Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
editorial Dedicated to the legacy of the late Hameed Nizami
Arif Nizami Editor
Chief News Editor
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Balochistan’s cabinet paralysis G
Medievalism that refuses to go away
OOD that Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has been able to cajole Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and his disgruntled PML-N lot out of their resignations, but a working, more enduring arrangement will not be stitched together until the prime minister steps in and reins in his provincial chief. Balochistan already has more than its fair share of problems – killings, lawlessness, official incompetence, and even sectarian genocide. And a paralysed cabinet is the last thing it needs. Besides, the PM knows as well as Nawab Zehri, of course, the real reason for the fallout. Sure, Nawab sahib must have been unhappy about the way the National Party was handing out development projects and making bureaucratic appointments. But the tussle at play is of a more tribal nature. The majority party comprises the
traditional hierarchy, the nawabs and sardars, while the ruling party – centre-left doctors and lawyers – is where middle classes have gathered to pretend they are relevant. For the old guard, letting this working class lot run the province not only threatens the structure that has allowed them to play gods for decades, it is also a personal insult. And even if talking-it-out has evened things out for now, this cycle will continue until there is a firm order from above. At stake is more than the prestige of a sitting government. For too long, Balochistan has been among fringes where the official machinery has remained the weakest. And all the time feudal and tribal chiefs have chosen how to spend the money and who to bless with most important bureaucratic positions, the province has become home to problems it might never be able to overcome, certainly not with
more of the same. And now that that the trend is showing the slightest signs of changing, the government should note it as a landmark opportunity, and strengthen common working peoples’ stake in official decisions. Perhaps this is the most natural and humane death this old cruel system should suffer. Balochistan needs the PM’s immediate and direct attention. Instead of breaking down the government, he should press his party to monitor official corruption and hold the NP to account whenever it oversteps the line. he should also learn from the previous government’s example, that allowed the old ways, and the people continued to suffer for it. The province is already simmering with rebellion. Alienating people advocating progress will only fuel more revolt, and an important opportunity would have gone abegging. g
Rise of extremism in Sindh
Need to check it, and now
he wave of extremism in the country continues to be on the rise rise and has even engulfed Sindh which was once considered a bastion of Sufism and moderate Islam. Unlike the Punjab which saw widespread riots in1947, Sindh remained calm and there was only a marginal transfer of population from the urban areas. An incident of violence in Karachi instigated by some of the refugees coming from India drew strong reaction from Jinnah who told them ‘not (to) abuse the hospitality that has been extended to them.’ Jinnah ordered Sindh government to take ‘the severest possible measures’ against the offenders and ‘deal with them sternly and ruthlessly’. The Pak-India wars, and a stream of refugees from Indian regions with a history of hindu Muslim rioting exacerbated tensions between communities. extremist tendencies also received a boost from school text books prepared in the Zia period which falsified history, preached hatred against non-Muslims and inculcated extremist thinking. The mushrooming of Salafi madrassas to train the jihadis further contributed to the spread of extremism and religious bigotry in Sindh . Incidents of violence on the part of the extremists, unheard of in the past, are becoming too common in Sindh. During the last several months numerous devotees have been killed inside shrines in Karachi and interior Sindh. In November last year a cleric died while 15 people were injured
in a sectarian clash in Shahdadkot. Terrorists fired by Salafi propaganda have bombed religious rallies, shrines and spiritual personalities. During the last three years several complaints have emerged from the hindu community regarding the abduction of their girls and their forced conversion. This in turn has led to migrations of several hindu families to India. Last week a mob attacked a hindu temple and burnt down a Dharamsala because a member of the community had allegedly set on fire pages of the Koran. The tendency in members of the majority community to launch indiscriminate reprisals instead of taking recourse to law has been tolerated too long by the governments not only in Sindh but also Punjab. Consequently there is an increase in lawlessness in the country. It is time the politicians realize the dangers to the country’s integrity posed by extremist thinking. Nawaz Sharif has to realise that unless extremist tendencies are checked, the fight against terrorism is bound to fail. extremist thinking is an unending source of supply of fresh recruits to the terrorist networks. It is imperative to take long and short term measures to discourage extremism and promote moderation. Among the short term measures is dealing with those involved in discriminate attacks sternly and ruthlessly, as Jinnah had ordered. The long term measures require a thorough de-radicalisation of the text books and keeping under watch the sources of funding for the madrassas. g
Noticing these rapes, Mr CM? Put the government’s muscle where its mouth is
rANTeD, Amina bibi’s self-immolation got the chief minister to fly his TV cameras to Muzaffargarh, hold public court of sorts, suspend police officers, promise severe punishments, etc. But, other than making the odd PSP officer sit home, with pay, as he manoeuvres through the bureaucracy’s corruption which, incidentally, reports to the CM himself, what really changes? Not the rapes. reports of the crime are increasing throughout the province, and since photo-ops have clearly failed to deter eager offenders, it is time the provincial government takes up the issue more seriously. Perhaps it is really societies not governments that are responsible for such blatant rise in crimes like rape. remember the uproar in India last year, when the Delhi rape and murder brought thousands to the streets, and the country to a standstill? And while, of course, it will take a lot more than such show of collective disgust to root out this evil, as subsequent events in India proved, it is still important for the people to draw the line for the government. Our streets, sadly, fill for judges, politicians, and sportsmen, but people just do not make a show of force for the people themselves. And the reasons are more deep-rooted and psychological than across the border, and this is where the CM’s office will have to come up with a workable strategy.
At the root of this tolerance for crimes like rape is the deliberately inferior position accorded to women in Muslim societies in general. And the reason for such preferences is another deliberate concoction, political use of religion at the expense of regressive social spillovers. But there is no shortage of progressive liberals in the province our CM oversees, and his government will have to make efforts to moblise this forwardlooking bloc to combat adherents of a criminal tribal mindset advocating honour killings, woman oppression, etc. Yet while Mr Sharif is unable to deliver even on justice delivery – rapists repeatedly allowed to walk free – there can be little hope of solutions that require more out of the box thinking. Perhaps he will fly to Muzaffargarh again if his promises are kept, even if only to make sure others, specifically the police department, will move more promptly to prevent such crimes where possible in future, and deal with others with an iron hand. But till such a time, Mr Sharif will have to go out of his way put Punjab’s corrupt, insincere and ineffective police force in order, and then join hands with elements that will fight to keep this country secular and progressive. Both issues can no longer be brushed under the carpet. Take note of these rapes please, Mr CM, and put the government’s muscle where its mouth is. g
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A seminar on South Asian women entrepreneurs was held recently at the Avari in Lahore. The chief minister was the chief guest and some notables were also present. What was absent was talk on women entrepreneurs. The trade body mandarin running the show spent some time blowing his own trumpet. Only to be followed by his praise of the chief minister, his older brother (you might have heard of him) and a former MNA, a lady who was also present. g
********** The eBay of the subcontinent, OLX, has plenty of interesting stuff going around. But recently, there have been some rather interesting items on sale. No, nothing carnal; those exchanges are the realm of Craigslist, though attempts have been made on OLX. No, the items in question are those tear-jerkingly expensive ladies’ handbags. Apparently there are ladies – who aren’t doing all too well financially or maybe aren’t doing too bad but inflation has gotten to them – who want to divest themselves off their luxury bags. Many upwardly mobile ladies are flocking to the website to catch a good deal for themselves. Some trickster has got to get in the game and make money off knockoffs. Perhaps even the items being sold by the ladies themselves were, unbeknownst to them, fake as well. g
A day for introspection Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
Let us reset our course and reclaim the Republic Day ARiF nizAMi
The writer is Editor, Pakistan Today.
HE Pakistan Day was originally meant to commemorate the country becoming a democratic republic in 1956. But democracy was nipped in the bud when soon after in 1958 Gen Ayub Khan trampled over the nascent constitution. Since then instead of the Republic Day, March 23 is celebrated as the Pakistan Day – to observe the passage of the Lahore Resolution. Despite the advent of democracy this national holiday is still celebrated as Pakistan Day. Pakistan is a functioning democracy without intervention or interruption since 2008. Hence March 23 should mark the return of democracy and semblance of constitutionalism in the country rather than merely to commemorate passing of the Pakistan Resolution. In a country where there is nothing much else to cheer about, its people enjoying fruits of civil liberties, free speech and the right to elect their own government calls for a celebration. Admittedly the civil and military oligarchs that have ruled since independence have consistently deprived the people of Pakistan of their economic rights. Today should be the day for introspection, to judge where did we go wrong. Almost half the time since its inception Pakistan has been under military or quasi-military rule. Even most of the rest of the period
has been spent in keeping either the Bonapartists at bay or the civilian dispensation straitjacketing itself by remaining on the straight and narrow as defined by the brass. This is not to say that our civilian leadership is blameless for the present state of affairs. In fact our politicians mostly belonging to the feudal elite have left no stone unturned to loot national wealth and to trample over the rights of the common man. Developmental issues have never been their priority. No wonder over the years Pakistan has become a national security nuclear state with abysmal social indicators Only in recent years a culture of accommodation and tolerance amongst the ruling elite has been nurtured. Hitherto whomsoever was in power left no stone
‘Unless the ruling elites evolve a consensus on pressing problems faced by the people, supremacy of democracy will be nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory.’ unturned to emasculate institutions to satisfy the perennial urge to self- perpetuate. In this context, the biggest bane for the country has been the rampant use of religion in virtually every field of life. Ironically those who had opposed the creation of Pakistan in the name of Islam became the vanguard of ‘Islam is in danger’ brigade. The situation has come to such a pass that not only the so-called protectors of faith are prosecuting religious minorities with impunity; sectarian divide amongst Muslims is taking a very heavy toll as well. Ironically in a country whose founder was a paragon of tolerance successive rulers both military and civilian have shown no qualms in bending the law to kowtow to the
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A wake up call Where the Sindh, once the land of sufis and saints, is heading towards? Events of targeting religious minorities and sectarian opponents in last few months are not indicative of a sudden and one-time phenomenon. It’s a gradual change happening over the last few decades, now ultimately defacing the land of a peaceloving plural society. Unchecked establishment of hundreds of sectarian based religious seminaries all across the province is now bearing its unholy fruits.
‘The civil and military oligarchs that have ruled since independence have consistently deprived the people of Pakistan of their economic rights. Today should be the day for introspection, to judge where did we go wrong.’ obscurantist in abundance amongst our folds. Only recently the small Hindu minority was not spared from the ire and wrath of the zealots to prevent it from observing Holi. The sad part is the very few politicians – including the ruling PML-N lot – had the moral decency to condemn the damning trend. Not only the leadership but even as a nation we have become desensitized to the plight of the persecuted Ahmedis and Shias. It no longer bothers us. With the barbarians literally knocking at our gates to say that religion should be a private affair is asking for too much. The embryonic negotiations with the Taliban are to address their primary demand for ‘Nifaz e Shariat’ (implementation of Shariah) of their brand. The government’s narrative is that the 1973 constitution powered with the Objective Resolution gurtantees shariat in the country. The recent edicts of the mullah heading the Islamic Ideology Council declaring child marriages and polygamy as true Islam in this day and age almost sounds pathetic. What is the need of such a Council when a vibrant parliament buttressed by independent higher judiciary exists to interpret Islam and make laws? The exponential increase in the Saudi influence, especially since the advent of the present government, does not augur well for the prospect of inculcating enlightened values in the polity. The recent $1.5 billion economic dole out by the Kingdom has generated a debate about the nature of the strings attached.
Though still in minority, we have a number of people who believe in waging jihad against minorities in every form — forcibly converting Hindu girls to Islam, digging out buried Hindu corpses, attacking on dhramshala and mandir to take revenge against alleged blasphemy. I wonder the way charged mobs gather in minutes while feeling no guilt in attacking and destroying minorities’ properties and businesses shall be enough for anyone to desist from blasphemy, let alone doing it in presence of eye witnesses. It proves the point that most of the blasphemy charges are intentionally framed to settle personal score, economically destroying the business opponents, occupying vacated properties and such other ulterior motives. The ruling party, PPP’s chairman Bilawal Bhutto’s tweet condemns the recent attack on Hindu property in Larkana. Yes, condemnation, but then what? PPP needs to wake up from deep-sleep, the Sindh province is getting out of its hands as religious extremist elements are becoming stronger by day, a phenomena South Punjab has already witnessed and now suffering without any cure.
The government insists there are none – and it’s just a gift to Nawaz Sharif! Thankfully the prime minister has categorically denied any plans to send troops to Saudi Arabia or Bahrain. In the real world however there is no such thing as a free lunch. In the aftermath of Gen Zia ul Haq’s Afghan jihad and Musharraf’s embracing the West post 9/11, what is in store for the hapless nation this time? Certainly not enlightened Islam! Criminal lack of planning on the part of our leadership is at the expense of future generations. The Tharparker famine is just one manifestation of the fact that Pakistan is now officially a water scarce country. On this count without a concerted plan things are not going to get better but worse with time. Minister of planning and development Ahsan Iqbal has rightly warned that internal and external water threats need to be addressed urgently. The minister laments that under the Indus Water Treaty inflows in Eastern Rivers from India are on the decline. There is a lot of talk of India damming up what is perceived as Pakistan’s share under the Indus Water Treaty. However the fact remains that Pakistan has not been able to dissuade its recalcitrant neighbour from illegally using the water as upper riparian. Our efforts to resolve the issue through international arbitration have also come to naught. But we cannot blame India for not optimally using available water resources. Inflows from the Indus
This week police arrested three Hindus in Badin for writing a Muslim name by using Holi colours and pigments. No one has witnessed this happening, but an allegation on the behest of a prayer leader is sufficient for police to arrest the youth. Can we expect PPP to come forward and see what’s happening in its last bastion in the country? MASOOD KHAN Jubail, Saudi Arab
Flight MH 270 I am surprised and shocked at the manner in which US media is sensationalising a human tragedy, involving lives of 239 souls. Any accident where an aircraft is not located for such a long time can definitely be declared missing with a 99.9% surety that a fatal crash has occurred with no survivors. The cause of crash could either be alluded to ‘unauthorised illegal entry’ into cockpit of a terrorist, or an aircraft ‘multi-system failure’. We don’t know as to what led to the failure of emergency locator installed on
River under our control are being wasted away into the sea just because our squabbling politicians cannot evolve a consensus on how to share them. We are told that Kalabagh Dam cannot be built owing to lack of consensus. Unfortunately thanks to mishandling by the rulers as well as the so-called experts this mega project is somehow perceived as a diabolical plan by the Punjabi ruling elite to usurp the share of smaller provinces. It is estimated that about 35 MAF (million acre feet) of water falls into the Arabian Sea without any advantage to us. What a waste it is can be judged by the
‘Pakistan has the highest growth rate in producing missiles and babies, but at the same time has one of the lowest economic growth rates. Our outlays on health and education as percentage of the GDP are dismal.’ fact that presently seven dams’ collective storage capacity is now only 13 MAF. A section of the media, especially some bleeding heart liberals, have played no small role in opposing construction of big dams (read Kalabagh Dam) in the name of saving the environment. According to their jaundiced thinking saving the mangroves of Sindh is more important than the children of Tharparker. Unless the ruling elites evolve a consensus on pressing problems faced by the people, supremacy of democracy will be nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory. Reset of priorities by the civilian and military leadership is the need of the hour. g
B777, which is required to transmit its geographical location through a satellite in case of a crash in sea to help recover the aircraft or its debris, and lack of possible backup systems. Every aircraft in post 9/11 era is fitted with enforced cockpit entry doors that can only be opened through digital code pressed by authorised cabin crew, with pilots having the final authority to either open the door or keep it closed. It is the responsibility of the airline operator or state regulatory authority to enforce strict discipline by giving exemplary punishments such as dismissal/license cancellation, if door is left open or an unauthorised person is allowed entry into the cockpit. Airlines are required to carry out routine periodic psychiatric evaluations, medical fitness and proficiency checks of pilots, which MAS must be doing. Media must give time to investigators to focus on task assigned instead of indulging in speculations and adding to woes of next of kin of those unfortunate passengers. MALIK TARIQ ALI Texas, USA www.pakistantoday.com.pk 03
C M YK
Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
Rupee strikes back myth versus reality
HaSSan Y S
HeN the finance minister was under the spotlight, and headlines were written about the rupee’s free fall just a few months ago, it was indeed inconceivable that he may actually come back and prove everyone wrong by making the rupee rise against dollar. even the most ardent of minister’s fan was not expecting the dollar to lose its glitter and slide with such comfortable ease. Whatever, he actually did deliver or is there something else to credit for the miraculous recovery and the inconceivable dollar drop. Why did rupee shed its value against dollar in the first place? Briefly we make our rupee attractive using short and long term economic levers. If the economy is doing well, Rupee is a darling, and if the economy is struggling then its value drops against other currencies mainly dollars. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) which will through its mechanism ‘manage’ the rupee depreciation wants to keep rupee competitive and not attractive. In order to understand whether the current trend is sustainable or not, it is important to understand why the rupee did not recover so spectacularly a few months or some years ago? Rupee needs to devalue against the currencies and it is only natural it should do so – why? The possible reasons are listed below. IMF wanted devaluation Pakistan has been a frequent visitor of the ImF for fixing its current account deficits, and cash-starved economy. The ImF loans are arranged or renegotiated when either a political government is exiting or a new one is swearing in, and the reasons are equally interesting. The terms of these loans are frontloaded and have forced the government complaining and groaning in private at the way Fund forces these conditions. one of the most important conditions is
“Exchange rates must reflect competitiveness and productivity of the economy. In short, a rise in currency value must be earned and not designed.” DR HAFIZ PASHA FORMER FINANCE MINISTER
ome weeks back the finance minister advised people not to hoard dollars because he would bring the dollar-rupee parity to Rs98 from the then prevailing at almost Rs107. He was not taken seriously because he did not explain how he was going to do it. Well, he has done it. The dollar did fall to Rs98 before climbing back to Rs102 but the finance minister says it will stay at
tight fiscal discipline, and achieving export targets. The Fund wants exports to grow, at the expense of other economic variables. These exports bring revenues and pays for the fund’s installments. The Fund has been a regular savoir or option of last resort since late 1987s and so when the government opted for the Fund they exactly knew what was stored in for us. Hence the rupee depreciation few months ago was exactly what funds wanted political government to do, that being to make sure that the rupee depreciated enough to make exports competitive against regional players, i.e. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam etc. Flight of capital Few months ago, Pakistan economy witnessed an outflow of nearly $25 million plus a day, on occasions $60 million a day, from Pakistan. According to SBP sources, the flight ran into staggering $9 billion a year. Economic reasons The SBP also allowed the rupee devaluation few months unchecked which led it to fall as low as 110 against US dollar. Staggering inflation, interest rate drop, government apathy towards main economic problems, political crisis, swollen current account deficits, load shedding, law and order, paints a poor economic condition which led to Rupee depreciation. As a natural consequence rupee was shedding its shine and the depreciation was inevitable. Hence Rupee depreciated against Dollar and lost its ground few months ago. Why did rupee gain now? What has changed? How did rupee recover against the dollar? What are some of the reasons which led to the remarkable recovery and made shocking waves in the economic corridors? According to currency market sources, the rupee was driven by three key reasons apart from many others: Speculative trading Coupled with panic from the business community some who had parked their dollars to protect from any wide fluctuation started dumping their dollars causing widespread panic. There were rumors as to who’s who from the government was
involved for they want the dollar to drop below Rs100 mark. even when the dollar was trading at Rs103-04 mark there were widespread news of it dropping well below 99 mark, only to rise back again. Trip to Gulf did the trick There is also widespread rumour that the recent trip of the finance minister to the gulf region and some promises made on the diplomatic front regarding the Syrian confrontation also proved fruitful. The grapevine is the Saudis pumped dollar driven credit and deferred oil facility package for the U-turn Pakistan diplomatic front regarding Syrian support. The dollars coming from the gulf visit will go on to improve the foreign reserves. The word goes that finance minister is obsessed with the $11 billion reserves mark and considers it a milestone, once achieved the dollar will see rise yet against rupee. As per some, it will hardly make a dent in the long outstanding economic problems other than the fact that it will temporarily make the reserves look pretty. Why will this sustain? Will the Rupee hold its current level? The million dollar question: What is going to come next? The US debt ceiling is not going away coupled with the Ukrainian crisis and dollar index internationally is losing its value. Will the dollar stay below the Rs100 mark against the rupee? our analysis is based on the following reasons: Exports & the IMF loan conditionalities The ImF has been after the SBP, and finance ministry regarding devalued currency, and an export-oriented regime. The Fund will not like to see stronger rupee which hurts the exports and in turn affects government’s ability to pay off the short term ImF installments every quarter. The ImF wants to see a cheaper rupee. Period. And the government would not want to take on the Fund on this issue. Political pressure exporters will start pressurizing the present government through different trade bodies, forums to allow Rupee devalue in comparison with regional trading
competitors like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam etc. Needless to highlight that the exporter community generate tax revenue and support budgetary fiscal deficit. Trade bodies like APTmA and Sialkot export bodies and rice export associations, would like a weaker rupee especially compared to regional currencies and a favorable tax refund government policy. According to sources, many members of the community are at odds with the way finance ministry has been handling their concerns, and may lash out on this issue alone. In short the export community may form a formidable group and have political, social influence over the government – stronger Rupee is going to go down well. Regional currencies & trading partners: Case for devaluation Needless to get into technicalities, but simply, cheaper rupee makes economic sense. It is not possible for exports to grow, amidst a strong currency and regional trading partners. In pure economic terms, rupee may not be able to hold its current values and may soon undergo devaluation. Conclusion It will not hold for long and rupee may lose ground to dollar. Word of Caution The legend of rupee will last as long as it is stable. If the government plans to carry such short term measure to make it look good, it may soon find it will do so at the expense of losing credibility of the rupee. Whatever the future holds, rupee holds its current levels or dollar loses, it is not interest of the government to make rupee drop and rise like a yoyo and that too at such a pace as it did recently. It will soon realize that its credibility will be hurt the most and with it government may also expose the currency to ruthless speculator groups which will ruin its stability and ability to stand for something strong and solid. Some feel that instead of opting for devaluation, is it a good time to check current account deficit, Tax to GDP ratio, budget deficit, government expenditure and encourage public private partnership models and so on. g
The rise in currency value has been earned and not designed Rs98 while most people believe it will hover at just about Rs100. No one really understands how this was done and almost everyone questions its sustainability – everyone except the finance minister. While announcing a reduction of almost Rs800 billion in the foreign debt the finance minister made some more glad tidings. He said that $400 million was expected under the Coalition Support Fund payments in April and a whopping $1.6 billion over the next four quarters. He announced the formation of a Pakistan Development Fund (PDF) for development projects and predicted that it would grow to $20 billion over the next four years. A mysterious $1.5 billion grant has already come into the PDF, only now it has become
‘The news is good and hopes are high but the inherent fragility in the entire arrangement cannot be ignored.’ evident, from Saudi Arabia leading to speculation about what Pakistan has to do in return. Is this the return of the Friends of Pakistan format? The ImF has said good things too – like a growth rate of over 3.3 per cent from the present 2.8 figure. The finance minister is looking at 4.5 per cent this year and eventually 6 per cent GDP growth and a 13 per cent tax to GDP ratio with the fiscal deficit moving from 8.6 to six per cent this
year, to five next year and four the year after that. Remittances are up at $10.24 billion from 9.23 – an 11 per cent increase. It is true that the KSe index hit 27000. Forex reserves are $9.52 billion (commercial and central bank) and predicted to be $10 billion soon and $20 billion in three years. exports are stated to have grown by 6.6 per cent and agricultural credits have gone from Rs336 billion to Rs380 billion and large scale manufacturing has grown by 13.2 per cent. Inflation linked to CPI has been reduced to 8.6 per cent and likely to be maintained at 8.5 per cent. Tax collection is also up. Inflows are expected from the eurobond launch and the sale of 3/4G. The GSP+ concession is also helping. If all this is put together then
the conclusion is that the rise in currency value has been earned and not designed. Some question marks remain. Have we really saved Rs800 billion on the foreign debt or does this figure need to be rationalized? If inflation is going to go down to between seven and eight per cent then will this lead to reduction in power tariffs and prices of petrol and diesel? Will the fall in rupee value of imports lead to a reduction in revenue collection? And what impact will this reduction have? Will there be any negative impact of a strengthened rupee? experts are analyzing these and other ramifications but most important are the internal security indicators in the country because that is of paramount importance for any sustainable growth in the economy. So far, the news is good and hopes are high but the inherent fragility in the entire arrangement cannot be ignored. g Spearhead Analyses are collaborative efforts and not attributable to a single individual. Website: www.spearheadresearch.org
C M YK
Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
Language matters no perfect fit, While israelis and americans simply see this language as descriptive of “givens”, palestinians see them as loaded and biased terms that serve to mask injustice Washington Watch
Dr James J Zogby
The writer is President, Arab American Institute, Washington.
HIle reviewing polling data on Israeli and Palestinian attitudes toward the current US-led peace effort, what comes through quite clearly is not just the obvious disconnect between the views of both groups, but the extent to which this disconnect is driven by the Israeli-centric language used in framing many of the issues covered in these polls. The same is true of US policy discussions about the prospects for middle east peace. For example, when American commentators and analysts present the issues to be addressed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they often use terms and accept assumptions that, simply because they have been used so often, have come to be seen as part of the natural order of things. I am speaking of terms like “settlement blocs”, “land swaps”, “incitement”, references to “Jerusalem neighborhoods”, and “the Jewish state”. While Israelis and Americans simply see this language as descriptive of “givens”, Palestinians see them as loaded and biased terms that serve to mask injustice. And then when Palestinians reject these terms and assumptions, it is unfairly interpreted as evidence of their lack of commitment to peace.
‘Palestinians, especially those whose lands have been confiscated to make way for a settlement, the idea of “land swap” is nothing more than a term designed to legitimate what is illegitimate.’ Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as much recently when he noted that Palestinians “said this week that they will never recognize a Jewish state and will never give up the right of return... I will not bring an agreement that would not cancel the right of return and the Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state. These are basic justified conditions as far as the state of Israel is concerned.” Netanyahu concluded that because the Palestinians would not accept his terms, they are “showing no sign that they intend to reach a practical and just agreement.” In other words, in Netanyahu’s mind “if you want peace you will accept my terms and assumptions and reject your own. If you insist on adhering to your own narrative and reality, then you aren’t serious about peace.” In this same vein, look at another generally accepted element of any discussion of the IsraeliPalestinian peace process – namely, that Israeli “settlement blocs” in the West Bank are now “accepted realities” which Israel will retain in any peace agreement and in exchange for keeping these blocs Israel will provide “land swaps” to the new Palestinian state. This notion of a “trade-off” is no longer even de-
bated. It has become a “given” with all that remains to be decided being how many “blocs” will Israel insist on retaining and how much (and which) land will they offer as a swap. This notion of a trade may sound logical and fair to Israelis and Americans, but to many Palestinians, especially those whose lands have been confiscated to make way for a settlement, the idea of “land swap” is nothing more than a term designed to legitimate what is illegitimate. Take the example of the Israeli settlement of Har Homa. It was built 15 years ago on land Israel confiscated from Bethlehemites over the strenuous objections of then President Bill Clinton. As a result of this Israeli colony and a string of other similar settlements that Israel has built on Bethlehem’s land, that little city can’t grow and is cut off from Jerusalem. By now 17,000 Israelis live in Har Homa and Palestinians are asked to see the settlement as an “accepted reality.” In return for this injustice, Palestinians are to be offered a “land swap” somewhere else. But the land that will be swapped does nothing for Bethlehem or the families who lost their land, nor does it resolve the injustice done to an entire community by severing their physical connection to Jerusalem. To them, it’s not fair. It amounts to rewarding land theft and violations of international law. multiply this story by the hundreds of villages and towns who have had land confiscated for settlements, roads, or the “barrier/wall”, and the magnitude of the sense of injustice becomes clear. For Palestinians, the bottom line here is that Israel decides what’s a “given”. They decide what they keep and what they swap. All the Palestinians can do is say “no” – in which case they are portrayed as “hostile to peace.” Then there’s oft-used term “neighborhoods” to describe the settlements in what the Israelis call “Greater Jerusalem”. Using “neighborhood” instead of “colony illegally built on occupied and confiscated land” may convey a cozy “down-home” image to Americans, but to Palestinians the monstrous concrete settlements that snake up and down the hills around Jerusalem and surround and strangle a dozen tiny ancient Arab villages represent an ugly story of dispossession and denial of rights. Finally, Netanyahu’s charge that Palestinians are engaged in incitement is another example of Israeli control of the terms of discussion. There are, to be sure, outrageous statements that have been made by Palestinian political and religious leaders, but incitement is not just a Palestinian issue. Partners in Netanyahu’s own government have called Palestinians “strangers” and called for their expulsion from their lands; major Israeli religious leaders have called Palestinians “snakes” and “cockroaches” and argued that because they are not Jews and have no souls that the biblical injunction “Thou shalt not kill” doesn’t apply to them; there’s also the tolerated shrine to the Jewish terrorist who massacred two dozen Arab worshipers in a Hebron mosque; the settlers who, with impunity, strike out against Palestinian farms, shops, and homes; and more. The reality is that while it is almost never acknowledged as such, “incitement” is a two-way street and should not be reduced, as it has been, to a club to be wielded by Israel and the US Congress over the heads of the Palestinian Authority. Now I don’t know what magic tricks President obama or Secretary of State Kerry have up their sleeves. We are getting close to the deadline when Kerry will put a framework document on the table to guide Israelis and Palestinians through the next phase of the peace process. I think that we can be reasonably certain that in framing the proposal, attention will be paid to avoiding language that will be insensitive to Israelis. We should also insist that in shaping US proposal, care will be shown not to frame its language in ways that will immediately be rejected by Palestinians as unjust and insensitive to their needs, as well. g
but one choice Modi’s rise is precisely because he represents decisive government that generated economic rewards for Gujarat out of turn
The writer is a leading Indian journalist and author. He is the Editor-in-Chief of The Sunday Guardian. He has also served as Editorial Director of India Today.
ormer prime minister P.V. Narasimha rao used to tell a story about the presidential election of 1982. mrs Indira Gandhi was back in power with an amazing victory after the traumatic defeat of 1977. The choice was in her gift. At the top of every conventional list was rao; the outsider was Giani Zail Singh, her earthy home minister. on the eve of decision-day, rao set off on some obscure foreign tour. A surprised Giani told rao that surely this was the wrong time to leave Delhi. rao replied: If mrs Gandhi wanted him, she would summon him back from Timbuktoo or Iceland. If she didn’t, he might be sitting in her drawing room and she would not see him. Those who have rushed to Delhi for party tickets might find this tale instructive. There is some luck involved, of course, for politics is a human business, and where there is human destiny there will be stars and birth charts. But the substantive reality is that the process is less personal than even seasoned supplicants suppose. The basic question does not change: who can win? But the answer does. It is dynamic, and roams across multiple options to rest upon the most useful signal to an electorate, mainly at micro level, which is the constituency demographic; and sometimes at the macro, which is the larger mix in national space. There is no perfect fit. But there can be only one candidate in a seat. If Narendra modi, who is delivering for BJP in spades, can face questions over a nomination from Uttar Pradesh, surely no candidature can be considered etched in stone. For BJP, the central message of 2014 has two principal elements: a credible promise to lift India’s economy out of the doldrums of paralysis, and the assurance that it will be an inclusive force that reaches out to all segments of the nation. This is the necessary evolution from popularity to governance. Popularity is possible from negative factors, like rage against an existing establishment; but governance is fashioned by a positive agenda. You are elected by most of the people; you rule for all the people.
Narendra modi’s popularity is no longer in question. Those interested in trends more than personalities need go no further than check the migratory patterns of politicians this year. The flock is moving, piecemeal but unerringly, largely towards BJP. Congress is frozen at the centre, while it cracks across the rim. even senior Congressmen like P Chidambaram can hear the bell toll, and are reluctant to contest from personal bastions. Five years ago, they would have swatted away any ambitious interloper; this year, sons are being offered for rite-of-passage sacrifice so that the seat remains within the family fold in 2019. other leaders are looking for safer seats in a market that does not have any. Some ministers are busy doing their farewell vanity interviews. A few realistic ones are trudging to their constituencies, aware that their chances range from nil to zero. In a Congress state like Haryana half the mPs do not want to contest again. Perhaps they have double-checked with bookies, who have to put their money where their assessments are. They are placing the Congress tally in double digits. The only states where the demand for Congress nominations is enthusiastic are Kerala and Assam, although the latter is going to be tougher than the party reckons. The reason is uncomplicated. In every corner of the country, including those where BJP has no chance, there is a tremendous thirst for a functioning government. This cuts across traditional divides such as caste. The only voters still apprehensive of BJP are muslims, but most muslims too are as utterly tired as anyone else of the ineffective mirage that was Congress-led UPA. Indians have paid a huge price for vacuous administration. every loss of one per cent in economic growth added crores of Indians to the misery index. According to one estimate, UPA has rejected or stalled some 750 infrastructure projects. Convert that into number of jobs aborted, and you can begin to gauge the street mood. modi’s rise is precisely because he represents decisive government that generated economic rewards for Gujarat. When modi talks of a hundred new cities that will need new, job-fertile steel plants and cement factories, or when he talks of 24-hour electricity, it makes sense because he has delivered. Governance now comes with an adjective: stable. Non-BJP fronts have collapsed before construction. And when stand-alone Arvind Kejriwal threatens to send journalists to jail, and denies his remarks despite video evidence, then he has lost composure because he is losing support. Narendra modi has sorted out the queues of voters for this general election; but he still has to sort out the queue for tickets. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk 05
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Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
The pathology of power A Bosnian account FArhAd MirzA
he muffled news reports of the recent protests in Bosnia and herzegovina have been received by the european spectrum with a typical anxiety concerning the potential for ethnic violence in the Balkans. hugely participated and occasionally violent, these demonstrations first took spark in February, when workers in the north-eastern city of Tuzla came out on to the streets in significant numbers. From there, the wildfire of discontent caught on to all the other main urban centres in Bosnia (mostly within the Federation), and beyond (with demonstrations in the Serbian-majority city of Banja Luka, as well as in Zagreb). Starting off as an indignant critique of the critical economic situation faced by Bosnian citizens (youth unemployment is at over 60%, and the average salary at the lowest in the region), the protests were further flanked by a broader dispute over the country’s dysfunctional institutional setting. Almost twenty years after the Dayton Peace Agreements, the supposed ethnic guarantees provided by the two entities within which the country has been divided (Federation of Bih and Republika Srpska), together with the fragmentation and malfunctioning of the municipal entities have proved a catastrophic lack of coordination between the state’s economic institutions. however, this “institutional” focus diverts attention from the issues at stake on ground level, as concisely presented by the citizen’s plenum assemblies. While the eU is already hinting towards a diplomatic, if not a military intervention to prevent the situation from escalating towards the route of an ethnic conflict, it is necessary to once again look at the local level, and understand why the phantom menace of ethnic clashes is closer to europe’s obsession with Star Wars, than it is to reality. Once a prominent industrial town, Tuzla has been at the heart of Yugoslavia’s mining and manufacturing production. The breakup of Tito’s Federation, followed by a civil war that was gravely mismanaged by international forces, brought together a ruthless process of privatisation and deindustrialisation, sided with issues of corruption at almost all levels. Tuzla’s working class has been historically characterised by a legacy of positive inter-ethnic relations going back as far as the Austro-hungarian period, and
subsequently solidified by its leftwing, pro-Yugoslav tradition – which renders superfluous, even today the talk of “ethnic coexistence”. The city’s collective memory as a (non-ethnic) unicum, together with its still strong Yugoslav identity finds its codification in the survival of a rather solid working-class identity. And it’s no coincidence that the “spark” from which “the fire flared up” has precisely been lit by Tuzla’s workers, protesting against the failed privatisation of many of the city’s main industries, and claiming back their unpaid salaries, pensions and healthcare. Workers’ and citizens’ movements across the country quickly internalised theses claims, and began a series of protests questioning the mismanagement of economic resources at large. Political elites and governmental institutions have been rightfully held accountable for the failure of economic reforms. hence, the very structure of governmental and institutional “three-entities” framework has been widely questioned.
There is, therefore, a direct link between the economic issues at stake and the arguments for a longterm institutional renovation, and it doesn’t take an expert to notice that. however, when looking at the immediate reactions among the Jedis of eU diplomacy, they seem to stick to their processed and digested understandings of “the Balkans”. Not only “the Balkans” are a powder keg of never-soothed ethnic tensions, but also their peoples are somehow stuck in a never-ending process of inexplicable trauma-recovery. A widespread paranoia for a return to uncontrollable ethnic tensions is precisely what’s moving eU diplomats towards diplomatic, if not yet military, intervention. According to Stefan Fuele, eU enlargement Commissioner, “The european Commission will focus on new initiatives to promote better economic governance, a national economic reform program and action to tackle the country’s […] unemployment”. What the Commission does not specify is exactly what has led people to take to the streets: how will these reforms be carried out, and towards which model? The eU has already provided a striking and straightforward example of its economic programmes for stability; Greece is not far from Bosnia, neither temporally nor spatially. What is more insulting, however, is the philanthropic attitude of it all. The eU is the carrier of the “white-man’s burden” in its economic mission, but it is
also determined to provide emotional support to the still traumatised Bosnian population. The continuing recurrence of themes of genocide and ethnic cleansing are bound to evoke an idea of a permanently traumatised population. The by-product of this discourse is the pathologisation of an entire population, which, as a consequence, requires permanent and close assistance to overcome its own traumatic past. It seems that the unspeakable horrors of the events in Sarajevo, from the 1990s way back to 1914 have crystallised europe’s collective memory on a faded snapshot of Bosnia as a suffering nation. even now, when Bosnia makes it to foreign newspapers, is usually through the lens of a traumatised body of people on which we can still see the scars of an imposed unity. Only in this way can we be reminded – on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – of the evils of their socialist past. even here in Pakistan, a country that once considered itself inseparable from the plight of Bosnian Muslims, these recent protests have not received any coverage at all. To this day, Bosnia is reduced to superficial mentions in religious sermons and drawingroom conversations about global conspiracies. It is seldom invoked without the talk of the violence it endured in the 1990s. Back then, Bosnia was used as Pakistan’s poster-nation in its expeditions in Indian-held Kashmir, calling on all Muslims to
fight back against of ethnic operation. however, somewhere along the line, Bosnia ceased to be a political orphan in desperate need of help, and took a more nuanced position between imposed narratives, and in doing so, it has now become an irksome candidate for imperial molestations. Bosnia has been displayed as a symbol of socialist failure, as an example of the global oppression of Muslims, and now as an irrelevant and pitiful country, incapable of overcoming its traumatic past without being shepherded by its proxy ‘allies’. The uprising there is a fight back, not only against 20 years of imposed political and economic failures, but this interventionist attitude as well. Bosnians are now refusing to be typecast as victims of their own nature, and have realised that behind the Jedis of neoliberalism, there is a whole ‘empire of evil’. g Anna Calori is a PhD student at the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on the experience and understanding of economic transformation in the former Yugoslavia from a variety of transnational, national and local perspectives. Farhad Mirza is a literary critic and freelance journalist from Lahore. Previously based in London, his work spans across a range of topics, from immigration policies of European states to minority issues in Pakistan.
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Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
english as ‘mother’ tongue Employing the English language as the preferred medium of education in a society such as ours is counter-productive Syyeda Farhat Batool The writer is a multiple Master’s degree holder from Pakistan and the UK, specialising in education and teaching. Her present research interest is: Sustainable innovation in the field of education in developing countries.
edium of instruction plays a vital role in the educational progression of the learners. extensive research by educational psychologists like Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky emphasizes the close link between mother tongue and emotional and cognitive development in children. When learning is disseminated in the mother tongue/first language, it’s easier for the learners to grasp the concepts and build their own intellectual skills. uNeSCO also recognises that children perform better if early education is in their first/native language. education in the vernacular language empowers the learners by increasing their prospects of understanding and assimilating the knowledge. The quality of education is improved as the learners can concentrate on the subject matter rather than struggling to familiarize themselves with an alien language. Their creativity and critical thinking abilities are enhanced and it becomes easier for them to express themselves effectively.
‘The quality of teaching and learning in the schools cannot be improved only by switching the medium of instruction unless the necessary pre-requisite structural and pedagogical arrangements are made.’ Teaching young children in a foreign language which they are unable to comprehend is tantamount to psychological torture. The children are unable to appreciate the content of the lesson because of the language barrier and lose their interest. it dampens their natural curiosity of to explore and learn and makes them feel stupid. it adds a burden on them by compelling them to grapple with new concepts in a language they don’t understand. As a result, if any learning takes place, it is surface learning through repetition and memorization. Teaching in an alien language promotes ‘rote’ learning and kills the much needed creative thinking and critical reasoning skills which are considered to be a vital aspect of modern curriculum. in most parts of the world basic learning for children is in their first language. However in Pakistan we are so obsessed with english that we consider it as an efficacious solution to all our problems. in 2010-2011, the government of Punjab declared about 60,000 government schools in the province as ‘english medium’. Lately, the PTi government in KPK has followed suit by announcing a phased-in conversion to english medium, in sharp contrast to their education policy unveiled in February 2013
in which they vowed to make native language/urdu the medium of instruction. The quality of teaching and learning in the schools cannot be improved only by switching the medium of instruction unless the necessary pre-requisite structural and pedagogical arrangements are made. The weakness in this kind of plan is that teachers are required to teach in a language they are neither well versed in nor do they have the required training to teach in. it is like throwing all the students and teachers at the deeper end – immersing them in a quagmire to fend for themselves. Reviewing student performance over 25 years (1981-2005) Khalid and Khan discovered some striking information: ‘Students who got through all other subjects but failed in english were 54 percent at secondary, 60 percent at higher secondary and 70 percent at graduate level’. This data reveals that a large number of students in Pakistan have good knowledge of other subjects but are weak in english. What would be the rate of passing and more importantly, the level of learning, if all the subjects are taught in english is anybody’s guess. This data also highlights the fact that
‘Teaching young children in a foreign language which they are unable to comprehend is tantamount to psychological torture. The children are unable to appreciate the content of the lesson because of the language barrier and lose their interest. It dampens their natural curiosity of to explore and learn and makes them feel stupid.’
‘As a result, if any learning takes place, it is surface learning through repetition and memorization. Teaching in an alien language promotes ‘rote’ learning and kills the much needed creative thinking and critical reasoning skills which are considered to be a vital aspect of modern curriculum.’ there is something seriously and inherently wrong with the way english is taught and assessed in the educational institutions. The government of Punjab under the Punjab education and english Language initiative (PeeLi) aims to provide high quality education in english to all the children enrolled in primary and middle schools in Punjab by 2018. However, according to the PeeLi report, the english language skills of the faculty teaching in these schools are a serious cause of concern. The language skills of the teachers in 18 districts of Punjab were tested in 2008 using British Council’s language testing system. The result was not encouraging. The report says: ‘The level of english of those teachers who completed the test is very low, both in public and private schools. 62 per cent of private school teachers and 56 per cent of government school teachers registered scores in the Aptis test that places them in the CeFR level of AO. This means they lack even the basic knowledge of english, including the ability to understand and use familiar everyday expressions and simple phrases. in all, 94 per cent of teachers in english medium schools have only preintermediate level english or lower’. The report further comments that:
‘These findings are obviously most relevant to english instruction, and suggest that Punjab’s teachers are ill-equipped to deliver the new english medium policy, but they may also point to deficiencies in the overall teaching quality. ‘if teachers are incapable of instructing their pupils in english, this is likely to have a dual effect – first by preventing children from becoming proficient in english, and second by impeding their learning of content in other subjects’. No one can deny the importance of english language in the modern world. english is a language of international communication, transnational trade and commerce and academic research. But why can’t we just teach/learn english as a second language? Why do we insist on adopting english as the medium of instruction and
‘This data reveals that a large number of students in Pakistan have good knowledge of other subjects but are weak in English. What would be the rate of passing and more importantly, the level of learning, if all the subjects are taught in English is anybody’s guess.’ teach all subjects in english in our country? This scribe is of the opinion that instead of changing the entire curriculum to english we need to revamp the english curriculum. english should be taught as a second language with special emphasis on receptive skills like reading and listening (with comprehension), and expressive skills like writing and speaking. We can borrow ideas from other countries and tailor them to our needs. Schools can invest in technology and employ qualified teachers to teach english online. This way teachers living in big cities of Pakistan or abroad can teach children even in remote villages. A similar experiment called ‘granny cloud’ has been successfully tried in india where retired school teachers nicknamed ‘grannies’ living in the uK are teaching english to groups of school children in indian villages on Skype. Similarly, instead of arranging six-day or 12-day crash courses for all the teachers like the Punjab government did (assuming language can be learned in such a short span of time), only english teachers should be trained in TeSOL (Teaching english to the Speakers of Other Languages) and TeFL (Teaching english as a Foreign Language). if all the students are taught english effectively in schools as a compulsory language for 10 years, their chances of becoming proficient in the language will be greatly enhanced by the time they graduate from school and get admission in college. moreover, they’ll not be compelled to cram other subjects by rote and will be able to learn them with better appreciation. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk 07
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cover story: fAir price for treAson?
Musharraf – fallen before the fall? Who isn’t fed up with the one-time strongman?
Aziz-ud-din AhMAd The writer is a political analyst and a former academic.
n case Musharraf’s prosecution does not reach its logical end, this would definitely promote Bonapartist tendencies in the army. While interviewing nawaz Sharif last year Indian journalist Karan Thapar had asked him if he would sanction a treason trial against Musharraf. Sharif’s reply was “That is not a crime that I can forgive, I think the nation will have to decide as to what the nation wants against him and then it will be left to the judiciary and judges to try and to decide”. Any wincing now would indicate to all and sundry that the PMLn leadership lacks spine. The government has all the support that it needs to see the trial through. The PML-n enjoys absolute majority in the national Assembly. Its government has further strengthened its position by acquiring the support of several coalition partners. Leaving aside two miniscule and ineffective parliamentary groups comprising MQM and PML-Q, the rest of the opposition that includes PPP and PTI is strongly supportive of Musharraf’s trial. The ruling party will not face any meaningful opposition in Parliament in case it stands behind the court while it passes an independent judgment. The Supreme Court under former CJ had affirmed unflinching support for democracy. It had made it clear again and again that the chances of the imposition of martial law had been ‘‘blocked once and for all” and judiciary was not ready to provide room to any adventurer. As former CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry put it, “Those days are over when people feared that something would happen overnight.” The Supreme Court under CJ Gillani has kept the legacy alive. It has taken up suo
motu notice of the missing persons case and the delay in Local Bodies elections. In January the SC threw out Musharraf’s review plea against the historic 2009 ruling. This was widely seen as an attempt by the SC to once again shut the doors for adventurism. The judiciary is aware that under military rule it would lose the independence that it enjoys in a democratic system. It is inconceivable under the circumstances that the apex court would allow any military overthrow. With unanimity between the administration and judiciary the PML-n need not develop cold feet about any presumed clash of the institutions. . Musharraf enjoys no public support. Despite all the efforts and funds spent by the APML the former dictator’s supporters have failed to put up any significant show of force. The people would welcome the verdict delivered against Musharraf by the court.
Musharraf enjoys little goodwill among servicemen, whether in uniform or retired. Only a handful of ex-servicemen have come out in his support and they are widely known for being the beneficiaries of the dictator’s rule. Former General Aslam Beg and Lt Gen (r) Chishti have understandably condemned the insulting bevaiour of some of the lawyers opposed to Musharraf, but neither objected to the trial. The military leadership is unhappy with Musharraf for returning to Pakistan in disregard of its advice. Out of sheer foolhardiness the former military ruler insisted on facing the courts. The subsequent lack of nerve shown by the former military ruler has been a constant source of embarrassment for the army. Cowardice is not appreciated by army anywhere in the world. Musharraf’s behaviour since his house arrest must have
caused embarrassment to the army. Musharraf’s escapade from Islamabad High Court after orders of his arrest in April last year was an unseemly episode. So were the indirect appeals to army to come to his rescue. The way a panic stricken ex strong man rushed to the AFIC feigning a heart ailment instead of facing the court must have dismayed many who expected valour from a former COAS. The attempt by Musharraf to deliver a tele-address to a gathering of supporters who waited for the speech in a Lahore hotel was foiled by the AFIC management which indicated its unhappiness over the so called patient using the hospital premises for political activities. In January Defence Secretary Lt General (r) Asif Yasin Malik explained the army’s position on Musharraf’s trial. The army, he said, had no interest in the case. Indirectly expressing dissatisfaction with Musharraf’s insistence on seeking treatment abroad, he maintained that the AFIC was considered one of the best hospitals in the world for cardiac treatment. “The former president should be satisfied with the treatment he is receiving at the AFIC.” Mushrraf enjoys little goodwill among servicemen, whether in uniform or retired. Only a handful of ex-servicemen have come out in his support and they are widely known for being the beneficiaries of the dictator’s rule. Former General Aslam Beg and Lt Gen (r) Chishti have understandably condemned the insulting bevaiour of some of the lawyers opposed to Musharraf, but neither objected to the trial. The two major ex-servicemen organisations, Ex-Servicemen Society (PESS) with Lt Gen (r) Hamid Gul as president and Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association (PESA) led by Lt Gen(r) Ali Kuli Khan, have rejected Musharraf’s claims of support within the army. The two former generals said in a joint statement that Musharraf was trying to implicate the army as an abettor of high treason for ulterior motives. The army had no role in his violation of Article 6 and the members of PESS and PESA considered declaration of emergency and sacking of judges as acts for which Musharraf alone is responsible.
While there is little possibility of any clash of institutions in this case, the government should get the provincial assemblies and parliament pass resolutions in support of the ongoing trial. The Senate had already called for Musharraf’s trial before the matter was taken up by the court. Keeping in view the composition of the National Assembly passing a similar resolution would just be a cakewalk. Musharraf’s unrealistic hopes for support from the US, Britain and Saudi Arabia have been dashed to the ground. Washington is known for ditching stooges after they have lost their utility. For the West Musharraf is a non-entity now. Moreover it badly needs the PML-n government’s support during and after the departure of nATO troops from Afghanistan. The Saudis, too, need Sharif’s help in pursuing their peculiar agenda in the Gulf region. none is in a position to put pressure on Sharif for the sake of a fallen dictator who is of little use to them now. The government has not proceeded with the trial as it had promised earlier. While there is little possibility of any clash of institutions in this case, the government should get the provincial assemblies and parliament pass resolutions in support of the ongoing trial. The Senate had already called for Musharraf’s trial before the matter was taken up by the court. Keeping in view the composition of the national Assembly passing a similar resolution would just be a cakewalk. The PML-n made a wrong move in the Punjab Assembly by seeking the passage of a resolution that the opposition thought was more in praise of the PML-n government than in support of the ongoing trial. Had it associated the PPP and PTI in the formulation of the resolution, it would have been passed with a thundering majority in all the four assemblies. g
Muslim liberalism in retreat Militaries, too, in unprecedented drift to the right
The writer is chief analyst at PoliTact, a Washington-based futurist advisory firm (www.PoliTact.com). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter at: @ArifAnsar
S societies in the Islamic world undergo rapid transition, their institutions of governance are being pushed to adjust. Some of the major causes of this high flux are, for example, the campaign against extremists and the Arab
Spring. These, obviously, have got intertwined with demographic patterns and the consequences of environmental change. At the same time, it’s not appropriate to use the word ‘Islamic world’ as each Muslim state has its own system of governance and peculiarities. For instance, monarchs mostly rule the Arab world. Pakistan has had both military and political leaders. Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, the country has evolved its own system. Some circumstances of Egypt look very similar to Pakistan, especially when it comes to the involvement of the military in politics and security policies of the country and the region. In addition to the internal dynamics of these nations, the interests and influences of global powers have also historically exerted tremendous sway on various institutions of governance. The societal balance Any given society is represented by different schools of thoughts, often taking the form of ideologies. These various expressions, often known as liberalism, socialism, nationalism,
and conservatism, represent pathways through which individuals, ethnicities and nations attempt to adapt and present their response to the constantly changing environment around them. However, the important thing to consider is what exactly is perceived as causing change, because that has an influence on the type of response that is formulated. In this context, PoliTact has noted in previous analyses that the prevailing ground situation in Pakistan has caused the political space for liberals to shrink considerably, as nationalists and different brands of conservatives are gaining ground. This obviously has implications for the future politics of the country. It was also noted that this trend is not unique to Pakistan and the same is occurring in the Middle East. Interplay of nationalists with socialists, liberals, and conservative forces Since the end of World War II, liberals, socialists, nationalists, and conservatives in the Arab world have had their ups and downs. For
the most part, their political maneuvering was the outcome of tensions between the socialist and capitalist models that were playing out globally. For example, it resulted in the creation of the Arab Socialist Baath Party in 1947, a coming together of nationalist and socialist forces against western imperialism that called for Arab unification. It later split into Iraqi and Syrian factions. These same influences were also acting out in Egypt, causing Gamal Abdul nasser to play a leading role in the formation of the non-Aligned movement and nationalisation of the Suez Canal Company. Generally, nationalists in the Arab world were more accepting of socialist influences. The conservatives, on the other hand, have had an uncomfortable political existence. They were looked upon with distrust, as waiting in hiding for their chance to revive the khilafat. This in turn impacted the strategies of nationalists, who exploited the fear of global powers from the conservatives. This pattern continued in the post 9/11 environment. In case of Pakistan, since its creation, nationalists
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Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
Not much for Musharraf to choose from there is only one decision the former president can really make
shAhAb JAfry The writer is a Lahore-based journalist and can be reached at email@example.com
Ar31 will mark a turning point in Gen Musharraf’s trial. Yet even as his time to face charges or arrest draws near, little has changed about the noise surrounding the case. The government still claims upholding the law and constitution, Musharraf’s legal team openly denounces the trial as politically motivated, and there are conflicting analyses about the army’s position, especially whether failure to show on Mar31 might provoke a clash of institutions. All this time, however, the former president’s options have grown thin. It is now clear that he will not be tried in a military court, nor allowed to visit his mother in Dubai. It is equally clear that the court will not entertain his legal team’s arguments about security anymore. And the arrest threat seemingly implies that he will walk to the court himself on Mar 31, or be arrested and presented forcefully at the next hearing. So will he appear? But it is still not clear if he will appear. His lawyers have recently admitted the no-show strategy was deliberate, despite the long AFIC episode, and health and treatment issues. And they refuse to budge on whether that strategy might have
run its course. “We will cross the Mar 31 bridge when we get to it”, said Musharraf’s counsel Chaudhry Faisal. “The warrant was not an unexpected development, this trial has been unfair since the beginning”. This discontent stems, according to Musharraf’s team, form the blatant vindictive nature of the case. The Judges clearly show former CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry’s bias against the former president. And the government’s decision to try him for the nov3 emergency instead of the Oct22 coup also reflects duplicity. But the government counters that this unprecedented case is its best contribution to democracy yet, and sources close to the nleadership are convinced the former general will appear on Mar31. In private conversations they seem confident the army will not go out on a limb for him. The military understands, they claim, that desperation might push him to trigger a clash of institutions by not going on the 31st. The police will have to arrest him from the AFIC. And while dragging him to prison is not a possibility, having the facility declared another sub jail, like his farmhouse, will force the army to play a reactionary role. All things considered, n’s inner circle believes, the general is on his own. History teaches us Yet even as Musharraf’s popularity, and significance, drops to an all time low, the degree of the n-team’s conviction, especially regarding the military’s position, is not shared by many. “History teaches us that such landmark cases must always be based on justice”, said Khurshid Kasuri, foreign minister in Gen Musharraf’s presidency and senior
have remained closely linked with liberal forces. 1979 represents a watershed year; religion got introduced by the way of a revolution in Iran and jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Since the 80s, nationalists have shifted towards conservatives and 9/11 further escalated this societal drift. new ground realities dictate that nationalists in the Arab world and Pakistan, who previously swirled around socialist and liberal forces, now formulate their approach around conservative political agendas. The army’s role The institution of the military has usually played a pivotal role in balancing these different influences, and continues to in places like Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan. The armed forces of these countries have stood as the bastion of secular influence. In Turkey, the army was the protector of the secularism adopted under Ataturk. In Egypt and Pakistan, it usually choreographs the liberal, socialist and conservative responses, preventing them from getting significantly out of line from what would be acceptable globally. However, as referenced above: due to the war on terror, corruption, and lack of governance, the political landscape is changing considerably. Then there is the ideology of Ikhwan-ulMuslemeen that over the years has spread throughout the Islamic world, including Pakistan. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) influenced parties in Pakistan have been part of numerous political coalitions but have never formed a national government. Their agenda
It is now clear that he will not be tried in a military court, nor allowed to visit his mother in Dubai. It is equally clear that the court will not entertain his legal team’s arguments about security anymore. And the arrest threat seemingly implies that he will walk to the court himself on Mar 31, or be arrested and presented forcefully at the next hearing.
side if the official narrative seemed one based on demands of justice”. Some observers have also criticised Musharraf’s high-profile legal team for complicating his case. Their in-court antics have, on occasion, brought embarrassment to him. But it seems all this time they have been playing for time. And however much they tried to call the court’s integrity into question, their efforts have so far failed to spark popular concern that two institutions, executive and judiciary, might be trying one man for treason, which carries the death
leader with the PTI. “If you must really set a precedent, then justice must be the only concern, otherwise it will look like political targetting”. Since the government’s official argument for initiating this trial was setting a precedent that does not allow subversion of the constitution again, Kasuri also believes it would have been more prudent to try Musharraf for the Oct 12 coup. That is because high profile trials that prove politically motivated do not set precedents, rather create more controversy, like the Bhutto trial, which was never accepted as fair. “And even if they could adequately explain why they didn’t consider the ’99 coup, they should have involved everybody in the nov 3 emergency decision for justice to be delivered”, he added. “It seems the government miscalculated on many occasions, especially on the military’s position. Perhaps it would have been easier to have the army on its
has been exploited the conservative and Generally, nationalists in the Arab more, and their Islamic outlook as leaders have allowed the military has world were more accepting of this to happen on retreated over the socialist influences. The more than one years and came to conservatives, on the other hand, occasion, with a accept the parallel loss of supremacy of the have had an uncomfortable political legitimacy. political leadership, existence. They were looked upon However, in which it had to earn. with distrust, as waiting in hiding for Egypt a different Pakistan seems to be story has played out. taking on a similar their chance to revive the khilafat. After decades of transformation, and struggle and years of this is now amply persecution at the visible in the hands of the state, MB finally gained enough ongoing negotiations with the Taliban. The backing to form the government. Though just government is trying its best to avoid a military after a year in power, Mohamed Mursi’s operation in north Waziristan and use government was overthrown by actions backed moderate Islamists to bring extremist elements by the military. The scary thing is it’s not just into the mainstream. It’s the complete opposite Egypt but the whole region that is of the approach the Egyptians have adopted. demonstrating societal imbalances and an Western outlook inability to peacefully resolve the Keeping intact the moderate outlook of the disequilibrium between secular, nationalist, Egyptian military is of utmost importance conservative, and religious influences. when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian In essence, the hard line taken by the conflict and the expanding Syrian quagmire. Egyptian military is now pushing moderate Israel and US rely on Egyptian intelligence to Islamists to join hands with extremist forces. If manage the complex MB, Hamas, and Fatah they do, the Egyptian military will be able to dynamics. In the aftermath of military action not only justify the extension of its harsh in Egypt, Gaza based Salafi groups have tactics but its role in governance. nonetheless, reportedly declared jihad against the Egyptian this could potentially turn into a bigger military, which is increasingly facing attacks in backlash against the military. the Sinai Peninsula. This volatile situation The evolution of civil-military relations in could escalate leading to the closure of the Turkey provides an interesting parallel. In Suez Canal. Just like Egypt, the moderate Turkey, the civilian government has taken on posture of Pakistan’s military is of critical
Gen Musharraf was known to have a ‘Napoleonic failing’ during his time in power – the folly of fighting on multiple fronts at the same time. He was, often at the same time, busy with fights in FATA, Balochistan, Islamabad (Lal Masjid), against the judiciary, and the media, not to mention keeping political opponents in exile. penalty, out of personal enmity. Gen Musharraf was known to have a ‘napoleonic failing’ during his time in power – the folly of fighting on multiple fronts at the same time. He was, often at the same time, busy with fights in FATA, Balochistan, Islamabad (Lal Masjid), against the judiciary, and the media, not to mention keeping political opponents in exile. It may well be that some players of those days are now ganging up against the former strongman purely out of revenge. But that means that even those closest to him during the good days now seem to have abandoned him. His former King’s party chief and (briefly) Prime Minister Ch Shujaat perhaps described the main reason for this dilemma best when he said the former president was simply “heavy baggage”. He has only one front to fight on this time though, and only one of two decisions to make on Mar 31 – whether to go on his own, or be taken by force. g
significance, especially because of its nuclear arsenal. Moreover, as US withdraws from Afghanistan, it is essential that it keeps a check on extremist forces that could threaten increasing western economic interests in India. In essence, to tackle extremists, emerging nATO strategies are depending on these militaries to prevent the balance shift from moderate Islamists to extremists, keep a check on non-state actors, and at the same time maintain its own moderate outlook. However, whether it’s the military or the civilian government of these Muslim nations, they have to incorporate the ground reality. If the military overreaches, like it has in Egypt, it could itself become the target. On the other hand, if the civilian government goes overboard in representing the conservative and Islamist influences, it could face a reaction from the west and its own military. Even in Turkey, a nATO member, the secular outlook is in retreat. It is this dynamic that will likely continue to complicate civil-military relations. Aggravating the situation is the fragile economic situation of particularly Egypt and Pakistan. While in the past, the west could offer big financial and military incentives; it is no longer in a position to do so. The military itself is under threat as it adjusts to societal changes discussed above. Furthermore, the emergence of new global power centers such as China and russia means that these militaries can no longer be relied upon to continue providing the liberal outlook the west has desired, and this presents unique challenges for the future. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk
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RemembeRIng KhuShwAnT SIngh
Tributes to Khushwant Singh
uthor, journalist and commentator Khushwant Singh, known for his witty, fearless and acerbic writings, died at the age of 99 in New Delhi on thursday afternoon. the author died quietly at home at his leafy Sujan Singh Park apartment, a landmark for oldtimers of the capital, in whose construction his grandfather, Sir Sujan Singh, had a big hand. Khushwant Singh was predeceased by his wife Kawal and is survived by son rahul and daughter Mala. Singh was cremated at Lodhi crematorium on thursday. his son rahul Singh, a journalist and writer, said the author had stopped writing a few weeks back, but he was reading papers every morning. “he was alert mentally till the very end,” rahul said. “he passed away very peacefully, led a very full life,” he added, reported IANS. Khushwant shrugged off intellectual trappings and promoted jokes in a way that no other writer had ever done before him, or since. he ruled the literary pages with his satirical take on contemporary issues but attracted controversy over what his critics called his obsession with writing on sex. Khushwant Singh’s father, Sir Sobha Singh, was a civil contractor and a prominent builder of Lutyens’ Delhi. the internationally acclaimed author was nominated to the rajya Sabha by the government under late Indira Gandhi. he was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1986. he began his dealings with media as information officer of the
government of India in toronto and Canada and was Press attache and public officer for the high commission in the united Kingdom and the embassy in Ireland in 1948-50. Khushwant Singh started his writing career with Yojana, the planning commission’s journal which he founded and edited. A recipient of Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour, Khushwant Singh authored some internationally renowned books like Train to Pakistan, I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale, A History of the Sikhs, The Company of Women and Delhi, and has written over 30 novels, many short stories, essays and countless commentaries. he was close to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi but then fell out with her over her imposition of press censorship during her emergency rule 1975-77. the relationship further soured
after he became close to estranged daughter-in-law Maneka Gandhi, whom he mentored for some time. In 2002, the author candidly wrote about his life, family history and his relationship with politicians in the autobiography “Truth, Love and a Little Malice”. In 1974, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, but he returned the award in 1984 in protest against the army siege of the Golden temple of the Sikhs in Amritsar. Born in hadali, now in Pakistan, he had, among others, served as the editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India, where his column, “With malice towards one and all”, flagged with the bulb symbol with his caricature inside, made him an iconic figure. he was also editor of The Hindustan Times and National Herald. the country’s most prolific author, nicknamed King Leer for
his legendary roving eye, was a household name. Known for his colourful writings, sharp sense of humour and love for the good life, his writings weren’t just limited to novels and short stories, Khushwant Singh oeuvre ranged from political commentary to contemporary satire. “he was a gentle person and a great admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother teresa. he believed in good thought and good deed. he hated hypocrisy and fundamentalism,” rahul said. he was also a member of the rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1986. Known for his humour, Singh took lots of digs at his community. his works ranged from political commentary and contemporary satire to outstanding translations of Sikh religious texts, urdu poetry and a number of novels. Born into a well-off family, he initially practised law in Lahore. But partition was the trigger for him to change professions. “I loathed the law. I thought I can’t waste my entire life living off other people’s quarrels,” he said. After coming to New Delhi, where his father became a prosperous property developer, he entered the diplomatic service in 1947 but soon tired of this and became a journalist and writer. his philandering fame was mainly self-cultivated and he looked after his wife devotedly until she died of Alzheimer’s disease in her mid-80s. But a rakish reputation could still get him into trouble even late in life. In 2001 he triggered diplomatic uproar when he pecked the Pakistani high Commissioner’s (ambassador’s) teenage daughter
on the cheek at a New Delhi party when tensions between India and Pakistan were high. the high commissioner was recalled to Islamabad to explain what was seen in some Pakistani circles as a lapse in propriety. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the nation in paying tributes to author and journalist. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Khushwant Singh a “gifted author, candid commentator and a dear friend who lived a truly creative life.” BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi also offered his condolences saying, “My condolences on the passing away of noted author & journalist Khushwant Singh. May his soul rest in peace.” Congress president Sonia Gandhi went to Khushwant Singh’s residence to pay her tributes. Calling him a remarkable man and a great writer, veteran journalist Mark tully said Kushwant Singh had a great sense of humour. “he never minced his words and was a courageous person. I remember once having dinner with him when he showed up his tremendous knowledge about urdu poetry. What a lovable man he was!” said tully. President M hamid Ansari, in a tribute, said: “Khushwant Singh had a long, prolific and illustrious literary career spanning several decades during which he wrote on subjects varying from politics to poetry to issues of social concern. “he was particularly admired for being fearless in expressing his views in his writing and speech.” g –India Today
RIP, KhuShwAnT SIngh: ReAcTIonS RIP, Khushwant Singh: Reactions the passing away of the legendary author Khushwant Singh today was condoled by imminent personalities in various fields, through twitter, Facebook and official statements alike. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today led the nation in paying tributes to noted author and journalist Khushwant Singh, who passed away today. the prime minister called him a “gifted author, candid commentator and a dear friend who lived a truly creative life.” Pranab Mukherjee, President of India I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of Shri Khushwant Singh. A prolific writer who made his mark in literature as well as journalism, Shri Singh will be remembered for his sharp insight and
unique wit, as well as sense of humour. Shri Singh’s writings delighted generations of readers and he was conferred several awards and national honours including the Padma Vibhushan. his contribution to the nation as a Member of Parliament was also noteworthy. A fearless intellectual and exceptional man, his sad demise leaves a vacuum difficult to fill. I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and his countless fans and admirers. I pray for peace of the departed soul. Hamid Ansari, Vice President I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family, his friends and admirers. I pray to the Almighty to give them strength and fortitude to bear their loss. Narendra Modi, BJP PM Candidate My condolences on the passing away of
noted author & journalist Khushwant Singh. May his soul rest in peace. Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP Mourning the passing of the irrepressible, inimitable Mr original himself. A great loss for the world of ideas&letters. Khushwant Singh rIP. Kiran Bedi, Retd IPS Officer I most fondly remember playing tennis with Mr Kushwant Singh.And his hearty laughter over certain shots! he played to enjoy and not compete! Mark Tully, Journalist he never minced his words and was a courageous person. I remember once having dinner with him when he showed up his tremendous knowledge about urdu poetry. What a lovable man he was! Barkha Dutt, Journalist Gutted to hear about the death of
Khushwant Singh. he was my mother’s editor, penned a beautiful obituary on her. A great man. My tributes. M.J. Akbar, Journalist I have this unreserved gratitude for him. I was a kid, 20-year-old in a newspaper, and he really picked us up from nothing. he gave us opprtunities which were undreamt of for any young person wanting to do anything. For him to recognise and bless you was virtually the hand of a benedict. Shobhaa De, Author Khushwant Singh. End of an era. only KS could say ‘there’s no condom for a pen. And prove it!’ Rajmohan Gandhi, AAP Candidate Apart from being a popular writer and utterly fearless man, what I found unusual in him, very rare in others was his great desire to build other people. he was always praising
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Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
Khushwant Singh with his book which was a compilation of essays and profiles.
here lies one who spared neither man nor god: Khushwant’s epitaph for himself Khushwant Singh, who passed away on thursday, wanted to be remembered as someone who made people smile and wrote his own epitaph some years ago in which he described himself as one “who spared neither man nor God”. In Khushwantnama: The Lessons of My Life, released last year, Mr. Singh had wrote, “on Independence day, 2012, I turned 98, being aware of my state of health, I know that I will not write another book... the truth is that I want to die. I have lived long enough.” he wrote he had done everything he wanted to do. “I would like to be remembered as someone who made people smile. A few years ago, I wrote my own epitaph: ‘here lies one who spared neither man nor God; Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod; Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun; thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.” Mr. Singh had presented the first copy of Khushwantnama: The Lessons of My Life last year to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur, to whom he dedicated the book. In the book, published by Penguin, Mr. Singh, who has over the years enlightened and outraged his readers in equal measure be it with his humour or his sharp insights and observations, reflects on a life lived fully and the lessons it taught him. the author offered his views on subjects as diverse as old age and the fear of death; on the joy of sex, the pleasures of poetry and the importance of laughter; on how to cope with retirement and live a long, happy and healthy life. g –The Hindu
new authors, giving time to them. he was frank in his verdicts. to think Delhi, the world of literature and newspapers will be without him is a very very hard thought to accept! Vir Das, Actor We lost a national treasure in every sense of the word today. Go out and get a #KhushwantSingh book. It just might change your life. E Ahamed, IUML Leader As a journalist and writer he always stood for strengthening secularism and was a frontline soldier in the battle against fanaticism and fascism. Apart from his contributions as author, journalist and commentator, Singh would be remembered as a strong defender of secular values. Harsha Bhogle, Cricket Commentator So khushwant singh goes,like we all must. What a life led! a 100 would have been excellent but he gave us 99 & we must be thankful for that. Ramachandra Guha, Historian Khushwant will be remembered for this great history of the Sikhs. he was a very generous man. his bravest act was to take on
NE of India’s bestknown authors and journalists, Khushwant Singh elevated English writing in India with uninhibited wit and humour and was equally facile with his pen on serious issues like partition in the classic Train to Pakistan. he ruled the literary pages with his satirical take on contemporary issues but attracted controversy over what his critics called his obsession with writing on sex. Easily switching roles between author, commentator and journalist, Mr. Singh wrote on as diverse issues as poetry and politics. he began his dealings with media as information officer of the Government of India in toronto and Canada and was Press attaché and public officer for the high Commission in the united Kingdom and the Embassy in Ireland in 1948-50.
Later he started his writing career with Yojana, the Planning Commission’s journal which he founded and edited. Mr. Singh left a mark in the field of journalism, working as editor of the now-defunct Illustrated Weekly of India, the National Herald and the Hindustan Times. his weekly column “With Malice towards one and All” was so popular that it was syndicated in many dailies till a few years ago when failing health checked his prolific writing. Son of Sir Sobha Singh, a civil contractor and a prominent builder of Lutyens’ Delhi, Mr. Singh was born on February 2, 1915 in hadali (now in Pakistan). Mr. Singh, an outstanding novelist and a forthright political commentator, was nominated to rajya Sabha by the government under late Indira Gandhi. he was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1986. he was awarded the Padma
Bhushan in 1974 but returned the decoration in 1984 in protest against the storming of the Golden temple in Amritsar by the Army. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India. Book lovers remember him for classics like Train to Pakistan, I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale andDelhi — A Novel. Mr. Singh kept on writing virtually till the end and at 95, he wrote the novel The Sunset Club. Mr. Singh was known to wake up at 4 a.m. each day and write his columns by hand. his works range from political commentary and contemporary satire to outstanding translations of Sikh religious texts and urdu poetry. his non-fiction includes the classic two-volume A History of the Sikhs, a number of translations and works on Sikh religion and culture, Delhi,
nature, current affairs and urdu poetry. his autobiography,Truth, Love and a Little Malice was published by Penguin Books in 2002. Mr. Singh had done his schooling from Modern School in Delhi and later studied at St. Stephen’s College in New Delhi before moving to the Government College in Lahore. he also studied at King’s College in Cambridge university. he practiced law at the Lahore high Court for several years before joining the Ministry of External Affairs in 1947. he had married Kawal Malik in 1939 and has son rahul and daughter Mala. Malik had died in 2001. Besides being honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, he received the Punjab ratan, the Sulabh International award for the most honest Indian of the year, and honorary doctorates from several universities. –The Hindu
An agnostic’s view of life & death The one principle that should be at the core of any religious belief is ahimsa or non-violence — not to hurt any life, human or otherwise. Khushwant singh Killing is not right. Killing animals to eat them is not a civilised thing to do, but carnivores exist in nature and in many places, humans have to subsist on nonvegetarian food for reasons beyond their control. But wherever possible, vegetarianism must be practised. Hurting people physically or mentally, whether by word or action is wrong. Ahimsa is more important than prayer. Ahimsa should be the central principle of your faith, but you have to raise your voice against injustice. Then, if you hurt someone who has hurt other people, it is justified. But the death penalty is barbaric — it is murder by the state. Once, as editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India, I wrote an editorial on the issue of hunting and killing animals for sport. Then, I sent individual letters to chief ministers of states asking them to ban shikar. Some of them responded by banning it. As one who has faith in ahimsa, I feel good about this. So, life should be lived with compassion and nonviolence. I think a lot about life and the way we live it; I also think about death and how we deal with it.
Bhindranwale. Khushwant’s stupidest act was to support Sanjay and Maneka Gandhi. this we can forget, and remember his books, his warmth, his generosity. there was nothing petty or insecure about Khushwant; unlike other famous Indians, he welcomed jokes at his own expense, and criticism too. Amitav Ghosh, Author Very sad to hear of the death of Khushwant Singh - great historian, novelist, editor, columnist, and a wonderfully kind, generous man. rIP. Shahrukh Khan, Actor oh no Khushwant Singh is no more. he made our lives so much richer by his literary contributions. “With Malice towards one and all” rIP Sanjay Jha, Congress Spokesperson rIP,Sir! Grew up reading the Illustrated Weekly of India & his wicked humor. Mr #KhushwantSingh remained the quintessential lover of life. Siddhartha Basu, Producer-Director the light died out in his bulb just short of a century. the spunky sardar with the sassy prose now belongs to the ages. rIP Khushwant Singh.
The basic point is, we don’t know where we come from; we also don’t know where we go after death. In between, we might know a little about life. People talk a lot about body and soul — I’ve never seen a soul, nor do I know anyone who has seen one. So for me, death is a full stop. I don’t subscribe to the theory of rebirth endorsed by Hinduism and Buddhism nor do I believe in the Judeo-Christian belief in a heaven and hell. Ghalib said: “We know the truth about paradise but to beguile your mind is not a bad idea.” When I met The Dalai Lama, I told him I didn’t believe in God. He threw his head back and laughed, saying, nor do Buddhists. I often wonder, how only Hindu and Buddhist children relate incidents from previous births while Muslim and Christian children don’t. There is nothing unique about death. Death comes to all who are born. So we don’t need to pull a long face when death comes. Of course, it is human nature to grieve for someone you’ve lost. But that’s no reason to create a big fuss, wailing and screaming. Nor is there any need to have elaborate rituals. Death is in the order of nature — when your time comes, die with dignity. I’m a member of the ‘Die with
Madhur Bhandarkar, Director truth, Love & A Little Malice. An apt title for a book & for a life! A rare man with a rare capacity to look inwards. rIP, Khushwant Singh. Vijay Goel, BJP Its extremely saddening to know that legendary Khushwant Singh is no more. In this grave hour, I extend heartfelt condolences to his family. Vasundhara Raje, Rajasthan CM Saddened by the demise of Sh. Khushwant Singh. Literary world has lost a shining jewel. Condolence to his family. Manish Tewari, I&B Minister the death of Sardar Khushwant Singh has come as a great personal shock and loss to me. I have grown up reading him as a writer and a journalist. Moreover I felt closer to him as a Punjabi who had been a great witness to some great and tragic events in history. his vivid depiction of the tragedy of partition and the triumph of human values in his epic novel train to Pakistan revealed the great genius and a great human being in him. I will always miss him. May his soul rest in peace. Virbhadra Singh, Himachal
Dignity’ society formed by Minoo Masani 20 years ago. I can’t say I don’t fear death — but I’m more concerned about whether it is going to be a long drawn out painful process. Iqbal wrote: “If you ask me about the sign of faith/when death comes to him/he should have a smile on his face.” I’m all for the ancient tradition of celebrating death. When people over 70 years die, their death should be marked with celebrations including music, dancing and feasting. It is a sign of maturity and acceptance of the inevitable. I’ve discarded all religions, but I feel closest to Jainism. Every person has the right to end his life — after having fulfilled his worldly duties and if he feels he has now become a burden on others. It is legitimate to want to extinguish your life. Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Jain Munis have done this. I wish to be buried with just a tree planted over my grave — no tombstone, nothing. If you live close to the sea, go for burial at sea. It saves wood. g This article originally appeared in The Times of India on 23 October, 2011.
Pradesh CM Just heard that noted author and columnist Shri Kushwant Singh has passed away..Best know Indian writer , he has special affection and association towards himachal, especially Kasauli..my deep condolence to his family members. Lord Swraj Paul, Industrialist In the death of Khushwant ji, we have lost a true stalwart of India and a superb author and journalist. he was one of the greatest Indian nationals we have seen. Khushwant ji led a very illustrious and distinguished life and I learn that he wrote his last column only two weeks ago. With almost 100 books to his name and countless pieces in the press he has left a remarkable legacy. our affection for him was boundless. We will miss his soaring intellect, his talent, his enthusiasm and his wonderful sense of homour. Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab CM the contribution of Khushwant Singh to the Sikh issues will always be remembered and his ‘history of the Sikhs’ will forever remain the most popular reference point for Sikh historical studies. g –Outlook India www.pakistantoday.com.pk
Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
Why Queen must In rigorous defence be banned in of Boom Boom Afridi The lad was only giving women Pakistani cinemas some business advice
It will damage the society and spoil our women
his is an urgent plea to all cinemagoers in Lahore: please do not watch the Kangana Ranaut starrer Bollywood movie Queen. By the time you read this, most cinemas must have already taken it down, considering it was released two weeks ago. however, i believe it should never have been released in Pakistan and i am surprised that it was given the green signal by the censor board. On the face of things, there is nothing in Queen that would result in it failing the censor board’s test. And whatever there was – a kiss or two, a bit of vulgarity here and there – was already censored by the board. however what needed to be banned, what really should have been censored, didn’t manage to grab the censor board’s attention. Vikas Bahl’s Queen contains elements and scenes that can have a disastrous effect on Pakistanis, and it is very irresponsible of those sitting in the censor board to ignore all these things and instead just focus on kissing scenes. The rest of the movie can do significantly more damage than those few vulgar scenes. Queen showcases the transformation of what really was the perfect south Asian girl into her unrecognisable form. A woman whose universe centred around her wedding; the marriage; would-be husband; family’s needs, wants and desires, all of a sudden starts to focus on herself. Teaching a Pakistani woman – or a south Asian woman, for that matter – that she can focus on her own self, think about her own life, her own aspirations,
and that none of this is actually a bad thing, can prove to be very very dangerous. For ages we have been producing women of a particular brand. They are taught certain things, told to act in a particular way, expected to mould their life according to a set of rules, all of which is designed to maintain their men’s stranglehold over them. Our women are told what is good for their man, best for their family regardless of what she thinks about it, is all that matters. Any woman defying these norms is a bad, bad woman and is slammed as such. Now, even though many other movies and shows have endeavoured to put these evil thoughts in our women’s heads, and have had their respective successes as well, the path taken by Queen is unprecedented and hence prodigiously more menacing. The almost blasphemous feministic material is all over the movie, without ever presenting itself as such. Why Queen is extremely dangerous is because it does not have the selfimportance of your average “feminism” movie. it does not come with the pretext that it will change the universe; it does not clamour about giving the south Asian women a strong, powerful message. And hence, through its subtleties and simplicity it manages to do exactly that. Queen manifests the profoundness of simplicity. This makes it so much more dangerous for a Pakistani man than any feministic nonsense in the world. Almost every Pakistani woman can relate to Rani (the character Kangana Ranaut plays), and by the time the movie finishes, a lot of them would be asking those questions that the society has been doing its best to shield parry away from them. Queen makes the women ask if the societal norms are right. it makes them perceive their lives and their own selves differently. she is a different woman coming out of the cinema – different in a very independent, very self-confident way. Every Pakistani woman would start to, or want to, see a reflection of Rani inside her own self. And once that happens, all the societal handicaps that our women are bestowed with would be jeopardised. it’s solely the censor board’s responsibility if Pakistan starts producing independent women. i would like to request all the readers to make sure that the women in their houses do not end up watching Queen. All the cinemas that are still playing the movie should be permanently closed for the damage they are causing our society and all DVD shops should be raided to ensure that the pirated versions of the movie are not sold either. This is in the best interest of this country. g The writer is a closet misogynist and a diehard fan of Emran Hashmi and Tariq Jamil. All side-effects of reading The Horizontal Column are readers’ headache.
LuavuT Zahid The writer is a journalist based in Lahore. Her writings focus on current affairs and crisis response. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, she tweets @luavut
lot of fuss is being made over the boo boo that Boom Boom Afridi has recently made by suggesting that women are only good for things they can do in the kitchen and nothing else. The ensuing reactions were not only absurd but also extremely unfair. Only a handful few understood what Afridi was even talking about. This is how we treat our national heroes. This is no ordinary man, he is a veritable legend. he frequently graces our TV screens with his shiny hair and perfect smile. The legacy he will be remembered for will continue to earn him respect; indeed his work as one of Pakistan’s foremost advertisement personalities is the epitome of perfection. his modeling assignments alone have helped him rake in more than Rs100 million a year. Earning several millions a month is no biggie for the beautiful brute. his work involves not just local Pakistani companies, but multinationals as well. Everyone wants a piece of our little Boom Boom. Then why do we have so much trouble respecting him, and keep dragging his name through the mud? Pakistanis have no shame. First they label the man a cricketer even though he’s just a TV personality, and then they twist his words. For starters, it’s common information that our Boom Boom doesn’t just have a successful career on screen but he’s also brilliant off screen. his restaurant, splice by shahid Afridi, is one of the best places in Lahore to grab a bite. That’s not all, the extremely hot and happening lad even has his very own clothing line. Boom Boom is the king of making money, and he seemed to have it all figured out till the entire nation decided to go bonkers over something they didn’t even understand. Aik du game kya khel liyey log tu peechy hi parr gaey hain. When he said the ladies from the cricket team should head over to the kitchen, all he really meant was for them to earn a little more. After all people don’t really care for women’s cricket in Pakistan, which is why it probably doesn’t help them make much money. if they opened up a restaurant like our handsome hunk they too could be rolling in dough. The recent Pepsi advertisement had just ONE female cricketer; Afridi has been doing these campaigns for ages. Don’t you think he must have felt bad for the women in the cricket team? here he is, this guy, who just plays the sport as a hobby, making a ton of money, while the poor ladies do nothing but play the game on field. Afridi has a big heart – he’s even compared his with indians before. Nevertheless, a good deed never goes unpunished, does it? All Boom Boom tried to do was help the ladies find a new career path to supplement their cricket dreams. But no, we must
raise hell against him over nothing. is Boom Boom a sexist, chauvinist jerk who doesn’t respect women? Of course not! he loves women! The proof: he’s even worked with a cosmetic company and modeled for different shampoos. Do men care about shampoos? No, only women do. Men could wash their hair with soap and not give it a second thought. it’s all for his female fans. how ludicrous it is to ask him these questions and then twist his answers into sexist statements! Let’s also talk about cricket. it is so extremely obvious that he only plays the sport as a hobby. so many of the men we know play the game just for fun, but no one calls them sexist. Why are we holding Boom Boom’s boo boo in such a different light? he’s been playing the game for 18 years in which he’s got the most pathetic batting average, really high bowling average, and he’s only managed to become an all-rounding flop. Of course he loves his country so he does perform in big matches every couple of years. But if you look at it closely he’s been brilliant at his day job i.e., television adverts, while he hasn’t really wowed at cricket. A lot of people have hobbies they are no good at, why must we expect the poor guy to be the master of all trades when he’s only good at being the jack of some? The people of this country love Boom Boom. No amount of propaganda from the liberal lot is going to change that. There was even a call for prayers so that he could be blessed with a son! Why would people band together to ask for a son for the man if they didn’t love his work? haters can continue hating the man but he’s moving onto great things. he’s going to be traveling to singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and more for different commercials. Who needs cricket? surely, our little Boom Boom doesn’t. isn’t it enough that he takes out so much time from his successful career as an advertisement model and TV personality just for these silly cricket games? What more do we want from him! g
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Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
In times of government surveillance, whose ‘security’ is at stake? Officials claim the current state policy is necessary to preserve the public’s well-being
noaM CHoMSKY in theSe timeS
leading principle of international relations theory is that the state's highest priority is to ensure security. As Cold War strategist George F. Kennan formulated the standard view, government is created “to assure order and justice internally and to provide for the common defense.” The proposition seems plausible, almost self-evident, until we look more closely and ask: Security for whom? For the general population? For state power itself? For dominant domestic constituencies? Depending on what we mean, the credibility of the proposition ranges from negligible to very high. Security for state power is at the high extreme, as illustrated by the efforts that states exert to protect themselves from the scrutiny of their own populations. In an interview on German TV, Edward J. Snowden said that his “breaking point” was “seeing Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress” by denying the existence of a domestic spying program conducted by the National Security Agency.
Snowden elaborated that “The public had a right to know about these programs. The public had a right to know that which the government is doing in its name, and that which the government is doing against the public.” The same could be justly said by Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning and other courageous figures who acted on the same democratic principle. The government stance is quite different: The public doesn't have the right to know because security thus is undermined— severely so, as officials assert. There are several good reasons to be skeptical about such a response. The first is that it's almost completely predictable: When a government's act is exposed, the government reflexively pleads security. The predictable response therefore carries little information. A second reason for skepticism is the nature of the evidence presented. International relations scholar John Mearsheimer writes that “The Obama administration, not surprisingly, initially claimed that the NSA's spying played a key role in thwarting 54 terrorist plots against the United States, implying it violated the Fourth Amendment for good reason. “This was a lie, however. Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director, eventually admitted to Congress that he could claim only one success, and that involved catching a Somali immigrant and three cohorts living in San Diego who had sent $8,500 to a terrorist group in Somalia.” A similar conclusion was reached by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, established by the government to investigate the NSA programs and therefore granted extensive access to classified materials and to security officials. There is, of course, a sense in which security is threatened by public awareness—namely, security of state power from exposure. The basic insight was expressed
well by the Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington: “The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen. Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.” In the United States as elsewhere, the architects of power understand that very well. Those who have worked through the huge mass of declassified documents in, for example, the official State Department history “Foreign Relations of the United States,” can hardly fail to notice how frequently it is security of state power from the domestic public that is a prime concern, not national security in any meaningful sense. Often the attempt to maintain secrecy is motivated by the need to guarantee the security of powerful domestic sectors. One persistent example is the mislabeled “free trade agreements”—mislabeled because they radically violate free trade principles and are substantially not about trade at all, but rather about investor rights. These instruments are regularly negotiated in secret, like the current Trans-Pacific Partnership— not entirely in secret, of course. They aren't secret from the hundreds of corporate lobbyists and lawyers who are writing the detailed provisions, with an impact revealed by the few parts that have reached the public through WikiLeaks. As the economist Joseph E. Stiglitz reasonably concludes, with the U.S. Trade Representative's office “representing corporate interests,” not those of the public, “The likelihood that what emerges from the coming talks will serve ordinary Americans' interests is low; the outlook for ordinary citizens in other countries is even bleaker.” Corporate-sector security is a regular concern of government policies—which is hardly surprising, given their role in formulating the
policies in the first place. In contrast, there is substantial evidence that the security of the domestic population—“national security” as the term is supposed to be understood—is not a high priority for state policy. For example, President Obama's drone-driven global assassination program, by far the world's greatest terrorist campaign, is also a terrorgenerating campaign. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan until he was relieved of duty, spoke of “insurgent math”: For every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies. This concept of “innocent person” tells us how far we've progressed in the last 800 years, since the Magna Carta, which established the principle of presumption of innocence that was once thought to be the foundation of AngloAmerican law. Today, the word “guilty” means “targeted for assassination by Obama,” and “innocent” means “not yet accorded that status.” The Brookings Institution just published “The Thistle and the Drone,” a highly praised anthropological study of tribal societies by Akbar Ahmed, subtitled “How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam.” This global war pressures repressive central governments to undertake assaults against Washington's tribal enemies. The war, Ahmed warns, may drive some tribes “to extinction”—with severe costs to the societies themselves, as seen now in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. And ultimately to Americans. Tribal cultures, Ahmed points out, are based on honor and revenge: “Every act of violence in these tribal societies provokes a counterattack: the harder the attacks on the tribesmen, the more vicious and bloody the counterattacks.”
US paying ghost workers in Afghanistan? Jon Harper StarS and StripeS American taxpayers may be the victims of a ‘ghost worker’ scheme in Afghanistan, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, an independent watchdog group created by Congress. “The U.S. may be unwittingly helping to pay the salaries of nonexistent members of the Afghan National Police,” John Sopko, the head of SIGAR, wrote in a Feb. 19 letter to commanders of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, which manages the majority of donated funds intended for the Afghan National Security Forces. Sopko believes that some Afghans may be lining their pockets by collecting the paychecks of Afghan policemen whose names appear on payrolls but aren’t actually on the force. His concerns are based on conversations
he had during a recent trip to Afghanistan, as well as discussions with European officials. Concerns about ‘ghost workers’ in Afghanistan are not new. A 2011 SIGAR report raised questions about the U.N.’s management of the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, which is used to pay ANP salaries. SIGAR auditors found that neither the Afghan Ministry of Interior nor the U.N. could verify payroll data. There was “limited assurance that only ANP personnel who worked received pay,” SIGAR concluded at the time. Since 2002, the international community has contributed $3.2 billion to LOTFA, $1.2 billion of which came from the U.S., according to SIGAR. The European Union is withholding 100 million euros — half of its contribution to LOTFA — due to concerns about how that money is being used, including the possibility of payments to ghost workers and other forms of financial mismanagement, according to Sopko. “We must do more to understand how U.S. funds are flowing through the Afghan
banking system, particularly those used to pay ANP salaries,” Sopko wrote. “We lack an adequate understanding and oversight of how U.S. funds flow from LOTFA through the Afghan banking system to their destination in the hands of legitimate ANSF personnel.” SIGAR has initiated an audit to scrutinize the reliability of ANSF personnel data, and look at how that data are used for both the Afghan National Army and ANP payrolls, according to Sopko. In a March 7 memo to SIGAR, Maj. Gen. Kevin Wendel, the CSTC-A commander, said the command discovered “discrepancies” in personnel and payroll records, including 54,000 erroneous personnel identification numbers in the LOTFA database used by the United Nations Development Program to manage and account for ANP payroll on behalf of international donors. Wendel told Sopko that the erroneous ID numbers “could have facilitated LOTFA unwittingly making payments to nonexistent members on the ANP payroll.” Wendel outlined steps that CSTC-A has taken
The terror targeting may hit home. In the British journal International Affairs, David Hastings Dunn outlines how increasingly sophisticated drones are a perfect weapon for terrorist groups. Drones are cheap, easily acquired and “possess many qualities which, when combined, make them potentially the ideal means for terrorist attack in the 21st century,” Dunn explains. Sen. Adlai Stevenson III, referring to his many years of service on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, writes that “Cyber surveillance and meta data collection are part of the continuing reaction to 9/11, with few if any terrorists to show for it and near universal condemnation. The U.S. is widely perceived as waging war against Islam, against Shiites as well as Sunnis, on the ground, with drones, and by proxy in Palestine, from the Persian Gulf to Central Asia. Germany and Brazil resent our intrusions, and what have they wrought?” The answer is that they have wrought a growing terror threat as well as international isolation. The drone assassination campaigns are one device by which state policy knowingly endangers security. The same is true of murderous specialforces operations. And of the invasion of Iraq, which sharply increased terror in the West, confirming the predictions of British and American intelligence. These acts of aggression were, again, a matter of little concern to planners, who are guided by altogether different concepts of security. Even instant destruction by nuclear weapons has never ranked high for state authorities. g Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the author of dozens of books on U.S. foreign policy.
to address the MOI’s financial management problems, including standing up its own audit division and requesting a Department of Defense Inspector General assessment of how payroll funds are accounted for within the Afghan financial system. CSTC-A has also threatened to withhold money from the MOI if they don’t improve their financial management practices, although not until after the Afghan presidential election and the initial stages of the upcoming fighting season. “If there is significant ghost payrolling or other mismanagement of these funds, it is not only a waste of money, but reliance on inaccurate ANP numbers could undermine U.S. transition planning as we continue to withdraw troops from Afghanistan,” Sopko wrote. The U.S. strategy calls for handing off responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to Afghan security forces by the end of the year as American troops leave the country. If ANP personnel numbers appear higher than they actually are due to payroll fraud, it could lead to inaccurate and overly optimistic U.S. and NATO assessments of the ANSF’s ability to fight off Taliban insurgents after most international forces leave the country. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk 13
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Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
In pursuit of ‘rot’ in the US nuclear defence system A months-long cAscAde of revelAtions from inside the rArely explored world of nucleAr missiles begAn with A single leAk natIonal SecUrIty Zone robert burns
n internal United States Air Force email that I obtained in May 2013 described in vivid detail a “rot” infesting the Minuteman 3 missile force. The language was stark — none of it intended for public consumption – and all of it raising questions that sent the Air Force scrambling for cover. It was time, the note said, for nuclear launch officers and the rest of the force to “wake up” after a failed inspection. They had such lax attitudes and so little devotion to their duties that it was time for drastic corrective actions, read the email. “We’re discovering such rot in the force” that people are simply accepting of safety violations. The most senior launch officers, it said, must “turn over the rocks and find the rot.” Fittingly, the memo was titled “Did You Know?” I thought to myself, “no, I didn’t. But soon the world will.” Public attention to nuclear weapons has faded in the two decades since the Cold War ended and with it the threat of mutually assured destruction with the former Soviet Union. But the weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles operated by the Air Force, still stand ready to inflict mass destruction at a moment’s notice. Laxity, let alone “rot,” is hardly compatible with the safe handling of these weapons. The “rot” email was written by the deputy commander of the Minuteman 3 operations group at Minot Air Force Base in north Dakota. He was hopping mad, and the target of his anger was the cadre of young Air Force lieutenants and captains who had done so poorly on an inspection of their 91st Missile Wing that 17 of them were ordered to surrender their authority to operate the missiles, and to undergo remedial training. The scale of this setback was not just unusual; it was unprecedented in Air Force history. My story, published on May 8, rocked the Air Force and led me to a stream of investigative stories that by the end of the year had compelled Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to visit one of the three Minuteman 3 missile bases for a first-hand look and to make
a public statement of concern from the very top of the Pentagon chain of command. He was the first Pentagon chief to make the trek to an ICBM launch control center since Caspar Weinberger in 1982. I and a couple of other Washington-based reporters accompanied him. Just as Hagel was touring the launch control center – one of 15 such underground command posts operated by the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming — the story of trouble inside the missile corps took a new twist: I reported, based on information from two senior defense officials, that 11 Air Force officers were under investigation for illegal drug use. Those 11 included one Minuteman 3 launch officer at F.W. Warren and two at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. I filed my story from my cell phone in a building at F.E. Warren where an assembly of ICBM officers and enlisted airmen had gathered to hear Hagel deliver what he had intended as a pep talk. The drug probe revelation led to still more embarrassment for the Air Force: just a few days later allegations of widespread cheating by launch officers at Malmstrom on written tests of their knowledge of launch procedures. My reporting over the course of 2013 documented a range of problems in the force, including low morale, lapses in training and disregard for security rules. And that was before the drug and cheating investigations became known. Up until then, the AP had been almost alone in pursuing the ICBM stories but now coverage was widespread and other news organizations were playing catch-up. Here is a sketch of the paths I took along the way. My initial idea was to write about the future prospects for a weapon that had been the backbone of American nuclear deterrence for decades — the intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM. I was already familiar with the subject. I had visited an ICBM base in 1997 and spent time in an underground launch center in northeastern Colorado to interview launch officers. Since then I, like much of the rest of the country, had paid little attention
to this largely invisible force. I began taking a fresh look in April 2013 and not long after I obtained the Minot “rot” memo. I immediately knew I was on to something bigger than just a reassessment of the future of the ICBM force. After the Minot story was published I received a number of unauthorized phone calls and emails from people inside the Air Force who wanted to encourage me to dig deeper. Some offered information. While helpful, each tip presented its own reporting challenge, especially two that came anonymously. One was from a caller who said he could not risk revealing his name or contacting me a second time; his information was so specific that I eventually was able to confirm it for a story. I can’t say more about this source or that story, in order to protect the source. Another source eventually agreed to give me his name and other information that allowed me to independently establish his bona fides, and I worked with him over a considerable period of time on a number of stories built in part on his confidential tips. Each news organization has its own way of handling anonymous sourcing. The AP requires that anonymous sources be vetted by a reporter’s news editor if the sources are used in the story. In my case, most of the anonymous sources provided guidance and information that I subsequently confirmed through Air Force or other military officials. Because I was able to confirm the informational independently, I did not have to use anonymous sources directly in the stories. Many other insiders contacted me confidentially, revealing their name but trusting that I would keep it confidential. The more questions I asked and the more stories I wrote, the more agitated Air Force senior leaders and their public affairs officers became with my reporting. They would have preferred that the ICBM force be cast in a more positive light and that I let go of my ambition to understand in full detail just how deep and wide the Minot “rot” had spread. But I didn’t let go. I kept pushing for more information, including a copy of an unpublished report by
the RAnD Corp. that insiders told me contained information about morale problems in the force. I began asking for the report in May. I finally got it in november, shortly after I filed a Freedom of Information Act request and long after the Air Force had assured me no FOIA would be necessary. You may decide for yourselves if the timing was just coincidental. The RAnD report was the basis for one of the most important stories of my series, describing a state of “burnout” among a sampling of launch officers and missile security forces. For months, the Air Force insisted that morale in the ICBM force was fine, certainly not as bad as my reports had indicated. Morale was no better or worse than anywhere else in the Air Force, officials insisted. That’s not what I was hearing from my sources, however, and I didn’t accept the official explanation. If there was room for argument about morale, it disappeared in December with the release of an Air Force inspector general’s report on the “unbecoming” behavior of the top ICBM general. He had been fired in October as commander of 20th Air Force, which manages the entire fleet of 450 Minuteman 3 missiles, but the full story did not surface until the IG’s report became public. In it, the general is reported to have gone on an alcohol-fueled bender in Moscow and embarrassed members of the U.S. government delegation he was leading to a nuclear security exercise. At one point, the general was reported to have said in the presence of other members of the delegation that morale in the ICBM force was the worst in the entire Air Force. By the end of the year, the weight of evidence was still growing. In early January I received through a FOIA request a set of records on courts martial and administrative punishments in the ICBM force. It showed that in 2013, as in the preceding two years, the rate of courts martial, as well as administrative punishments such as reprimands, was higher than in the overall Air Force. I used the FOIA again in February to obtain three years of results from proficiency tests of the sort that the Malmstrom missile launch
officers are accused of cheating on last summer. As you might imagine, for competitive reasons I cannot offer any detail publicly about FOIA requests I have pending. But I can say that several are related to the ICBM force, and that the approach I always try to take is to be as specific as possible in the wording. For example, I asked for – and obtained – all results from a monthly test known as a T-1, which tests a missile launch officer’s knowledge of “emergency war orders,” which are the classified procedures used in targeting and launching their missiles. These are the particular tests on which at least 40 launch officers are accused of having cheated last summer. I was able to use that level of specificity in my FOIA request because I consulted with a number of experienced former missileers and other sources. The story of trouble inside the ICBM force is still unfolding. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who said he was unaware of anything amiss when he assumed command of the Pentagon in February 2013, credited the AP for bringing these issues to public attention. This January during his trip to the ICBM base in Wyoming, he told me that my stories had alerted him to the central issues. Later that month, navy Rear Admiral John Kirby told a Pentagon news conference that Hagel has “been following the coverage, particularly by the Associated Press. And I think that also has made an impact on his thinking. There’s no question about that.” Reporting doesn’t always lead to immediate or direct action. But sometimes it does. Hagel has ordered internal and external reviews, and the Air Force now acknowledges it has a problem that requires fixing. g Robert Burns is based at the Pentagon and has been a reporter for the Associated Press since 1977. He has covered the U.S. military for most of the period since 1990, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan throughout the period of U.S. involvement. He has covered eight secretaries of defence starting with Dick Cheney.
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Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
the PernIcIoUs eFFects oF UncertaIntY In aFGhanIstan Congress slashed the development budget for afghanistan by half, reduCed u.s. seCurity aid by 60 perCent, and even added a Clause preventing any funds “for the direCt personal benefit of the president of afghanistan.” War on the rocks Jason Campbell
hile upcoming elections and sustained Taliban attacks are keeping many Afghans on edge, the greatest long-term threat to Afghanistan right now is the slow, insidious rot of uncertainty that is permeating nearly every facet of Afghan society. This situation is adversely affecting the efforts of the international community that has invested and sacrificed so much to bring stability to the country. And while President hamid Karzai stands as the greatest impediment to providing some relief, there is more that the Obama administration could do to curtail ambiguity. After a 2013 that saw much handwringing over setting the conditions for Afghanistan’s future, we have thus far muddled through this year, the last for NATO combat operations, without a clear picture of what post-2014 Afghanistan will look like. The main culprit has been the continued lack of a signed Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), depriving Afghan society of a crucial confidence-building mechanism that is having detrimental effects. A recent report by the United States institute of Peace notes, among other things, that the Afghan economy is seeing heightened short-termism and hedging behavior while major decisions are being put on hold. it also found that the street price of weapons has risen significantly, and the return of long-term Afghan refugees in Pakistan has slowed. in recent weeks, both the Afghanistan Banks Association and the Chamber of Commerce and industry have warned that the government’s failure to sign the BSA has sparked increased capital flight from Afghanistan. The deeper we get into 2014 without an agreement, the greater the risk that this crippling doubt about the future will metastasize more significantly into the governing
and security structures, which could cause irreversible damage to Afghanistan’s stilldeveloping and fragile institutions. Recently, there has been much speculation as to the reasoning for Karzai’s persistent intransigence despite near universal support for the BSA among his fellow countrymen. Regardless of the hypothesis one adopts, all signs point to Karzai acting solely in his own interest, not Afghanistan’s. ironically, the deleterious effects of the uncertainty he is fostering are not completely lost on Karzai. in a recent interview, he stated that, as “an Afghan citizen, i would accept to live in poverty rather than living in uncertainty,” in the course of a somewhat rambling and imprecise explanation of the necessity for the BSA with the United States to guarantee a safe, certain future for the Afghan people. he then went on to declare that “the driving factor behind or the desire for the BSA is to bring clarity to the conflict.” here the Obama administration has an opportunity to address this seemingly insurmountable issue in a way that would be mutually beneficial to both countries. Karzai’s uncooperative and at times truculent behavior over the past few months has been a source of great frustration for not only the White house but increasingly for civilian and military officials operating on the ground in Afghanistan. Aside from the BSA issue, Karzai’s authorization of the release of 65 suspected Taliban fighters from Parwan prison over staunch U.S. objections has pushed the relationship to a breaking point. Due in no small part to this deterioration, in January, Congress slashed the development budget for Afghanistan by half, reduced U.S. security aid by 60 percent, and even added a clause preventing any funds “for the direct personal benefit of the President of Afghanistan.” When President Obama signed the bill without a word of protest, the shot across Karzai’s bow was unmistakable.
This dissatisfaction may also be affecting the deliberation over the post-2014 U.S. footprint in Afghanistan. The figures reportedly span from 3,000 to 10,000 personnel, and there is some evidence that the final decision is being delayed to pressure Karzai to sign the BSA. As Obama conveyed to Karzai during a February 24 phone call, “The longer we go without a BSA the more likely it will be that any post-2014 U.S. mission will be smaller in scale and ambition.” An ambiguous “sliding scale of effort” approach to this matter is unlikely to persuade Karzai to sign, however, and it greatly risks punishing Afghanistan rather than Karzai. Delays in signing the BSA need not prevent the Obama administration from articulating its longer-term plans for Afghanistan. Back in January, international Security Assistance Force commander General Joseph Dunford recommended that a U.S. contingent of 10,000 troops remain beyond 2014. This is viewed as the minimum required to train, advise, and assist Afghan security forces while maintaining the ability to conduct counterterrorism operations with Afghan partner units, and it is the troop level supported by the senior leadership at the Pentagon, State Department, and CiA. There are reportedly voices in the White house that are reluctant to make such a commitment, though they appear to be isolated. According to one unnamed U.S. official, “The only people interested in the low numbers are in the White house.” Perhaps a quick back-of-theenvelope assessment will provide some clarity. With a commitment of roughly 10,000 troops, the United States can maintain a footprint at key regional bases throughout much of the country from which these troops can provide the Afghans needed mentorship and support at the ministerial and corps levels while continuing to pressure Taliban and other insurgent
leaders through ongoing counterterrorism operations. Moreover, all accounts suggest that in such a scenario key NATO allies will collectively commit upwards of 5,000 additional troops, primarily to maintain a presence in the north and west of the country. Finally, State and the CiA will benefit by keeping personnel in the field where they can oversee local governance, development, and intelligence efforts. in short, while NATO forces would be substantially cut from current levels, important relations with senior Afghan leaders would be sustained and the coalition would maintain situational awareness throughout the country and, by extension, the region. A reduction to 3,000 troops would greatly alter the post-2014 enterprise. in such a scenario, all U.S. officials would be confined to Kabul and/or Bagram Airfield, which is roughly 40 miles to the north. Situational awareness of events in Afghanistan would diminish significantly and NATO allies would, in all likelihood, depart entirely. The ostensible focus of the mission would turn almost exclusively to conducting counterterrorism operations. There are gaps to even this aspect of the plan that its reported proponents have yet to explain. Without U.S. intelligence personnel in the field to interact with sources and corroborate evidence, the ability to accurately target key insurgent leaders will be reduced, perhaps drastically. Relying on Afghan partners for greater cooperation would also be risky given that they’re liable to feel jilted by the abrupt cessation of mentorship and support. in the end, this “have your cake and eat it too” option for the United States is not just farfetched: it’s strategically untenable. There are, of course, a couple of “in-between” options reportedly being considered, but these too have holes and are overly reliant on achieving a best-case scenario for success. it is in the interest of
the United States to look beyond Karzai and reaffirm to the rest of the Afghan populace that it is unequivocally dedicated to the country’s long-term stability and prosperity. The United States should provide Karzai, his successor and the Afghan people with a definitive picture of what Afghanistan will be missing should the BSA not be signed, not a menu of potential troop-level options and vague promises of funding. The White house should provide a stark choice that removes ambiguous dates with undefined consequences: 1. The BSA is signed: The United States is willing to dedicate the 10,000 troops its leadership on the ground has requested and will continue to provide the funding necessary to sustain the Afghan security forces and see through its development obligations. 2. The BSA is not signed: All U.S. troops will redeploy by the end of the year and while international aid will not dry up completely, it will certainly diminish and be unpredictable. Moreover, this stance should be clearly articulated by President Obama in a speech dedicated to the future of Afghanistan. it has been nearly two years since the last such address and the American people, international community, and most importantly, Afghan public would benefit greatly from a reaffirmation of the shared interests we all have in Afghanistan and the region. it would also deprive the Taliban and all other groups wishing to foment instability of a key piece of propaganda as we enter such a crucial phase of the transition. Removing any and all doubt as to the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan will place as much pressure as possible on Karzai to act. And, even if this fails to motivate him, it may help buoy confidence among the Afghan population and potential international donors and investors until Karzai is replaced later this year. Given that all the presidential candidates have voiced support for the BSA, it is a safe bet that the deal will be signed eventually. While the United States cannot alleviate all the uncertainty currently plaguing Afghanistan, it is in a position to reduce it considerably. Continued delays and rumored debates serve only to foment instability and work counter to its considerable regional interests. g Jason H. Campbell is an associate policy analyst at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation, where he focuses on issues of international security, counterinsurgency, intelligence, and measuring progress in postconflict reconstruction. Most recently, he co-authored an assessment of U.S. involvement in “small-footprint” partnerships to support counterinsurgency efforts since the end of the Cold War. www.pakistantoday.com.pk 15
C M YK
Trapped in two cultures
Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
The many challenges faced by women in a patriarchal society as well as in the West are brilliantly delineated in this collection of short stories
Farazeen amjad shahid The writer is a law graduate and freelance columnist.
n her latest offering, The Gatekeeper’s Wife and Other Stories, Rukhsana Ahmed paints a grim picture of the realities women face in the struggle to survive in the patriarchal society we live in. In this women-centric collection of short stories, the characters belong to diverse cultures and ethnicities, with a predominant focus on women of the East – a trend that predominates in South Asian writers. A writer of Pakistani origin based in Britain, Ahmed’s experience allows her to critically assess the women of her region who migrate to the West with their families in search of a brighter future. And as a woman brought up in the East, she understands the dynamics of the cultural norms of émigré’s roots, which is clearly depicted in her stories. The title story narrates the life of Annette, a British ‘memsahib’ married to an affluent man in Lahore, who is in a relentless quest to escape the drudgery of her everyday life as a housewife. She bore no children and does not regret doing so either. The society she lives in, however, is reproachful towards such women. Although Ahmed has not explicitly mentioned it, but this could be one of the reasons why Annette still finds herself an alien in the city despite having lived here for a long time. The love and affection she showers on the animals at the zoo shows how women desire the love and nurturing of their familiesan important aspect that was missing in Annette’s life. Ahmed explores the popular
subject of migration and witness that out of fear and distrust resettlement in her story ‘The nisa is unable to practice it on her nightmare’. She has shown that the husband. But her resolve to stand up anticipation of moving to the West in to him is nonetheless seen when she search of better lives may not always refuses him his conjugal rights and be a pleasant experience, especially takes an affirmative action at the for women. It can be burdening and end to abolish this life of heart-wrenching. Fariha the humiliation. nisa appears to be one protagonist is put through misery of the strongest characters of after migrating to Britain with her Ahmad; she is determined to put an children to reunite with her husband end to her husband’s injustices and after ten years of separation. Unable when nothing works she takes a bold to acclimatize with the norms and action which most definitely is habits of the West, she goes through uncommon in our society. She is a immense emotional trauma and is character to be proud of, a woman to admitted in a mental asylum, while look up to. her husband Salim appears to be Ahmed writes effortlessly and embarrassed at his wife’s condition. with conviction. In certain aspects Fariha is misunderstood in the west; and phases of life, we can she is a simple woman whose empathize and identify with almost existence is still entrenched in the all of Ahmed’s characters. There is values of the east, a storm raging where husband inside each and children are character; a ‘A writer of Pakistani the only motive in battered soul origin based in Britain, a woman’s life. looking for means Both Annette and to escape. Ahmed’s experience Fariha are victims Chandra in allows her to critically of alienation in ‘Afterlife’ is assess the women of her their own homes; mortified when region who migrate to for both have she is forced to migrated abroad come in contact the West with their yet neither of with a bizarre families in search of a them has settled. object that stirs brighter future.’ ‘First love’ is also that storm in her. about a Pakistani She resolves to family in Britain; escape her life as however these appear to be old a prostitute but eventually she too migrants. The family is led by a succumbs to the tragedies that life single mother who is very has to offer to her. ‘Appearances’ is protective of her three children. the only story which is centered on The protagonist of the story is the a young man, who works as a driver daughter Shahbano, who is in love for a working lady belonging to a with her brother’s best friend. prosperous family. Safdar is a This story is a fresh escape from proud Pathan, who is resentful the otherwise serious and dim towards his job and the indignity lives of females in the other he goes through by waiting long stories. The author explores the hours for his ‘Baji’ and how he idea of the awkwardness and must give up his identity and selfinnocence of first love, and though respect in order to bow down to the it’s a short story, the readers can wishes of his employers. get attached to the characters. The experiences of motherhood ‘The Spell and the Ever-changing are shared in ‘My daughter, Mona’ Moon’ is a gripping tale of a woman and ‘Through the Rose-Tinted who is the target of domestic Window’– the sacrifices women violence by her husband. She resorts made to build their beautiful to black magic in hopes of bringing homes and how it all crumbles due an end to her miseries, a practice not to unfortunate events in their lives. uncommon amongst the less The readers are reminded time and privileged in our society; though we again how the sacrifices of women
go unnoticed, We need new even in the inspirational ‘The brilliance and ease with most works that which an entire world is conjured sanctified challenge the in a short story and having the relation, patriarchal readers totally gripped and which is and sexist motherhood. attitudes and involved from cover to cover is The readers an art which only few can master. assumptions are left in a still harboring Rukhsana Ahmad is one of them.’ in our society. state of dejection. That said, Though the brilliance Ahmed sketches the characters in and ease with which an entire bold lines, yet most of them being world is conjured in a short story unable to fend for themselves leaves and having the readers totally the readers uninspired. gripped and involved from cover to We have all seen, heard and cover is an art read about which only few the can master. s ther Storie Wife and O s r’ plight Rukhsana pe ee ek The Gat Ahmed r. of Ahmad is one of By Rukhsana Lh , s) ng di (Rea a Publications women. them. g Publisher: Ilq 5/ Price: Rs 39 Pages: 208;
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Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
books: brieF revieWs
An expanded in-depth study of Pakistan Army
RIAn Cloughley is a commentator on political and military affairs, specializing in South Asia, and is South Asia defense analyst for IhS-Jane’s Sentinel, a publication that provides ‘country risk intelligence’ for over 190 countries. This fourth edition of Cloughley’s book on Pakistan Army incorporates new chapters covering the Musharraf years, the effects on Pakistan of the war in Afghanistan and operations in the border region, the nuclear programme, relations with the US, and discussion of the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence. The scope of this expanded indepth study of the Pakistan Army is wide as the army has played a major part in the country’s history. The author describes Pakistan’s violent internal politics and erratic international relations with deep knowledge gained through long association with the country and its armed forces. Pakistan’s wars with India are covered vividly, drawing on unpublished material and details from Indian as well as Pakistani sources. The country’s resurrection under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is described, as is the decade of dictatorship that followed his period in power. The story of its aftermath, when Pakistan grappled with unaccustomed democracy and verged on anarchy, is told with the aid of personal knowledge of many of the senior players. g
A History of the Pakistan Army Wars and Insurrection By Brian Cloughley Publisher: Oxford University Press, Karachi. Pages: 608; Price: Rs 1,495 (Hardback)
Examining South Asian Muslim perception on Modern Turkey
hE book under review by an eminent professor of history examines the South Asian perceptions of and responses to the political events that unfolded with the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Based on the updated version of the author’s contributions to various journals and academic proceedings, the book analyses nineteenthcentury pan-Islam in South Asia, and unfolds its expression in South Asia in the context of British and Allied policies towards the Turks. It also tries to explain why South Asians, with a little nudging from men like Iqbal and Jinnah, switched their sympathies from the Ottomans to the nationalists under Atatürk, and how they viewed the process of modernisation in Turkey, in comparison with the Muslims of Afghanistan and Iran. Lastly, the book attempts to examine the enduring relevance of pan-Islam as a tool in the politics of Pakistan and ventures to measure its
trajectory in the future, especially when Turkey today is gradually moving away from Atatürk’s model of state and society.
The research for this book was conducted in the archives and libraries of Pakistan, India, Turkey, and Britain. g
Ottoman Turkey, Atatürk, and Muslim South Asia Perspectives, Perceptions, and Responses By M Naeem Qureshi Publisher: Oxford University Press, Karachi. Pages: 416; Price: Rs 1,650 (Hardback)
Post-Mutiny India’s most imperialistic viceroy
RgUABLy India’s most aspiring viceroy, george Curzon came out with the intention to reforming and streamlining the administration of India. he achieved this in large measure, aided and hindered by a host of officials and administrators, in India and in England. This book looks at Curzon’s relationships with the different departments of the British government of India. george Curzon was post-Mutiny India’s most imperialistic viceroy. From 1899– 1905, he attempted to single-handedly implement a 12-point reform programme designed to optimise the efficiency of administration, eliciting fierce opposition and also support from the other diverse constituents of the government of India. The book examines two basic, intersecting themes that defined the course of george Curzon’s Viceroyalty of India: executive power and the checks upon it. It analyses the degree to which the major constituent components of the government of India successfully delineated and fenced in the boundaries of Viceregal power on their own, and the extent to which they collaborated with each other to do so, with reference to internal administration. The book explores the factors that helped and hindered Curzon in his quest to integrate these disparate elements that made up the government of India into an efficient administrative framework which ran along the lines he wished. Also explored in the book are Curzon’s relations with Lord Ampthill, his longest serving governor and locum in 1904, which illustrate the evolution of a relationship that started off
in expected acrimony, but evolved into a partnership of mutual respect and administrative collaboration. This book will find a large audience in Britain, India, and Pakistan. It will also be of interest to students of South Asian studies. g Curzon’s India Networks of Colonial Governance, 1899–1905 By Dhara Anjaria Publisher: Oxford University Press, Karachi. Pages: 280; Price: Rs 995 (Hardback)
Reflective of talent of new Pakistani writers
hE anthology is a testament to the talent of new writers from Pakistan. This collection of stories – written for a story-writing competition arranged by the publishers – is based on the idea that everyone has a good story to tell. These stories, written by many individuals separately, together chronicle the human spirit. There are four themes, ‘Paved and Unpaved Ways’, ‘The Meaning of Me’, ‘Because this is what Matters’ and ‘The Bravest Place on Earth’. There are stories of kindness and empathy, social injustice – and a real sense of belief and hope for a better future. The editor of the anthology is Maniza naqvi, an established writer in her own right with her works including four novels, Mass Transit, On Air, Stay with Me,and A Matter of Detail, and a book of short stories Sarajevo Saturdays. She has also compiled and edited Festival! for the Karachi Literature Festival 2012.
This anthology will be a welcome addition to school libraries, especially schools
that offer extended reading for their students in O and A level study programmes. g
I’ll Find My Way An Anthology of Short Stories Edited by: Maniza Naqvi Publisher: Oxford University Press, Karachi. Pages: 468; Price: Rs 450 (Paperback)
–Watch out for detailed reviews on all the above four books in this space in coming weeks. www.pakistantoday.com.pk
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Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
ProfiLe: namira SaLim
The woman of many wonders
Her dedication, hard work and commitment towards her country are quite inspiring
Sajid Khan Lodhy
Sajid Khan Lodhy is a journalist. He corresponds at email@example.com and tweets at: @sajidsadeem.
amira Salim is known to most as the First Pakistani astronaut. However, her contributions to the nation go far beyond her potential spaceflight and adventures as the first Pakistani to reach the three poles of the world. Unlike traditional expeditions, Namira undertook her polar journeys as peace expeditions when she raised her universal peace flag, “Peace making with National Souls” at the North Pole in 2007, at the South Pole in 2008 and as the first asian to Skydive (tandem) over mount Everest in 2008. “in these troubled times for our nation, this was my way of making peace and conveying to the world that Pakistan is a tolerant country,” she recalls. Her adventures have often overshadowed her work as an artist. Namira’s arts and collectibles created under her private label “a Soul affair” and her innovative art with built-in music and messages in the voices of world leaders have promoted peace and goodwill at the SaarC
Summit in January 2004, the United Nations General assembly (New York) in may 2002 and during UNESCO’s Executive Board (Paris) in October 2000. Namira, who holds an ivy League masters degree in international affairs from Columbia University, has long played the role of a fitting diplomat for Pakistan. She served as Pakistan’s honourary ambassador for tourism in 2007 and as the first honourary consul of Pakistan to the Principality of monaco from 2011-2013. Namira Salim’s story as the Honourary Consul to monaco, a city-state and a seven hundred year old principality is quite distinct. “While typically an honourary consul is based in a city, this was like being an ambassador in a capital where you have an unparalleled opportunity to promote your nation before a sovereign prince, his prime minister, the foreign minister and the highest of officials,” she explains. it’s noteworthy that Namira was not only honourary consul of Pakistan to monaco, she actually laid the foundation stone of diplomacy between the two nations and due to her tireless efforts Pakistan and the principality of monaco established diplomatic relations in February 2009. a distinguished resident of the principality, Namira Salim has played the role of Pakistan’s true ambassador to monaco since she settled there in 1997. Well respected in official circles, long before she was appointed as honourary consul, she mobilised funds for Pakistan’s earthquake of 2005 and devastating floods of 2010. To date, her efforts have led
‘Unlike traditional expeditions, Namira undertook her polar journeys as peace expeditions when she raised her universal peace flag, “Peace Making with National Souls” at the North Pole in 2007, at the South Pole in 2008 and as the first Asian to Skydive (tandem) over Mount Everest in 2008.’ to over US$0.5 million raised for humanitarian disasters facing the nation via the government of monaco and for subsequent reconstruction efforts. That is a huge amount coming from monaco, which spans merely over 2 square kilometres of land – being the smallest country in the world, after the Vatican. in recognition to her tireless efforts, in mid 2011 her name was recommended by the government of Pakistan to the principality of monaco as honourary consul of Pakistan. On august 1, 2011, His Serene Highness Prince albert ii accepted Namira Salim’s nomination. On march 29, 2012, she organized a grand ceremony at the Oceanographic museum of monaco in the presence of Prince michel roger, the prime minister and the foreign minister of monaco marking the inauguration of the consulate of Pakistan. The fitting ceremony was a colourful display of models representing the regional
dresses of Pakistan, an exhibition of Pakistan’s art, culture, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, exports and a vibrant film animating sights and sounds of the country. The elaborate and glamorous event, in which she invested Euros 50,000, made headline news in monaco. moreover, given her adventures and profile, with Namira Salim in this role, the country’s image got a boost. “as the first Pakistani astronaut and as honourary consul of Pakistan to monaco, my first project was related to promoting space technology in Pakistan. i was greatly honoured when Thales alenia Space, the largest European manufacturer of Space Systems and Satellites invited me to their plant in Cannes,” says Namira. The Pakistani flag was raised in her honour as she was escorted in the high security premises. “i was given the most fascinating tour of their laboratories where space probes and satellites were in the making and they said, ‘You love space and we want to sell satellites to your country. Can you take us there officially to talk to SUParCO?’” armed with her passion for outer space, at the outset, Namira Salim focused all her efforts on this project. Her persistence paid off. Thales alenia Space got the approval from chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff to visit Pakistan and to officially negotiate with those concerned. in appreciation of monaco government’s timely assistance and the prince’s great sensitivity towards the earthquake of 2005 and with the unwavering commitment of the Earthquake rehabilitation & reconstruction
authority (Erra), Namira Salim secured an all-girl high school in the earthquake stricken areas of Pakistan to be dedicated to HSH Prince albert ii. This school, which is a beautiful facility in Bagh, azad Jammu and Kashmir, was accepted by HSH the Prince, to be named after him. “i would like to convey my heart-felt gratitude to all officials at Erra for their continued cooperation and absolute professionalism. it has been an immense pleasure for me to work with them on this project since 2008,” explains Namira. another project worth mentioning is a partnership between Erra and Foundation Prince albert ii in the area of Environment. Foundation Prince albert ii isdedicated to protecting the environment and to encouraging sustainable development, in the areas of climate change, biodiversity and water. Erra is an environmentally conscious organization and facilitates stakeholders to plan and optimize conservation of natural resources and promote environmental awareness. a tedious and long application process was made easy by Namira’s efforts and contacts. Both parties agreed to contribute Euros 150,000 each to a selected project. Namira Salim is a true role model and truly a woman of many wonders. Her dedication, hard work and commitment towards her country, both as a citizen and her role as an ambassador are quite inspiring. it’s an exciting year ahead for her as she prepares for her spaceflight with Virgin Galactic as Pakistan’s first ambassador in space. g
C M YK
Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
A passage to a (fictional) India Streets over there are not exactly paved with gold!
Dr ImDaD HuSSaIn
The writer is Assistant Professor at Centre for Public Policy and Governance, Forman Christian College University Lahore. He also works with Punjab Urban Resource Centre.
magine you know india only through Bollywood: what will you expect to see when you actually go there, walk its streets, talk to poor and rich indians, eat spicy food in leaf bowls, and take masala chai? Perhaps you would expect happiness, magic, colorfully dressed girls and boys singing and dancing, tapori language and heroes defeating villains. Would you? However, if you expect to see these things in india, while going there, you might get disappointed. So get ready for surprises! Wherever you will go, you might say to yourself: “Oh, where i have come. i never saw this in any indian movie.” at least my 15 group fellows on a recent indian trip could not decide which india was more fictional: an india they were touring or an india which they used to see in movies. This feel you get while crossing border on foot. Like their Pakistani counterparts, indian officials also ask many questions about your travel: the questions which are totally irrelevant and the questions which are asked to scare you—or perhaps, the questions which are asked to make you an instrument of keeping your eye on your movement in india. Let us come back to what you might see in india. While entering any city on a police reporting visa, as a Pakistani, you have to get yourself registered with the police, most
probably at the Superintendent’s office. You will most probably go to a dusty old room where an ancient police clerk will ask you to bring more photos, more photocopies of your visa, and will manually register all of your data in the thana register. You might wonder why manual entry was necessary when multiple photocopies were submitted. You might also wonder why you would need to stay in the thana for manual recording. if you will travel in a group, each of you might be asked to appear either before the ancient clerk so that the back of your entry form can be stamped. in this exercise, which will normally take three to four hours, you will have to be patient and careful, not to talk loudly, not to laugh so that you do not come under the gaze of the police. To avoid additional questions or delay in stamping, just be silent in the thana. Do not complain at all! Once you will be cleared by the police, you can go to the city and can see some places if it is not dark already. From Delhi to agra, where there was grandeur for many centuries, you might come across dilapidation, stink, mud, and congestion, and dust now. You might feel uncomfortable experiencing the stink at roads and streets of agra just like the streets of muridke or Sheikhupura or Bhaghbanpura stink with the smell of sludge after the monsoon floods. Open drains with mounts of sludge besides them will not be pleasant. Just like you observe at Railway station of Karachi, you will also observe roadsides, stairs and corners and corridors red with paan spitting. You will see many indian people spit and release themselves publicly, at least in north indian cities. There are hardly any toilets except the paid public toilets constructed on indian ngO Sulabh international’s design, which remain deserted as most people do not afford to pay Rs. 10 per visit. Spitting, pissing in public, and loitering are the most convenient forms of protest available even to the poorest, especially when the quality of the public works and public service is highly poor. Despite this, you will feel happy about the good maintenance of historical monuments. You will envy the cleanliness maintained at
golden Temple in amritsar. You will also be happy to see well cared for pink city and amber Fort in Jaipur. You might feel yourself in the time of emperor Shahjahan when you are inside Taj mahal: it seems as it is until you look at Yamuna River which is nothing but sewer drain now. You will not miss visiting Taj mahal museum. You will not believe finding no scratches and no inscriptions of names of the visitors on Taj mahal walls. You will surely compare Taj mahal’s walls with what you have seen at the tarnished walls of Lahore Fort by the visitors. But Jamia masjid of Delhi was not as maintained: just outside it, dumps of plastic bags, and litter. Perhaps maintaining ‘religious’ monuments don’t fit well with the secularism of indian state? You will find the traders of Jaipur’s, the Pink City, wonderful orators. if you are just window-shopping, don’t look into their eyes. They encourage you not to buy anything from them but to have only a look at their products but once you are in their shops, they will convince you to buy everything from them. They have perfected the art of selling. They will sale you at even less than half of their quoted price and do that happily. You will find shopping as easy as in Pakistan. However, other things are not as easy as shopping. Using internet or making a phone call out of india are especially difficult. it will be difficult for you to use internet at internet café. You will be required to produce a passport photocopy and write your details in the register as you did in the police stations. Few of my fellow travelers were refused to use internet by the café owners in Jaipur because they did not carry photocopies of their passports along. To make a call to Pakistan, you will be required to show your passport to the Public Call Office proprietor. You might be asked to explain to the proprietor the purpose of your call. The security related announcements through big loudspeakers from Chandni Chowk to South extension market might trouble you. The recorded messages played loudly and continuously suggest the property owners to get police verifications before
giving their properties on rent to the people, or before selling or buying vehicles. Ostensibly these recordings establish the primacy of protecting the propertied class and create prejudices against the poor and the migrant. none of these messages were geared at protecting the poor, the homeless and asset-less. The physical mobilities of the rich and the poor are very different. The only means of transport for majority of the people are bicycle rickshaws and scooters. Though relatively good transport such as metro and mass Transit Bus are available in Delhi, only a tiny fraction of people can benefit from them. While moving through the markets and roads, you might feel sad for the bicycle drivers, most of them thin, undernourished. While driving, they even don’t sit on the driving seat because it is too difficult to peddle while sitting. They bend on the handle to save energy to keep peddling. While crossing the overhead bridges in amritsar, your bicycle driver will request you to get off as it will simply be impossible for him to pull you to the bridge. in amritsar, a driver told me he earns Rs. 200-250 per day out of which he gives Rs. 50 to the bicycle rickshaw owner. He spends Rs. 20 on beeri everyday. Before the Parkash Singh Badal’s government, bhang was cheap. now it is unaffordable. He told me no bicycle driver could peddle all day without beeri or bhang. What you might feel comfortable with is that indians, like us—the Pakistanis, talk a lot. From amritsar to agra to Jaipur, wherever you stop for chai, people would be talking negatively about politicians. at a tea stall in mathura in Uttar Pradesh, five men, while warming their hands with burning plastic bags and wasted clothes, were cursing politicians for being responsible for their poverty. One of them was telling other how a politician has misappropriated millions of rupees before elections. if you tell them of being Pakistanis, they would again start cursing politicians for being the source of discord between the two countries. You will be amazed to see how non-elected institutions in both Pakistan and india have been successful in portraying politicians as mischievous. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk 19
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Sunday, 23 - 29 March, 2014
TELLING IT LIKE IT ALMOST NEVER IS firstname.lastname@example.org
Troops available for $25 per soldier Islamabad Military CorreSpondent
n what was an expected announcement Pakistan army has agreed to put its troops on auction for use in proxy wars, among other kind of wars, Khabaristan Today has learnt. according to the threatened sources, the bidding would start at $25 per soldier, with the highest bidder taking home the soldier. the auction would be conducted next Friday, in islamabad. according to sources that were as scared as very scared cats, leaders from all around the globe would be assembling for this grand auction of a mammoth 650,000 soldiers. Most noteworthy among these leaders would be saudi Crown Prince salman bin abdulaziz al saud, Us President Barack Obama and king of
Bahrain Hamad bin isa al khalifah. Even so, bidding experts suggest that while this trio might outbid most of their rivals, two other leaders might manage to get the most value for money. the first of these two leaders is Pakistan Chief of army staff (COas) Raheel sharif who obviously knows his boys inside out. However, despite leading the pack he would have to bid for his own soldiers, considering
SBP’s new printing machine to take dollar below Rs50 KarachI finanCe CorreSpondent
Cting state Bank of Pakistan (sBP) governor ashraf Mahmood Wathra and Pakistan Finance Minister ishaq Dar have created a new dollar printing machine that would make sure that the price of dollar remains less than Rs50 in the near future, mathematical sources told Khabaristan Today. after the friendly gesture from the friendliest friend in the world worth $1.5 billion dollars took the dollar price below Rs100, this fake dollar printing machine would singlehandedly take it to below Rs50, according to Wathra. “i believe it is just a case of ensuring dollar liquidity no matter how tampered the liquid is,” the acting sBP governor said. He added that just by pumping enough dollars in, and not bothering about how and where those dollars would be spent, Pakistan can ensure its economic revival. “Once you have the dollar price below Rs50, everyone is going to think that the economy is back on track, even though where those dollars are going to be issued, if at all, will never be clarified,” Wathra said. When asked how he was handling his new role as the new acting governor of the state Bank of Pakistan, Wathra said, “Pretty well, actually. i think my acting is improving every day. and had i been nominated earlier, i might as well have been nominated for the Oscars this year. although i am struggling with my “economy is
recovering” expression; people say it is not really believable. However, if my ridiculous support for the finance minister is viewed impartially, i should be a shoo-in for both the academy and Filmfare award next year.” the acting sBP governor has also asked ishaq Dar to repeat his magic trick again and announce his plan of taking the dollar price below Rs50. “that could mean that we might have to print less dollars than are necessary,” acting state Bank of Pakistan governor ashraf Mahmood Wathra concluded. g
the laissez-faire principle adopted by the auction. “i think i will be able to get the best of the lot and for not a lot of money as well. in any case the money’s coming from the Big three of saudi, Us and Bahrain. so no matter who ends up getting the troops, we would not have to pay a dime,” the COas told this scribe. sharif further added, “in any case just like throughout our 67-year history our focus would be on the eastern border and we will make sure we get enough troops to bother india. the saudis are getting the northwest any way.” the other leader
believed to be among the favourites for the best deals is tehrik-e-taliban Pakistan (ttP) Chief Mullah Fazlullah. speaking exclusively to Khabaristan Today, Fazlullah, also known as Mullah Radio, said, “taliban and Pakistani military go a long way, and sometimes it becomes different to differentiate between a talib and a trooper. so no matter who signs up the troops, their hearts would always be with us.” He then went on to suggest that taliban have been an integral part of the army’s long term, and short term, plans, and that he knew how to get the best out of these soldiers. “it really is about knowing how to combine religion and geo-strategy, and who does it better than us?” Fazlullah said adding that, “i think we will get the best deal out of all the franchises. Did i just use the word franchise? this actually looks a lot like an iPL-style auction.” g
Getting excited about ISI-Bin Laden link is so 2011 Islamabad Staff report
akistan Chief of army staff (COas) Raheel sharif, while responding to this week’s New York Times’ report, said that “getting excited about inter services intelligence’s (isi) link with Osama bin Laden is so 2011,” Khabaristan Today has learnt. the COas has also gone on to highlight that while it was cool back in 2011, when Osama bin Laden was captured from abbottabad, to get so enthralled or shocked by this news in the year 2014 was a little “outdated”. “in May 2011 it made all the sense in the world, especially when coupled with clamours of “Drama bin Laden”, which is what my Facebook status was back then. then you’ve had the abbottabad Commission Report as well after that. so the only way the news about isi establishing a special desk to handle bin Laden can surprise you is if you have been living under a rock for the past three years,” the COas told Khabaristan Today. Further commenting on the issue the army chief said that it was no easy task to shield the world’s most wanted terrorist for a decade and so all allegations of
incompetence were uncalled for. “Connivance, definitely, but accusing us of incompetence is downright ridiculous considering the size of the task at hand,” sharif concluded. g