Showing posts from April, 2012

Conflicts and more conflicts

Courtesy:- Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi Pakistan faces multiple domestic conflicts that weaken Pakistan as a nation-state, compromising its capacity to function effectively within its territorial limits and making it difficult to project itself positively at the global level. It is becoming increasing problematic for Pakistani state and society to fulfil its obligations towards its citizenry and the international community.

Negotiating with America

Courtesy:-    Tanvir Ahmad Khan   MILLIONS of words have been written to explain why Pakistan-US relations have alternated between strategic collusion that occasionally became an important determinant of regional history and periods in which the United States punished Pakistan with lasting damage. Analysts deconstructing the refusal of both sides to let go of an often troubled relationship have written book-length treatises on the dynamics of bilateral negotiations that continue in good times and bad times.

Zardari’s new political initiative and Ajmair visit

Courtesy:- Shabir Choudhry LONDON 22 April 2012. President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari is best known for other things, and not for anything that links him with Islam or teachings of Islam. He is not a great admirer of saints or their shrines, as he idolises things that make his life in this world more charming and worth living. However, rumours are that he always takes help from Peers and fortune tellers before formulating his political strategies; and some even claim that he is often surrounded by them in Awan e Sadar and in Bilawal House.

Pak-US precarious relationship

Courtesy:- A. R. Jerral April 20, 2012 The Pak-US bilateral activities taking place upfront and behind-the-scenes indicate that the stoppage of Nato supply routes through Pakistan is taking its toll. The claims made that there will be no or little effect on the conduct of operations in Afghanistan were hollow; aerial supply though manageable is not cost effective, not on long-term basis. The flurry of diplomatic and military activity indicates that the US wants a quick and ‘beneficial’ solution. It seems that we are witnessing a carrot and stick game again. Along with the diplomatic and military contacts, the US government has embarked upon classic arm-twisting tactics against Pakistan.

Logic of the Two-Nation Theory

Courtesy:- S M Hali   Professor Stanley Wolpert, an American Indologist, writer and academic, who is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on the political and intellectual history of modern India and Pakistan and author of the epic biography Jinnah of Pakistan states: “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammed Ali Jinnah did all three.” Wolpert has also penned the biographies of Gandhi and Nehru, but his eulogy for the Quaid surpasses any other leader of the freedom movement. It is a fact of history that the creation of Pakistan was an epoch-making event and a significant achievement of Quaid-i-Azam and his indomitable team of political workers, having the tenacity and steadfastness to face any challenge in their efforts to achieve their objective - i.e. the creation of a separate home land for the Muslim of the subcontinent.

Normalising ties with the US

Courtesy:- Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi Will ‘they’ let us? The resolution passed by the joint session of the parliament on April 12 has offered new recommendations for pursuing Pakistan’s relations with the United States. In a week or so, Pakistan will start a dialogue with the US for reviving bilateral relations and resuming the supply of American goods through Pakistan for NATO/US troops based in Afghanistan.

The growth of free and independent media in Pakistan

Courtesy:-  Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan TODAY, we are living in the age of information. With the advent of modern technologies and social media, it is impossible to ignore the rapid growing need for information in every walk of life. Nowadays everyone is dependent on quick, easy and reliable source of information for their effective and efficient working. Now, the world has become a global village and information is not less than lifeblood to all government officials, politicians, agriculturists, businessmen, industrialists, stock market professionals, academicians,  teachers  and even layman citizens. The information is directly linked with the inevitable media growth across the world. Today the media is altogether a different entity as it used to be in the past. The vibrant, independent  and responsible media is inevitable to nurture democratic societies.

Ode to the valiant 135 at Siachen

Courtesy:-    S M Hali The Siachen theatre of war is the world’s highest battlefield, which continues to bleed both Pakistan and India since 1984. The genesis of the conflict is embedded in the unresolved Kashmir dispute, a legacy of the British Empire, which partitioned India in August 1947 but left the fate of Kashmir undecided. Resultantly, India and Pakistan have gone to war in 1948, 1965, 1971 and faced a limited conflict in 1999 over Kargil. The United Nations-supervised Cease Fire Line (CFL) of 1949 extended from the international border between India and Pakistan near Chhamb in Jammu and Kashmir in a rough arc that ran nearly 800 km north and then northeastwards to a point, NJ9842, nearly 20 km north of the Shyok river in the Chulung group of mountains of the Saltoro range. Since the territory beyond this point witnessed no military activity and appeared inaccessible, no attempt was made at that time to extend the CFL beyond NJ 9842 to the Chinese border. At least a 65-

Siachen tragedy

Courtesy:- Qudssia Akhlaque This column is in honour of the many nameless and valiant Pakistani soldiers who have served their country in the world's harshest and coldest battlefield at the Siachen Glacier. Today the nation mourns its 138 sons including 11 civilians still trapped deep under the snow after a massive landslide hit the Army base-camp at the height of 20,700 feet. Our thoughts and prayers are with the stranded soldiers and with their families in this most terrible and trying time. We salute the spirit of more than 450 rescue workers braving the hostile weather conditions to retrieve the missing sons of the soil. Shortly after the tragedy the Army Chief was in Siachen to oversee the search and rescue operation. But even almost after a week of the incident no one from the top civilian leadership – the president, the prime minister or the defense minister – has bothered to visit the site. Perhaps too absorbed with their own personal and political agendas they did littl

Heart-rending tragedy

Courtesy:- Mohammad Jamil Heart weeps over this colossally doleful Siachen tragedy. Heart-rending indeed could only be the distressful plight of 125 brave army officers and jawans and their 11 civilian mates, lying buried under tons of snow after their base camp was struck by a calamitous avalanche. As the military operations are going on in full swing for their rescue, one fervently prays for their survival. Yet one knows not who would survive and how many would perish, such an enormous is this catastrophe. 

A Pakistani miracle in India

Courtesy:- Jyoti Malhotra Even by Asif Ali Zardari’s immensely imaginative calendar, Easter Sunday the 8th of April must have been a record of sorts:  Eating breakfast in Lahore, lunch in Delhi and tea at the hallowed shrine of Moinuddin Chisti at Ajmer  doesn’t come easily to most South Asians. Of course, Mr Zardari is no ordinary citizen of South Asia. His life history, warts and all, is well-known in the region — a famous woman’s husband, a prisoner, perhaps a playboy, and for the last several years certainly one of the most interesting leaders that Pakistan has had the fortune of bringing to power.

Zardari’s visit to India and after

Courtesy:- Tariq Fatemi President Asif Ali  Zardari’s visit to India  on April 8 may have started off as a pilgrimage but inevitably acquired the significance of a summit meeting. While details are yet to emerge, Zardari described the talks as “very fruitful”, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed willingness “to find practical and pragmatic solutions on all issues”. Singh also agreed to visit Pakistan but only when “mutually convenient” . The Summit did, however, provide an impetus to the normalisation process. The challenge, therefore, will be to ensure that momentum is not simply maintained but enhanced, particularly as leadership in both countries needs to wean people away from memories of deep mutual suspicion. After all, their relationship impacts not only themselves, but a region which is home to one-fourth of the world’s population. Happily, most Pakistanis no longer look at India as an enemy; the attitude is one of envy, not enmity. A growing number of Indians,

Promise of peace?

Courtesy:-  Tanvir Ahmad Khan BY a tragic coincidence, President Zardari left for New Delhi just as a wave of grief over the horrific loss of life caused by a mighty avalanche in the army’s encampment in the dizzying heights of Siachen swept across Pakistan.

The Green’s Nukes are for Peaceful purposes

Courtesy:- Khalid Khokhar Monday, April 09, 2012 Whilst Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) has lamented the incident of the discharge of radioactive waste into the environment from Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi and Fukushima-Daini power stations on the eve of first anniversary of the nuclear emergency, it has called for a complete halt to the drive for nuclear energy that is being rigorously pursued by South Asian and East Asian countries such as India, China North Korea and Pakistan. The Fukushima nuclear disaster has shown that nuclear reactors are fundamentally dangerous. None of the world’s 435 nuclear reactors are immune to human errors, natural disasters, or any of the many other serious incidents that could cause an accident. Millions of people who live near nuclear reactors are at risk.

Ties with US: the sticking point

Courtesy:-   Zahid Hussain   THE proposal to link the reopening of the Nato supply route to the US stopping the drone strikes in the northwest ups the stakes on the revival of relations between Washington and Islamabad. The terms of engagement seem to be getting tougher as the government tries to reach a national consensus on restoring ties with the United States. Predictably, the entire policy review process has descended into chaos, making it increasingly difficult to get the parliamentary approval sooner on a viable policy framework.

National food security: but how?

Courtesy:-   Jamil Nasir Food price escalation in South Asia is a matter of grave concern. Measured against the yardstick of $1.25-a-day, the increase in food prices can push millions of people below the poverty line. According to estimates in the recently released report of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), titled “Food Price Escalation in South Asia-a Serious And Growing Concern,” 30 of the increase in food prices is estimated to push 10.4 million more people into poverty in Pakistan.

US Drone Warfare is Counterproductive

Courtesy:-  Sajjad Shaukat At this critical hour, when joint session of the Pakistani Parliament is debating over the 40 recommendations, made by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) to review country’s foreign policy in general and the new relationship with the United States in particular in the backdrop of deliberate attacks on Salala outposts which killed 24 Pakistani troops on November 26 last year, and in light of the parliamentary overview, PCNS has agreed to link the NATO supply resumption to immediate cessation to the drone attacks, while US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey and Commander in Afghanistan Gen. John visited Islamabad to repair the damaged ties between both the countries, after the positive meeting of President Barrack Obama and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in Seoul, CIA-operated drone strike killed a number of people in North Waziristan on March 30 as part of a new phase of air attacks on country’s tribal a

Zardari’s visit to India a great initiative

Courtesy:-  Salahuddin Haider GREAT initiative, laudable indeed. President Zardari’s decision to visit India on 8th April, is bound to open new avenues of better relations with our big neighbor. Though short and private—just for one day, and aimed at paying respects at the holy shrine of Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz, Hazrat Moeenuddin Chishti—will indeed be significant, an instant result of which was the luncheon invitation from prime  minister  Manmohan Singh. The two  leaders , naturally would not just sit, exchange pleasantries and disperse with warm handshakes or smiles. They are bound to discuss ways to bridge communication gap between their two States, and also touch, even casually on how to stop hostility, and look for a new approach in their bilateral ties, which could be  important  for the two, as well as for the regional and world peace. It will be unintended, informal summit, but such high level contacts do raise hopes for the future.

Seoul Summit 2012

Courtesy:-  Khalid Iqbal During the Seoul Summit, world leaders called for strong action to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism. “Nuclear terrorism continues to be one of the most challenging threats to international security…….Defeating this threat requires strong national measures and international cooperation,” said the Seoul communiqué. The summit has urged all countries to accede to international conventions on protecting fissile material, and reaffirmed the central role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Meanwhile, the participating states tried to create a synergy in their effort towards nuclear security by sharing the best practices.

The middle class debate

Courtesy:- Shahid Javed Burki There is a debate both inside and outside Pakistan about the size of the middle class in the country. I had suggested in  an article written some time ago for  Dawn  that the size of the middle class was about 40 million. At that time the country’s population was about 170 million. If my estimate was correct, the Pakistani middle class accounted for a bit less than 24 per cent of the population. This did not seem to be an unreasonable estimate for a country at Pakistan’s stage of development. I had used a simple back-of-the-envelope type of calculation to reach my estimate, which used the World Bank’s income distribution numbers for Pakistan that provided the shares of income for the upper and lower deciles of population and for the quintiles in between.

Performance of NAB during 2011

Courtesy:-   Saeeda Naz The National Accountability Bureau (Nab), as a premier anti-corruption agency, is responsible for eliminating corruption from the society through comprehensive approaches and drives. Accountability is not merely a task of catching the culprits, but making systems accountable and responsive to the public. The bureau has tried to produce the best possible results in curbing the menace of corruption by employing various tools like awareness, prevention, education and enforcement. It is well aware of the fact that policing alone cannot solve the problem of corruption. It also believes in the commitment of ownership by involving the civil society and public at large against corrupt practices. The feelings to inculcate among the masses against corruption are essential, as a part of awareness and preventive measures. So, NAB is now undergoing a process of revival and rejuvenation by enhancing its qualitative and quantitative strength to address this issue in an ef

One million signatures

Courtesy:- Ali Moeen Nawazish We are nearing the next elections. Many even say that this is election year. The agendas of all political parties are on the table. Some shout slogans of democracy, some of sacrifice, some of performance and some of eradicating corruption. Yet, a very important slogan still remains missing. The slogan of “Education for All” and “Right to Education”. Political parties, even those which claim to represent the youth of this country, will talk about everything except education. The coming years will lay a heavy focus on a knowledge economy. An economy built around innovation, skills and educated workforce. Too long has the youth yearned for someone to come and campaign for their problems. For someone to put it on their agenda. Amidst all the slogans of change by old and new parties and politicians, education has never been on the fore. A lot of stakeholders and different organizations have come together and decided that they will not wait any long