. This national character of the nation continued even after the inception of Pakistan and bad governance was order of the day.

Rule of law is the first prerequisite of the good governance in any country. For this purpose a constitution is framed for running the government affairs. In the beginning of our independence, provincialism, parochialism and sectarianism hovered over the newly formed state. Since 1947 to 1950 no serious efforts were made to frame constitution. The inaugural session of the Legislative Assembly was held on August 14, 1947, in Karachi. For the interim period Government of India Act, 1935, was adopted with a few amendments according to the needs of the country. However, the first phase of the Constitution making was the approval of the Objectives Resolution which Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan got passed by the Legislative Assembly on March 12, 1949.

Separation of East Pakistan
In 1971, strife between the two countries was not the only result of the division of India. Both countries' economies suffered extremely from the social upheaval. The two areas of Pakistan, East Pakistan and West Pakistan, were 1,600 km separate from each other, with India in between. On top of the ethnic and cultural differences (they shared only their religion, Islam), the East Pakistanis were underrepresented in national affairs and less developed. The government was slow to send aid when East Pakistan was hit by a devastating cyclone in 1970. When East Pakistan (being more populous than West Pakistan) gained a majority in the National Assembly, President Yahya Khan delayed convening the NA meeting and sent troops to quell protests in East Pakistan.



In response, East Pakistan declared itself independent on March 26, 1971 and became Bangladesh. Civil war broke out, and lasted until the end of that year, when, in December, India entered the war and aided Bangladesh in freeing itself of Pakistani troops.

After the war, Indian PM Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfikar Bhutto met in 1972 at Shimla and agreed to work for a peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem. But the rivalry did not decrease, and two years later, in 1974, it entered a new phase when India went nuclear. Our successive rulers too left no stone unturned to put Pakistan on the way of becoming nuclear.

After India's border war with China in 1962, Sino-Pakistani relations greatly improved. When India signed a treaty with the Soviet Union in 1971 and began buying military equipment worth billions of dollars from the Soviets, formerly friendly relations between Pakistan and the Soviet Union stood deteriorated. This, in turn, gave Pakistan an ally in the form of the US, another country hostile to the Soviet Union. The two nations worked together help Afghanistan, financially and militarily, in resisting the Soviet invasion that lasted from 1979 to 1989. Pakistan itself received some aid from the US which was cut off in 1979 earlier due to concerns over Pakistan's nuclear programme.

The end of the Cold War in 1989 changed foreign relations again. The US ended aid to both countries in 1990 and then imposed sanctions after both conducted nuclear tests in 1998. After the ill-fated day of 9/11, Pakistan again became a US ally in 2002 for another operation in Afghanistan. In the meantime, the Kashmir issue continued simmering. Normally, such a border dispute could be settled by bilateral discussions and compromises from both sides. But religious pride, on both sides, makes compromise close to impossible. The armies of both countries are entrenched along the borders of the area, and violence flashes out periodically.

The area has become the focal point for militants from both sides. What's unclear is how much the activities of these militants are aided and abetted by their countries. Both countries insist innocence regarding the crimes of their individual citizens, but accuse the other of harbouring terrorism. Both also accused each other (in 1983) of helping rebels within the others' territory. Pakistan alleges that India aided rebels in Pakistan's Sindh area, and India believes Pakistan aided Sikhs, a religious group that has often run up against India's Hindu government.

After the creation of Pakistan its leaders were caught in the US trap aimed at encircling and preventing former Soviet Union's expansion. Pakistan had three options: First to pursue a non-aligned policy, second to align itself with the Socialist bloc headed by Moscow, and third to join the West, led by the US. However, when Pakistan was reviewing the invitation from Moscow, an anti-Pakistan statement by Soviet's Prime Minister Marshal Stalin during his Delhi visit affected Pakistan's policy. This compelled the Pakistani leadership to tilt towards the West and Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan rejected Kremlin's invitation to visit Moscow. The logic put forward for the pro-West policy was that in Europe and the US there was democracy whereas in former Soviet Union there was a fascist-Communist regime. Moreover, Liaquat Ali Khan is still criticized by the left wing parties for his pro-Western policies and the ban imposed on the Communist Party of Pakistan. However, the pro-Liaquat lobby argues that he had wanted to keep Pakistan neutral in the superpowers' Cold War. This resulted into adverse repercussions, including Soviet help to India, worth mentioning in the 1971 war which led to the Dhaka fall with the open support of India and former Soviet Union.
Another serious issue which came to surface was lack of good governance. Before the creation of Pakistan, British policies caused a split between the Hindus and the Muslims. The Hindus were quicker to side with the ways of the Britishers.
Pakistan adopted a pro-West policy from the very beginning with the hope to be friend of the US and that it will help in ending Indian control of Kashmir and its monopoly in the region. On the other hand, there was also a lobby which dubbed Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan's refusal to visit Moscow, as a wrong decision. These people still consider Liaquat's decision to prefer US over USSR a mistake. Later Pakistan's ties with the US improved after Republican President Eisenhower came to power in 1952. Secretary of State Dulles, pushed Pakistan's case as a close ally, and supported Pakistan's requests for economic and military aid. Pakistan was asked to join the Middle East Defense Organization (MEDO) which later was renamed as Central Treaty Organization (CENTO); and South Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO). Pakistan became a tool of US strategy and policy.

Later in 1979 Pakistan participated in the war against former Soviet Union and forced the latter to pull itself out from Afghanistan. This support from Pakistan gave the US the desired help in the Cold War and Moscow was compelled to pullout its troops from Kabul which was a historic defeat for Moscow. The Soviet Union broke into several states, weakening its strength and making the US the sole superpower which was its major dream. This policy caused grudge in the leadership of the former USSR against Pakistan. Now when Pakistan is facing severe crisis in the war against terrorism as a frontline state, Moscow started supporting terrorism in Pakistan and has been supporting and backing terrorism along with India and Afghanistan. It is blamed by some quarters in Pakistan that the US is also tacitly backing terrorist activities in the country along with some Arab countries.



Pakistan has been beset with two major challenges such as terrorism and weak economy. The terrorists have martyred over 35,000 Pakistanis for which Pakistan deserves high regard and respect. Our rulers' wrong and poor foreign policies have resulted in the new wave of terrorism in Pakistan. Terrorism has badly affected the country politically, economically and security point of view. All the cities are facingthe threat of blasts every day. Peace has become a rare commodity.

The people of Pakistan have been paying heavy price for their role in war against terrorism. Islam is a religion of peace and harmony, while the terrorists have attempted to blemish it. Peaceful means were adopted for combating the extremism which however did not yield the desired results. Resultantly, the government opted for the military operation after taking all the political parties into confidence. Our economy has been hit hard by the global downturn and major chunk of our resources is being spent on maintaining law and order situation. Now after the operation against terrorists in Swat, welfare and prosperity of the people would be focused.

Quaid-e-Azam got a dream translated into a reality within a short span of a few years. Everyone of this country irrespective of age, gender, caste or creed should protect its sovereignty. No country attained independence within a short span of seven years without dropping any blood. However, after the creation of Pakistan, some fanatic Hindus excited Sikhs to massacre the Muslims coming to the new state. This resulted in the ruthless killing of one million people which is a record in the world history. Migration of Muslims at such a large scale is the second event in the Muslim history after the migration of Muslims from Makkah to Madina. Now on the occasion of this Independence Day, the people of Pakistan should make resolve for making this country a citadel of peace, as this is the only way to pay homage to those who embraced martyrdom while migrating to Pakistan. While rejoicing the fruits of freedom, we have not yet been able to clutch the lofty principle of Unity, Faith and Discipline, a magnificent icon of trust which was given to us by the Father of the Nation.


Waseem-ur-Rehman Khan
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  #62  
Old Saturday, January 19, 2013
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Good Governance: Where Does Pakistan Stand?



Governance describes "the process of decision-making and the way by which decisions are implemented


What is good governance? Good governance is an indeterminate term used in development literature to describe how public institutions conduct affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realisation of human rights. Governance describes "the process of decision-making and the way by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)".

“The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) offers a somewhat more comprehensive definition of good governance that includes: participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus-ori-ented functioning, equity, inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, and accountability.”

If we put the country to the test against ESCAP's list of good governance values, we would naturally be depressed. The watchdog media is doing an excellent job in demanding good governance values and being critical of the present government. The main focus is on corruption and transparency from the long list given in the definition. Many other values that make good governance are touched upon rarely. That is where we go wrong. The values of a society are based on its whole social structure and a particular value cannot be seen in isolation.

No analysis of any society gives the complete picture if the political, social and economic perspective is not kept in sight. Otherwise, an impression is created that governance has turned bad overnight and only because of a particular set of politicians. There are a number of factors that have resulted in failure of governance in Pakistan.
Caliph Hazrat Omar (RA) declared that if a dog dies of hunger at the bank of Tigress, he is answerable to Almighty God.
First and the single most important factor is the feudal and tribal culture of our society with heavy reliance on an agrarian economy. The Muslim League's leadership came from the feudal and tribal elite. Other major players in governance were the immigrants, who dominated the bureaucracy and formed the new mercantile class of the country. These ruling classes of Pakistan at the time of independence were not capable of providing good governance values in the modern sense. The same feudal and tribal values with little variation prevail today in sharp contrast to the values of the capitalist democratic system.

Second important factor very much related to the first factor is the absence of transparency in this feudal and tribal system, where “might is right” and merit is undermined by the primary quality: 'loyalty'. Equity has no place in this system as it is based on hereditary position in a society. Even today almost 65 per cent of the population lives in the rural areas where the value system is an overhang of feudal values. This is brought to the cities when the chosen representatives of the rural areas come to power. The urban democratic value system, which is based on individual rights, finds the actions of these feudals and tribal chiefs appalling but do not pause to think that it is not possible to change the governance values without first changing the feudal and tribal relations. Even the urban capitalist society cannot provide all the answers as it cannot give equity. Corruption exists in all developed economies; the difference is of ratio and sophistication.

Third, the early ruling bureaucracy and mercantile class were from the immigrants. No matter where they come from globally immigrants have their own common go-getter culture. As they migrate, their first preference is to settle themselves economically as quickly as possible. In this pursuit, many good governance values are trampled. In their new land they are also free from the social pressures of local society, which keeps a mutual check on each other in a settled society. In the case of Pakistan, the classic example is that of many exaggerated claims of the refugees where people who were from middle and lower classes before partition claimed to be from royal and elite class once they migrated to Pakistan. It is this same class that has used every fair and unfair means to raise its socio-economic status, ignoring every lesson of merit and morality.

Fourth, 30 long years of military dictatorship have not let democracy to take roots in the country. Most elected governments also spent much of their energies in claiming their space from the establishment. In sharp contrast to Pakistan, there has not been even a single martial law in India since its independence and that is the reason for it becoming the world's largest democracy.

And finally so long as Islam is used as a mean of winning election and it is not implemented in its true spirit, good governance will always remain a dream in Pakistan as most of our population which is illiterate and poor will never get its rights, women and minorities will be ignored and looting will become our national character.

Caliph Hazrat Omar (RA) declared that if a dog dies of hunger at the bank of Tigress, he is answerable to Almighty God. Kingship knows no kinship and this has been the order of things right when the first man was born. So far Pakistan has been ruled by democrats and dictators with absolute powers but with no responsibility. Although accountability is the keynote of Islamic character yet it is not only emitted from the constitution of Pakistan but also not found even in the character of the rulers. This is a word unknown to the rulers of Pakistan, unless accountability is introduced with all the seriousness that it demands, the ills and curses inflicting the country will continue.


Dr Najam us Sahar Butt (CSP)
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Old Sunday, January 20, 2013
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Corruption and Politics



The government has once again interfered in the SC's efforts to force the investigation of the Rs5 billion NICL scam by suspending FIA official, Zafar Qureshi, within 72 hours of his reinstatement.




The government has once again interfered in the Supreme Court's efforts to force the investigation of the Rs5 billion National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL) scam by suspending Additional Director General FIA, Zafar Qureshi, within 72 hours of his reinstatement, giving the reason of talking to media without any authority. Earlier, Qureshi had been brought back to head the investigations when the Supreme Court, on July 1, cancelled his transfer orders and forced the government to reassign the multi-billion rupee NICL scam to him. The Supreme Court had also directed the Director General FIA, to provide full assistance to Qureshi in completing the investigation. However, within 24 hours of Qureshi’s assuming his old assignment, he was removed for talking to the media.

In a move to counter development in the NICL case, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Senior Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi met and the PM suspended Zafar Qureshi who is investigating Moonis Elahi, the Pervaiz Elahi's son; Qadir Gilani, the premier's son and Commerce Minister Amin Fahim for their involvement in the scam. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani issued the suspension order after the meeting.

While the present regime has never paid heed to misconduct by government officials, Qureshi is the first victim of misconduct, that too on an allegation that could never be proved in black and white.

It is feared that if these people are punished, the present coalition will fail to complete its term in office. This approach proves without any doubt that the PPP-PML-Q alliance is a marriage of convenience. Qureshi was deputed by the SC to investigate a case, which would decide the fate of the PPP government since it was because of the NICL case that the Pakistan Muslim League-Q and PPP formed a coalition to bail out Moonis Elahi. The case was of particular importance to the ruling PPP for two reasons. Firstly, it involved Moonis Elahi, the son of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi whose party, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid's support is critical for the government after the withdrawal of MQM backing. Secondly, the executive appears in no mood to accept the precedence of the judiciary directing it on how to run its affairs. However, Moonis Elahi is of the opinion that political rivalry is the major reason behind his case.

Consequently on July 2, an Establishment Division enquiry was launched against Zafar Qureshi on the plea of talking to media. His reply was not considered satisfactory by the concerned authorities. Qureshi might face the possibility of being dismissed from service for violating the provisions of the Government Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules 1973.

As the SC ordered the government to again make Qureshi the investigation officer of the NICL probe, the government expelled four FIA officials, who had assisted him in the investigation, from the Punjab and posted them in far-flung areas. While cancelling the notification, after observing patience for a long time, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had stated that the government should not have removed an honest officer from the investigation. He said the officer had recovered Rs1.75 billion from the swindlers and this was a record recovery in any criminal case. Legal experts are of the opinion that Qureshi's suspension is a clear case of contempt of the Supreme Court, an unparalleled defiance to its order and intensification of confrontation between the state institutions.

However, only the “competent authority” (prime minister) is authorised to approve the suspension of an officer of his rank and that while the ministry was only doing procedural matter like issuing notices and formal suspension orders. Another grade-22 officer, Shafqat Naghmi has been appointed the enquiry officer in this case and his appointment could well prove a harbinger of things to come.

Qureshi was forcefully awaken from sleep at around 2:30am and was served a notice, asking him to explain his position on the allegation that a news run on TV channels that he wrote a letter to the Director General FIA, asking for the return of four FIA officers who were transferred. It has been reported in the press that a minister summoned Zafar Qureshi and gave him four options: leave the country immediately; go on a long leave; tell the Supreme Court in writing that you cannot continue with the NICL investigation for personal reasons; and, if all the three are not possible, then bail out Moonis Elahi. However, Qureshi categorically told the minister that neither would he go abroad or on a long leave, nor would he write to the Supreme Court and that he would complete the process of investigations impartially, independently and according to law.

While the present government has never paid any heed to misconduct by government officials in its tenure, Qureshi is the first victim of misconduct, that too on an allegation that could never be proved in black and white. On the other hand, blue-eyed bureaucrats continue to enjoy lucrative posts with documentary evidences of misconduct in their files. The job of the government is to facilitate and respect the SC's decisions. The single-point agenda of completing its term in office has driven the government from one compromise to the next and from one clash with other institutions to another. Qureshi`s suspension may temporarily give some relief to the Chaudhrys, but is sure to invite the attention of the Supreme Court, which has been trying to create the space for Qureshi to complete his investigation. Surely, there must come a time when enough is enough, when some kind of order has to be restored. Of what use is a government which clings to power at the cost of much that is good and right? In India a government and opposition alliance has been formed against corruption, whereas in our country there is always protection to the corrupt government officials. Pakistan's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), out of 178 countries, jumped from 42 in 2009 to 34 in 2010.


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Old Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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Married to Traditions



Several nefarious tribal, rural and even urban societal customs deny the womenfolk their due right of inheritance


Most veiled and modern women in both conservative and liberal strata of Pakistani society share the same fate of being 'omitted' when it comes to getting their share in the property of their parents or male siblings.

Though many traditions regarding marriage in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan are similar, the trend of inter-family marriages that ensures that the ownership of inherited property remains in the family is equally shared in Punjab and Sindh.

However, one custom peculiar to Sindh is the marriage of a female to the Holy Quran. Although the tradition is not a common practice anymore, it was used to protect the family fortune from going out into the hands of the girl's in-laws by filling a marriage certificate with 'Quran' written in the space for husband's name. This meant the woman would be considered as 'married' and that she would remain in the family home till death.

Various age-old customs are in practice in KP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) that deny women their due right of inheritance. One such tradition is the remarrying of a widowed female to her brother-in-law, ignoring any age difference that might be there between the two.
The peshimam (prayer leader) of a mosque in Tank town in the southern part of KP is said to have told his daughter's would-be in-laws that he was against 'selling' her off but they could pay for his daughter's pet cat. He quoted Rs 500,000 as the cat's price. This way he 'justified' accepting "walvur" (Pashto word for bride-money).
A woman being married off to a much younger man is even more common. In some cases, a young widow is forced to tie the knot with a man twice her age and a previously married man.

Defying this custom is not common in the conservative Pakhtun society as it is hard for a woman to live by her own. However, there are a few brave ones who resist this tradition. Gul Meena, 24, a widow, is one such lady who chose to live with her parents (in their home) with her two daughters and a son in their native village in Mardan.

"Only a few months after the death of my husband, my brother-in-law who had five kids asked me to accept him as my new husband. I refused because he was illiterate. I was allowed to leave my in-laws' house only after I eased up on my demand for my husband's share in the agricultural land," Gul Meena tells the media.

She now relies on her husband's pension for the upbringing of her three children.

One tradition common to the tribes in North and South Waziristan, Orakzai Agency and some Afridi tribes in the Khyber Agency is that of demanding money for daughter or sister from the in-laws. This bride-money is considered as repayment for the upbringing and protection of the female since her birth.

There are interesting ways of going about it. The peshimam (prayer leader) of a mosque in Tank town in the southern part of KP is said to have told his daughter's would-be in-laws that he was against 'selling' her off but they could pay for his daughter's pet cat. He quoted Rs 500,000 as the cat's price. This way he 'justified' accepting "walvur" (Pashto word for bride-money).

A religious scholar in Peshawar, Mufti Saifur Rahman terms the practice as "against Sharia" and, therefore, un-Islamic. "Selling females or fixing a rate for their upbringing is against Islamic teachings. It is obligatory for the girl's father or brother to provide her with all the basic facilities till they are married. This isn't a favour that they are doing," he declares.

Mufti Saifur Rahman argues that no excuses are valid in denying one's sister or daughter her due Islamic share. "Some people say that even if they try, their sisters won't accept any share in the inherited property. This is a lame excuse. As a Muslim, give the due share to your sister/daughter and, if she pleases, she can return it to you later," he explains.

It may be mentioned here that the brother-in-law of Maulana Sufi Mohammad, the founder of the Tanzim-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) who led a violent struggle for the enforcement of Sharia in Swat and the rest of the Malakand division and is now in jail, filed a lawsuit against the latter demanding that he should give his sister her due share in the inherited family property. It was like paying Sufi Mohammad in the same coin because he had been talking about Sharia and not yet granted share in the inherited property to his sister.

Advocate Noor Alam Khan, chairman of the non-governmental organisation ‘Voice of Prisoners’, points out that the inheritance and marriage issues in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA are not restricted to the illiterate and rural people because educated Pakhtuns also hesitated to grant rights to the heirs. "We were hired by a well-known professor hailing from Bannu to file a lawsuit against his three brothers who had deprived from inheritance the British family of their fifth brother who married and died in the UK," he recalls.

''The wife and the two children of the deceased UK-based doctor were Muslim converts but his brothers were of the view that their brother had married a Christian woman and, thus, she along with her children was not entitled to Rs. 15 million inherited share of her husband," he says.
Although women in Pakistan are still a long way from attaining their proper inheritance rights, a positive change among the religious-minded and the educated lot is in the offing. Or, so it seems, as a small but growing number of people are willingly giving the due share in the inherited family property to their daughters and sisters.
One of the many ways of avoiding inheritance lawsuits is distancing oneself from one's siblings. In one such complaint filed by a woman in a Peshawar civil court, it transpired that her brothers had tried to prove to the judge that they had given their only sister her share eight years ago. Their argument was that their sister had died a few years after getting the share, and it obviously wasn't true.

The practice of negating inheritance rights to females isn't common only among the commoners. In fact, some people, who are the upholders of the law, also hate sharing their paternal property with their female siblings. A judge in Peshawar was dragged to the court by his sister and stepsisters. After long court proceedings, he lost his case as his remarks through which he labelled his stepmother as his father's mistress were trashed by the court.

The second argument made by the judge that his real sister was not authorised to get her share in the inherited property as she had married without the family's consent was also declared null and void by the court.

Although women in Pakistan are still a long way from attaining their proper inheritance rights, a positive change among the religious-minded and the educated lot is in the offing. Or, so it seems, as a small but growing number of people are willingly giving the due share in the inherited family property to their daughters and sisters. Requesting anonymity, an educated man from Chitral says that his wife, who hails from Gilgit, has received her inherited share in the family property from her brothers. Instead of finding an excuse to deny the women their due inheritance rights, such few enlightened and well-meaning people are trying to ensure that they are just and truthful in their dealings with their women.


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Old Monday, January 28, 2013
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Women Empowerment in Pakistan



The lives of Pakistani women have changed during the past 30 years and they are more empowered and emancipated than they were ever before.


Quaid-e-Azam said in a speech in 1944, “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners.” The lives of Pakistani women have changed during the past 30 years and they are more empowered and emancipated then they were ever before. More and more women are entering the workforce today as their predecessors, who made the first time at the work place and also made life easier for other women, lent them the encouragement to do so.

The supporting and opposing views with regard to working women can be analysed by taking into account various aspects of the society regarding the subject namely the social, legal, religious and the political.

Sociological aspect
Technological advancement has added to the urbanisation of society, yet the old customs and norms often act as impediments to the progress of a modern society. While many advocate women empowerment, others oppose the very idea. There are various reasons of the above stated attitude towards working women. Firstly, a woman who remains at home and can, therefore, look after her children in a much better and productive way. She keeps a check on their studies, is more aware about their everyday activities and is capable of bringing them up in a healthy way. On the contrary, a working woman is always busy in her work schedule leading to neglected children. A change of priorities from children to work makes her negligent towards her children.
The advocates of working women believe that they can contribute to the financial matters of the family. With ever rising prices and inflation, two earning people would surely help run the financial matters of the family.
Secondly, a woman when remains at home is sheltered from the callous attitude of other elements of the society. She is safe at all times and does not face any kind of depression as a result of such unhealthy behaviour towards her. On the other hand, a working woman has to withstand the teasing behaviour of men all the times—from starting her journey to work to the workplace itself. Gender discrimination and harassment at workplaces is common in almost every sector perceived as achievement activity. This leads to high depression levels amongst women shattering their personality and their productivity at work.

The advocates of working women believe that that they can contribute to the financial matters of the family. With ever rising prices and inflation, two earning people would surely help run the financial affairs of the family. Apart from the material gains, working women are self-actualised entities. They are confident as they know how to utilise their abilities best. This inculcates in them a sense of satisfaction and contentment, while the housewife often has a low self-esteem as she is financially dependent on her husband and is mostly considered good-for-nothing.

Legal aspect
Let's take a look at various laws or bill passed regarding women in Pakistan.

The Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act (2010)
The objective of this Act is to create a safe working environment for women, which is free of harassment, abuse and intimidation with a view to fulfilling their right to work with dignity. Harassment is one of the biggest hurdles faced by the working women preventing others who want to work to bring themselves and their families out of poverty. This Act will pave the way for women to participate more fully in the development of the country. This Act builds on the principles of equal opportunity to women and their right to earn a livelihood without any fear of discrimination as stipulated in the Constitution. This Act complies with the government's commitment to high international labour standards and empowerment of women. It also adheres to the Human Rights Declaration, the United Nations Convention for Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women and ILO's Convention 100 and 111 on workers' rights. It adheres to the principles of Islam and all other religions which assure women's dignity.

This Act requires all public and private organisations to adopt an internal code of conduct and a complain/appeals mechanism aimed at establishing a safe working environment for all working women.

Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (2008)
The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill was passed unanimously by the National Assembly on August 4, 2009, but the bill lapsed after the Senate failed to pass it within the three months period required under the Constitution.

Legislators from both opposition and government parties told Human Rights Watch (HRW) that even though President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani supported the bill, it was delayed by unofficial opposition from some ministers.

The Domestic Violence bill seeks to prevent violence against women and children with a network of protection committees and protection officers and prompt trials of suspected abusers.

The measure makes sexual harassment or intimidation punishable by three years in prison, a 500,000 rupee fine, or both. The bill includes protection in public places such as markets, public transport, streets or parks, and more private places, such as workplaces, private gatherings, and homes.

Hudood Ordinance (1979)
The Hudood Ordinance was enacted in 1979 as part of General Muhammad Ziaul Haq's Islamisation and replaced or revised in 2006 by the Women's Protection Bill. The Hudood Law was intended to implement Sharia law, by enforcing punishments mentioned in the Holy Quran and Sunnah for zina, qazf, offence against property, and drinking. As for zina, a woman alleging rape is required to provide four adult male eyewitnesses. The ordinance has been criticised as leading to hundreds of incidents where a woman subjected to rape, or even gang rape, was eventually accused of zina and imprisoned becoming a victim of extremely unjust propaganda.

In 2006, then President Pervez Musharraf again proposed reforms in the ordinance. On November 15, 2006, the Women's Protection Bill was passed by the NA, allowing rape to be prosecutable under civil law. The bill was ratified by the Senate on November 23, 2006, and became law after President Musharraf signed it on December 1, 2006.

Religious aspect
In Islam the importance of women and their success as human beings, is measured with completely different criteria: their fear of Allah and obedience to Him, and fulfillment of the duties He has entrusted them with, particularly that of bearing, rearing and teaching children.

Nevertheless, Islam is a practical religion, and responds to human needs and life situations. Many women need, or wish, to work for various reasons. For example, they may possess a needed skill, such as a teacher or a doctor. While Islam does not prohibit women working outside her home, it does stipulate that the following restrictions be followed to protect the dignity and honour of women and the purity and stability of the Islamic society, the conduct of women, after all, is the backbone of any society:



1. Outside employment should not come before, or seriously interfere with her responsibilities as wife and mother.

2. Her work should not be a source of friction within the family, and the husband's consent is required to avoid later disagreements. If she is not married, she must have her guardian's consent.

3. Her appearance, manner and tone of speech and overall behaviour should follow Islamic guidelines.

4. Her job should not be one which causes moral corruption in society, or involve any prohibited trade or activity, affect her religion, morals, dignity and good behaviour, or subject her to temptations.

The above guidelines clearly show that a woman is not prohibited to go out of her home for the purpose of a job if she has the right intentions.

Political aspect
The political representation of women in Pakistan is higher than India, Sri Lanka and Iran. Pakistan is listed as 45th in the Inter-Parliamentary Union's (IPU) list of women in national parliaments and stood ahead of several developed democracies, including Canada, the UK and the US. The only positive development thus far has remained the relatively large representation of women in the National Assembly, the Senate and provincial assemblies in comparison to other countries. Of the 342 seats in the NA, women now comprise 22.2 per cent of those seats. In the Senate, women make up 17 per cent of the parliamentary seats. This indeed is significant departure from the past considering that women are often discouraged from entering politics. Pakistan is also one of the 30 countries which have a woman as Speaker of the National Assembly.

The political growth of a country requires both male and female participation in the government affairs. Women representation in the government ensures that work is done for the overall good of the woman folk. However, the woman participation in the state structure calls for responsibility on the part of women and requires them with intellect taking up the posts instead of women who have been selected by their male counterparts.


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Security Crisis in Pakistan


The security landscape is marred with target killings in Karachi along with the mounting assaults and ambushes by the militants against security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan.


Pakistan, the world's sixth most populous country and second biggest Muslim one, is facing violence and divided. If the definition of security is a state being free from danger, then it is not applicable to the status quo prevalent in our country. It is an inkling of the worst which is yet to come, as terrorism is the popular cliché to portray our homeland. Even if Pakistan decides to stay in the shallow end of the pool or go out in the ocean. The security landscape is marred with target killings in Karachi along with the mounting assaults and ambushes by the militants against security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan. The abysmal security situation deteriorated further, after the killing of former al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. Be it the assassination of Akbar Bugti, Benazir Bhutto, and numerous suicide attacks in the country puts a question mark on the role of security agencies in Pakistan. As far as the concept of security in Pakistan is concerned, since its existence Pakistan is living in a state of security paranoia whereas signing defence pacts like Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) and the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) is a clear depiction of a security less state. Unfortunately, these pacts did not prevent the war of 1965, 1971 and Kargil. To understand the murky security scenario, it is important to sit in a time machine way back to 1980s and one can see that today we are reaping what we had sown in 1990s by taking U-turn in our policy toward Taliban. Pakistan and US continuous intervention in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, and the role of Pakistan as the US most allied ally, playing the central role to arm jihadi groups in Afghanistan is another side of the story. It is their wars and introducing Kalashinkov culture in Pakistan which is now used in students movements, ethnic and sectarian clashes, kidnapping, military government raids, and militant uprising. It is for this reason that Pakistan is ranked as having the highest per capita gun ownership rate in the world, which is an alarming sign of increased intolerance and crime in our society.


Pakistan is ranked as having the highest per capita gun ownership rate in the world, which is an alarming sign of increased intolerance and crime in our society. Pakistan as the US most allied ally, playing the central role to arm jihadi groups in Afghanistan is another side of the story. It is their wars and introducing Kalashinkov culture in Pakistan which is now used in students movements, ethnic and sectarian clashes, kidnapping, military government raids, and militant uprising. It is for this reason that Pakistan is ranked as having the highest per capita gun ownership rate in the world, which is an alarming sign of increased intolerance and crime in our society.
Subsequently, waging of guerrilla war against former Soviet Union's presence in Afghanistan with the US backing, Pakistan was seeking strategic death in Afghanistan to counter Indian activities (though Indian intelligence agencies are working in the form of consulates is still present in Afghanistan). And US wants to withdraw former Soviet Union in order to reach warm water. It can provide US the access to the Central Asian Republics, considered the heartland since the time of Alexander the Great. Gwadar Port and Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean is an eye soar for US, India and Israel. Pakistan is confronted with security crises along with the worst crises in human security chart by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies. The nature of terrorist attacks in the last three months and their security features reveal a mix trend including suicide attacks, militants killed in the operational attacks by the security forces.

Despite the role of Pakistan as frontline state in the war on terror, Pakistan is still asked, rather pressurised to do more in order to destroy the safe havens (volatile tribal belt), so that Pakistan to get aid which is never used for civilian benefit todate and is purely available for defence purposes by Pakistan Army and all governments. The very word to do more is an emblem of trust deficit between US intelligence agencies and Pakistan intelligence agencies, specifically ISI which is facing undue criticism by the world media and propaganda by the external intelligence agencies working against ISI and our national integration.

It is a universal fact that the intelligence agencies are backbone of any country, and Pakistani media is unknowingly criticising its own security forces which is again a gruesome security threat for the geo-strategic position of Pakistan. Richard Halbrooke said, “there is no way that the international effort in Afghanistan can succeed unless Pakistan can get its western tribal belt under control.” Radicalisation of Pakistani society in Zia-ul-Haq era, misuse of Islam by jihadi groups on the American payroll, are important factors in the deteriorating security of the country. Therefore, lack of check and balance on madrassah system where extremist and fanatic ideas are incarnated in the minds of the poor and illiterate teenage, extreme poverty, unemployment, illegal supply of small and big weapons to masses and lack of government capacity show the precarious nature of Pakistan's stability. As far as the military operation in FATA is concerned, one should keep in mind what Viceroy Lord Curzon at the end of 19th century, “No patchwork scheme will settle the Waziristan problem”. Dialogue with Pakistani Taliban and militant leaders in Balochistan should be the course to address the security issues as both the world wars were settled on the table and not in the battlefield. Furthermore, for the amelioration of security system in Pakistan laws governing the manufacture, sale, transfer and licencing of small arms and ammunition should be given importance and checked vigilantly by the security forces. Role of intelligence agencies should be made more affective, Foreign Office should give the list of foreigners residing in Pakistan to ISI, all the political parties should forge unity of action against security issues under one umbrella, so that the economy of the country prosper in the fields of science and education.


Rabia Basri
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Old Saturday, February 09, 2013
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SINO-PAK Friendship and Cooperation


Pakistan and China ties are between two nations and not confined to the government only. These relations have gone beyond bilateral


Pakistan and China decided jointly to celebrate 2011 as Year of Friendship on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic rela¬tionship between them. China and Pakistan are holding a series of activities in the politi¬cal, economic, trade, military, cultural, sporting, education and health fields. As part of this year's celebration, both countries have worked together on organising diverse arrangement of 69 events in diplomatic, cultural and educational areas with an average of five events a month and 14 in May and 12 in November.

Pakistan-China ties are between two nations, not confined to the governments only. These relations have gone beyond bilateral dimensions and acquired broader regional and international ramifications. Friendship and cooperation between them serve the fundamental interests of the two countries and development in the region and beyond. China has reiterated that it always places consolidation and development of relations will Pakistan high on its diplomatic agenda and is firm on the policy of pursuing friendly ties with Pakistan. Beijing is ready to work with Islamabad to further deepen friendship and pass it on to posterity. The Chinese side appreciates Pakistan's longstanding firm support on issues that concern China's core interests.

Chinese PM Wen Jiabao inaugurated the Pak-¬China Friendship Centre in December 2010, which is an icon of our evergreen relationship and a platform for promotion of mutual cultural ties. The founda¬tion of the Centre was laid by Wen in April 2005. It is a gift from the Chinese Government to Pakistanis and has been built at a cost of Rs 2.5 billion in 22 months.

People-to-People and Media Contacts
China and Pakistan will expand cultural, sporting and people-to-people interactions in a comprehensive manner, and engage in broad contacts between uni¬versities, think-tanks, academic institutions, mass media and film and TV.

China and Pakistan will establish cultural centres in each other's country and will maintain and expand step-by-step 100 youth exchange pro¬grammes and enhance cooperation in young officials training, exchanges between young entrepreneurs and young volunteer services.

China will invite 100 senior middle school/high school students from Pakistan for the summer camp of Chinese Bridge and continue to pro¬vide Confucius Institute scholarships to Pakistani uni¬versity students.

China will provide 500 government scholarships to Pakistan in three years starting in 2011. Both countries will also enhance their cooperation in science and tech¬nology, applied sciences, learning of Chinese and Urdu languages. The Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries will undertake the China-Pakistan Friendship Bringing-Light Tour to Pakistan and provide free surgical treatment for 1000 Pakistani cataract patients in two years. The two sides will open new air routes and increase flights. Today, the historic friendship between Pakistan and China is recognised by the world as a unique and durable relationship having very different cultures and languages, but bound by a common vision for regional and global peace and progress.

For over four decades now, the Pakistan-China friendship has been spread over and cemented in diverse fields of geo-politics, economics, socio-cultural exchange, civil and military infrastructural develop¬ment and other such areas of bilateral cooperation and investment. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of our friendship - and the most important one - is it being deeply rooted and firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of the people of countries.

For reasons, we are all aware of, the current global environment places tremendous premium on the importance of winning hearts and minds to strengthen relations between countries. Pakistan and China enjoy a unique position of having proven to the world that if people are put at the centre of a bilateral rela¬tionship, it is bound to grow strong and resilient.
In this respect, both governments' sustained emphasis and focus on exchange of and cooperation in information and socio-cultural sectors, such as broad¬cast media, has played a major role in bringing the two countries closer. Today an average 30-year-old Pakistani man or woman would easily be able to recall the beautiful weekend Chinese language films that he/she grew up watching on Pakistani TV. They harbour happy childhood memories of watching colour¬ful Chinese cultural troupes performing in Pakistani cities being broadcasted live on Pakistani TV. They remember with nostalgia the splendid Pakistani TV dramas depicting the historic making of Pakistan's famous Karakoram Highway by Chinese workers and soldiers.

For over four decades now, the Pakistan-China friendship has been spread over and cemented in diverse fields of geo-politics, economics, socio-cultural exchange, civil and military infrastructural develop¬ment, and other such areas of bilateral cooperation and investment.

Many Pakistanis tune into a regular Radio Pakistan transmission to enjoy special programmes on Chinese music and culture. With the objective of projecting our friendship, the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) introduced its 30-minute Chinese service in 1997 that reaches Beijing, Shanghai, Central China and Japan.

The PBC's Chinese service covers daily and weekly news and commentaries in Chinese; daily Pakistani and Chinese music transmissions; special programmes on national days of China; and interviews of visiting Chinese delegations, as well as Chinese students and business community living in Pakistan. With Pakistan and China having established a sustainable broadcast media cooperation case, the two governments are now intensifying their objectives to build on it further.

In this respect, during the first official visit to China of Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari in October 2008, Pakistan's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and SARFT of the Peoples Republic of China signed an agreement for cooperation in the field of radio and TV.

The agreements seek to create an enabling frame¬work consisting of exchange of expertise, technology, skill base, information and ideas, programming con¬tent and other collaborative ventures. In line with this agreement, the information ministry and PTV and PBC - are developing plans for basing resident correspon¬dents in our respective capitals; sharing TV and radio programmes; creating joint productions; exchanging TV and radio producers, news casters, anchor persons, reporters and artists; and conducting reciprocal pro¬fessional training programmes.

New heights in the Pakistan-China bilateral relationship
Following the establishment of Pak-China diplomatic relationship in May 1951, both countries has attained many milestones in their bilateral relationship. In the era of Ayub Khan, the then foreign minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto formalised this relationship at the strategic level. Through his strategic vision, he made Pak-China relationship as an essential and never changing pillar of the foreign policy of Pakistan. The same vision exists even today and Pakistan has maintained it as an inalienable part of its diplomatic relationship.

Pak-China friendship is based on four pillars; geography, history, economics and necessity. Owing to the geographical contiguity, we are neighbours, whereas history has made us friends. Likewise; economics has made us partners, whereas, necessity has made us allies. Pakistan has the honour of recognising this great neighbour soon after it came into being and supported the restoration of its legitimate position in the UN. Later, China helped Pakistan in the construction of a road linking China's Xingjian region with the Gilgit-Baltistan. The strategic partnership between the both countries was initially driven by the mutual needs and to counter the influence of other regional and extra regional powers. Apart from the political connections, both countries had developed military relationship which subsequently led towards creation of a Joint Committee of Economy, Trade and Technology in 1982.

Earlier, Pakistan played a very crucial role in bringing United States and China closer to each other in early 1970s. The opportunities had allowed China to come out from the close door economy and regional politics, thus allowing it to interact with the countries at the global level. Because of that beginning, China later tailored its political outlook, trade and industrialisation and has now emerged as a global power.

The friendship between the two countries has matured into a comprehensive strategic partnership for peace and development in the region and abroad. Over the years, this friendship has survived numerous geo-political and geo-strategic changes which took place at the global and regional level. At the global level, China had always supported Pakistani point of view on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequent to Indo-US Strategic Partnership in 2005, Pakistan and China had signed a landmark 'Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation', whereby both committed themselves that “neither party will join any alliance or bloc which infringes upon the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of either nation”, and “would not conclude treaties of this nature with any third party.”

The joint statement issued after the end of prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's visit to China last month, termed Pakistan an important state of the region and called for respecting its sovereignty, independence and territori¬al integrity. The statement was based on the formal meetings of prime minister Gilani with the Chinese leadership. Apart from president Hu Jintao and prime minister Wen Jiabao, prime minister Gilani has met with the Chairman of the CPPCC's National Committee Jia Qinlin and State Councillor Liu Yandong. The leadership of the China appreciated the "tremendous efforts and great sacri¬fice that Pakistan has made in fighting terrorism and reiterated its respect and support for Pakistan's efforts to advance its counter-terrorism strategy and safe¬guard its security." Both countries decided to jointly fight the threats posed by terrorism, extremism and separatism.

The two countries noted that terrorism, separatism and extremism were posing seri¬ous threats to regional peace, stability and security and called for substantive cooperation. Both sides agreed to jointly fight these under bilateral and mul¬tilateral frameworks. The Chinese side recognised the tremendous efforts and the great sacrifice that Pakistan have made in fighting terrorism and reiter¬ated its respect and support for the efforts of Pakistan to advance its counterterrorism strategy and safeguard its security, the joint statement mentioned. Pakistan reiterated that it would never allow its ter¬ritory to be used to attack any country and would contin¬ue to support international counterterrorism initiatives.

During the meetings the two leaders reached broad agreement on continuing to work to promote China-Pakistan strategic partnership of cooperation. Both the countries agreed to strengthen communication and coordination in regional affairs, particularly on the hotspot issues such as Afghanistan and regional cooperation.

It pointed that it would be in line with the principles and spirit of the treaty of friendship, cooperation and good neighbourly relations between Pakistan and China signed in 2005. Pakistan also reiterated its firm commitment to the One China Policy and extended support for the cause of China's unification. Both countries agreed to further intensify coop¬eration in infrastructure development, energy and agriculture on priority basis in line with the decisions taken during the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao to Pakistan. Leaders of the both sides also noted the recent progress in mutually beneficial cooperation in the financial and banking sectors. Negotiations between the two countries are underway regarding currency swaps and opening of ICBC branches in Pakistan.

Pak-China friendship is based on four pillars; geography, history, economics and necessity. Owing to the geographical contiguity, we are neighbours, whereas history has made us friends. Likewise; economics has made us partners, whereas, necessity has made us allies.

Pakistan and China also reiterated to continue to enhance mutual trust and cooperation in the military and security fields for peace, security and stability of the two countries and the region. They also agreed to give further impetus to the cooperation in the field of maritime security. The two sides noted the excellent framework for bilateral trade and econo¬mic cooperation in the form of five-year development programme on trade and economic cooperation and the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement. The establishment of the China-Pakistan Entrepreneurs Forum will further strengthen exchanges between their busi¬ness communities. The two sides also signed three agreements and memorandums of understanding on cooperation in the fields of economic -assistance, finance and mining.
Prime minister Gilani and the Chinese leadership reviewed with satisfaction the growth of Pakistan-China relations, since the establishment of their ties and agreed that the all-weather and time-tested friendship and multi-dimensional cooperation have become the defining features of these relations. The leaders are firmly commi¬tted to expanding and deepening the strategic partne¬rship, economic collaboration and people-to- people contacts. They agreed that China-Pakistan Friendship Year is an occasion to celebrate the friendshi¬p. Both the countries also reviewed with satisfaction the momentum of activities being maintained in political, economic collab¬oration and people-to-people contacts.

Capt(r) Syed Muhammad Abid Qadri
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The Stubborn Colonel



Some people may argue that the Western military intervention is aimed at grabbing Libya's vast oil and gas reserves, but Qaddafi's stubborn refusal to step down has also facilitated the West in making this intervention possible.



Having an area of 1,757,000 square kilometres and population of 6,173,579, Libya is North Africa's largest oil producing country, having a society with strong tribal affiliations. The turbulent events taking place in this vast desert country have gripped the world's attention over the past few weeks. When the wind of democracy and change sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa reached Libya, instead of following the footsteps of Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Colonel Muammar Al-Qaddafi launched a relentless assault on his opponents describing them as stray dogs, rats, drug addicts and al-Qaeda militants. It was quite obvious that even after more than four decades of authoritarian rule, the fanatical lust for power in this old man was still young. Let us have a closer look at his long despotic rule, characterized by stubbornness, defiance and ruthless suppression of opposition.

On September 1, 1969, while the 79-year-old King Idris of Libya was in Turkey, a group of young army captains, most of whom were in their late 20s, surprised everyone by their swift overthrow of the royal government, taking advantage of the divided opposition and the much discredited old regime.
The new revolutionary government was led by a 27-year-old army officer Muammar Al-Qaddafi, who was inspired by Nasser's style of leadership and aspired to project himself as the new leader of the Arab world, with his socialist policies, anti-Israeli rhetoric and outspoken criticism of the West. In 1971, Libya, Egypt and Syria agreed to form a federation, to promote a mutual military alliance against Israel. On the internal front, besides nationalising the country's oil reserves, all banks were also nationalised and it was decreed that all businesses must be owned by the Libyans. By the mid-1970s, Qaddafi's domestic revolution was coalescing. A decade of economic upheaval began as the government seized most private property and instituted a radically egalitarian welfare state.

Under Qaddafi's leadership, Libya began playing a much more active role in Arab affairs and in international politics. It vigorously opposed the peace accord between Israel and Egypt and joined Syria in the so-called “rejectionist front” in 1978. Besides supporting Palestinian Lib eration Organisation (PLO), Qaddafi was also accused of supplying weapons to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and to those who carried out the assassinations of Libyan dissidents living abroad.

Libyan relations with the United States began deteriorating in the early 1980s. In 1981, US navy jets shot down two Libyan fighter planes over international waters in the Gulf of Sidra. Libya which regarded the whole region of the Gulf of Sidra as its territorial waters decried the attacks. In 1986, another encounter in the Gulf of Sidra resulted in the destruction of two Libyan ships by the US navy. In April that same year, in response to the heightened terrorism in Europe, allegedly sponsored by Qaddafi's regime, United States bombed several sites in Libya, including Qaddafi's home and Bab Alazizia Barracks resulting in the death of Qaddafi's infant daughter and serious damage to a number of other military installations. In 1992, the United Nations imposed sanctions on Libya for its refusal to extradite two Libyans who were suspected of being involved in the bombing of the Pan-American flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988.
Some reports suggest that it was Qaddafi's government which gave sensitive information to the United States regarding Dr. Abdul Qadeer, resulting in immense international pressure on Pakistan to take action against its most respected nuclear scientist.


For the first 25 years of his rule, Qaddafi had tried to project himself as a heroic leader of the Arab world and self-appointed leader of opposition to the recognised international system. With his outspoken condemnation of Western policies, he had attempted to gain the support and sympathies of the ordinary Arabs and other Muslims. But by the mid 1990s, quite unexpectedly, he began to soften his earlier stance. Decades of disappointment over his failure to engineer Arab unity, added burden of international sanctions and increasing opposition to his rule at home, took a heavy toll on his regime. Tired of his tyrannical rule, some of the best educated Libyans had left the country and settled abroad where they formed opposition groups. Moreover, he had come to power as a staunch advocate of Islam, but with the passage of time, it became increasingly obvious that like most other dictatorial rulers of the region, he also had a selective approach towards religion and staunchly adhered to only those religious teachings which were helpful in prolonging his rule and promoting his worldly objectives. As he parted ways with the religious elite of his country, his version of Islam became increasingly heterodox. As he came under stiff opposition from the Islamist groups, he realised that for the survival of his regime, he would have to join hands with those governments which he had most vigorously opposed during the previous years. Gradually, he began showing his interest in participating in the international system not as a “Rogue state” as the US had labeled his country, but as a law-abiding member of the international community. Thus, in 1999, Libya agreed to hand over the two suspects of the Lockerbie bombing, to stand trial in the Netherlands under Scottish law. Millions of dollars were paid in compensation to the families of the victims. Consequently, the United Nations suspended its sanctions. In order to get closer to the United States, in 2003, Qaddafi announced that he was ready to cooperate with the international community for dismantling his nuclear weapons programme. Some reports suggest that it was Qaddafi's government which gave sensitive information to the United States regarding Dr. Abdul Qadeer, resulting in immense international pressure on Pakistan to take action against its most respected nuclear scientist. The announcement regarding the forsaking of weapons of mass destruction and acceptance of responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, encouraged the US to normalise its relations with Libya and full diplomatic relations between the two countries were restored in 2006.

Throughout this period, Qaddafi's main pre-occupation was the consolidation of his hold on power. He may be counted among those rulers who regard their countries as their ancestral estates and wish to pass on their power and authority to their sons after their death. Thus, like Saddam of Iraq and Hafez Al-Assad of Syria, he trained and groomed his sons especially, Saiful-Islam to become his successor. During Qaddafi's rule, there was an evident disparity between the Eastern and Western regions of Libya. The Eastern region which has most of the country's oil reserves remained largely neglected and impoverished, while living standards of the people were raised in Tripoli and other Western areas where Qaddafi's own tribesmen are dominant. Quite naturally, the present armed uprising against him started from the main Eastern city of Ben Ghazi.
Under Qaddafi's leadership, Libya began playing a much more active role in Arab affairs and in international politics. It vigorously opposed the peace accord between Israel and Egypt and joined Syria in the so-called “rejectionist front” in 1978.
When rulers like Qaddafi remain in power for an exceptionally long period of time, they become so proud and overconfident that they grow indifferent to the changes taking place around them and begin to believe that no power on earth can remove them from power. The same thing happened with Qaddafi who in spite of witnessing the toppling of the old dictatorial regimes in the neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, continued to hope against hope that nothing of this sort was likely to happen in his country. If he had been wise enough, he should have voluntarily stepped down, to salvage some of his old image and to prevent the bloodshed of his own people. By describing his opponents as al-Qaeda activists, he hoped to win Western support, without realising the fact that after utilising the old Arab rulers for their own interests for several years, the Western powers are now looking for a new generation of Arab rulers who would apparently have a more democratic outlook, but would be as loyal to the West as were their predecessors. By refusing to bow down to the international pressure to step down, he again hoped to regain popular support in the Arab world by presenting himself as a hero, fighting against colonial and imperialistic aggression. While doing so, he seemed to have forgotten that the masses in the Arab world are not as ignorant and simple as they used to be in the past. With the advent of the Internet and independent media, people are now quite capable of seeing through the tricks and twists of their rulers.

Moreover, the next few weeks and months will also be crucial to expose the West's real intentions behind its apparent desire to see democratic change in the region. The swift Western military intervention in Libya in the form of the no fly zone is apparently aimed at protecting the ordinary Libyan civilians. But if the situation deteriorates in Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Syria, it remains to be seen whether the West will intervene with the same swiftness and if at all it intervenes, will it be for the protection of ordinary civilians or for the protection of their old rulers. Already, hundreds of people have been killed in these countries, but besides issuing some lukewarm statements of condemnation, the West seems to be in no mood to take practical steps for the protection of their civilians. If no fly zone can be so promptly enforced on Libya, why not on Gaza and Kashmir? Such double standards of the West indicate that it has some hidden objectives behind its apparent sympathy for the Libyan civilians. But while condemning the West, it should also be remembered that the UN resolution 1973 had the full backing of the Arab League. Even Russia, China and India did not oppose it. Some people may argue that the Western military intervention is aimed at grabbing Libya's vast oil and gas reserves, but Qaddafi's stubborn refusal to step down has also facilitated the West in making this intervention possible.


Professor Abdul Rauf
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CIA-ISI love affair



Apparently, the ISI has the upper hand over the CIA, though a heavy cost might incur by that move.


Historically the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has always worked as credible agency for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The subservient relation of ISI with CIA has immensely damaged the reputation of Pak army and Pakistani government. The imposition of US policies in Pakistan through ISI has gravely deteriorated the civilian institutions; in fact the multiple military coups were the result of that strategy.

The terrorist attacks on state functionaries, suicide bombings and killings go in favour of both the agencies, because the war-like situation justifies the presence CIA and its counterpart in the volatile area.

US helicopters frequently violate Pakistan's airspace and kill a number of people in the bordering area with Afghanistan. The CIA stepped up the frequency of drone attacks in Pakistan after the NATO oil tankers were alighted.

The American citizen, Raymond Davis, who killed two Pakistanis in broad daylight and caught by traffic police wardens was identified as a CIA contractor detailed to provide security at the US consulate in Lahore. The United States said that the assignment gave Davis the diplomatic immunity and he should be released immediately.

The CIA and ISI chiefs, Leon Panetta and Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha spoke on the phone. The ISI chief asked CIA chief to provide the information about all CIA operatives in Pakistan. Analysts say that in the present scenario ISI and CIA are locked in an intense battle to secure their respective countries' interests in the region.

The CIA reportedly agreed to reveal the required information and allowed more cooperation in its drone strike operations. But it has, so far, resisted the demand to cut down the number of drone strikes targeted within Pakistan, and even after Raymond Davis was released, a drone in North Waziristan killed civilians in large number. Nevertheless, the sharing of information with ISI may hampers US efforts to target enemy combatants even if the move doesn't actually eliminate the possibility of striking innocent civilians.

A meeting between Leon Panetta and Lt-Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha took place at CIA headquarter, USA. The American media covered that meeting and reported differently. In fact the three-day visit which was shortened to one day had caused speculations among the media. There was a heated exchange between the heads of the allied secret intelligence agencies. It is quite obvious that ISI intended to use the recent imbroglio of Raymond Davis affair as a bargaining tool on the negotiating table.

Another report of the US media said the CIA had been trying to cooperate with ISI, though it had not removed any personnel from Pakistan. Pakistani intelligence had demanded that the CIA reveal more substance about its operations, the drone surveillance and other activities within Pakistan. Moreover, the ISI asked the CIA to reduce the number of drone strikes in the Pakistani territory.

Apparently, the ISI has the upper hand over the CIA, though a heavy cost might incur by that move. We have yet to see the impact of the current strained relations on military operations and politics in Pakistan. The frequency of drone strikes, an unacknowledged CIA programme that the US considers its most successful weapon against al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership and which relies on at least some Pakistani cooperation, also has fallen, with just nine strikes in March compared to a peak of 22 in September 2010.

But the revelation that armed CIA contractors like Davis, were working in Pakistan deeply angered and embarrassed the ISI. But no matter how bruised the relations become, US-Pakistani ties are too strategic to unravel. The experts of military politics say that most of mess in our soil is created by these two powerful groups. In past CIA operatives were dependent on ISI but Musharraf regime gave CIA all kind of opportunities to set their moving and static base stations in different areas of Pakistan.
The CIA and ISI chiefs, Leon Panetta and Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha spoke on the phone. The ISI chief asked CIA chief to provide the information about all CIA operatives in Pakistan.
Now, given the fiery situation in Pakistan, the ISI has started squeezing concessions from US military and CIA. Pakistan Army knows that the US government and the CIA cannot succeed in hunting al Qaeda's leadership and operatives without the cooperation from Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies.

A report in Wall Street Journal says that relations between Washington and Islamabad historically have never been easy, and now they seem to have reached something of a watershed. The fault is not all one-sided. Congressional potentates have made a habit of criticizing Pakistan publicly even when it was cooperating with the US and deploying thousands of troops to fight Taliban, and promised American aid has been haltingly.

Islamabad's US cooperation has also been double-edged. President Asif Ali Zardari allowed the US to increase the number of drone strikes, yet it has made a point of complaining about them publicly to shore up his waning popularity.

The US has a vital national interest in pursuing Taliban and al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan, both for the sake of the war in Afghanistan and the security of the American homeland. Pakistan can choose to cooperate in that fight and reap the benefits of an American alliance. Or it can oppose the US and face the consequences, including the loss of military aid, drone attacks and others.

The WSJ further adds that in the wake of 9/11, the Bush Administration famously sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to Islamabad to explain that the US was going to act forcefully to protect itself, and that Pakistan had to choose whose side it was on.

It's time to present Pakistan with the same choice again.

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Will The Fumes of Islamic Awakening’ Reach Pakistan?


The claim of the democratically-elected government to ameliorate its relations with Tehran is a matter of concern for the allies of Cairo. The Asian countries have hailed the triumph of Morsi with ecstasy and at a high note. Russia, China and Iran have expressed their desire to strengthen diplomatic ties with Egypt. The situation in Pakistan was no different, but the landmark elections of Egypt were downplayed by the Pakistani media.


Finally, Egyptians saw that day which they had been eagerly waiting for. Cairo's Tahrir square was once again jam-packed, but this time with jubilant supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. To claim that their president is a democratically elected one instead of a dictatorial, self-imposed stalwart is not a trivial pleasure for lips that were muted for almost the past 30 years. Morsi secured 51.73% of the votes cast, some 13.23 million votes in total and the former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq secured 12.35 million votes. Mohammed Morsi Eissa al-Ayat couldn't have given a better presidential speech. His first message to his country encompassed around the formation of a democratic constitution and restoration of the parliament that had been once mutilated by the Egyptian military. The US educated engineering professor rose through the ranks of Muslim Brotherhood and has ultimately constructed an unforgettable history for Egypt to remember.

From Cairo to Washington, Morsi was being congratulated with zeal. Washington was happy at the aversion of turmoil in Egypt, but concerned about a government of staunch Islamic nature. The claim of the democratically-elected government to ameliorate its relations with Tehran is a matter of concern for the allies of Cairo. The Asian countries have hailed the triumph of Morsi with ecstasy and at a high note. Russia, China and Iran have expressed their desire to strengthen diplomatic ties with Egypt. The situation in Pakistan was no different, but the landmark elections of Egypt were downplayed by the Pakistani media.
However, among the most jubilant ones' Jama’at-e-Islami (JI) stood ahead in Pakistan. The JI leaders in their speeches said that the victory was a source of inspiration for the Islamic movements across the world. They expressed their optimism for a similar victory of the religious forces in Pakistan. It is interesting to analyse that how compatible is the Pakistani political cauldron with the Islamic political approach.

Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has remained a vital actor at the political stage of Egypt since 1928. With the passage of time it morphed into an irrefutable mouthpiece for those in favour of the reviving Islamic values. However, this wasn't the only purpose which allowed it to penetrate its roots into the masses. It provided services to the people, such as education for boys and girls, inexpensive medical care, financial assistance and vocational training centres.
The contribution of Muslim Brotherhood towards developmental projects made it the centre of attraction for a large number of Egyptians. This helped it to communicate its vision for Egypt along with the portrayal of Brotherhood's ability to deliver on social and economic promises to the Egyptian population. The decade of 1930 to 1940, which brought along with it 'socioeconomic crisis' for Egypt, gave the Muslim Brotherhood an opportunity to add value to its popularity. In addition to this, Hasnul Banna (the founder of MB) practised what he preached which made his personality magnetic and charismatic for his supporters. His efforts commenced as propellants for moral reform and spiritual uplift which were later converted into aspirants of a political change based on Islamic concepts of polity. The great extent to which MB resided in the hearts of the civil society saved it from political extinction several times. This is the reason behind its win in the elections of 2012 even by a narrow margin of 800,000 votes. MB's victory is being hailed by some as the starting point for 'Islamic awakening'.
Morsi secured 51.73% of the votes cast, some 13.23 million votes in total and the former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq secured 12.35 million votes.
On the other hand, Islamic forces in Pakistan are continuing their abjured ambition of aligning politics with religion. Maulana Maududi the founder of Jama’at-e-Islami called for the establishment of Allah's Kingdom considered Muslim League to be an anti-Islamic party. His aim remained to transform Pakistan into Dar-ul-Islam (the land of Islam) although he was initially one of the opponents of the creation of Pakistan. Jama’at was disintegrated after the creation of Pakistan with some of its parts in India and others in Bangladesh after 1971. Since then the self-appointed custodian of Islam has badly lost all the elections it had jumped in. It has been locked into a rivalry with another major Islamic party of Pakistan (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam). This exhibits their poor political seasoning along with their inability to win the support of the masses. The alliance of religious parties (Muttahida Majlis-e-A’amal) managed to get majority in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa in 2002.



However, the alliance didn't oust General Pervaiz Musharraf, it also had to join the bandwagon of 'lawyers' movement' in order to achieve this motive. JI's social welfare projects are large in number, but less efficient. It's not pliant towards minorities to an extent that it can appoint a Christain naib ameer for its party (like MB's vice president, Rafiq Habib who is a Christian by faith). Popularity at the grass root levels is ensured by coercion. It is a pity as to how Jama’at-e-Islami has been involved in politicising one of the oldest universities at Pakistan, University of the Punjab.

Even if Islamic democracies progress around the world, Islamic political forces will have to take radical measures to sync up with them in Pakistan. Preaching Islam is not sufficient; it requires a well-orchestrated example in a heterogeneous society like Pakistan to spread religious awareness. A major part of the population is youth which won't be inspired a political party that politicizes educational institutes. People are already distraught with faltering economy and uncomfortable living conditions. Engendering Islamic principles in a country that is already facing innumerable challenges isn't an easy task. Fumes of 'Islamic awakening' will reach Pakistan only if someone is available to imbibe, and that isn't possible until internal Islamic forces win the hearts of the masses.

Fakiha Hassan Rizvi
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