Showing posts from September, 2012

President’s address to the UNGA

Courtesy:- Mohammad Jamil President Asif Ali Zardari, during his address to the United Nations General Assembly, strongly condemned the blasphemous video that set off violent riots across the Muslim world, and called on the international community to ‘criminalise such acts’ as they tend to jeopardize the world peace. “I want to express the strongest condemnation for the acts of incitement of hate against the faith of 1.5 billion Muslims of the world and our beloved Prophet Mohammad (PBUH),” he told the UN General Assembly. He demanded of the international community that such material be banned worldwide. He also declared that his country had suffered enough in its fight against extremist terror and should not be asked to do more. “No country and no people have suffered more in the epic struggle against terrorism than Pakistan. To those who say we have not done enough, I say in all humility: Please do not insult the memory of our dead, and the pain of our living. Do not ask of my pe

India, Pakistan and CBMs

Courtesy:- Muhammad Zeeshan Hayat India and Pakistan the two major countries of South Asia shares history, culture and 1,800 miles long border but never enjoyed stable and healthy relations because of deeply rooted enmity which mainly emanates from ideological and religious differences which is fueled by a number of unresolved issues like Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and water issue, etc.

Indo-Pak peace process

Courtesy:-  Dr Raja Muhammad Khan Peace between India and Pakistan is the prerequisite for achieving stability and economic development in South Asia. In the past efforts were made at bilateral and multilateral levels to normalize the  relationship  between these key South Asian neighbours. Nevertheless, these attempts were limited to economic interactions, leaving aside the core political issues, which have always been the cause of instability in their bilateral  relationship . The strategic culture of animosity, the sense of insecurity and mistrust, and the divergent geopolitical interests of the great powers have kept hostage the peace process between India and Pakistan.  In the past, attempts of economic integration have not been effective in bringing both  countries  closer. The history of regional associations is testimony to the fact that without achieving political understanding, an environment of trust cannot be generated. The critical nature of the relationship  between I

Importance of special economic zones

Courtesy:-  S RAHMAN Now when we see the assent accorded to the parliament-adopted Special Economic Zones Bill 2012, by President Asif Zardari who signed the Bill during a special ceremony held at the Presidency on September 10 last, we are reminded of the advanced economic initiatives undertaken by the Islamabad regime with the objective of realising the higher economic goals with international co-operation.  People, who are well aware of the special economic zones project, opine that it is a major step towards enhancing business competitiveness in the country as it would help in reducing the cost of doing business and in also minimising the cost of production. The countries that have been able to enhance business competitiveness have made tremendous economic strides in the present-day international market. Being competitive is now number one priority of advanced economies. Pakistan is doing its best and taking all practicable and speedy measures to achieve this target and create a

Putin’s visit in context

Courtesy:- Tanvir Ahmad Khan   Furthermore, Pakistan’s efforts since the mid-1990s to reassure Moscow that it was not an implacable ideological foe were beginning to carry conviction. With inter-governmental consultations in Islamabad, the stage has been set for President Putin’s historic visit in early October. No less significantly, high-level contacts between military leaders of the two countries are under way. It is time to map the promising landscape in which bilateral and larger strategic considerations are converging. Given the troubled past, it is a new beginning where building blocks for long-term cooperation can come alike from bilateral benefits and from sharing a new perspective on changing regional and pan-Asian equations.

Managing economy

Courtesy:-  M A MALIK Economic management of an economy is the most arduous assignment - owing to the socio-economic complexities and the linkages of the economy with the outside world - that the modern governments have to handle. Development of economic, commercial and trade policies by the government, monetary policy choreographed by the central banks, and budgets are the tools that are employed for economic management. 

Judge SPLGO realistically

Courtesy:- S Rahman Lot of unjustified hue and cry about Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012 is being heard these days without anyone trying in earnest to evaluate the Ordinance on the yardstick of ground realities. Of course, the problem is that we talk much of ground realities but in fact, we turn totally shallow while confronted with any special situation. Take, for example, SPLGO 2012. For most of the time, it is being interpreted by some wiseacres in the light of misconceptions that owe their existence to the own ‘wisdom’. The main theory that is now being propounded with exceptional naiveté is that the SPLGO is a device being used to keep certain political parties or politicians away from the system of local self-government.

Freedom comes with responsibility

Courtesy:-  Malik Muhammad Ashraf Dr Robert Maynard Hutchison, the former vice-chancellor of Chicago University, headed the Hutchison Commission formed in the US in 1942 to make recommendations on the freedom of expression and media’s obligations towards society. It was in the backdrop of growing calls by the US public for government intervention to check the indiscretions of the media and attempts by it to avoid incisive government regulation. He remarked once, “Freedom comes with responsibility.” The report of the Commission submitted in 1947 is regarded as the Magna Carta of the modern concept of freedom of expression and media’s responsibilities towards society. It unequivocally emphasised the need for media to provide an accurate, truthful and comprehensive account of events; act as a forum for exchange of comment and criticism; present and clarify the goals and values of society, and make sure that it projects a representative picture of the constituent groups of society. The

Pakistan Navy’s shelling of Dwarka

Courtesy:-  Khalid Khokhar Since partition of the sub-continent in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought four armed conflicts, in 1947, 1965, 1971 (which led to the establishment of Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan) and the 1999 Kargil clash. In 1965, India and Pakistan fought their second of three major wars from the issues arising from the control of Kashmir. This un-declared war broke out on August 15, 1965 and lasted until a UN-brokered cease-fire on September 22, 1965. The war was inconclusive, costing the two sides a combined 7,000 human casualties but gaining them little.

Some welcome progress

Courtesy:- I.A Rehman THE latest round of India-Pakistan ministerial-level parleys reminds one of the element of niggardliness in the subcontinent’s culture that has given currency to quite a few sayings about the reluctant offerings of goat milk. Given the state of relations between the two subcontinental neighbours, their foreign ministers did try to make the best of the ritual. Mr Krishna’s observations were laced with honeyed homilies and Ms Khar generously used the term ‘centric’ combined with various modifiers, perhaps to dispel the impression that the thinking of Pakistan’s top authorities is India-centric.

Liberalizing visa regime

Courtesy:-  A Rashid Liberalization of visa regime between India and Pakistan in spite of the atmosphere of secrecy which has drawn an iron curtain in the relations of two countries, is a revolutionary development, by all counts. We have been trying all kinds of belligerent means to solve our problems with India for decades. When, at the end of the day, the reality dawns that only peaceful exercise is likely to lend positive results, we started harping on the litany of solution of Kashmir and other major problems. 

Flight from reality

Courtesy:- Dr Maleeha Lodhi September 11, 2012 The two greatest threats to the country’s democratic consolidation come from a floundering economy and deepening voter cynicism that the coming election can bring any improvement in national conditions. Although the economic danger is of a different order and far more consequential, stagnant politics can also undermine the country’s democracy. Leaders of the ruling coalition however, seem less interested in addressing these risks than in casting an activist judiciary as the destabilising force. The judiciary has undoubtedly been in hyperactive mode. At times it has been injudicious in using its newfound power to launch into areas arguably beyond its domain. Despite this, it has often stepped into a vacuum created by weaknesses in the formal structures of executive accountability and by a lack of governance. Its main thrust however has been in trying to anchor Pakistan’s democracy in the rule of law and ensure that holders of power

Zardari reverting Pakistan to Quaid’s vision

Courtesy:- Wajid Shamsul Hasan September 11, 2012 This year too — as has been in the past many — Founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s death anniversary falls at a time when the country he established to be a moderate, liberal, progressive and secular democratic state stands at a critical juncture. He wanted Pakistan to be an egalitarian society based on the foundations of Islamic social justice and welfare of the people irrespective of their caste, creed or gender. Mr Jinnah’s ideological vision as enshrined in Pakistan’s raison d’être envisaged by him to serve as a role model for other Muslim countries is being challenged by obscurantist forces that had opposed the establishment of a separate Muslim homeland. These retrogressive forces have found powerful bed-mates in those elements that believe in the sustenance of status quo and are opposed to empowerment of people. President Asif Ali Zardari who has completed successfully four years of his presidency

The Gayari disaster - A victory amid devastation

Courtesy:-  Najeeb Amer Gul It was spring night on 6th of April, and business as usual in Siachen. As the full moon appeared on horizon, the vast snowy floor of Siachen sparkled brighter than a classic daylight in the plains. As the calm and peaceful night progressed, the chill got agonizingly harsh for the soldiers. Dressed in warm attire, especially designed for high altitudes, the sentries that stood in open felt their bones frozen. Those tucked in sleeping bags inside their bunkers were also restless and twitchy; a tiny hole in their bunkers would offset the heat of oil stoves that burnt all night. As the night grew deeper, all sectors were passing on hourly report of “All OK” to the headquarters. It was business as usual at Siachen.

The men of steel

Courtesy:-    Samson Simon Sharaf The early birds had not yet begun to chirp. The church bells were ringing at the Catholic Cathedral, Lawrence Road, Lahore, and the voice of the Muezzin echoing through the speakers of Al-Shams Mosque next door. It was the early morning of September 6, 1965. Suddenly, there was an interruption in the mosque public address system. India had attacked and Pakistan was at war! We boarders of St. Anthony’s were the first group of Lahoris to be wide awake as India crossed into Pakistan; their destination; a victory gala at Gymkhana the same evening with champagne and whisky. The party never came to pass and the Indian invasion was halted and rolled back by the blood of martyrs that soiled Pakistan. This is how I kept describing the war in 1965 in my articles as a 12-year old child. Heroism, valour and calls beyond the call of duty were what moulded our young minds to become combaters in Pakistan’s armed forces.  But as we grew, trained, read and learnt, r

In remembrance of 1965 War

Courtesy:- Shamsa Ishfaq The Pakistani nation will be celebrating 47th Defence Day of Pakistan on 6th September with enthusiasm. The defence day marked the September 1965 War and the valiant defence put up by the armed forces against Indian aggression. It was during 1965 War with India when Pakistan armed forces and its people proved that it’s not the size that matters but the courage and devotion to duty and cause. Forty-seven years back on September 6, Indian army crossed the Wagah border and moved towards Lahore, despite assurances at international forums that it would not cross international borders. This attack touched off the second Indo-Pakistan war. It was the moment when Pakistan Armed Forces and the people of Pakistan stood united in defence of the country and presented exemplary display of chivalry, courage and gallantry against their enemy. In the war of 1965 especially our brave and fearless Armed Forces exhibited exemplary discipline and spirit of sacrifice in de

Commemorating the best moment

Courtesy:-  Malik M Ashraf Pakistan and India have fought four wars since independence. Three of them over  Kashmir ; an unfinished agenda of the partition. The 1965 war between the two countries was arguably the best moment in our  national  history from two perspectives. One was the universally acknowledged valour and determination with which our armed forces fought the four times bigger enemy and thwarted its nefarious design to capture Lahore and other cities of Pakistan and the other was an unprecedented and impregnable  national  unity with which  the nation  backed the war effort. 

Safeguarding minorities rights

Courtesy:- Asmaar Bilal Mushtaq Sheikh  It is good to note that the minorities in general and members of Hindu community in particular have been assured at the highest level of the President of Pakistan that they would be provided full protection and their constitutional rights safeguarded. According to the reports in the media, President Asif Ali Zardari reiterated the government’s firm commitment in this regard while receiving the report of the Parliamentary Committee he had set up last month to visit various districts of Sindh, meet members of the Hindu committee and present a report about their grievances to him. The Committee Chairman Senator Maula Bux Chandio along with other members presented the report to the President in Karachi.

Zardari’s political wisdom

Courtesy:- Munir Ahmed Khan   Being a man of vision, he has bravely faced all the challenges that came his way and fought his political rivals with such a sagacity, deep insight, broad vision and unwavering resolve that even his opponents are forced to admit that he is the true successor of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the best politician of Pakistan. The most effective weapon through which he has conquered his political opponents during the last four years is his politics of reconciliation. Of course, he is none other than the President of Pakistan and the Co-Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party – Asif Ali Zardari.

Credit goes to Zardari

Courtesy:- M A MALIK On September 4, 2012 President Asif Ali Zardari is completing four years of his five-year mandated term as head of the state, which is a fairly long period to conduct an appraisal of his achievements both as head of the state and as co-chairman of the ruling PPP. An objective evaluation in this regard would necessitate a scrutinising glance at them in relation to the challenges that the country was confronted with when he and his party were saddled with the responsibility to steer it out of the troubled waters. 

Flawed Afghan road map

Courtesy:- Dr Maleeha Lodhi Plans are underway to convene a ministerial-level meeting of ‘Core Group’ countries – Pakistan, US and Afghanistan – on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York later this month. Other than reiterate previous declarations this trilateral meeting will do little to advance prospects of finding a negotiated end to the long running war in Afghanistan. For this to happen, the present US emphasis on a tactical military campaign has to decisively shift to a political strategy that can establish a meaningful peace process. But there is little sign of this given the dynamics of the American presidential election, only two months away now.

Misuse of the blasphemy law

Courtesy:-    Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive subject. No Muslim of even the weakest faith can condone the defiling of the sacred name of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) or the Holy Quran. But blasphemy is an issue that does require extreme care in its handling. The case of Rimsha, a minor Christian girl suffering from Down’s syndrome  accused of blasphemy , should be a watershed for the country’s blasphemy laws. The fact that Rimsha’s entire neighbourhood has fled their homes fearing a backlash from the local Muslims needs investigation. Khalid Jadoon Chishti, who eyewitnesses told the local police had added pages of the Holy Quran to a bag containing the burnt material, should be thoroughly probed as well.