Monday, May 28, 2018
08:26 AM (GMT +5)

Go Back   CSS Forums > General > News & Articles > The Express Tribune

Reply Share Thread: Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook     Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter     Submit Thread to Google+ Google+    
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #451  
Old Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Arain007's Avatar
Czar
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venus
Posts: 4,106
Thanks: 2,700
Thanked 4,014 Times in 1,850 Posts
Arain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant future
Post

Another bombing

March 13th, 2012

There seems to be no end to death in our part of the world. As has happened scores of times before, another ANP leader was targeted on March 11. Khushdil Khan, the deputy speaker of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa narrowly escaped death when a bomb exploded minutes after he left a funeral on the outskirts of Peshawar. A teenaged suicide bomber detonated 10 kg of explosives as the funeral ended, soon after Khan had walked away having offered his prayers. Fifteen other persons were killed while 37 people are reported to be wounded. There have been many other incidents of a similar nature where ANP leaders have primarily been targeted repeatedly, but as is inevitable, several other people have unfortunately died as well. What makes this attack even more agonising is the fact that it happened at a funeral, victimising those who were already in mourning.

The message the Taliban want to send out is a clear one. They disagree with ANP’s vision for the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and are ready to use the only means they know to prevent the party from curtailing extremism. Others who have pursued peace have also met a similar fate. One recent case is of the pro-government tribal elder, Malik Waris Khan, who had been awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for his efforts to combat militants and restore peace in his area, but was gunned down a few days ago in the Orakzai Agency. The strategy of the Taliban is quite clear. Their purpose seems to be to impose the rule of terror everywhere and destabilise the lives of people in the region, and the country at large.

So far, they have succeeded to a frighteningly large extent. The question that arises is how to stop them. All the plans worked out in the past have failed miserably; the question is whether a new one can be devised. Any such plan must be one backed by the will and commitment of all agencies and all security force personnel. Otherwise it can never succeed and we will only see more and more killings of the kind which left Peshawar’s streets stained with blood on March 11 as a suicide bomber struck once again.


Killing of Afghan civilians

March 13th, 2012


any war zone, which is why all options need to be pondered before war is declared. The massacre of 16 civilians — nine of whom were children — in Kandahar goes far beyond the regrettable but expected deaths that accompany war. News reports differ on whether it was one US soldier or a group that went on this killing spree, but there can be no doubt that this was a premeditated slaughter of civilians that qualifies as a war crime. So far, US President Barack Obama has only offered his condolences to his counterpart Hamid Karzai and promised further investigation.

This massacre which, according to Afghan witnesses, was carried out by drunk soldiers, who were reportedly laughing throughout, is reminiscent of the behaviour of US troops as they became embroiled in a quagmire in Vietnam. Soldiers who are fighting a war they know cannot be won and for a cause that now eludes them, are bound to snap. Add to this toxic brew, the inherent superiority felt by troops that are armed to the teeth, consequently setting the stage for many such incidents. Then there is the ‘collateral damage’ that is an inevitable by-product of drone strikes and raids, which only serves to further inflame Afghans and it seems that US withdrawal from the country can’t come soon enough.

Unfortuantely, Hamid Karzai cannot afford to complain too loudly about the brutal murder of his citizens. As it is, he is already viewed as an American collaborator and his reputation will take a further nose-dive if the US soldiers responsible for the massacre, are not put on trial. However, his silence further strengthens the hand of the Taliban, who can now legitimately portray themselves as resisters to an overbearing imperialist force. Such is the tragedy of all military invasions. They may start off with high-sounding rhetoric and good intentions but soon descend into senseless violence. There have now been too many innocent lives lost for the US to ever claim the moral high ground in the country again.


Up in smoke

March 13th, 2012


A testimonial by Abida Hussain carried in the publication Newsweek, titled “My favourite mistake” (February 24), has stirred up a furore. To many people, the testimonial appears as an advertisement since it backs smoking. It also claims that Abida states the habit has caused her no ill-effects in terms of health, although 100,000 people die in the country annually due to the use of tobacco. The issue, of course, is a contentious one. It is a well-established fact that cigarettes damage health. Experts around the world concur on this. It is also a fact that companies are increasingly marketing their products to third-world countries and targeting women in particular. The number of women smokers is rising globally, even as men quit the habit. In this sense, the use of Abida Hussain’s story has sent out what health experts in the country are calling a ‘pro-smoking’ message which fits into a familiar pattern.

But then, we must also consider the issue of free choice among adults. Abida has simply chosen to tell her reasons for favouring smoking. Is this truly a crime? The matter is open to many arguments — though in a country like ours, perhaps responsibility needs to be shown when it comes to promoting health. After all, we have many issues that arise from the abuse of tobacco. But the issues go far beyond cigarettes. NGOs should also focus on other substances that damage health, such as the widespread use of chaalia or betel nut, sometimes marketed specifically to rope in children.

Other problems of a similar nature exist and need to be dealt with as efficiently as possible. Abida Hussain has told her own personal story. Whether or not she should have done so is a matter open to debate and is something which everyone needs to decide for themselves. Judgment on moral issues is, after all, always a delicate task and should be handled with care.
__________________
Kon Kehta hy k Main Gum-naam ho jaon ga
Main tu aik Baab hn Tareekh mein Likha jaon ga
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Arain007 For This Useful Post:
innocent fairy (Monday, March 19, 2012)
  #452  
Old Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Arain007's Avatar
Czar
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venus
Posts: 4,106
Thanks: 2,700
Thanked 4,014 Times in 1,850 Posts
Arain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant future
Post

Pakistan’s so-called banned organisations
March 14th, 2012


Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on March 12 that banned terrorist organisations stood a chance of restoration to normal status if they “closed down their militant wings”. He said: “We have been contacted by several banned organisations that want to sit and talk. If they want to give up militancy we will talk to them as we are revising the list of proscribed organisations.” He did not mention the names of the banned organisations numbering 30, including al Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). One doesn’t know how the minister categorises the terrorists of Pakistan, but going by public perception, the banned or semi-banned or vaguely-banned outfits are busy displaying muscle in the country, rather than abjuring violence, negating the impression that they are banned in the first place.

Which outfits are in dialogue with Mr Malik one doesn’t know. To what extent they are ready to forswear their extremism and violent ways, one doesn’t know either. To build a platform for dialogue of any sort, Mr Malik has to see to it that the ban placed on them is real: that means their leaders are put under arrest and their assets sealed pending trial. Does the state know who among the 40 outfits represented in the Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan) movement are banned? Comment has been made about the presence of terrorists in the Difa rallies — as their attendance has been recorded by the press.

In 2010, international opinion noted that Pakistan had banned the LeT in January 2002, and its successor front group Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) a month after the November 2008 suicide terror assault on Mumbai. Several years ago, its leader Hafiz Saeed, was placed under house arrest but was freed by the Lahore High Court, which said there was no evidence that he was involved in any wrongdoing. After that, the court had ruled that the government had never formally prohibited the JuD. The government, thereafter, took the case to the Supreme Court in appeal. Some observers in Pakistan think that the government was never keen in pursuing the case against Hafiz Saeed. Internationally, the JuD is constantly linked to terrorism staged in Afghanistan on behalf of al Qaeda.

The front runners in the Difa rallies are the JuD and Sipah-e-Sahaba. The latter was among the first outfits to be banned after the wave of sectarian violence hit its high watermark after 2001. Despite the ban, its leader late Maulana Azam Tariq was ‘mistakenly’ elected to the National Assembly in 2002. Today, it is renamed as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) and its leader, Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi declares that his party is not banned on the strength of some inconclusive judicial process. The blanket imprimatur of Difa rallies made it possible for the ASWJ to make a comeback and seal their growing presence in south Punjab. It is often said by political commentators that PML-N’s new strategy of confronting the PPP in the south of the province is hinged on its understanding with the old Sipah elements now in the field as Ahle Sunnat. The scene became complicated after Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, of the old Sipah-e-Sahaba, pledged to back Pakistan’s army chief: “Because of threats from America and conspiracies against Pakistan, I promise to give General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani 100,000 of our followers as fighters.”

The banned publications — daily newspapers and weeklies — are in the market carrying messages that politicians and media-men read carefully for signs of personal warning to avoid being assassinated. Banned jihadi trusts are functional in small cities, doling out funds to promote the cause of jihad, including funding of hate literature. Meanwhile, these organisations have reinvented themselves as welfare organisations, relying on their rural outreach to gather funds and replace the state to come to the help of the masses during natural calamities.


War on education

March 14th, 2012


Amid the senseless loss of life that has become routine in Fata, thanks to a combination of militant violence and army operations, the effect this bloodshed has had on our next generation has been tragically under-reported. A report in the March 12 edition of this newspaper revealed that 89 schools have been destroyed in the fog of war. It is relatively easy to assign blame to one side for this war on education. In Fata, and other areas where it has acquired power, the Taliban have made the ‘cleansing’ of schools a priority.
Schools for girls are told to shut down and then forcibly done so, often through bombings, if the orders are not followed. Co-educational institutions have faced a similar fate. The Taliban have also used schools as depots for weapons and as hideouts for its fighters in the belief that educational institutions will not be targeted by the military.

Pointing out the problem is easy enough; finding solutions is much trickier. The military’s efforts to take over parts of Fata that it never actually controlled, even before the Taliban existed, have met with more failures than successes. Ultimately, the Taliban still control huge swathes of land and their rule reigns supreme in these areas. That means education is restricted to religious seminaries that cater only to boys. Short of being able to evict the Taliban, there is precious little which the government can do to protect educational institutions.

It is worth pointing out that the state of education in Fata was dismal long before the Taliban extended their reign in the region. Pre-2001 government figures claimed that the literacy rate was 22 per cent in Fata, with the literacy rate for women being merely seven per cent. That has now, according to the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, fallen to 17 per cent. A combination of militant ideology combined with government inaction will only serve to further depress the figures. After all, when there are no schools to go to where will the children of Fata get an education?
__________________
Kon Kehta hy k Main Gum-naam ho jaon ga
Main tu aik Baab hn Tareekh mein Likha jaon ga
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Arain007 For This Useful Post:
innocent fairy (Monday, March 19, 2012), mano g (Wednesday, March 14, 2012)
  #453  
Old Thursday, March 15, 2012
Arain007's Avatar
Czar
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venus
Posts: 4,106
Thanks: 2,700
Thanked 4,014 Times in 1,850 Posts
Arain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant future
Post

Iran gas pipeline

March 15th, 2012


As much as we like to delude ourselves into believing that China is an all-weather friend who will stand by us no matter what, the alliance between the two countries is one that is based, like all alliances, on convenience and self-interest. There are now increasing signs that, in many areas, these interests are now diverging. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which had previously committed to financing the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, has now decided to back off, most likely because another alliance — that with the US — took precedence over the alliance with Pakistan. The US has already threatened to impose sanctions on any company that deals with Iran and it appears that the Chinese have caved in. The former has also worked overtime to ensure that the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline does not become a reality and its efforts do not seem to have been in vain.

Fortunately, for Pakistan there are possible alternatives to finance the project. The second-lowest bidder for the contract, which is a consortium that includes local firms and foreign firms with experience working in Pakistan, can be a possible alternative to finance the project. Although this option will end up costing the government more, the Iran-Pakistan pipeline is so vital to the country’s energy needs that the extra cost can be overlooked. Other options available include cutting out the middlemen and dealing directly with friendly governments or even coming to a barter agreement with Iran where we would exchange wheat in return for construction help for the pipeline. A gas levy is also reportedly being considered but, given recent gas price increases, that option may not be palatable to the Pakistani people.

As for China, we need to prepare for a time when our alliance with them is severely undermined by growing relations between China and India. Trade between the two countries has now reached nearly $50 billion a year and is only expected to increase substantially in the next few years. For an alliance that started only because the two countries shared a mutual suspicion of India, this spells trouble. Relying on only one ally is never a good idea, and in the case of China, it is becoming increasingly problematic.


White elephants

March 15th, 2012


In ancient times, armies stole the wealth of states including gold, jewels, silver and other valuables from buildings and monuments that were state-owned. Similarly, colonial rule caused grave losses to scores of countries which struggle to recover even today. But in our case, it appears that we don’t need an outside force to loot national institutions. Hearing a suo motu case regarding the alleged corruption of Rs22 billion in the Pakistan Steel Mills, the Chief Justice of Pakistan headed a three-member bench to take notice of the matter. He observed that institutions including Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), Pakistan Railways and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had all been ruined.

This is, of course, hardly surprising for any of us. Over the last few years, we have seen open plunder of these institutions. PIA, which once used to be a high-ranking international airline has plummeted to depths so low that recovery seems difficult and the Pakistan Railways barely moves in its own tracks. However, the story told before the Court regarding the PSM goes a long way to explain how all this came about. The counsel for PSM produced an audit report for the year 2008-09, which showed losses of Rs26.5 billion. Of this large amount, Rs9.98 billion have been lost to corruption and the rest to poor business mismanagement. The counsel also pointed out that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had failed to act despite five enquiries, while the chairman of the PSM at the time managed to evade jail by claiming sickness. Asked why it had failed to act, the secretary for the ministry of industries claimed that the state of operations at the FIA is known to all.

The observations made by the court, regarding the state of the FIA, the criticisms heard when courts intervene and the appointment of inept or dishonest officers in the PSM are familiar ones. What is sad is the detailed account of ruin we see before us and the fact that it could have been avoided, leaving our nation in a far better condition than the one it is in currently.


Making use of radio

March 15th, 2012


While the power of radio has more or less been on the wane in the urban centres, the medium still has a huge influence in more remote locations, which includes our tribal areas. Radio was the medium which stirred up the Taliban frenzy in many places in the tribal areas, with Maulana Fazlullh — commonly known as ‘Mullah Radio’ — using it to spread his message of hate into every household in a manner few other mediums could achieve. In this sense, the government’s decision to set up four FM radio stations across the tribal belt made sense. The idea, obviously, was to change mindsets and win over the hearts of the people — that rather clichéd phrase we have heard so often — and lead them away from militant hands towards mainstream national life.

Sadly, due to mismanagement — like so many other official policies — this attempt was unsuccessful. Indeed, it may have had just the opposite impact. Rather than voicing the views and thinking of the people of these areas, or emphasising their needs, the Radio Pakistan channels were used as an official propaganda tool. On the other hand, there are reports, which state that the Pashto language services of international radio stations are far more popular than the government-run channels. In fact, one of the government-run stations in South Waziristan has already been closed.

Meanwhile, despite a ban, stations run by the Taliban continue to function illegally. Their message remains vicious and full of hate. This is a case of a policy gone horribly wrong. The plan of using radio to win over the populace, could have succeeded but it has not because of sheer incompetence, coupled quite possibly, with a lack of genuine interest and commitment towards bringing about change in those parts of the country where distrust for officialdom still runs high. In other words, a valuable opportunity to address the problems faced by the people of the tribal belt has been lost.
__________________
Kon Kehta hy k Main Gum-naam ho jaon ga
Main tu aik Baab hn Tareekh mein Likha jaon ga
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Arain007 For This Useful Post:
innocent fairy (Monday, March 19, 2012), siddiqui88 (Thursday, March 15, 2012)
  #454  
Old Friday, March 16, 2012
Arain007's Avatar
Czar
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venus
Posts: 4,106
Thanks: 2,700
Thanked 4,014 Times in 1,850 Posts
Arain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant future
Post

Politics of dirty tricks

March 16th, 2012


As the Mehrangate drama unfolds at the Supreme Court and the PML-N feels the heat from its revelations, a new scandal is being uncovered: the PPP, now sitting pretty, has been accused of using funds allocated to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to bribe the members of the PML-Q to form a PPP-led coalition government in Punjab after imposing Governor’s Rule there. The parallels with Mehrangate are present: funds misappropriated and distributed without a trace among politicians who can now swear piety by using the scam’s in-built deniability.

The irreducible fact is that Pakistani politics — unlike Indian politics — takes democracy to mean elimination of the opposition through the majority principle. The difference is glaring: simply put, Pakistani politics is primitive and based on vendetta, while the connection with the people is vaguely perceptible in the background. Unfortunately, the masses that vote have been brainwashed over the years to see the opposition party as a traitor not deserving to live and, therefore, liable under the charge of treason.

The Mehrangate scandal recalls a period of time when right wing politicians and journalists had ganged up to get rid of the ‘traitor’ PPP and had used big money — arranged by an army chief — to anoint the wheels of political dysfunction. The word used there was ‘national interest’ recognised by political scientists as a pseudo-doctrine too incoherent to lend itself to any sane analysis. Suffice it to say, in all countries, right wing parties and the army feel cosy together and share their sense of intense nationalism and will occasionally employ dirty tricks to eliminate or defeat the liberal parties.

In Mehrangate, fraud was used to float a fund which was then used as an instrument of organisation to defeat the PPP in the 1990 election. The PPP is alleged to have used IB secret funds to buy off politicians to create a majority against the PML-N in Punjab. In the first case, the army chief plus the army-dominated ISI and its right wing friends were successful in trouncing the PPP at the polls, only to realise soon enough that the PPP was capable of bouncing back. In the second case, the PPP high command failed to prevent the PML-N from ruling Punjab. Consider the sheer waste of this kind of politics that, since the Governor’s Rule episode, the PML-N has distracted itself and the ruling PPP by launching one plan after another — including recourse to the Supreme Court — to get rid of the government at the centre.

The PPP government allegedly withdrew Rs270 million from the secret fund of the IB against the PML-N prior to the imposition of Governor Rule in Punjab in 2009. The IB chief informed the prime minister about the removal of funds with no results. The ironic development on the shoals of which the plan made shipwreck was that the PML-Q stalwarts who presumably absorbed these funds put forward additional conditionalities that the PPP leaders could not meet! Now for the next week or so, expect to see verbal fireworks — and even a likely petition at the Supreme Court — to give the PPP a bloody nose to match the bloody nose that Mehrangate has given to the PML-N.

It is no longer hidden that politicians end up making money, regardless of whether they are in power or in the opposition. The two cases prove this. Additionally, those put in charge of doling out the money without the formality of receipts stash away their share, putting a question mark over the actual destination of the money. What should be done? Abolish secret funds? All over the world secret funds are used by intelligence agencies but that doesn’t mean that there is no oversight of the allocated amount. The Auditor General is there with powers to put questions and obtain answers from spenders. In Pakistan, financial accountability is undermined by delay of audit, not by secret funds.

The fault, if it is true, lies in the exemption granted to the intelligence agencies. Is there no audit of accounts of the IB? Some time back it was being said that the ISI is exempt. The Auditor General should make a public statement about the latest revelations and tell the nation how he dealt with the phenomenon of vanished IB funds.


Too many parties

March 16th, 2012


Pakistan has an astonishing 182 political parties registered. This amounts to at least one party for every million people. While many of these parties exist virtually on paper, the question is why so many people would wish to set up such entities which rarely play a useful role?

This week, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) registered 15 new parties; five of them calling themselves the Pakistan Muslim League, with various suffixes of some kind attached to their names. It is becoming impossible to keep track of the number of Muslim Leagues we have now. What is frightening is that while each of the 182 parties in the country has a manifesto — at least on paper — few do anything to follow what these documents say beyond submitting them to the ECP. The Political Parties Order of 2002 makes it quite easy to register a party and this is partly why we have a growing list of such bodies in our country.

It is also a fact that there is a marginal difference between the ideologies stated by these parties. Most spout the same rhetoric over and over again; almost none do anything to even put this into effect. Many of them exist simply to accommodate egos or as a kind of hobby for individuals who have little else to do. Some use their groups as bargaining chips ‘selling’ symbols to other parties which seek them. The All Pakistan Muslim League of former president Pervez Musharraf is, for instance, currently seeking the ‘eagle’ already allotted to another party as its symbol.

What is most disturbing is the fact that the rules laid down for the existence and functionality of these parties are simply not followed. For instance, almost none of them conduct intra-party elections despite the clear-cut requirements that they ought to do so. Documents which indicate that such practices occur are simply falsified. Only a handful of parties have any kind of representation in any assembly. Thus, this phenomenon is an indication of the distorted state of our politics and we must work to correct it.
__________________
Kon Kehta hy k Main Gum-naam ho jaon ga
Main tu aik Baab hn Tareekh mein Likha jaon ga
Reply With Quote
  #455  
Old Saturday, March 17, 2012
Arain007's Avatar
Czar
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venus
Posts: 4,106
Thanks: 2,700
Thanked 4,014 Times in 1,850 Posts
Arain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant future
Post

Hostage no more

March 17th, 2012


Details of how a Swiss couple, kidnapped by the Taliban more than eight months ago, was able to secure their freedom are still sketchy. We are still not sure if they were released by the Taliban or whether they somehow managed to escape from their captors. Both the Swiss and Pakistani governments have denied that ransom was paid, although that would seem to be the most logical explanation for their sudden release. Whatever the means and methods used, their recovery is cause for relief as they were able to escape relatively unscathed from their ordeal. At the same time, it is important to fight the kidnapping scourge, which the Taliban have employed to devastating effect for many years now, using their hostages to fill their coffers with ransom money and bring added publicity to their cause.

There is, however, some reason to believe that this release may have been secured by the payment of ransom money. Just a few days ago, Amir Malik, who was kidnapped in August 2010 when his father-in-law General Tariq Majeed was chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, was released after what some reports described as a ransom payment of many millions of rupees. The choice between filling the coffers of militant groups, who will only use the funds to launch further kidnappings and more terrorist attacks, and letting hostages die is a moral dilemma that is almost impossible to solve. What is undeniable is that the kidnapping strategy adopted by the Taliban has been an enormous success, giving them money, publicity and in some cases, even the release of their people. Unfortunately, no solution, short of inflicting a total defeat on the Taliban, readily presents itself.

On the other hand, these releases should provide some hope to the families of others who have been kidnapped by the militants. For many months now, Shahbaz Taseer, the son of slain governor Salmaan Taseer and Warren Weinstein, an American aid worker, have been abducted with no public information available about their status. With militant groups often selling those they have kidnapped to other militant groups and making demands that the state cannot meet, their fate has been up in the air. At least, now their families can have some reason to be optimistic.


Taking on the agencies

March 17th, 2012


Never before in our history have the intelligence agencies come under so much pressure. These bodies have for years been seen as lying beyond the hold of any other institution — acting as a State within a State with no one willing or able to control what they do. Now, for the first time, we have seen the courts speak out against the ISI and the MI, demanding explanations for their actions in Balochistan and other places. The prime minister, too, reacted earlier this year and now, in what could prove to be a vital development, the National Assembly has passed a unanimous resolution demanding that a law be formulated to bring the agencies under control and ensure that they cannot act on their own. The agencies are widely thought to be responsible for the ‘picking up’ of people and for intervening in national events.

What is also significant is that the two major parties in the country have acted together to move the unanimous resolution — which was tabled by the PML-N, but passed with the full support of the PPP. The ruling party also facilitated highlighting the matter on the last day of the current National Assembly schedule, though it was not part of the initial agenda. A bipartisan committee is to be set up to determine the details and decide how to proceed, with equal representation from the PPP and the PML-N.

We could be witnessing a truly historical moment. Much disturbance to our democratic system has been caused over the past decades by actions planned and manipulated by the agencies. The parliamentary will to break free of this may be a key step into a new era. We must hope this is indeed the case, and that we can move into an age where the elected leaders of the country make the most important decisions rather than outfits which follow an agenda.


Strengthening democracy

March 17th, 2012


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) claims that it will be receiving an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for the recently-launched voter verification service that allows citizens to check their voter registration via SMS. True, Pakistan is one of the only countries to have such a system in place. In a few short months, after the Supreme Court gave the ECP — in conjunction with NADRA — the order to prepare full voter lists, the government agencies went into overdrive to meet the deadline. Early reports suggest that the efforts have been remarkably successful — a rare case of government bureaucracy producing positive results.

After the 2008 general elections, it was revealed that nearly 38 million of the votes cast — or over 30 per cent of the total votes — could not be verified. This does not mean that all 38 million votes were bogus, as is being claimed by opposition parties; it simply means that there was no way of verifying the validity of the votes. A system where citizens can verify their voting details themselves should help eliminate most of the problems that were encountered during previous elections. So far, according to NADRA, 4.5 million citizens have used the SMS service to verify their voter registration details and with elections not expected for another year, that number should increase in the months ahead.

In addition, the ECP has also set up more than 55,000 display centres around the country where voters can check their registration and file any complaints. The response to this initiative, according to the non-profit Free and Fair Election Network, has been far from encouraging. Part of the blame should go to the ECP for not advertising the service enough but some blame also has to be shouldered by the political parties, who are the only organisations in the country with the capability of getting massive numbers of people to these display centres. The 2008 elections were considered among the freest in the country’s history; if all stakeholders play their part the next ones have a chance of being even freer.
__________________
Kon Kehta hy k Main Gum-naam ho jaon ga
Main tu aik Baab hn Tareekh mein Likha jaon ga
Reply With Quote
  #456  
Old Sunday, March 18, 2012
Arain007's Avatar
Czar
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venus
Posts: 4,106
Thanks: 2,700
Thanked 4,014 Times in 1,850 Posts
Arain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant future
Post

Forced conversion

March 18th, 2012


The issue of forced conversions of Hindu women to Islam, after being abducted and made to marry Muslim men, has been raised vociferously by leaders of the Hindu community. But now, it seems that the whole operation of forced conversions is taking place in a far more organised manner than had been previously thought.

The PPP MNA Dr Azra Fazl, who is also President Asif Ali Zardari’s sister, has said that Hindu women are being kept in madarssas in Sindh and then forced to wed Muslim men. She stated this is what had happened in the case of Faryal Shah, a Hindu girl whose conversion has created much controversy in Sindh. Dr Fazl’s words come just as California Congressman Brad Sherman’s letter on the case reached President Zardari, demanding that Faryal be returned to her family.

Several other members of the National Assembly backed Dr Fazl, including members of the minority communities. The attention directed towards the matter by the legislature is important. What is happening to minority community members — especially women, who are doubly vulnerable, needs to be taken up at the national level. Clerics and madrassa leaders, acting against Hindus must be penalised under the law. There must also be a wider effort to alter mindsets, which lead to the harassment of the community and the increasing cases of abduction in the first place. As a result of these and the kidnappings for ransom seen in Balochistan, thousands of Hindus have fled their homes and moved across the border into India.

It is shameful that we cannot keep our minority communities safe. The long delay and the equally long silence from mainstream society on the issue have worsened matters. It is hard to say what will happen next. The tide of hatred and intolerance that has swept across our country is difficult to reverse. But some effort to do so must be made, so that, in time, we can return to a situation in which members of different religious communities are able to coexist.


President’s address

March 18th, 2012


The government has made much of the fact that President Asif Ali Zardari is the first president to address a fifth joint session of parliament, the implication being that the party managed to stay in power for the duration of its term. That, indeed, is cause for some celebration since we have seen time and again that democratically-elected governments have not been allowed to finish their term in office, mostly because of military interventions. That this has not happened this time around, or is likely to be the case, is in itself cause for some hope that perhaps, finally, democracy may be taking root in Pakistan.

As for the contents of the speech itself, there are some points that one would agree with, such as the passage of the Eighteenth and Twentieth Amendments, the constitution of a new National Finance Commission Award, and the passage of legislation on safeguarding the rights of women in society, and, in particular, in the workplace. However, there are many points in the speech which one would disagree with. For instance, the president said that the government had done much on Balochistan and one is not sure if this claim would be received with any degree of credence by many people in the country, even outside the province. The abduction of people from the province — many of whom are later found on roadsides as mutilated corpses — is continuing and instead of tackling this issue with the priority it demands, we are being told that this is the work of some foreign agency.

There was also the claim that the current government has done many things in line with the image of the founder of the country, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and in that regard, we are not sure how much to agree with Mr Zardari. The plight of minorities — the Hindu and the Ahmadi community in particular — is far from good and the state seems to have taken a back seat in ensuring that they live a safe existence, free to practice their faith without fear of harassment (or much worse). Furthermore, the perception that the current government is mired in corruption has in fact been reinforced over time. To that end, one would have to agree to a considerable degree with what the leader of the opposition said in response to the president’s speech: that which country was Mr Zardari talking about in his speech.


Fallen hero

March 18th, 2012


The fight against terrorism and militancy is a hard one and needs the support of the whole country. This is all the more so since we have seen, time and again, that those who do have the courage to fight the militants are left to confront them on their own or are instead targeted. This happened with the many lashkars that were raised to fight the Taliban and also with several law-enforcement officials who have taken the fight to the militants. The tragic death last week of Abul Kalam Khan, the Superintendant of Police (rural), would fall into this category. A young suicide bomber struck his car in Peshawar, killing Khan and injuring four other persons including his guard and driver. Khan has been described by senior police officers as being outstanding in the performance of his duties. Perhaps, this is why he was killed; or, perhaps, he was assassinated simply because he was a security officer. Many personnel wearing uniform have, after all, died at the hands of militants over the past few years.

The suicide attack in Peshawar proves that militants remain active and able to strike at will. If top police officers can be so easily felled, we cannot expect the force to be able to do very much to protect either itself or others. What is obvious is that the policies used so far have failed miserably and we need more innovative ways to deal with extremists. Otherwise there is a real danger that they will win the bitter war that is being fought. The death of a competent and committed police officer makes it a little harder to fight this battle. We need more people like him. We also need to stop the militants by blocking their capacity to recruit more bombers, train them and send them out on their missions. Our lack of success in this is alarming. The cost we have paid for this failure is already huge. We simply cannot afford still more loss of life or the murder of people engaged at some level in the war on terror. Each such death makes the militants a little stronger and a little more confident of their success.
__________________
Kon Kehta hy k Main Gum-naam ho jaon ga
Main tu aik Baab hn Tareekh mein Likha jaon ga
Reply With Quote
  #457  
Old Monday, March 19, 2012
Arain007's Avatar
Czar
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venus
Posts: 4,106
Thanks: 2,700
Thanked 4,014 Times in 1,850 Posts
Arain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant future
Post

The prime minister and the SC
March 19th, 2012


Speaking on the occasion of the convocation of the Islamia University Bahawalpur, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani plumped for martyrdom rather than obedience to the edict of the Supreme Court demanding that he write a letter asking Switzerland to reopen graft cases against the chief of his party, President Asif Ali Zardari. He said he’d rather go to jail than write the letter which will be “a violation of the Constitution, which is treason and which carries the death sentence”. He made a further calculus: “If I don’t write, I will be convicted for contempt, the punishment for which is six months imprisonment”. The audience understood the calculus and shouted, “Don’t write the letter!”

Away from Bahawalpur, most people don’t think so. Lawyers and judicial experts think he should write the letter and put an end to his government’s stubborn pattern of flouting the authority of the Supreme Court. Even the lawyer, who defends him in the contempt case at the Supreme Court once thought that he should have written the letter, stating that the earlier letter calling off the Swiss case was hereby withdrawn. Somehow, the PPP and its leader were certain that once the letter was written, the proceedings in Switzerland would restart and lead to conviction of President Zardari for money laundering. The Swiss officials say that if President Zardari enjoys immunity from litigation in Pakistan, he would be exempted in Switzerland, too. That’s where the rub is.

It will ultimately depend on what the Supreme Court has to say about the immunity of the president under the Constitution. Judging from the obiter dicta of the Honourable Court it seems that it has a different interpretation of the constitutional article saying that a president can’t be impugned. One erstwhile judge of the Court likely unveiled the mind of the Court when he said the matter of reference to the Swiss government was in the nature of civil law not covered by the said article of the Constitution. Whatever may be the view of the layman, the fact is that the word of the Supreme Court is final and has to be obeyed if the country’s legal order is to survive. Yet, professional view in favour of the Court is challenged by a section of the lawyers practising at the apex court.

The argument centres on the supremacy of parliament and the right of review of the Supreme Court. In a sense, parliament is supreme because it can make laws and abrogate them and even prevent the judiciary from handing down a verdict by pre-emptively legislating against it. But practice in other countries shows that the judiciary has the right to review even a constitutional amendment. Given the popularity of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the comparatively low reputation of the PPP government in governance, the former seems to win the mind of the common man. For those who adhere to the principles of democracy, it is important that the PPP and its coalition partners enjoy a majority in parliament and can’t be made to go away.

The PPP has been a party hard done by. It has been (wrongly!) regarded as a security risk and removed from power, with the opposition parties agreeing (wrongly!) with the army. Now the army and the opposition are seen to be out hunting for it again via the Supreme Court. A small minority of lawyers think that the Supreme Court has gone too far in its suo motu pursuit and looks like following the spoor of a vendetta with the PPP in general and its leader President Zardari in particular. Hence, the sense of martyrdom among the people which Prime Minister Gilani seems to opt for when he says he will not write the letter. The case of treason (sic!) against his government brought to the Court on the basis of the revelations of an American citizen Mansoor Ijaz has not gone so well for the army and the major opposition party, the PML-N.

One opinion is that that if Mr Gilani is sentenced in contempt and given two years in jail — which is not possible, the maximum being six months — he will lose his membership of parliament, but then the procedure of getting rid of him will be complicated and be overtaken by the next elections. That price, it is apparent, he is willing to pay.


Seeking asylum

March 19th, 2012


Recent reports by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have thrown more light on the consequences of Pakistan’s precarious security situation: according to the international agency, thousands of Pakistanis flee the country every year hoping to get respite from violence and religious discrimination.

It is well known that Pakistan has housed a record number of Afghan refugees over the years, even topping the UNHCR’s list of refugee-hosting countries in 2008. However, relatively little is said about the spike in Pakistanis seeking asylum. Records of asylum applications kept by host countries and international agencies are often the only way to corroborate this trend. A glance at immigration figures from the UK’s Office for National Statistics, for example, tells us that that a total of 2,411 Pakistanis applied for asylum in 2011 — almost double the amount of asylum applicants from Afghanistan in the same year and more than any other country in Asia.

Poor security, a rise in extortion and kidnapping, lapses in the justice system and growing intolerance for religious and ethnic minorities are all reasons why a growing number of Pakistanis have become desperate enough to flee. These problems are slowly getting so acute that professionals like doctors, journalists and artists have now joined the ranks of those who seek asylum — a tell-tale sign that even the average man in Pakistan is not safe if he speaks his mind.

Although the possibility of new leadership in 2013 has kept hope alive for many, things are not looking up for those contemplating asylum abroad. As a first step to counter this crisis, the government should publicly acknowledge this trend and accept that it has not been able to keep its citizens safe. Measures that have long been talked of, like depoliticising the police force and educating the public about minority rights, must be prioritised.

Unfortunately, with a government so mired in constitutional controversy and political parties vying for mass popularity before the looming general elections, it appears that difficult decisions will continue to be sidelined and more Pakistanis will slip across the border in search of a future they could not find at home.
__________________
Kon Kehta hy k Main Gum-naam ho jaon ga
Main tu aik Baab hn Tareekh mein Likha jaon ga
Reply With Quote
  #458  
Old Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Arain007's Avatar
Czar
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venus
Posts: 4,106
Thanks: 2,700
Thanked 4,014 Times in 1,850 Posts
Arain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant future
Post

Of khaki and mufti

March 20th, 2012


A change of command has finally taken place at the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The outgoing chief, Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, retired from service after an extension given to him by the government ended. He has been replaced by Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam, who’s last assignment was commander of the V corps based in Karachi. The change of commander of the agency has also been marked by a statement by the prime minister that while the ISI is an important national institution, it should not be “controversial”. And the PML-N chief has said that he hopes that under a new chief the agency will not interfere in politics anymore. The latter statement is particularly relevant given the ongoing hearing of Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan’s petition into the Mehrangate scandal, in which the agency paid hundreds of millions of rupees to politicians in a bid to dislodge the first Benazir Bhutto government.

These statements can be juxtaposed with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s remarks of last week following the reopening of the so-called Mehrangate case at the Supreme Court. General Kayani said: “If you want to fight with history in this context, it’s your choice to do so. However, establishing institutions requires a lot of hard work and the media should be careful that their words do not undermine these [institutions]”. He noted that the American media did not criticise “as harshly as the Pakistan Army was criticised by Pakistanis”. He further elaborated: “Ruthless criticism of ISI in Pakistan was far higher than any criticism made on RAW, Mossad or the CIA in India, Israel or USA”.

First of all, let us look at his observations in the light of his decision as army chief not to interfere in the functioning of a democratic government despite provocations. In this context, since we are now embarked on a new era of civil-military relations, it is better to forget the past and look at the positive aspects of this new development and look ahead rather than back. What is unfolding now in the shape of media discussion is an act of reconciliation with the past with the intent of not repeating it. A judicial commission charged with the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad was looking at the possibility of ISI having done the deed. In its final report it exonerated the ISI but what the commission went on to do was to propose the most far-reaching reform to-date of the ISI as an institution, which was to bring it under parliamentary scrutiny and oversight. Should that be considered a destructive act? Surprisingly, the media welcomed the proposal of reform and has asked the government to implement it.

For any meaningful reform and correction, investigation into any malfeasance of the past is needed so that remedial measures can be taken. Exemption, if that is what the army chief wants, is not the answer at all. Take the case of the money put together fraudulently for distribution to rig the 1990 election. The case was correctly brought up in 1996 after revelations were made inside parliament. It involved the then army chief and the chief of the ISI. Since the army was calling the shots and was able to dominate the judiciary — which served as handmaiden to military rulers till the emergence of the current Supreme Court — it is to be determined who was finally to blame. That would lead to correction called reform.

The finger is pointed persistently at the functioning of the ISI. Has the time not arrived to review the working of this institution and put it on a better footing so that it is viewed, not with misgivings, but with the same confidence that Indians repose in RAW and the Americans in CIA? We are lucky that we have someone like General Kayani leading the army in these difficult times who is determined to resist the temptation of staging a coup in the name of national security. General Kayani’s decision not to shelter his erstwhile boss General Musharraf from the consequences of his mistakes as military ruler has given rise to an independent judiciary which is now subjecting the democratic system to proper judicial oversight.


The extortion game

March 20th, 2012


Everyone has known for years about the extortion business in Karachi. Traders, businessmen, shopkeepers and even professionals talk openly about the bhatta they need to pay to remain in business. The consequences for those who decline to pay are well known and quite terrifying.

What is more frightening is the fact that political parties from across the country appear to have become involved in the extortion business — using it almost as a kind of officially-sanctioned sideline. The trend has become stronger and stronger over the past few years. Virtually every political party has become involved in the racket. This criminalisation of politics is obviously highly disturbing. How can we expect political leaders to preserve the rule of law, which is rapidly breaking down anyway if they cannot keep themselves away from activity punishable under the law themselves. In fact, because of the role played by the political parties, the ability to place any kind of check on extortion has vanished completely. All we are left with is dramatic gestures and rhetoric of various kinds, such as the protest staged by traders in Karachi a few days ago, and backed by political forces, who rather than stopping extortion had their own agenda in mind.

The best thing, of course, would be if the political parties themselves purged their ranks of the black sheep involving in the extortion rackets. After all, the future of the country’s financial and commercial capital is at stake. If this does not happen, the violence we see will keep becoming worse and worse, as extortionists grow bolder and demand greater and greater sums. The consequence of this — what most of the city’s residents believe — is a complete abdication of its responsibilities. Besides, what can we expect in terms of services from political parties which have lost all conscience and the ability to work within rules for the benefit of people? This simple sense of what is right has broken down completely in Karachi. To make matters worse, the police force, too, has been heavily politicised making things harder for those who wish to see an end to the extortion that is rapidly tearing our business capital apart.
__________________
Kon Kehta hy k Main Gum-naam ho jaon ga
Main tu aik Baab hn Tareekh mein Likha jaon ga
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Arain007 For This Useful Post:
tyre (Wednesday, March 21, 2012)
  #459  
Old Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Arain007's Avatar
Czar
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venus
Posts: 4,106
Thanks: 2,700
Thanked 4,014 Times in 1,850 Posts
Arain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant future
Post

Parliamentary review

March 21st, 2012


After a long period of deliberation, the parliamentary committee tasked to review ties with the US came up with recommendations that are both imminently unobjectionable and yet, unlikely to ever come to fruition. Presented by the committee’s Chairman, Senator Raza Rabbani, the review’s most important proposal was regarding US drone attacks in the tribal areas. Without parliament’s approval, said Rabbani, the US would not be allowed to use Pakistani bases or airspace. Just saying this, however, does not mean it will automatically translate into reality, as the US has shown no willingness to take dictation from Pakistan while the military establishment, which has given its assent to drone attacks, has no desire to listen to orders from a nominally supreme parliament. This was all but acknowledged by the parliamentary review, which also said that no state institution can come to a verbal agreement with foreign governments on such matters.

Even though it may sound tough in its rhetoric, all the clauses have given the Americans plenty of wiggle room. Even the one recommendation most likely to anger the US — that we will continue to pursue building a gas pipeline project with Iran — is simply a restatement of existing policy. The parliamentary review has been able to bring some sense of clarity to the debate over ties with the US. We now know what the view of the civilian government is, even if there is very little chance of it being implemented or obeyed by the US or the security establishment.

The one silver lining to this debate has been the way parliament has tried to take back from the military its prerogative to devise foreign policy. Of course, there are some who may be of the view that parliament is doing precisely what the military would have done anyway. Although a single parliamentary review is not enough to do all this, but hopefully it will establish a tradition of the country’s elected representatives openly debating matters that should be under its purview. If that is indeed the case, then despite its many delays and likely ineffectualness, the parliamentary review will have served its purpose.


To write or not to write

March 21st, 2012


In his 24-page response to the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has made it clear that he has no intentions of writing a letter to the Swiss authorities, which could bring about a reopening of cases against individuals, including President Asif Ali Zardari. The stance, of course, brings the executive into direct conflict with the judiciary; fierce party loyalty is also involved. The prime minister has already said that he is willing to go to jail rather than to write a letter and this, at least for now, has become a central issue on our political landscape.

The defiance of the court opens up many dilemmas. There is also an argument which suggests it is crucial to get to the bottom of what happened in the Swiss cases involving corruption worth billions. But there are also some simple facts that need to be faced. Emotions, rhetoric and accusations alone will lead us nowhere. Eventually, it is the law which must prevail. And the Constitution seems to state quite clearly that until the president holds office, he enjoys immunity and no case can be initiated against him. It is this clause that the prime minister says he is determined to uphold at all costs.

Certainly, it is vital that the Constitution — and all that it states — with regard to the letter be followed if we are to avoid a state of anarchy. We are already venturing far too close to such a situation. The question of immunity is one that draws different comments from either side. The prime minister, however, is determined to go by the document which determines the supreme law of the country and it is difficult to fault him for this. To a large extent, what happens next depends on the majority, or the lack of it — demonstrated by the Court, the government and its legal advisers — as we face the unpleasant prospects of yet another prime minister landing up in jail and further tensions evolving between key institutions.


Caring for animals

March 21st, 2012


The deaths of three deer at the Karachi Zoological Gardens, with a fourth also feared dead, should spur a serious discussion in the country about the conditions in which animals are kept at zoos around the country. Unfortunately, the rights of animals have rarely been taken seriously in Pakistan and so, like previous such incidents, the matter is unlikely to be brought up, let alone debated. It is because of this general apathy that officials at the zoo could claim that the deer died due to “excessive mating”, a medical problem that has never been heard of before and unlikely to be deployed again. By using this made-up condition, zoo officials have shown their utter disdain for those few who may actually care about animal rights.

In August 2011, three lion cubs died at the Karachi Zoo, with a similarly ludicrous explanation being bandied about. Back then, the authorities responsible claimed that the cubs had been eaten by its mother, even though the more likely cause of death was that the cubs were not given shelter from the rain. Back then, as now, officials were concerned only with deflecting blame from themselves, knowing well that the matter would not be pursued further. Unfortunately, they were proved right, and will probably get away with it again this time.

In the US, a country that takes animal rights seriously, just last week the Dustin Hoffman-starring TV show “Luck” was cancelled after three horses died during filming. This move is likely to cause the HBO network tens of millions of dollars in losses. Yet, they went ahead with the cancellation, not wanting to be known as the network that kills horses and face picketing by animal-rights activists. Similar pressure needs to be put on zoo officials here if we are to afford animals the rights they deserve. A start could be made by moving animals away from cages to a habitat more suitable to them. It is about time that the issue of cruelty to animals is brought to national attention as it is reflective of the level of humanity present in society.
__________________
Kon Kehta hy k Main Gum-naam ho jaon ga
Main tu aik Baab hn Tareekh mein Likha jaon ga
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Arain007 For This Useful Post:
Call for Change (Thursday, March 22, 2012)
  #460  
Old Thursday, March 22, 2012
Arain007's Avatar
Czar
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Venus
Posts: 4,106
Thanks: 2,700
Thanked 4,014 Times in 1,850 Posts
Arain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant futureArain007 has a brilliant future
Post

How many weapons does a country need?
March 22nd, 2012


The latest news from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute is that “India is the world’s largest recipient of arms while South Korea is second and Pakistan and China are third in the list”. Worldwide arms sales have grown by 24 per cent in 2007-11 compared to 2002-06, and the major buyers were located in Asia. And Africa, where conflict is routine in many parts, is the lowest purchaser of weapons accounting for only nine per cent of the market; India alone buys 10 per cent of the arms produced around the world.

Most economists look at defence spending as a percentage of a country’s GDP — and if it is above three per cent it is not supposed to be good because it begins to bite into the welfare of the common man. Last time this was computed in Pakistan, defence spending stood at 3.7 per cent of the GDP, or nearly 20 per cent of the national budget. Is this figure acceptable to everyone? Some observers say that military spending on pensions, etc, has been pushed into the civilian budget, which means defence spending is actually much higher.

Asia is spending on arms in a big way. Several reasons could be advanced for this trend. Asia is exempt from the global economic crisis and the economies are growing at a nice clip. When the growth rate is high, states usually start spending more and defence is one sector which is found lagging because of the past focus on civilian economy. Also the fast growing economies of Asia may be diversifying into arms industry and the imports could be related to the requirements of the new sector. China is an example of this. It is now entering the market as a major supplier and also accounts for a large part of Pakistan’s purchases.

India’s economy is on a trajectory of growth and its military buying may raise alarm in Pakistan because Pakistan’s military is reactive to Indian activity in the sector. This would be wrong on many counts. First of all the Indian record buying is only 2.5 per cent of GDP meaning that it has little negative effect on the quality of life of Indians while Pakistan’s defence budget has. Secondly, the world views arms purchases in light of the political intent behind these purchases. India as a status quo power is interpreted as a ‘defensive’ buyer while Pakistan as a ‘revisionist’ buyer is seen as a reactive state nursing the intent of changing the status quo through aggression. India is not a revisionist state vis-à-vis China, although it could be. It chose not be the ‘challenging’ rival.

The world doesn’t see India the way we do. Interestingly, the world also doesn’t see China as America does. Pakistan sees India as a hostile state with intent to harm Pakistan with its hegemonic designs in the region. The world doesn’t agree with Pakistan. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s alarmism about India is understood by the world as springing from its revisionist stance vis-à-vis India. Therefore, when India buys weapons it is all right; but when Pakistan buys arms it is viewed with suspicion. Pakistan’s civilian budget is seen as competing with military budget which stands at 20 per cent of the national budget, while India’s is not. Most aid-givers to Pakistan take care to target civilian projects and try their best to work through NGOs fearing that the government may secretly move the funds around to benefit the army. The Kargil war in 1999, by some estimates depleted the national budget by around two billion dollars.

Pakistan needs arms for defence. It needs arms and training to fight the terrorists although many think fighting them is not ‘our war’. But crippling expenditures can be avoided through a sane, flexible, non-honour-bound foreign policy. This would mean a policy that also realises the imperatives of socio-economic development, and by both sides, given the extreme poverty found in their respective populations. Furthermore, if a permanent peace is established, both countries could cut back on their exorbitant defence spending and use the resources freed up to fund social sector development. Pakistan needs to do that so that its economy can grow at a fast rate and military budgets are thereafter easy on the people of Pakistan.


Balochistan conundrum

March 22nd, 2012


In a case of good intentions colliding with bad policy, the Supreme Court has decided that the best way to solve the Balochistan problem is by convening a grand jirga comprising the heads of all the major tribes in the province. The biggest problem with this proposal is that it takes a head-in-the-sand approach to the violence in Balochistan, by putting the onus for a solution solely on one side. Involving the chieftains is not in itself a bad idea. The military has always held, with some element of truth, that the tribal chiefs are interested only in perpetuating their hereditary rule, with little concern for the citizens of the province. Be that as it may, with separatists unwilling to enter negotiations with the government and vice versa, the tribal chiefs may have to play a part in formulating a solution. However, expecting them to tackle problems on their own is unrealistic when it is the military established that is apparently the biggest stumbling block to peace in Balochistan.

The Supreme Court may believe that empowering the tribal leaders will marginalise the separatists but it has overlooked the fact that the only way to dampen the ardour for separatism is by securing tangible concessions from the military. This is where the Court should be playing a constructive role by focusing on scrutinising human rights abuses in the province and showing that it can provide justice to those whose lives have been ruined by the establishment’s alleged involvement in the missing persons scandal.

Instead, the Supreme Court has decided that the most problematic actor is the civilian government, not realising that its hands are tied by the power of the military. The chief justice held the interior secretary and inspector-general of the province chiefly responsible for the violence in the province. While there can be no doubt that the government has been lax in implementing its Balochistan package, blaming only the civilians for unrest in the province will not allay the perception that in this particular case the apex court is perhaps not very interested in holding the military to the same standards it has set for the elected government. That perception will be corrected if the military is asked to explain its actions in the province.
__________________
Kon Kehta hy k Main Gum-naam ho jaon ga
Main tu aik Baab hn Tareekh mein Likha jaon ga
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
editorials, express tribune

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
All about Pakistan Muhammad Adnan General Knowledge, Quizzes, IQ Tests 80 Friday, April 28, 2017 07:06 PM
Opinion: The Express Tribune Saqib Riaz News & Articles 1 Monday, December 27, 2010 09:59 AM
The Express Tribune: Saving face: K-P reverses dubious land lease Mohsin Mushtaq News & Articles 0 Thursday, December 16, 2010 07:46 PM
A good editorial... Nonchalant Journalism & Mass Communication 2 Sunday, March 23, 2008 07:31 PM
Role/Aim of Editorial Nonchalant Journalism & Mass Communication 0 Tuesday, February 19, 2008 01:10 PM


CSS Forum on Facebook Follow CSS Forum on Twitter

Disclaimer: All messages made available as part of this discussion group (including any bulletin boards and chat rooms) and any opinions, advice, statements or other information contained in any messages posted or transmitted by any third party are the responsibility of the author of that message and not of CSSForum.com.pk (unless CSSForum.com.pk is specifically identified as the author of the message). The fact that a particular message is posted on or transmitted using this web site does not mean that CSSForum has endorsed that message in any way or verified the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message. We encourage visitors to the forum to report any objectionable message in site feedback. This forum is not monitored 24/7.

Sponsors: ArgusVision   vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.