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Pakistan Link

VOL. 24/4 - 23 Rabi ‘ul-awwal 1435 H PAGE 9

Aitizaz Hasan, Chaudhry Aslam, Me and You

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Lorraine Adams: Celebrating Pakistani Culture

Sindh Festival: Fireworks to Light up Province

Hazaras Refuse to Bury Blast Victims

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A Tantalizing Deal to Convert Uneconomic Coal into Diesel

Nation United in Fight against Terrorism: Prime Minister

Davos: Australian mining billion-

aire and philanthropist, Andrew Forrest, has struck an informal deal with Pakistan to do away with more than two million slaves in return for a chance to convert billions of tons of cheap coal into much needed energy. Using Australian technology developed at Western Australia’s Curtin University, Mr Forrest has signed an agreement with the Pakistani State of Punjab to test the feasibility of turning currently uneconomic lignite coal directly into diesel for use in the energy-starved region. In a linked agreement with Mr Forrest’s Walk Free Foundation, aimed at ending slavery, Pakistan has agreed to introduce laws to cut the practice of slavery through indenture, debt or inheritance. Mr Forrest, attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said the agreement was an exciting development which could eliminate slavery in Pakistan and completely transform the Pakistani economy which was dependent on expensive foreign oil imports. ‘’The goal is energy

Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday the Pakistani nation was united in the fight against terrorism and attacks against citizens could not lower their morale. The prime minister made the remarks during his visit to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Rawalpindi to enquire about the health of those injured recently in the Bannu and RA Bazaar blasts. Minister of Defense Khwaja Asif and army chief General Raheel Sharif accompanied the prime minister, a press release said. The prime minister observed that the armed forces have rendered great sacrifices in the war against terrorism and the nation was proud of them. Nawaz Sharif met the injured and enquired about their health. He said that the best available medical facilities should be provided to the injured for their early recovery. Separately talking to a parliamentary delegation headed by Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch, the prime minister said that maintenance of law and order was the government’s top priority.

Fazl Expresses Concern, Sami Distances Himself from Talks

33 Uzbeks, 3 Germans Killed in N. Waziristan Strike

Karachi: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl

Imran Would Stand by Army in Case of Operation

heart of Pakistan’s powerful military establishment. The focus of Tuesday’s operation was North Waziristan tribal district, a stronghold for Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants on the border with Afghanistan. Among the targets was the home of Adnan Rasheed, a senior Taliban commander who wrote an open letter last year to Malala Yousafzai, the teenage education activist shot by militants, justifying the attack on her. Taliban and military sources said his house was hit but Rasheed himself was later seen alive in the marketplace of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan.


The families who lost their loved ones in the Mastung suicide bombing staged a sitin on Alamdar Road in Quetta on Wednesday and refused to bury the dead bodies. As a shutter-down strike was observed in most parts of Quetta city, Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch arrived to condole victims at the Combined Military Hospital to express solidarity with the protesters at Alamdar Road. Security forces place the death toll at 26 while according to members of Women and children are seen protesting against the Mastung blast in Karachi the Hazara community 28 were killed in the blast. a Hazara neighborhood. Minister Balochistan Dr kilometers, which is why Some of the injured are The bodies were kept near Abdul Malik Baloch said it is easy for terrorists to reportedly in critical con- the Nichari Imambargah. his government is now target the pilgrims in any dition. After frequent attacks considering the option of place, he told reporters at The families took the on the Hazara community ferry service for the Shia the Combined Military dead bodies and assem- on Taftan-Quetta highway pilgrims. Hospital. bled on Alamdar Road, despite stringent secuThe distance from Dr Baloch said which is predominantly rity arrangements, Chief Taftan to Quetta is 700 PROTEST, P29

(JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday expressed concern over ‘innocents’ being killed during Pakistani security forces’ airstrikes in North Waziristan on Sunday, DawnNews reported. In a statement issued to the media, he said that his party was not in favor of a military offensive and vowed to oppose it in the future as well. Earlier, Maulana Samiul Haq, who is also chief of his own faction of the religious Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-S) party said that he would no longer act as a government-backed peace broker with the militants after airstrikes killed 40 in the tribal agency bordering Afghanistan. “Killings of innocents and exodus of civilians after the airstrikes in North Waziristan is regrettable,” the statement quoted the JUI-F chief as saying.



The strikes appeared to be a tit-for-tat response to the militant bombings in Bannu and Rawalpindi. Rana Tanveer, Minister of Defense Production, Wednesday termed the offensive a ‘retaliation’ and not an ‘operation.’ A decision to choose between talks and crackdown will be made soon

Peshawar: Pakistani jets

and helicopter gunships bombarded suspected militants’ hideouts in a northwestern tribal dis-

trict Tuesday, killing at least 40 people, officials said, in response to two major bombings targeting the military.

The air strikes came a day after a suicide bomber killed 13 people in a blast near army headquarters - a rare strike close to the


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Islamabad: Pakistan Tehrik-iInsaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday his party would stand by the army in case a military operation is launched to counter the terrorist threat, DawnNews reported. Speaking to media representatives, Khan said the government had failed in its bid to hold talks with the Taliban, adding that his party should be taken into confidence if a military operation is to be launched. Khan, whose party has been a longstanding advocate of dialogue with the Taliban, said anti-state elements had triumphed which could have been prevented had the government sought the cooperation of the people of the tribal areas. Khan said his party would stand by the army when the time comes to launch a military operation.






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n By Mowahid Hussain Shah


50 years ago in 1864 – during the peak of the American Civil War when Abraham Lincoln was the 16th US President, just a year away from being assassinated in Washington – Charles Forman, a Kentucky-born Presbyterian minister and missionary, established Forman Christian College (now a university) at Lahore. To mark that event, there was the first ever mini-reunion of Formanite alumni in North America, at San Antonio, Texas.

The informal event was generously hosted by the vivacious Sherry Chaudhry and her husband, Tariq, who was the President of the FC College Student Union in the early 1970s. The small gathering was notable for the presence of Professors Riaz Hussain and Athar Zia – both distinguished FCC graduates 60 years ago and, subsequently, teachers there – along with their wives, Atiya and Naseem. Their commitment to reconnect was commendable. San Antonio is Spanish for Saint Anthony – a familiar name in Lahore because of its iconic school. It is the site of the Alamo mission where, in 1836, approximately 200 American defenders were slain following a siege and assault by Mexican troops led by General Santa Anna. It has now assumed a cult status in the American historical narrative.

n By Craig Considine

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Trinity College Dublin

obert Spencer, the administrator of the blog JihadWatch, is known for painting all Muslims as extremists. In a recent post titled “Akbar Ahmed, advocate of ‘dialogue,’ claims ‘Islamophobes’ are ‘linking Islam to violence, terrorism and intolerance,” Spencer argues that Professor Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, DC, is “disingenuous” in promoting interfaith dialogue and interested in converting non-Muslims to Islam. Spencer also calls him an “Islamic supremacist” and likens him to Sayyid Qutb, the 20th century Muslim extremist. To refute Spencer’s accusations, I will look to the example of Professor Ahmed and his relationships with non-Muslims, through which he promotes interfaith dialogue. In doing so, I prove that he is a leading Muslim figure in the fight against religious extremism and that not all Muslims are extremists, as Spencer claims. I am a Roman Catholic student and assistant to Professor Ahmed, who is like a father to me. He does not treat me differently for being Catholic because he sees Christians and Muslims as equal members of the Abrahamic family. In 2008, Professor Ahmed and his wife had dinner at our family home in suburban Boston. Over Italian food, he shared with my mother, a Roman Catholic and Italian American, several stories of his childhood days in Pakistan. He was educated

150 Years of FC College

San Antonio has a heavy Spaniard imprint, including buildings with Moorish arches, reminiscent of Muslim Spain, along with fig and pomegranate trees, brought over by

owns FCC) to address their group on the tensions that roil WesternMuslim relations. It was an animated three-hour discussion with a cerebral audience. Its moving spirit

FC College has stood the test of time, while being a veritable nursery of leaders in the Subcontinent. For 10 years, its past President, Peter Armacost, and his effervescent wife, Mary-Linda, gave their heart to Lahore and rekindled the Formanite legacy of service and fellowship. A legacy that lives on Spanish missionaries in the 1700s. On my return back to Washington, I was asked by elders of the Presbyterian Church (which owned, founded and, once again,

was Lorraine Nagy, a tireless advocate for harmony with Muslims and a critic of Western imperviousness to Palestinian sufferings, which she observed first-hand. 40 years ago, it

A Refute of Robert Spencer’s Post by Christians at Forman Christian College in Lahore and at Burn Hall in Abbottabad, which was run by Roman Catholic priests. Touching upon these experiences in the recent New York Times article “Pakistan’s Persecuted Christians,” Professor Ahmed wrote: “We loved and respected our Christian teachers, and they us. We never doubted that harmony and cooperation between faith groups were not only possible, but also completely normal. It was the reality of our lives.” Religious tolerance was built into Professor Ahmed’s life from his earliest days, which is why he is naturally

Touching upon these experiences in the recent New York Times article “Pakistan’s Persecuted Christians,” Professor Ahmed wrote: “We loved and respected our Christian teachers, and they us. We never doubted that harmony and cooperation between faith groups were not only possible, but also completely normal...” inclined to speak and write about how Muslims and non-Muslims can coexist. Professor Ahmed has also risked his own life in trying to build bridges between his Muslim and Christian friends in Pakistan. In December 2013, he gave a lecture at Forman Christian College, despite the police warning that the Pakistani Taliban had dispatched bombers to the city as an act of revenge for the killing of a former Pakistani Taliban leader. Professor Ahmed’s lecture titled “Build-

ing Bridges over Troubled Waters” demanded that Muslims be more tolerant of Christianity and other non-Muslim faiths in Pakistan. By supporting the rights of nonMuslims, he advocates for religious freedom and equality in a country which is rife with discrimination and persecution. Developing friendships with Christian leaders has always been a priority for Professor Ahmed. After the events of September 11th, 2001, he befriended former Bishop John Chane of the Washington National Cathedral, with whom he co-authored an article in 2010 titled “Christians senselessly tormented by extremists in Muslim world.” Professor Ahmed and Bishop Chane called for Muslims to “think of Jesus, so highly revered and loved by both Christians and Muslims,” as a way of building respect and harmony among followers of Christianity and Islam. Instead of supporting Muslims who attack Christians, Professor Ahmed challenges them on how persecuting non-Muslims is contrary to Prophet Muhammad’s philosophy on tolerance. Alongside his relationships with Christian friends, Professor Ahmed has also developed a powerful friendship with Professor Judea Pearl, a Jew and father of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street journalist who was murdered by Muslim extremists in Karachi, Pakistan in 2002. One year later, the American Jewish Committee invited Professors Ahmed and Pearl to lead a nationwide public dialogue on the divisions between Muslims and Jews. In 2006, they were among the recipients of the first annual Purpose Prize “in recognition of [their]

OPINION was this issue that drove and dominated the epic 1974 Islamic Summit at Lahore. Driven and fed by media punditry, Hollywood slant, and thinktank bias, there is, in effect, a onesided view in Washington of issues that color Western-Muslim frictions. This raises a pertinent question. Does the political dysfunctionality of the US Muslim community create a culture which makes it easier for vested interests to project and reinforce negative stereotypes of Muslims worldwide? If so, the selfcorrective epiphany has yet to occur. Thus far, the Muslim response of living in the West has oscillated between isolation and assimilation. Neither has worked. There are negatives that remain unrebutted and major positives that don’t get presented. Justice Christopher George Weeramantry, formerly of the International Court of Justice, in his seminal book, “Islamic Jurisprudence”, has conclusively proven that Islamic treatises, setting out principles of international law and human rights, preceded Western norms by 800 years. The similarity of human spirit is a more sustaining force than dwelling on man-made differences. FC College has stood the test of time, while being a veritable nursery of leaders in the Subcontinent. For 10 years, its past President, Peter Armacost, and his effervescent wife, Mary-Linda, gave their heart to Lahore and rekindled the Formanite legacy of service and fellowship. A legacy that lives on. simple, yet innovative approach to solving one of society’s most pressing problems.” Professor Ahmed collaborated with Professor Pearl in order to carve the path for Jewish and Muslim understanding and to promote the dialogue between, and not the clash of, civilizations. On several occasions, I also personally witnessed Professor Ahmed’s appreciation for Judaism and Jewish leaders in the United States. Upon embarking on “Journey into America,” a fieldwork study we conducted in 2008 and 2009 to understand American identity through the lens of Muslims, he asked Rabbi Susan Talvi of St. Louis, Missouri to bless our project and pray for our safe travels. Rabbi Talvi opened her blessing with one of Professor Ahmed’s favorite Jewish sayings: tikkun olam, or “to heal a fractured world.” He often uses tikkun olam in his lectures around the world as way to inspire people of all backgrounds to look at Judaism in a more positive light. Spencer’s accusations of Professor Ahmed are far-fetched conspiracy theories. By ignoring reality, as he so typically does, Spencer once again shows that he is nothing more than a bigot and propagandist.

Views and opinions expressed by authors and contributors in articles, letters, opinion pieces, reports, advertisements, etc appearing in Pakistan Link and Urdu Link are their own. The paper neither shares nor endorses them and thus should not be held responsible for the views/opinions of the writers & advertisers.




P6 – PAKISTAN LINK – JANUARY 24, 2014 n By Syed Kamran Hashmi


Westfield, IN

ever in the history of major religions had the concept of jihad been incorporated in their basic framework before Islam, nor had it been legitimized as a part of the mission, or embraced as one of the fundamental obligations. Even though Jesus lost his life on the cross and Abraham almost sacrificed his son under God’s command, the idea of martyrdom never translated in either of the two major Abrahamic religions as the approval from Yahweh for militancy and combative struggle.

The ability to wage a war against other nations on purely religious grounds, as approved by Islam, was indeed a conceptual revolution, a paradigm shift that for centuries to come would reshape our understanding of human life and its objectives in this world. For Muslims particularly, it would redefine the significance of death and afterlife, sin and virtue, retribution and redemption and, above all, it would elaborate immortality for the martyrs who, according to the scripture, might share with their Creator. Historically speaking, in the hostile Arab environment where newly converted Muslims were often tortured and put to death, Islam had to introduce jihad and martyrdom (shahadat) as an honorable and meritorious act to protect itself. There was no other option. Not only that, it had to reassure its followers of a comfortable afterlife where they would eat,

drink and pray; not only that, it had to applaud their valor by vindicating all their sins. It also had to encourage their families to celebrate the loss of their brothers, sons and husbands as martyrs instead of grieving for them. It had to buoy them with the promise of a paradise in which a state of eternal bliss would prevail and guarantee them the approval of the Creator. On a national level too, by glorifying martyrdom and by minimizing the fear of death, Islam transcended every other ideology in galvanizing people to fight for their rights and to struggle for justice. The idea was unique, extremely powerful and disturbingly attractive, so much so that it almost guaranteed the success of Muslims in every battle, notwithstanding the scarcity of their resources, the lack of manpower and inferiority in the organizational structure. As a result, while each individual actively chased his death in the battlefield and fought fiercely, the nation of Islam conquered half of the world in less than 50 years. In Pakistan, honestly speaking, we have abducted the sacred idea of jihad and twisted it into a form of local aggression. This insecure and feeble state of ours, confused between theocracy, autocracy and democracy, out of its own credulity, in the last few decades has put every effort to encourage courage and war as the leading virtues, a policy in which death becomes more important than life and a vicious cycle in which taking life becomes more praiseworthy than saving it. Through a decade of ‘hard work’ and its persistent indoctrination of violent characteristics, the whole society has been radicalized. It is not ready to acknowledge intelligence,

Jihad for Peace

ingenuity or creativity as commend-

Concerned and bewildered, we have been asking ourselves: how can a person who once stood up to protect the country and endangered his life to guarantee its security betray his people and be tried in the courts for treason? The soldier who has the courage to endure the training of a commando, the officer whose valor has been tested during war and the leading general of the sixth largest army of the world — how can he be prosecuted as a traitor? able traits, especially when they are compared with the importance of

protection of the borders or endangering one’s life for the country or staying up in cold weather during a deputation. Learning and education have acquired a backseat, research and experimentation have been pushed back, and objectivity has been designated as being too dangerous for the believers to keep their faith. Discipline, too, matters in Pakistan to keep the authority and the chain of command only but scientific discipline is disregarded. Honesty is important in financial issues to a certain extent also but intellectual honesty is actively discredited and the ability to speak the uncomfortable truth about history, politics and religion is censured and sometimes even punished. To have one’s own opinion is commendable as long as it conforms with the state policy. However, keeping a divergent opinion is considered to be divisive, unpatriotic and a conspiracy against the nation. And, for sure, justice is important as long as it is done upon others while we think of ourselves as perpetually innocent and above the law. Obviously, when a nation has been brought up under the fear of being surrounded by enemies for decades and has been led to believe that its borders need to be fiercely guarded from their attacks, in that country, a soldier, even if he is accused of a simple crime like theft, can spark a big controversy. This is our deep-rooted confusion and a collective yet concealed denial, which we have witnessed in society over the trial of General Musharraf. Concerned and bewildered, we have been asking ourselves: how can a person who once stood up to protect the country and

endangered his life to guarantee its security betray his people and be tried in the courts for treason? The soldier who has the courage to endure the training of a commando, the officer whose valor has been tested during war and the leading general of the sixth largest army of the world — how can he be prosecuted as a traitor? To add further fuel to the fire, some people are challenging the army to protect their former chief, and are asking them to intervene in the judicial process to reassure the nation about their ability to safeguard the country. The answer to our dilemma is not difficult to unearth but is, nonetheless, really hard to implement: we have to rebuild Pakistan on an entirely different narrative and shy away from the philosophy of war. As timid as it may sound and as craven as it may appear, we have to encourage a narrative that promotes peace, the rule of law and stable democracy, a narrative that focuses on education and research, and a narrative that values saving human lives more than taking them. That will be our real jihad, our struggle for peace. FAZL FROM P1

“What criteria are adopted to ascertain who is a terrorist and who is not?” he inquired. Assailing the government for its failure to come up with a clear stance on the issue, Fazlur Rehman said that people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were being “sandwiched” from all directions. His party would not accept the policy of targeting civilian population in the name of operations against Taliban militants.



n By Dr Mohammad Taqi



arachi’s tough cop Chaudhry Aslam Khan, a leader of the terrorist-battered Awami National Party (ANP) Mian Mushtaq, several security personnel guarding the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) leader Amir Muqam and, of course, the hero of Hangu, young Aitzaz Hassan were all martyred at the hands of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the past several days. Elsewhere in the world such attacks would have triggered a swift and befitting response by the state, but not in Pakistan. Why would it be any different now?

Had this country not opted for inaction when Benazir Bhutto was martyred? Did it move at all when the lionhearted Bashir Bilour was slain? Before that, did the state not fail to budge after the deaths of the Inspector General Police (IGP) Malik Saad, Superintendent Police (SP) Khan Raziq and scores of ANP workers in one bombing? Pakistan, it seems, has a remarkably high pain tolerance. Every time agony is inflicted on its people by the terrorists, the Pakistani leadership squanders the opportunity to build consensus for decisive action. Choosing dithering and confusion over resolve and clarity has become the hallmark of the Pakistani state. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ’s timely but tepid recognition of the sacrifice rendered by the 15-year-old Aitzaz and Mr Imran Khan reprimanding his own government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for failing to reach out to the young hero’s family is somewhat of a departure from the past but why could Mr Sharif not be his usual magnanimous self in honoring Aitzaz? The boy rendered the ultimate sacrifice — his conscious decision by all accounts — laying down his life to save his schoolmates from a terrorist maniac. What more could he do to earn the Nishan-eShujaat, the top civilian award for gallantry? Why did the prime minister settle for the third high-

Tepid Outrage over Terrorism est award, the Sitara-e-Shujaat, is better known to him and is his prerogative. However, he may wish to consider that if only the Pakistani state had the guts to grapple with terrorists like Aitzaz did, things may have been different today. Mr Imran Khan’s statement is welcome but, yet again, he condemned only the murder and not the murderers whom he calls his brothers and ‘our people’. His coalition partner, the Jamaat-eIslami’s (JI’s) Liaquat Baloch called Aitzaz a shaheed (martyr). Just months prior, the JI’s chief had called the TTP ringleader, Hakeemullah Mehsud, a martyr. Mr Khan and his JI partners cannot have their jihadist cake and eat it too. They will have to choose sides. Aitzaz is a martyr and Hakeemullah was a killer. Mr Khan and the JI types cannot have it both ways — they must come clean on terrorism. The opium of negotiations that they have been peddling has paralyzed the Pakistani state. Mr Khan, with massive help from the media, has reduced the complex issue of jihadist terrorism to merely a reaction to the drone attacks. His solution is fantastically simple too: talk to what is the lunatic fringe even among the terrorists. The Pashtuns are facing an existential threat: families are moving out of Peshawar in droves, the jihadist extortion is rampant and the TTP is encroaching upon the outskirts of the city. It is no different in Charsadda, Mardan and Nowshera. The people do not have the luxury to wait for Mr Khan’s experiments in governance. However, the ultimate responsibility to pull the country out of this morass still rests with Mr Nawaz Sharif. His interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has been shooting — or more accurately talking — in the dark. It seems that he has ghost emissaries reaching out to ghost Taliban and conducting ghost negotiations. The process that Chaudhry Nisar has been promising for six months never did take off. There were no talks before the TTP honchos Wali-ur-Rehman and Hakeemullah Mehsud were killed and none whatsoever afterwards. The interior minister owes the

people a candid explanation. Someone recently wrote that the interior minister is leaning towards a Plan B, i.e. military action against the TTP. The

The ultimate responsibility to pull the country out of this morass still rests with Mr Nawaz Sharif. His interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has been shooting — or more accurately talking — in the dark. It seems that he has ghost emissaries reaching out to ghost Taliban and conducting ghost negotiations fact is that the PML-N government is merely plodding along and has no comprehensive plan whatsoever to tackle the militancy nationwide. Whatever the PML-N’s understanding with the Punjab-based jihadists is, it seems to be working. Nawaz Sharif ’s government appears in no hurry to take the terrorism bull by the horns so

long as the beast remains in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PML-N’s cavalier attitude to even its preferred solution of talks is reflected by reportedly asking Maulana Samiul Haq to act as an intermediary with the Taliban. It cannot be lost on the government that, as recently as a few weeks ago, the Haqqani network men were conducting prayer services for their assassinated leader Nasiruddin Haqqani in the vicinity of Maulana Samiul Haq’s Haqqaniyah Madrassa in Akora. The P M L - N has to get its act together, and soon. Relying on Samiul Haq types is a recipe for bigger disasters. The Taliban are trying to project power but, by all accounts, still remain on the ropes. There is bickering among various TTP factions and with their transnational jihadist cohorts. A spike in extortions — including in Islamabad — and new recruitment videos indicate an element of desperation in the TTP. The Mehsud faction apparently is refusing to share the kitty left behind by Hakeemullah. This is when the state has its chance to assert its power instead of the interior minister’s wishy-washy statements about how difficult it is to fight terrorism. Mr Nawaz Sharif must put his house in order if he wishes to do something meaningful about the TTP. Given the abysmal performance of some of his lieutenants, he may even have to consider a cabinet reshuffle. He simply cannot afford to have his ministers waffling at such critical junctures. The military seems inclined to take on the TTP and General Raheel Sharif ’s tribute to the hero of Hangu was perhaps the most unequivocal one in Pakistan. Whether the military will abandon its Afghan proxies is highly suspect but, unless it cuts them loose, it may just be chasing its tail. However, for all of that to happen, the narrative has to be wrestled back from the jihadists’ advocates in the political parties and the media. This is where Mr Sharif will have to take charge, pronounce his vision clearly, set the goals and cut through the confusion spread by TTP apologists. Things as they stand are untenable but is Mr Sharif up to the task? Unfortunately, his tepid outrage over terrorism suggests otherwise.


P8 – PAKISTAN LINK – JANUARY 24, 2014 n By Riaz Haq



ormer President Musharraf ’s detractors argue that he lacked legitimacy because he came to power through a coup which removed a duly elected government in

1999. Implicit in Musharraf ’s opponents’ argument is the as-

sumption that the electoral process is the only source of legitimacy for a ruler. It ignores the possibility that the will of the people can also be expressed in ways other than elections to confer legitimacy on a leader. It rejects the notion that a leader can earn legitimacy in the eyes of the people by delivering results to the people through good governance. Public Opinion Surveys: Such an expression of people’s will can come in many forms, including results of frequent public opinion polls conducted by multiple professional pollsters in Pakistan and many other countries around the world. One such credible survey is done regularly by Pew Global Research. It shows that the majority of people believed the country was headed in the right direction in Musharraf years. It also shows that people’s satisfaction with Pakistan’s direction has been in rapid decline. It has sharply fallen to about 8% in 2013. Another survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan in August 2013 shows that 59% of Pakistanis have a positive view of President Muaharraf (31% say they hold a favorable opinion of him and another 28% say he was satisfactory). 34% have an unfavorable opinion of the former ruler. Judiciary and Parliament Approval: Musharraf ’s actions of 1999 were legitimized by the Pakistan Supreme Court in Syed Zafar Ali Shah v. General Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Pakistan (PLD 2000 SC 869). In addition to endorsing the coup, the Supreme Court granted extensive powers to the new Musharraf Government, empowering it to unilaterally amend the 1973 Constitution and enact new laws without the approval of Parliament. Musharraf held parliamentary elections in 2002 and subsequently won a parliamentary vote to confirm him as the President of Pakistan. Good Governance under Musharraf: When Musharraf took over in 1999, Pakistan was essentially bankrupt with just a few hundred million dollars in reserves and a heavy debt load which it couldn’t repay. Economic growth plummeted to between 3% and 4%, poverty rose to

Musharraf Earned Legitimacy by Good Governance

Source: Pew Research in Pakistan

33%, inflation was in double digits and the foreign debt mounted to nearly the entire GDP of Pakistan as the governments of Benazir Bhutto (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif (PML) played musical chairs. Before Sharif was ousted in 1999, the two parties had presided over a decade of corruption and mismanagement. In 1999 Pakistan’s total public debt as percentage of GDP was the highest in South Asia – 99.3 percent of its GDP and 629 percent of its revenue receipts, compared to Sri Lanka (91.1% and 528.3% respectively in 1998) and India (47.2% and 384.9% respectively in 1998). Internal Debt of Pakistan in 1999 was 45.6 per cent of GDP and 289.1 per cent of its revenue receipts, as compared to Sri Lanka (45.7% and 264.8% respectively in 1998) and India (44.0% and 358.4% respectively in 1998). So what did Musharraf do to gain the trust of a very large number of Pakistanis who supported his rule after the 1999 coup? He undertook a number of economic and regulatory reforms to rejuvenate the country’s economy. Deregulating telecommunications and liberalizing electronic media business, particularly television, immediately brought in the significant first wave of domestic and foreign investment and created me-

dia and telecom boom in the country. Banking and financial services sector took off and rapidly grew. A construction boom followed which more than doubled per capita cement consumption and created millions of new jobs. Thanks to the dynamic economy under President Musharraf ’s rule, Pakistan created more jobs, graduated more people from schools and colleges, built a larger middle class and lifted more people out of poverty as percentage of its population than India in the last decade. And Pakistan did so in spite of the huge challenges posed by the war in Afghanistan and a very violent insurgency at home. The above summary is based on volumes of recently released reports and data on job creation, education, middle class size, public hygiene, poverty and hunger over the last decade that offer new insights into the lives of ordinary people in two South Asian countries. It adds to my previous post titled “India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2010”. The PPP government summed up General Musharraf ’s accomplishments well when it signed a 2008 Memorandum of Understanding with the International Monetary Fund which said: “Pakistan’s economy witnessed a major economic transformation in the last decade. The country’s real GDP increased from $60 billion to $170 billion, with per capita income rising from under $500 to over $1000 during 2000-07”. It further acknowledged that “the volume of international trade increased from $20 billion to nearly $60 billion. The improved macroeconomic performance enabled Pakistan to re-enter the international capital markets in the mid-2000s. Large capital inflows financed the current account deficit and contributed to an increase in gross official reserves to $14.3 billion at end-June 2007. Buoyant output growth, low inflation, and the government’s social policies contributed to a reduction in poverty and improvement in many social indicators”. (see MEFP, November 20, 2008, para 1) Contrary to what Musharraf bashers dismiss as “aid-fueled economy” in 2002-2007, the economic growth was actually driven by private savings and investments. Private domestic savings rate was over 18% of GDP in the Musharraf era but has slumped to just 7% in recent years. Pakistan attracted record foreign direct investment (FDI) in telecom, banking, manufacturing and other sectors of the economy. As for US aid during and after Musharraf ’s years in office, it has actually tripled in size from $700 million in 2007-8 to $2.1 billion since 2010. If aid alone were responsible for economic growth, MUSHARRAF, P10



n By Dr Adil Najam


Lahore, Pakistan

n Monday, a child died in Hangu. He died a hero’s death. He died for a cause greater than himself, showing great courage and immense conviction. In a society where even the government sometimes seems to be not fighting back, this child fought back. He stood up. That is the stuff heroes are made of.

Let us not forget, however, that he was but a child. Yes, he gave his life to save the lives of others. But let us remember that his life was taken away from him. Snatched brutally. Needlessly. Ruthlessly. Barbarically. Yes, he was a hero. But he was also a victim. Let us also remember that he was a Pakistani. He is dead precisely because he was a Pakistani. Martyred, yes. But, before that, murdered by those who make a sport of killing Pakistanis. Let us not forget who he was: Aitizaz Hasan, resident of village Ibrahimzai, a Pakistani, a hero, a victim, a student, a child. Fifteen-year olds should not be in the business of dying in ghastly encounters with self-righteous lunatics in suicide jackets. Fifteen-year olds should not be in the business of saving their school and their class-mates from horrendous death by themselves dying horrendously. As we salute Aitizaz Hasan’s courage and bravery let us also remember that 15-year olds should not be in the business of dying a hero’s death. The only business a 15year old should be in is to live a child’s life: a little mischief, a lot of innocence, maybe some frolic on the side. It was the action of a suicide bomber that took Aitizaz Hasan’s life on that frigid morning in Ibrahimzai, Hangu. But it was the inaction of an entire society, an entire a polity, that robbed him of his childhood. This is not just a story about what Aitizaz Hasan did that morning. It is also a story about all that we as a society have not been doing: on providing security to our citizens, on fighting terrorism, on combating extremism, and indeed on education itself. Aitizaz’s death is a reflection of our failures. Shame on us! All of us! Three days later, on the Lyari Expressway in Karachi, Pakistan’s most feared and, maybe, most respected policeman was killed. He had led a ruthless life. He met a ruthless death. The central character of so many ‘encounters’ was

n By Azher Quader


Chicago, IL

i wafa too ne Muhammad se to ham terey hain

Ye jahan cheez hai kya loh o qala - Iqbal If you are true in your love of Muhammad then We are with you This world is nothing; We will give you Our pen and tablet to write your own destiny When Iqbal penned this verse on behalf of the Creator, he probably had in mind a state of love and adoration for the Prophet (pbuh) different from the love and adoration we practice for the Prophet (pbuh) these days. Indeed ours is a celebratory love, that is usually evident in private parties where we sing his praises, or in public gatherings where we assemble to hear the stories of his awe inspiring life, and more recently, in slogan chanting marches that help create a spectacle of our love for the media to behold. For if we were to be truly in love with our Prophet (pbuh) our celebratory love would transform itself into a performing love, the results of which would be easy to witness. Today even with one eye struggling to blink open and look above the sand in which our heads are bur-

Aitizaz Hasan, Chaudhry Aslam, Me and You

himself ‘encountered.’ His death should not have surprised anyone. Yet it left the entire metropolis and the entire country shocked. Quite literally, stunned: “If the ‘iron man’ of Pakistan police was not safe, then who

Aslam that is greater even than Chaudhry Aslam. It is that Pakistan and Pakistanis crave action against terrorism. One only hopes that the message gets across to policymakers. Yes, Chaudhry Aslam’s story is a story of

the Pakistani policeman deserves a little more respect than he gets. Maybe an occasional gesture of appreciation instead of the scorn and sarcasm we usually reserve for them. Here is one small act that will not take much but could go a long way: next time you see a Pakistani policeman doing his duty, stop, smile, and simply say: ‘Thank You.’ was?” we all asked ourselves. In life he had been called many things; most often ‘controversial.’ In death, there was just one word that everyone has used: Hero. And a hero he is. He is a hero, not for the way he died. But for the way he lived: by standing up. No one seems to have any doubts about his flaws; his rough edges. But the outpouring of admiration has bordered on the reverential. In a society whose biggest sin is inaction, it should not be a surprise that a ‘man of action’ emerges a saint. Chaudhry Aslam is a hero like no other in Pakistan today because he did something that no one else seems willing or able to do: to do something. He stood up. Just as that child in Hangu would later do, Chaudhry Aslam had lived having decided that he had to do something, even if it was something reckless. There is a message in the ‘herodom’ of Chaudhry

sacrifice, but it is also a story of murder. His story is not simply about yet another gruesome attack on a Pakistani. It is the story of yet another gruesome attack on a symbol of the Pakistani state. If the attack on Aitizaz Hasan and his school was another attack on Pakistan’s future, the attack on Chaudhry Aslam was an attack on a central apparatus of Pakistan’s statehood. The question you and I confront is one we have confronted before: If this is not war, then what is? If you are not on the side of Pakistan in this war, then whose side are you on? There is so much – way too much – to reflect on in the angst of this week. Let me offer just three thoughts. First, a thought about ‘herodom’: Pity the people whose heroes die young. Pity the nation where one has to die to become a hero. In a society at peace with itself neither Aiti-

zaz Hasan nor Chaudhry Aslam should have had to die to become a hero. There is so much more that they could have done had they lived. Herodom has robbed one of his childhood and another of his parenthood. There can be no greater tragedy than that. Second, a thought on what Aitizaz Hasan was defending, and what his killers sought to attack: schools. Terrorists clearly see schools – and education – as one of the biggest threats to their agenda of extremist hatred. Such a great threat that a child, Malala Yousafzai, had to risk death and another, Aitizaz Hasan, had to embrace it. Yet, in a strangely perverse way they may understand the power of education much more than we do. What they seek to destroy so violently, we have done very little to build. I wonder what the school in Ibrahimzai that Aitizaz gave his life defending actually looks and feels like? If it is like so many other government schools in so much of the rest of Pakistan, it is likely to be a picture of neglect. It is not just ironic but disgusting to realize that what our enemies choose not to ignore, we continue to neglect. Finally, a thought on the Chaudhry Aslam’s we choose to ignore; indeed, we often lampoon: Pakistani policemen everywhere. Most policemen are not as fascinating and charismatic as Chaudhry Aslam was. Indeed, some may be individually incompetent, corrupt or have succumbed to an inept system. But the fact is that most Pakistani policemen are chronically under-resourced, over-stressed and under-appreciated; stuck in one hell of a tough job; which they generally do with amazing grace, obvious courage and often with bravery. The Pakistani policeman is, really, the frontline in Pakistan’s war against terror. Very often they are the only thing standing between a suicide bomber and his would-be victim. On chowki after chowki, check-post after checkpost, Pakistani policemen are putting their lives on the line for your safety, and mine. The mayhem of last week should remind us that the Pakistani policeman deserves a little more respect than he gets. Maybe an occasional gesture of appreciation instead of the scorn and sarcasm we usually reserve for them. Here is one small act that will not take much but could go a long way: next time you see a Pakistani policeman doing his duty, stop, smile, and simply say: ‘Thank You.’ (The writer has taught international relations and public policy at Boston University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and was the vice chancellor of LUMS)

If You Are True in Your Love of Muhammad ied , the sorry state of Muslim life would be clear to see. Far from the promise of having the power to write our own future, we can hardly keep our present condition from falling apart and being tossed around at the mercy of forces beyond our control. From Iraq to Morocco, from India to Pakistan, from UK to US our love for the Prophet (pbuh) has sadly come to exist as a oneday celebration, not a life-embracing phenomenon. True love for the Prophet (pbuh) would be demonstrated by a life of integrity and compassion, discipline and dignity, excellence and achievement. That was what he provided as an example throughout his life. True love for the Prophet, one would have to agree, is expressed more through deeds than through words of praise. The insanity of Hollywood love is what we have come to adopt in the community, as our love for the Prophet has become a noun not a verb, where it is a feeling to enjoy not a sacrifice to make. Is it any great mystery then that our condition among the nations of the world and our plight among the people of the planet are as pathetic and as deplorable as it has ever been.

As people of faith and as vicegerents of Allah we were given a sacred trust to shoulder. Unfortunately this responsibility we have long abdicated. We have chosen to live lives of indifference and irrelevance. We have decided to follow the beaten track, the road more easily traveled, and the path less hazardous for our feet. Yet he in whose love we gather

Our celebrations of his Maulud can only be meaningful if we are willing to make the tough choices for building our lives in the image of his life, striving to be undeniably good, to be aware of our individual selves and our surroundings , to grow our capacities to their fullest and march so often, did show us another way. That was the way he traveled, picking the burdens of people he hardly knew, bloodied by the stones of people who hated him, accepting

the boycott and blockade of his clan that denied him, standing up for the rights of the poor and deprived while belonging to a community of privileged, keeping true to his promises even when it hurt his own selfinterest, unfailing in the pursuit of justice, forgiving his enemies, demonstrating humility in victory and patience in defeat. What a way he showed us to live. What a way we have learnt to live. He showed us the way for unity, establishing a fraternity of Arabs and non-Arabs. Today we are divided in the name of language , culture and geographic origins. Our tribalism has surfaced under new names. Sometimes we call it ethnic pride, sometimes it goes as cultural diversity. He showed us the power of seeing the big picture, the vision for a brighter future, one that sacrificed the short term for the long term. Yet today we are consumed with our personal agendas, intoxicated with the gratification of the immediate, indifferent to the realities of the community’s future. He showed us to be fearless in battle, to be fighting fit in war and peace, to raise our arms in defense of the oppressed, the weak and the ones in bondage.

Today we live in fear, threatened by our own inadequacies , abstaining to march for the rights of others, oblivious of the silent cries of the unborn, refusing to speak truth to power, indifferent to the issues that concern our neighbors, ignorant of the plight of the refugees. He showed us the way to conquer and relent. We have learnt to overcome and dispense justice in the streets by the mobs. He showed us to live as good neighbors. We have learnt to live as strangers, barely acknowledging the existence of our neighbors. He showed us to bear hurt and hostility with patience and endurance. We have learnt to whine and wail at every thorn that is placed in our path. Our veneration for the Prophet (pbuh) can ring true only if we are to mend our ways and embark upon a journey of strength, that will follow the map and markings he left for us to pursue. Our celebrations of his Maulud can only be meaningful if we are willing to make the tough choices for building our lives in the image of his life, striving to be undeniably good, to be aware of our individual selves and our surroundings, to grow our capacities to their fullest, to let go our fears, to become empowered and powerful, to become a blessing for all humanity.


P10 – PAKISTAN LINK – JANUARY 24, 2014 n By Dr Basheer Ahmed Khan


Garden Grove, CA

very time we face a problem we try to enact new laws and add another layer to our administrative apparatus to take care of it only to find that new problems have surfaced demanding newer laws and personnel to implement them. We are yet to learn that it is not laws or the type of government that determines the efficacy of governance in giving peace and prosperity to our societies, but the people who make just laws and administer them impartially; all the successful civilizations of the past point to this fact.

We pay no attention to change the outlook of the functionaries of our governments and to bring people of strong character and moral strength to correct the situation. On the contrary, the trend these days is to marginalize the efficient and sincere people and bring puppets to run the agenda of the stakeholders. The only way to change this situation is that string holders and their puppets learn from the lessons of history of the recent and the distant past. There is no place for cut-throat selfishness in a gregarious and interdependent society. Having understood this they should embark upon a course that rewards hard work and entrepreneurship without jeopardizing the right of others to their fair share in the resources of the earth. Marques De Sade was a product of decaying civilization at the threshold of renaissance who was trying to reestablish the hold of the forces of chaos on the reforming society. It is unfortunate that he was successfully projected by the vested interest as a reformer who came to end all taboos and foster new ideas. It was because of pseudo-intellectuals like him that morality became a relative feeling holding the entrepreneurial spirit of man which needed to be buried with the hatchet of fabricated religions. Through their semantics they successfully projected the poor as the parasites. While doing this they forgot to put the fair share of the blame on the greed of the aristocrats which killed the spirit to live in labor. As the religions failed to reform to this challenge, the religions went on the defensive and on the sideline and immorality and greed became the fashion of the day. God which was evident in the rising and setting of the Sun each day, in the twinkling of stars at night, in the sprouting of the seeds, in the lush green corn fields, in the quivering of the rivers, in the roaring of the seas, in the blooming of the flowers, in the birth of a child and its innocent smile, became a suspect and a myth. His power to resurrect us after we are dead and bring us to accountability became a subject of ridicule. And the lie that we do not get life but once, so enjoy it even if it is at the expense of others, became the motto of life. The echo chambers of liberal thought seem to be triumphing over the parroting of clergy; not because of the legitimacy of the liberal thought or the efficacy of the echo chambers, but because of the disconnect which the religion that is being preached has developed from its reality. It is not true religion which is losing to liberal thought, but it is hollow rituals in its name. When the thought of man pollutes the word of God, when rituals replace reality, when tradition trumps rationale, then religion does not remain that

Belief in Resurrection Is the Way to Salvation vibrant force capable of changing the attitude of man for better, but a parochial thought to divide and destroy mankind. To restore order and sanity to our dysfunctional societies it is essential that we restore the originality of religion. This reformed religion will produce individuals who will be the cornerstone for reformation of our societies, otherwise all structural and legal changes in the setup will just have some cosmetic effect which will wash out with the perspiration of some stress. The most important aspect of religion that has to be emphasized is the belief in resurrection and accountability before an Omnipotent and Omniscient God. Fortunately, this belief is a part of all religions with some nuances of details and it can be rejuvenated with some effort. Faith is not just a vocalized precept but a state of consciousness. This consciousness makes a believer restrained in the use of his freedoms. If this restraint is not seen in people claiming to be faithful, it means that faith has not permeated their consciousness. The consciousness emanating out of faith stops a believer from greed and from adapting to unfair means in earning to satiate his greed. Faith also stops a believer from indulging in sinful acts which are a source of pleasure. Faith stops a person from harming others for his own gain. Beyond this faith makes a believer share his meager wealth with others in need rather than use it for his pleasures (Ch 59 V 9). People of faith know that the edge they have over others in matter of intelligence, power etc is not to fool other and loot others but a test from their Creator to see how they use it (Ch 7 V 165). It is imperative that Allah compensates such people, who lived a life of restraint with their families, and shared the good of this life equitably with others, a life of eternal bliss after they die (Ch 52 V 26). To the contrary those who do not believe in God and His power to resurrect them and bring them to accountability after they are dead are misled to follow their desires and their opinions as their gods leading them to a life of disarray (Ch 20 V 16). Their only concern is their happiness and the happiness of their family. They are unmindful of the consequences of their greed on the peace and tranquility of society. To such people moral values are relative. Such people who lived a life with utter disregard for fairness and destroyed the peace and tranquility of the world for the sake of their families deserve the life of hell after they are dead (Ch 84 V 12). Even if such people are altruistic and spend some of their unfairly earned money for the good of the society it is not enough to compensate for the chaos they created in the society by their selfishness in the first place. Some people suggest that faith must be excluded from the calculations in determining the reward and punishment for those who did good deeds in this world without believing in God, because there are lots of good people who are doing a lot of good to the society than most of the so-called religious. They want that such people should also be rewarded with salvation and paradise if God is a just God. To expect that a just God will equate those people who got more than their fair share in this life by committing excesses with those who lived a modest life in a spirit of

fairness in The Hereafter, is to blemish the justice of God (Ch 38 V 28). Allah is not jealous about our living happily on this earth (Ch 7 V 32). What Allah is angry about is our infringement upon the right of His other children while doing so. The freedom which Allah has given to us demands self-restraint on the part of individuals, and a responsibility on the part of society to keep a proper balance between individual liberties and collective stability. Those who are pursuing their selfish interests at the expense of others say that they are pursuing their freedom to enjoy life and it is for the others to be safe from getting hurt in the process is like saying the defenseless people to submit to those who are fully armed in order to be safe. Just like it is the prerogative of the CEO of a company to raise the ranks and remuneration of any of his employee and decrease it for others, it is the right of Allah swt to reward anybody He wants and deprive anybody He wants. While do-

The day of final accountability is not a pay per view sort of pastime to be shown to everyone at the time of his demand. If Allah were to show the consequence of our deeds immediately no one would dare abandon good and indulge in evil, but then this behavior would be coercive and not voluntary, and Allah wants people to behave good or bad voluntarily to be responsible for its consequence ing this there are certain rules that the CEO has to follow. Allah swt also follows some rules in rewarding and punishing people. As intention determines the real nature of an action and intention is known to no one except the person who does the action and to God. That is why Allah has kept the prerogative of salvation and punishment of an individual to Himself (Ch 2 V 284). Faith is made a prerequisite for salvation and paradise by Allah swt (Ch 4 V 124) not as a parochial phenomenon but one based on sound principles which Allah has set for himself. Whereas a person who does good deeds with a belief that he is doing this because it is the command of God and that he will be compensated for it by Him in the hereafter has to receive it in the hereafter. Those who have done good deeds in this world without faith in God and expectation of a reward from Him in the hereafter will not get their reward in the hereafter until and unless they swear faith in God and live by it. Those who deposit their money in the Bank of World should not expect to retrieve it from Bank of Hereafter much the same way as those who deposit their money in the Bank of England can’t recover it from the Bank of America until and unless they transfer it to the Bank of America. Those who want the good of the world will get their share of it in this world and they have no portion of it in the hereafter, and those who pray for the good of both worlds get their due share which they have earned (Ch 2 V 200-202). While Allah’s reward of Para-

dise is linked to faith and good deeds, a persons’ safety from the punishment of the hereafter is not dependent just on faith. Allah says clearly in the Qur’an: Whoever amongst you commits evil deeds will have his punishment and he will not find any friend or supporter to save him from it (Ch 4 V 123). Unfortunately we are misled by a false hope that our empty belief will expiate us from the consequences of our evil deeds and continue to do evil deeds and still hope that we will be redeemed. Redemption through intercession is the most misunderstood concept of religion that makes many of us unmindful of refraining from evil deeds and thus brings discredit to religion. But this is a topic for another article. When Will This Happen? The skeptics sarcastically say that the talk of resurrection, accountability and reward and punishment is all an old fairy tale that is being repeated over and over for thousands of years without any truth to it (Ch 23 V 83). They demanded from the prophets to bring it on if it is a reality. Scholars have described this denial of the hereafter and its inevitability by elaborating upon the famous adage: These are the people who can count the seeds in the apple but can’t see the apples in the seed. How can we see the apples in the seed till we sow the seed and wait for a certain period for the plant to grow and produce apples? The same way the reality of the hereafter will appear before us only after we die. But we can’t believe in it like a fetus who can’t believe in the world outside of the womb of its mother till it comes out of it. The day of final accountability is not a pay per view sort of pastime to be shown to everyone at the time of his demand. If Allah were to show the consequence of our deeds immediately no one would dare abandon good and indulge in evil, but then this behavior would be coercive and not voluntary, and Allah wants people to behave good or bad voluntarily to be responsible for its consequence. Moreover, not a single living being would be left on the face of the earth if Allah had taken us to task for our evil deeds immediately. Allah out of His mercy gives us time to understand, repent and reform for our mistakes (Ch 16 V 61). Prophets told their people that Allah has fixed a time for resurrection and accountability so that all the people that are to be born are born and collect all the effects of their good and evil deeds to their account for this miserable event to happen (Ch 42 V14). When it comes it comes with a bang and it will neither be accelerated nor postponed by a moment (Ch 7 V 187). The disbelievers scoff at the possibility of resurrection of the dead and their accountability after death and decay (Ch 36 V 78). Allah asks them to ponder about how He created them from two cells when they were nothing (Ch 76 V 1-2). Allah also reminds us about how He created us in the darkness of three layers in the wombs of our mothers perpetrated by placenta, womb and abdominal wall (Ch 39 V6). He says that when He raised us from nothing it is not at all difficult for Him to raise us once again when we will be nothing (Ch 19 V 66-68). As He makes the barren land bloom with life after a single shower so He will

make us stand before Him for accountability by bringing us back to life (Ch 7 V 57). Those who say that we will not be raised after we are dead will realize it in vain when they find themselves standing before Allah (Ch 6 V 29-30). Relevance of This belief to Contemporary Life: The belief of resurrection and accountability of the hereafter before an Omniscient and Omnipotent God is a part of all religions with some nuances of details. In the hardships of life people have forgotten the art of living. Those for whom living is easy, understanding life is unnecessary. Under these circumstances reviving the quiescent belief in hereafter is a challenge, but not bigger than the challenges that mankind faces today. If we are able to inculcate this consciousness then we can make few just laws which will have the support of the vast majority of people and we will be able to administer these laws at low cost through an honest bureaucracy. The talk of smaller governments with plethora of unjust laws and with little God consciousness amongst those who make them and administer them should send a chill in the spine of all those who care for this world and its people. This, by no means, is an endorsement of the present big governments of dishonest people. It is only a plea to build a society of honest God-fearing people so that we can have good leaders and good governments. The talk of fiscal conservatism and moral liberalism to come out of the mess we are in may suit the need of crony capitalism, but it will push the society to the days of Gomorrah. MUSHARRAF FROM P8

then the GDP growth rate should have accelerated, not plummeted, after Musharraf left office. In addition to the economic revival, Musharraf focused on social sector as well. Pakistan’s HDI grew at an average rate of 2.7% per year under President Musharraf from 2000 to 2007, and then its pace slowed to 0.7% per year in 2008 to 2012 under the elected politicians, according to the 2013 Human Development Report titled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”. Overall, Pakistan’s human development score rose by 18.9% during Musharraf years and increased just 3.4% under the elected leadership since 2008. The news on the human development front got even worse in the last three years, with HDI growth slowing down as low as 0.59% — a paltry average annual increase of under 0.20 per cent. Going further back to the decade of 1990s when the civilian leadership of the country alternated between PML (N) and PPP, the increase in Pakistan’s HDI was 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf ’s watch from 2000 to 2007. Acceleration of HDI growth during Musharraf years was not an accident. Not only did Musharraf ’s policies accelerate economic growth, helped create 13 million new jobs, cut poverty in half and halved the country’s total debt burden in the period from 2000 to 2007, his government also ensured significant investment and focus on education and health care. The annual budget for higher education increased from only Rs 500 million in 2000 to Rs 28 billion in 2008, to lay the foundations of MUSHARRAF, P26



Suicide Bombing Near Military Headquarters Kills at Least 13 in Rawalpindi

Pakistan Army secures a road leading to the site of the suicide bombing

Islamabad: A suicide bomber struck Monday morning near the Pakistani military’s general headquarters in Rawalpindi, killing at least 13 people, including six soldiers, officials said. The attack came a day after a bombing in Bannu, in the country’s northwest, killed 20 members of a Pakistani paramilitary unit. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks. Haroon Joya, a superintendent with the Rawalpindi police, said the attack on Monday was carried out during the morning rush hour by a teenager dressed as a garbage collector and riding a bicycle. The youth

detonated his explosives after being stopped at a checkpoint, Mr Joya said. He added that forensic investigators were examining evidence collected from the scene, including the bomber’s remains. The explosion shattered windows and damaged vehicles parked nearby, and could be heard more than a mile away. Soon after the blast, security troops cordoned off the area, and the wounded were taken to nearby hospitals. Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said that the group carried out the attack in Rawalpindi, the garrison city near Islamabad, the

capital, in retaliation for the army’s operations against militants in the country’s tribal regions. “We will continue attacks on the government and its armed forces as the government has neither announced ceasefire nor peace talks with us,” said TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid. Police also arrested an injured Afghan national during a search operation in the area. Two hand grenades were found near him at the blast scene and police suspect he was the second attacker. The injured is out of danger. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that a

targeted operation will be conducted against those who are targeting security forces, adding that more than one group was involved in such attacks. According to Radio Pakistan, Superintendent Police Potohar Town said security of the city has been beefed up. The injured were taken to the Combined Military Hospital for medical assistance. Eight of them are reportedly in critical condition. The blast took place in front of the National Logistics Cell building near the General Headquarters of the Pakistan military and the RA police station.

Cabinet Defers Approval of National Security Policy

Islamabad: The proposed national security policy — expected to get approval from the federal cabinet on Monday — could not sail through as new cabinet members, from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Fata, came up with fresh suggestions. The prime minister deferred the approval until the next special cabinet meeting, according to an official statement. The cabinet met at the Prime Minister Office to finalise the security policy, where members were briefed on the policy draft. Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar said a high-tech mechanism would be put in place for the exchange of intelligence under the supervision of the National Counter Terrorism Authority. He also briefed the cabinet members on the process of dialogue with militants. The prime minister, in his remarks, expressed his resolve to ensure the rule of law in the country and said political and religious parties would be consulted in this regard. Referring to the all parties’ conference held in September, he said, “A number of developments have taken place thereafter and the government is closely following them. We will keep political parties informed of these developments and take them into confidence.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and federal cabinet ministers offer fateha for the shuhada of Rawalpindi and Bannu bomb blasts before the cabinet meeting

“We would do whatever possible to restore peace, alleviate poverty and put the country on the road to progress,” he added. The prime minister pointed out that illegal movement across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border needed to be curbed. He directed interior ministry officials to take up this matter with their Afghan counterparts and form a joint strategy. He also directed the ministry of law and provincial home ministries to implement the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance 2013 and strengthen the border.

Nawaz said the country would have to think of extraordinary steps to deal with these extraordinary circumstances. Anti-terrorism courts would be established across the country and prosecutors would be appointed, he said. The cabinet meeting also paid tribute to the media, civilians and Pakistan Army for their endeavours and sacrifices in the war against militancy. The premier particularly appreciated the important role played by the media and expressed grief over the death of Express News staffers.

Deadly Bomb Blast Rocks Military Compound Killing 20 Peshawar: A bomb exploded inside

a vehicle at a Pakistani military compound in the country’s northwest on Sunday, killing at least 20 members of a paramilitary unit and wounding 30 more, a security official said. A unit of the Frontier Corps was moving from the compound in Bannu to Razmak in the volatile North Waziristan tribal region when a bomb planted in their vehicle exploded, said the official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. The official said a road curfew was in place on Sunday to secure the transportation of troops to and from the tribal region, where military convoys have been hit by roadside bombings and ambushes. The troops, the official said, were to be ferried in an unmarked vehicle. “The vehicle was rented from a local bazaar. We have a shortage of vehicles,” the official said. “Most probably, the bomb was already planted inside the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle has also been killed.” Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella organization representing Pakistani militant groups, took responsibility for the bombing. A government official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity said that paramilitary and other security forces routinely rented unmarked vehicles as a cover to hide the identity of the passengers. There has been a surge in terrorist attacks after a brief lull following the death in a drone strike of Hakimullah Mehsud, a militant commander, in November. A security official said there were 42 attacks this month in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province in the northwest, including the bombing on Sunday. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ’s government is seeking a peace dialogue with militant groups in the tribal region, but Tehrik-e-Taliban

Pakistan has resisted, saying it will not talk to a government subservient to the United States.

JUI-S Leader, ExpressNews Staffers Killed in Karachi Karachi: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam

Samiul Haq (JUI-S) leader Mufti Usman Yar Khan, along with his driver and a personal guard, was gunned down by unknown miscreants on Karachi’s Sharae Faisal while a separate attack in the city resulted in the killing of three staffers of ExpressNews television channel Friday night, DawnNews reported. Police said another person was injured in the attack on Mufti Usman that took place near Awami Makaz. A spokesman for Karachi police said the attackers sprayed bullets on the car of the provincial deputy chief of JUI-S, a religious party headed by Samiul Haq known in the West as “father of the Taliban”. “The gunmen fled away after the shooting and the injured were shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) where Usman Khan and two of his associates died while a third is in critical condition,” he said. In a separate incident, at least three ExpressNews workers were killed when unidentified assailants opened fire on a DSNG (digital satellite news gathering) vehicle near Matric Board Office in Nazimabad. “Three people were killed when gunmen attacked the DSNG of the privately run ExpressNews in the western district of the city,” police chief for the western district Javaid Odho told AFP. “The dead included a technician, the driver and a guard,” he added.

TTP Ready for Talks if Government “Proves Its Sincerity” Islamabad: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Sunday said it was ready for peace talks with the government, provided the latter ‘proved its sincerity’. “Our stance on dialogue is very clear. If the government proves it is sincere and has the authority [to conduct meaningful dialogue], then we are ready to talk despite the losses inflicted on us,” TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a policy statement. He denied his group had decided to ditch talks altogether after the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike. “There is a war going on between us and them, and in a war people get killed. They kill us, we kill them,” he said. “But, even now, if the government can prove its sincerity and its authority, we are ready for talks.” “The fact is that we have neither refused serious and meaningful talks in the past, nor will we deny the importance of negotiations in the future,” Azam Tariq, the other TTP spokesman, told Reuters Television. “However, let me say that the government has never made any serious effort to hold talks.” Asked whether the group would announce a ceasefire once the talks started, Shahid said that would depend

on the government’s actions. “The Pakistani government started the war and sent troops to the tribal regions to fight [us] at the behest of the United States,” he said. “The government will have to declare a ceasefire [first] and create a conducive atmosphere for talks. We may also review our operations if the government undertakes some confidencebuilding measures.” Shahid said Hakimullah Mehsud and his deputy Waliur Rehman Mehsud were killed ‘under the pretext of dialogue’. Both Taliban commanders were killed in US drone strikes carried out when Islamabad was trying to push ahead with peace talks. “We believe the government has no powers and is insincere about talks… If this was not true, our senior leaders would not have been killed as soon as the government offered peace talks,” he said. Speaking in Islamabad, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar aid that under the strategic aspect of the internal Security policy, it will be decided when to hold dialogue with militants, when to carry out a military operation and when to do the two things simultaneously.



Imran Khan’s Speech Forces PM to Cancel Foreign Visit Lahore: The cancellation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ’s visit to Switzerland within hours of a scathing speech by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in Haripur, is being considered as an indication of the growing pressure mounted by PTI on the government. Criticizing the prime minister, PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tarin said that the Nawaz Administration was functioning without a plan and PTI was the only political party playing the role of real opposition in the country. Tarin said that Imran Khan is increasing pressure on the government by pressing for talks with the Taliban with a clear stance that the war in which thousands of civilians and armed personnel lost their lives is not Pakistan’s war. He accused the premier of having no set policy on the talks with Taliban.

While addressing a rally in Haripur, the PTI chief took a swipe at the number of foreign trips the prime minister had undertaken since assuming office. “The country is on fire and Nawaz is visiting foreign countries one after the other,” he said.

Quetta: As the party’s popularity graph plummets in the province, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has fired the elected president of PTI in Balochistan, The Express Tribune learnt on Sunday. Qasim Khan Suri, the youngest elected president of Balochistan’s PTI chapter, was quietly shown the door last week when two senior PTI leaders recommended that Khan kick him out from the party to pave the way for ‘nawabs’ and ‘sardars’ – the traditional politicians in the province. “Imran Khan with immediate effect fired the PTI Balochistan president. Can he legally remove Suri from office? This is a big question mark,” a senior party leader told The Express Tribune on Sunday. When contacted, Suri confirmed his dismissal and expressed his anguish over Imran’s decision. “I am a diehard worker of the party

and will continue to work with the PTI. It’s me who arranged the chairman’s historic jalsa in 2012, when the party stood nowhere in Balochistan. Khan knows my contribution for the party in the province,” said Qasim Khan Suri. “The old guard of the party has been sidelined in Balochistan. Now, sardars and landlords will bring change in the province,” a furious Suri told The Express Tribune, adding that there is no top Baloch party office bearer in the province currently. He added that the party won more than 22 councilor seats in the recently held local government polls. PTI Information Secretary Dr Shireen Mazari confirmed that “Suri has resigned”. Senior party leaders said that Suri wanted true democracy within the party ranks, but that his open criticism of Jahangir Tareen’s nomination as party secretary general without elections is the reason

Imran remarked, “If I were in place of Nawaz Sharif, I would personally lead talks with Taliban, instead of assigning the task to a minister.” Within hours of the fiery speech by the PTI chief, the PM cancelled a scheduled visit to Switzerland announcing that he will monitor the talks with Taliban rather than giving this responsibility to Chaudhry Nisar. Endorsing the negotiations, Tarin said that PTI supports the talks with Taliban but at the same time it strongly condemns the killing of innocent people. Apart from mounting pressure on the government, the PTI chief has also pinned the government on the issue of rigging during the May 11 general election and his demand for the thumb impression verification in the four consistencies has turned into a dilemma for the government.

Imran Fires Party’s Balochistan President

minister made a comparative analysis with how precarious the national economic indicators were last year when the PPP was in power. He claimed that with his deft handling, things improved within the first six months of the present government’s tenure. Throughout his presentation, he lamented that the previous government’s bad decision-making had adversely affected the country on the economic front. In one journalist’s opinion, though, the PPP performed so poorly during its five years in power that even a little bit of good

Islamabad/Karachi: As the Mut-

tahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) submitted a resolution in the Sindh Assembly against the attack on the Express Media Group and the killing of its three workers, the federal government drew flak in the Senate on Monday for its ‘mysterious silence’ over the acts of aggression. The MQM demanded that the Sindh government arrest the perpetrators involved in the ‘cowardly incident’ and provide financial assistance to the families of the victims. It also advised taking appropriate measures for protection of the media house. The resolution — moved by the party’s MPA Khalid Ahmed — also asked the provincial government to devise a plan to take action against militants and their mentors, ‘who have taken shelter in several areas of Karachi’. “This was the third attack on Express Media [Group]. It looks like the incumbent government is unwilling to do anything except issue statements of condemnation,” Khalid Ahmed said in remarks to the media. He said the provincial authorities had not made any concrete efforts to provide protection to the Express Media Group in spite of the fact that its offices had come under attack twice before. “At the upcoming assembly session, we will take up the issue and possibly work out a security plan for journalists and other workers affiliated with the media,” he said. Separately, opposition lawmakers in the upper house also took the federal government to task for its mysterious silence over the increasingly “one-sided war waged by militants against security forces, media and the general public.”

behind Imran’s move to remove him from this top provincial post. They said, however, that under the leadership of Qasim Suri, PTI failed to win a single seat in the May 11 elections last year. This probably led Imran to discharge him eventually. On Imran’s orders, PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen issued a notification which states, “Balochistan provincial and district bodies stand dissolved with immediate effect.” He also constituted an organizing committee consisting of convener Humayun Jogezai, Zakariya Kasi and Mohammad Hashim Khan Panezai. “The mandate of the organizing committee is to organize and enlarge the party in Balochistan, plan a membership campaign leading up to the formation of new bodies. The committee is requested to meet with the undersigned in Islamabad on January 25 to formulate a work plan.” Islamabad/New Delhi: Pakistan has agreed to open its border for all Indian products by the end of next month provided New Delhi provides a meaningful market access to Pakiperformance can be described as stani products. a positive development which, at The deadline was mooted durthe moment, isn’t enough for the ing a meeting on Saturday between country. Commerce Minister Khurram DastAfter the presentation jour- agir Khan and his Indian counternalists asked questions, but Mr part Anand Sharma on the sidelines Dar’s colleagues in the cabinet re- of a Saarc business conclave in New mained quiet, even though they Delhi. Islamabad had missed the Dec had heard all of the finance minis31, 2012, deadline for abolition of ter’s comments. Prime Minister Sharif was the negative list or granting the staalso present, and the only minister tus of most-favored nation status to made conspicuous by his absence India. It has 1,209 items on the negawas Interior Minister Chaudhry tive list, meaning the items cannot be imported from India. Nisar Ali Khan. Khurram Dastagir said the State According to the government source, Ch Nisar, along with other Bank of Pakistan had proposed that ministers, wanted an in-camera its Indian counterpart grant banking briefing for the cabinet, without licenses to three Pakistani banks, a the presence of the media. It was move which would be reciprocated only the interior minister, though, by his side. “In the banking sector we who registered his protest against are hoping to have some progress, Mr Dar’s reluctance to make a very rapid progress,” he said. In a bid to smoothen trade, the special presentation for the federal cabinet, said the government two countries have decided to open the Wagah-Attari border for roundsource. Talking to Dawn, a PML-N the-clock movement of goods. The member of the National Assembly, border gates at the moment are open only from dawn to dusk. who also heads an Both nations have agreed to DAR, P26

They also condemned the suicide blasts on the security forces in Bannu and Rawalpindi as well as the attack on the DSNG of Express News in Karachi. The House also offered fateha for the departed souls. Opposition members also wanted to know why the government was indecisive and silent over the escalating attack by the TTP. “Don’t make our armed forces sitting ducks. Use them against those who challenge our writ, who don’t accept our constitution and who don’t respect our sovereignty,” said the MQM Senator Col (retd) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi. “What are you waiting for? Why are you begging for talks when they refuse? Why are you giving them chance to reinforce and regroup themselves?” said the former military man. Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Afraiab Khattak noted that though militants had established a ‘state within a state’, the government continued to be indecisive. “Is this a banana republic or a nuclear-armed country with a powerful military?” he asked. According to him, militants from other countries were entrenched on Pakistani soil and were waging war against the state. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani said the government was in a ‘state of flux’ and had given a free hand to the terrorists to operate in the country. The PPP senator regretted that no serious effort was made to call a joint parliamentary session and discuss the security situation of the country. “APC is not the substitute of parliament and every policy should be discussed and formulated here,” he said. The house was later prorogued for an indefinite period.

Access for All Indian Products Offered

Ishaq Dar Faces the Heat Islamabad: It’s not just the people; members of the federal cabinet are also unhappy with the state of the national economy, and thus the role of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has come under scrutiny. Some senior members of government raised the issue with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and sought a no-holds-barred briefing from the finance minister. The request didn’t go down well with Senator Dar, a senior member of the government aware of the development told Dawn. On the insistence of the prime minister, Mr Dar agreed to make a presentation, but only in the full glare of the media — which, according to the government functionary, angered many within the cabinet. As a result, on Jan 1 a special sitting of the cabinet was held in which media persons who cover the economy were also invited to the Prime Minister’s Office. Senator Dar made a PowerPoint presentation on various facets of the national economy. Speaking briefly, the finance

Attacks on Express Staff: MQM Files Resolution in Sindh Assembly

permit containers to be moved right up to Amritsar and Lahore instead of being unloaded at the checkpost and subsequently re-loaded across their respective borders. At present, imports from India are allowed only through ships and trains. Since anti-India hardliners in Pakistan would not like to grant “most favored nation” status, or MFN, for trade with their neighbor, Islamabad has proposed a new name that should clear the deck for flourishing commerce – non-discriminatory market access (NDMA). Khurram Dastagir said in an interview published by India’s Business Standard on Saturday: “We’re now officially calling it ‘Non-discriminatory Market Access’ or NDMA. “This will happen soon. But before that, we have to create a level playing field and give unimpaired market access to each other. It is not just about tariff rate quotas or World Trade Organization rules. It is also about a framework on which trade can take place. “Trade cannot happen in vacuum. We want resumption of the composite dialogue because it is not just trade but also investment. One incident at the border and the




US Sets Benchmarks: Release Afridi or Forego $33 Million

Washington, DC: A bill to fund the United States government also requires Pakistan to release Dr Shakil Afridi or forego $33 million from the annual assistance it receives from the US. The bill binds the US administration to withhold $33 million from the funds meant for Pakistan “until the Secretary of State reports to Congress that Dr Shakil Afridi has been released from prison and cleared of all charges relating to the assistance provided to the United States in locating Osama bin Laden.” In this bill, Congress also set aside clear benchmarks for Pakistan to fight terrorism, with a warning that the failure to do so could lead to the suspension of US assistance. The suggested measures are included in a trillion-dollar spending bill Congress approved on Tuesday to fund the government for the remainder of the current fiscal year.

New US Office for Pakistan, Afghanistan Washington, DC: US President Barack Obama is setting up a new office in the State Department to oversee America’s relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan during the current transitional period. An executive order issued on Friday afternoon said the new, temporary set-up shall be called the Afghanistan and Pakistan Strategic Partnership Office. The presidential order comes as the United States and its Nato allies prepare to pull out most of their combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. The new office, which will be a part of the State Department, will support US federal agencies in facilitating a “strategic partnership” between the United States and Afghanistan and Pakistan, promoting “further security and stabilization” in the two countries, and transitioning to a “normalized diplomatic presence” in both countries. On the withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan Pakistan’s new Ambassador to Washington stated that complete withdrawal is not desirable.

A portion of the bill comprises guidelines for the US on how to provide both military and economic assistance to Pakistan during the current fiscal year. While outlining various conditions for continuing US assistance to Pakistan, Congress also requires the administration to devise a “spend plan,” which shall include “achievable and sustainable goals, benchmarks for measuring progress, and expected results for combating poverty and furthering development.” The plan shall also include benchmarks for countering extremism, and establishing conditions conducive to the rule of law and transparent and accountable governance. Not later than 6 months after submission of this spend plan, and each 6 months thereafter until Sept 30, 2015, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees

on Appropriations on the status of achieving these goals and benchmarks. “The Secretary of State should suspend assistance for the government of Pakistan if any report indicates that Pakistan is failing to make measurable progress in meeting such goals or benchmarks.” Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations detailing the costs and objectives associated with significant infrastructure projects supported by the United States in Pakistan, and an assessment of the extent to which such projects achieve such objectives. Some of these conditions were already included in a defense authorization bill passed last month which have now been further expanded. The defense authorization act, however, did not deal with civilian assistance, which has now been included in the spending bill for the next fiscal year. The bill clearly says that none of the funds meant for Pakistan under the headings ‘‘Economic Support Fund’’, ‘‘International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement’’, and ‘‘Foreign Military Financing Program can be distributed unless the US Secretary of State certifies that Islamabad is cooperating with the United States in counter-terrorism efforts against the Haqqani Network, the Quetta Shura Taliban, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Jaish-i-Muhammad, al Qaeda, and other domestic and foreign terrorist organizations. This includes taking steps to end support for such groups and to prevent them from basing and operating in Pakistan and carrying out cross border attacks into neighboring countries.

Pakistan Annoyed at Bill Linking Aid to Dr Afridi’s Release

Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday

expressed disappointment on a bill signed by US President Barack Obama proposed to withhold $33 million from assistance on account of Dr Shakil Afridi’s detention. The Consolidated Appropriations Bill 2014, approved by US Congress, was signed into law by President Obama on January 17. As an omnibus legislation, it contains respective Appropriation Bills for all Government Departments, including the Department of Defense and the Department of State. The State Department will now undertake the process of making allocations, including those for Pakistan. Spokesperson of the Foreign Office, Tasneem Aslam in a statement said Dr Shakil Afridi, a citizen of Pakistan, is accused of having violated the country’s laws. She said that his action also caused immense damage to the polio

I Am a Victim of Conspiracy: Pakistani Journalist Mehr Tarar on Twitter Row with Tharoors Islamabad:

Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar has asserted that she had no role in the marital discord between union minister Shashi Tharoor and his wife, Sunanda Pushkar, who was found dead in a five-star hotel last Friday. Ms Tarar, whom Mrs Tharoor had accused of having an affair with her husband and then of “stalking” him, told a Pakistani TV channel last night that she is a “victim of conspiracy”. Ms Tarar, a 45-year-old Lahorebased journalist, has changed her profile picture on Twitter to a candle following Mrs Tharoor’s death on Friday. She said she had met Mr Tharoor twice -- once in India in April and then in Dubai in June last year. “There were a lot of people present there,” she said. “When I wrote an article that mentioned him, his wife probably did not like that another woman whom she did not know praised him so much. So she asked him to stop talking to me. Despite that he (Tharoor) kept following me on Twitter after which she asked him to stop following her on Twitter. “I don’t know why she had a problem about me talking to her hus-

band over phone or email. The talks I had with him is something that I can talk with anyone and anywhere in the world,” she said. Ms Tarar, the mother of a 13-year-old boy, also said, “Have you googled? You will find that problems emerged in their marriage since May and June. I was not involved in their life. At that time, she didn’t know me nor was she blaming me for anything. “Google their names and you will see what will appear. ‘Marriage is about to break’. ‘Trouble in paradise’. ‘Fairytale is over’. News has been appearing about their marriage for long. A Pakistani woman sitting here cannot spoil their marriage,” she said. Ms Tarar claimed that Suna-

nda Pushkar first attacked her after she interviewed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. “She (Pushkar) tweeted saying why has our CM spoken to a Pakistani journalist. First Pakistan sends Army and then sends journalist. She started fighting with me,” Ms Tarar said. She suggested Mrs Tharoor’s illness had aggravated the situation. “She has not been well for a long time. Some Indian Union Minister also said she was seriously ill. Her husband and his office have said she had been on medication for the last three days. “She was not eating. She was smoking too much. She also had stomach TB. This is not what I am saying but what has appeared in Indian media. If she fights with her husband and later her health gets affected, what is the connection of the love story about me,” the journalist said. 52-year-old Sunanda was found dead at the Leela Hotel in New Delhi. A post-mortem report said that Mrs Tharoor had a “sudden, unnatural death”. Two days before she died she had alleged that her husband was having an affair with a Pakistani journalist, who she targeted in a series of angry tweets.

campaign in the country, adding that his case is subjudice and he remains entitled to due process under the law. Dr Afridi had helped the CIA by running a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad a month before the US forces raid on a compound that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011. Then-US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed Afridi had worked for US intelligence by collecting DNA to verify bin Laden’s presence. The doctor was convicted of treason under Pakistan’s tribal justice system in 2012 – not for working for the CIA, for which the court said it had no jurisdiction, but for alleged ties to militants. He was initially sentenced to 33 years in jail and given a fine, but a court in Peshawar overturned his sentence in August last year and ordered a retrial. The FO spokesperson said that any linkage of US assistance to this case is not in keeping with the spirit of cooperation between the two countries. Pakistan and the United States are engaged in building a close, cooperative relationship, based on mutual respect and mutual interest. “It is our hope that this process would continue to move forward in a constructive manner, she added. RAJA ZAFARUL HAQ: Earlier in the day, Leader of the House in the Senate, Raja Zafarul-Haq assured the house that the government will not take dictation from inside and outside the country to run its affairs. “We are a sovereign nation and would not take dictation from outside and inside the country to run the government affairs,” he said responding to a point of order Monday. On the point of order, PPP leader Raza Rabbani asked the government to call a joint session of the parliament to discuss the policy on terrorism. PRODUCTS FROM P12

entire process gets derailed. “There has to be predictability and stability.” India has already granted the MFN status to Pakistan. The announcement of NDMA is expected during a visit to Islamabad by Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma next month. NORMAL TRADE TIES: According to a joint statement, the two sides reaffirmed commitment of their governments to establishing normal trade relations at the earliest. An official of the commerce ministry in Islamabad told Dawn that opening of the border by Pakistan would mean that India would have to remove all items from its sensitive list. Pakistan has sought immediate reduction in customs duties on these items. The items placed on the sensitive list of Safta cannot be considered for duty reduction. The official said India would have to reduce duties and remove items from the sensitive list before receiving MFN status from Pakistan. The two ministers decided to intensify and accelerate the process of trade normalization, liberalization and facilitation and to implement the agreed measures before the end of next month. A joint business forum of chief executive officers in different sectors has met twice since the formation of the PML-N government.



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Sindh Festival 2014: Fireworks to Light up Province for 15 Days

Bilawal Bhutto unveils Sindh Festival 2014 at an impressive ceremony

Karachi: The first 15 days of Febru-

ary this year promise to put ‘Sindh on the map’ – at least this is what has been envisioned by its organizers who have come up with a detailed schedule which takes visitors from the ruins of Mohenjo Daro to the seaside for kite flying. The Sindh Festival, a project initiated by the Pakistan Peoples Party’s patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, aims to ‘revitalize the long-lost culture of harmony and peace’ of the province. Throughout the festival, fireworks will light up the skies of Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana and Thatta at 10pm sharp – a first in Sindh. When asked about the budget for the elaborate festival, Sharmila Faruqi, the special assistant on culture to the chief minister, told The Express Tribune, “We have the amount and we are utilizing it for the festival.” According to the project manager, Fakhr-e-Alam, however, the government is providing only Rs150 million for the festival while Rs350 million is to be covered by sponsors. “It is the government’s venture and will become an annual event,” Alam reassured. “It will become a separate body one day and will work for the mission on its own — under the patronage of government of course.” Every event and decision is being overlooked by Bilawal and while there is no apparent team in place to organize the event, his foreign friends are also said to be helping out with the festival. Save the date: The two-week Sindh Festival starts on February 1 with multiple events running side by side in dif-

ferent districts – Larkana, Hyderabad, Karachi and Thatta. “This is only our first year, and we hope to expand the festival across Sindh in the coming years,” said Alam. With a promise to bring the ‘Mound of the dead’ back to life, the festival will kick start with a star-studded opening at Mohenjo Daro in Larkana. “First time ever, one of the oldest civilizations of the world will be lit up. The place holds a lot of significance – we should revisit our roots and revitalize them,” said Alam, adding that a huge display of fireworks and laser lighting would be part of the night – all available for the people in their homes to see on live television. “We are still tweaking the final details which is why we can’t disclose too much information. Some of our prestigious guests are flying in from all over the world and we have rented a plane to commute them back and forth out of Karachi for events,” he added. Fuzon and other musicians are expected to perform at the ceremony while singer and comedian Ali Gul Pir will also unveil his song for the festival. “The diverse cultures of our land should be celebrated, not used as an excuse to divide the nation. I am proud to be part of an initiative that strengthens our bonds with Sindhi culture and ultimately celebrates the diversity of Pakistan,” Pir said while talking to The Express Tribune. “My song for the festival promotes Sindh’s culture and its union with Pakistan. For more, you’ll have to wait for the super saeen to take the stage!” Festival city: The largest family

park in South Asia sprawled across 130 acres, Bagh Ibne Qasim, will be the epicenter for the festival. The Festival City, the makeshift point for festivities from February 2 till February 15, will have four separate enclaves – Sindh enclave, international enclave, food enclave and children enclave. The Sindh enclave will feature the province’s specialties, such as ajraks, topis and cultural artifacts. “We will have banners and posters across the park’s walls to give marketing space to our sponsors,” Alam said, adding that a huge screen might also be set up at the park for cinema viewing under the sky. Art festival: Perhaps one of the most unique features of the festival is a peek into the late Benazir Bhutto’s private art collection. Bilawal has agreed to display 100 art collections of the former prime minister and leader of Pakistan Peoples Party at the Frere Hall. Basant: Karachi’ites will also get to celebrate Basant as an official event, scheduled to be held on Saturday night and SINDH, P29

For Musharraf Attorneys, Boycott Is Not an Option Islamabad: Former military ruler

General (retd) Pervez Musharraf ’s legal team has been appearing before the special court “under protest”, a senior member of the bench told The Express Tribune on Wednesday. Anwar Mansoor, who argued the case on behalf of Musharraf, told the special court on the very first hearing on December 24, 2013, that he was receiving the charge sheet against Musharraf from the court under protest as he considers the constitution of the court as illegal and unlawful. Musharraf ’s lead counsel Sharifuddin Pirzada on Tuesday told the court that he was receiving a document from the public prosecutor Akram Sheikh on the order of the court under protest. Sheikh said, “Mr Pirzada, please don’t accept it.” “You cannot understand what I’m saying,” Pirzada responded. A senior member of Musharraf ’s team explained Pirzada’s message that the defence does not accept the legitimacy of the trial and considers the appointment of Sheikh as prosecutor illegal due to his closeness with the premier. “We have narrow options with regards to a boycott of the proceedings because under the law the special court is authorised to appoint an advocate to argue the cases to defend the accused,” senior member of Musharraf ’s team said, adding that section 9 of the criminal law amendment

(special court) Act 1976 is the main hurdle in the way of the defence team. The same section also binds the judges of the special court to hear the high treason case on a daily basis and discourages the deferment or adjournment of the case even in the absence of the accused. Section 9 of the criminal law amendment says, “No trial before the special court shall be adjourned for any purpose unless the special court is of the opinion that the adjournment is necessary in the interests of justice and, in particular, no trial shall be adjourned by reason of the absence of any accused person due to illness, or if the absence of the accused or his counsel has been brought about by the accused person himself, or if the behaviour of the accused persons prior to such absence has been, in the opinion of the special court, such as to impede the course of justice but, in any such case, the special court shall proceed with the trial after taking necessary steps to appoint an advocate to defend any such accused person.” The Justice Faisal Arab-led threejudge special court will resume the hearing of the high treason case today (Thursday). Anwar Mansoor will defend objections over the constitution of the bench and Khalid Ranjha, another member of Musharraf ’s legal team, will argue that this high treason case against the former army chief be transferred to a military court.



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Community Link Friday, January 24, 2014

VOL. 24/4 PAGE 25

Pakistan’s Sterling Performance in Third Test n By Dr Akbar S. Ahmed American University Washington, DC

“We have to cancel today’s program due to a very high alert security threat. One brave officer died in Karachi yesterday, Chaudhary Aslam.” The email from Dr Naeem Mushtaq, the head of Human Resources at the Islamabad Club, sounded ominous. My lecture on Islam and Mr Jinnah, the Quaid-i-Azam, had already attracted a large number of RSVPs and I was looking forward to one of my last events before I returned to the United States. I was concluding a six-week trip to Pakistan early in January 2014 which had involved giving an intense round of lectures, media and meetings. It was a time of high emotion for me as this was my first lengthy visit in nearly two decades. But Dr Mushtaq’s letter left no room for doubt about the seriousness of the threat: “We need to protect international assets like yourself and therefore the Club management has decided to cancel the program on the information provided by our security department.” It did set me thinking. The Islamabad Club is no ordinary institution. It is the bastion of prestige and power in the country. Its members are influential generals, civil servants, businessmen and politicians. Its facilities are unrivaled. The abrupt manner in which the lecture was cancelled revealed the impotence of the upper and middle class – the elite – and the boldness of those who were determined to challenge it. Understanding the Crisis In my last book, The Thistle and the Drone, published last year, I had proposed a thesis that the relationship between the center and the periphery has reached a breaking point across the Muslim world, due to the failure of the modern state to accommodate the diversity of minority groups and give them their due, especially on its borders. The delicate balance between center and periphery is now in jeopardy, from Morocco to the Caucasus Mountains. In most cases, the center has prevailed with brute force. Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain are some examples. However, the periphery has also succeeded in some cases in not only challenging but overwhelming the center, as in Libya. In Pakistan, the tribal periphery has been subjected to over a decade of turmoil that has left it devastated.

23 Rabi ‘ul-awwal 1435 H


PAGE 25 egum PAGE

Sharapova Makes Early Exit from Australian Open

First Person: Bite, Size, Big Star

Homecoming to Jinnah’s Pakistan

I pointed out that the disruption for ordinary tribal peoples is caused not just by the drone strikes but also by the suicide bombers, clan warfare and Pakistani security forces hunting for terrorists. As a result large numbers have fled their homes to live desperate lives as refugees in the bigger cities of Pakistan. I witnessed the stark disparity between center and periphery in Peshawar. The governor of the KP Province graciously hosted a dinner for me at the governor’s house attended by some 40 senators and members of parliament from the Tribal Areas. The security was extremely tight. In fact, Peshawar itself looked like a military camp under siege: high walls, barbed wires, roadblocks and barriers, with unshaven soldiers asking us to stop every few yards. It broke my heart to see what the violence had done to this beautiful city where I had spent so many happy years. I could not imagine anyone taking their infant children in a stroller along with their wives down Fort Road as we did when we lived there. People are fearful of exposing themselves and every day is like a battle for survival. This historic city of gardens was reduced to a battleground, with men of violence, in and out of uniform, slaughtering each other with cruelty. The people of the province complain of how far they are being left behind in the law and order situation, development and education compared to the Punjab. The Punjab is almost like another country within Pakistan. Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister, has made it probably the most developed and well-run province in the entire subcontinent, but its rapid development has caused a further divide between center and periphery. The peripheral provinces of Pakistan, KP, Baluchistan, and Sindh, are resentful due to the blatant imbalance between the provinces. They complain that the present government is basically a government of the Punjabis, by the Punjabis and for the Punjabis. The idea of a federation of provinces is thus weakened. The devastation of the tribal areas has had profound consequences for Pakistan as a whole. The center is now under assault by the desperate and infuriated periphery and its responses seem to have been restricted to two strategies — either “peace talks” or the use of “force”. Pakistanis discuss

Governor Punjab Mr Mohammed Sarwar presents Prof Ahmed an honorary PhD degree at the Forman Christian College convocation

these options passionately throughout the land. I found these arguments

quickly aware that it was not simply a question of dealing with the Taliban

Prof Akbar Ahmed addresses a large gathering of Senators and Parliamentarians

flawed. Both dialogue and force had been used over the last decade and

alone (The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, TTP, is the Pakistani version of the

Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shabaz Sharif presents gifts to Prof Ahmed and wife Zeenat Ahmed and daughter Dr Amineh Hoti

both had failed. Besides, I had become

Taliban which came into being after

For news, updated round the clock, visit 2007). The situation is far more complex and changing rapidly. The Taliban were no longer only in the Tribal Areas; their presence was apparent in the bigger cities as well. Their actions were not restricted to the ethnic tribesmen from the Tribal Areas but seemed to be supported at some level and in certain cases by ordinary police constables, peons in the office, and domestic servants in elite homes. Besides, as Sunni Muslims, they were now working closely with equally deadly Sunni groups from the Punjab including organizations like the Sipah-e-Sahaba, whose main target was the Shia. The bold war tactics and consequent violence that came from the TTP provided inspiration to two other sections of society: the landless labor and peasants whose confrontation with the landlords and elite had been simmering for the last decades, and the emboldened criminal elements in society. All three are helped by the desperate situation of the poor in Pakistan. Lack of jobs, electricity, and gas combine with high prices of basic foods like wheat and sugar make life intolerable for ordinary Pakistanis. Stories of suicides of desperate parents jumping onto railway tracks with their children appear in the media. Families were prudently hedging their bets, one son going to the police, the other to the army, the third taking employment as a domestic servant, and the fourth joining the Taliban. Because all of these jobs were at the lowest rung of society, the brothers have one thing in common, apart from blood, they face a similar “enemy” — the Pakistani elite. The merging and overlapping of the Taliban with the class confrontation and the criminal elements of Pakistan has created a new dynamic. Traditionally, the bold war tactics of the tribesmen in the Tribal Areas were restricted to their own areas and used during wartime. We have seen since 9/11, however, and especially after the attack of President Musharraf on Lal Masjid, the representatives of the state become a target far from the Tribal Areas. The attacks on GHQ of the Pakistan Army, when the assailants reached dangerously close to the office of the Commander-in-Chief himself, the Mehran Naval Base in Peshawar, and the Air Force Base in Karachi reflect the characteristic boldness of tribal tactics. Aftab Sherpao of the KP Province who heads his own party and was


P20 – PAKISTAN LINK – JANUARY 24, 2014 once Interior Minister for Pakistan told me that we should not be so focused on analyzing the Tribal Areas alone because Pakistan must first get a grip of the collapsed law and order situation in the settled areas. There are large swathes of territory from Peshawar to Swabi—the most fertile territory of the province—which are completely lawless. The three elements we have identified have combined to paralyze the administration. Sherpao said that there were what he called Taliban “sleepers” in Peshawar. The Taliban had told him they could take Peshawar tomorrow if they wanted, the question was what would they do with it. Meanwhile they have set about systematically demolishing the fabric of the state. They have destroyed 2,000 schools and targeted and killed the most outstanding police officers in a deliberate bid to demoralize the administration. Sherpao was in deadly earnest. He lost his elder brother, the charismatic Hayat Sherpao, and his brotherin-law, a senior police officer, to assassins. He narrowly escaped several attempts on his own life. These tactics of the Taliban had now combined with the desire of the less privileged and often landless peasant to challenge landlords and with the criminal elements. The combination of the three elements is playing havoc with an already demoralized and shaken society. In Swat, landless peasants openly have challenged their landlords. I was told by Brigadier Ajab Khan, who was formerly in charge of army operations in north Swat, that 95% of the Taliban in that region belonged to the Gujar community, who had lived in the valley centuries ago and felt dispossessed by the Pashtun Yusufzai Khans. They now wanted their ancestral lands back and were prepared to kill for it. When the Gujar combined with the Taliban in Swat, they set out, according to the Brigadier, to destroy its economic base by wiping out the rich forest reserves of the area and even removing the copper from the wires of ski lifts. It is well to keep in mind that the leadership of the Taliban is coming from the Shabi Khel clan of the Mahsud tribe, the boldest fighters of the Pashtun tribes. While their last leader, Hakimullah Mahsud was a mass murderer, nonetheless he was a product of Pashtunwali, the code of the Pashtun. His actions emphasized revenge, in accordance with the code, but as a Pashtun he also understood the importance of honor. The new leader, Fazullah, who is also Pashtun, comes from a very different social context. Having lived and worked in Swat as a low level mullah in a society known for its hierarchy, Fazullah brings a hatred of the Swat elite which is not tempered by any kind of code. The change of Taliban leadership is fundamental to the understanding of the thesis that I am presenting here. Fazullah will look to the entire province and indeed the rest of the country as a target to wreak havoc with maximum cruelty because he believes he is fighting to remove a corrupt elite and impose the Sharia. He also has a personal reason to hate the center. He lost his brother in a drone strike for which he blames both the US and Pakistan. He is thus driven by a desire for revenge on a personal and class basis. I heard many heartbreaking stories from Pashtun friends and relatives in Swat of members of families being surrounded by their erstwhile tenants and killed. Several of my wife’s relatives in Swat were killed in what appears to be straightforward class warfare. The elite were barely able to put up a fight. Most of them now live in

Islamabad and talk of taking revenge. In one particularly gruesome case outside of the Pashtun areas, a domestic servant, known for his long service and supposed loyalty, tended to the aged parents of a friend of mine. The father could not move around due to his illness, and the servant looked after the mother. But when he was alone on one occasion, he suffocated her to death with a pillow. Criminal gangs that had been active mainly in Karachi have been emboldened by the TTP. Karachi had established the success of criminals kidnapping well-off Pakistanis and ransoming them for large sums of money. Allying with the TTP, criminal elements now operate in the bigger cities of northern Pakistan with impunity. No member of the elite is safe. Anyone, anywhere can be picked up from the home or on the way to the office. Ambassadors, superintendents of police, and even academics – whether vice-chancellors or ordinary lecturers – are fair game. Medical doctors are popular because the kidnappers assume they make sufficient money to pay large ransoms. Yet for all the widespread breakdown, it appears that even now there are some elements of the traditional code of honor in operation as I did not see reports of Pakistani woman being kidnapped. The success of this recent trend may be gauged by the fact that the son of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of the Punjab assassinated by his own bodyguard, who was kidnapped after his father’s death, has still not been recovered. The whereabouts of the kidnapped son of a former Prime Minister of Pakistan remain unknown. There is little or no sympathy in the general public for these kidnapped young men. The cynical response is that their fathers have made enough money through corruption to pay some of it to the poorer elements in society. As if this picture was not gloomy enough, there are several other elements which need to be discussed. Pakistanis commonly believe that there is also a clash on three levels in society which is causing violence. The clash between Shias and Sunnis has seen relentless tit for tat killings, especially religious heads, medical doctors, and scholars. Pakistanis believe that Saudi money supports the Sunnis and Iranian money the Shia in their violent confrontation with each other. They also believe there is a confrontation between Indian agents who want to destabilize Pakistan and Pakistani security forces, thus reflecting the historical clash between Hinduism and Islam. Pakistanis will also talk about attempts by Western powers, namely the United States, to break up Pakistan, an endeavor which fits into the Clash of Civilizations theory in which the West is pitted against Islam. The Failure of the Elite There is also the failure of the elite to come to grips with the problems of Pakistan. Many of its members, like Pakistani “liberal” commentators, reflect ideas picked up from Washington or London think tanks such as the War on Terror. They simplify what is happening in Pakistan as an Islamic movement. Their analysis is replete with words and concepts like jihadis, Islamists, and salafis which explain little and add to the confusion. Not fully understanding the problem, like their Western colleagues, they are incapable of offering solutions. The ruling elite of Pakistan appear to be overwhelmed by these problems. It is the traditional rabbit caught in a headlight. Apart from discussing

Prof Akbar Ahmed and former Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain at the Senate

its favorite conspiracy theories—and I heard the range and diversity—it has little idea of how to halt the rapidly deteriorating situation. The elite know something terrible is happening, but it has little idea what to do about it. It is the failure of the modern state and the elite is culpable for allowing the situation to deteriorate to this point. The ruling class has yet to connect the dots for themselves. It does not see its own complicity in the chaos. The elite—“the chattering classes”—are not the solution, but in fact part of the problem. I found the elite materialistic and obsessed with consumerism. Their lives were discon-

ished fellow citizens. Their children wear t-shirts and jeans and play guitars and visit their parents for summer and winter breaks from universities in the West. Lavish dinner parties, where the rich and influential meet with the wives decked in sparkling jewelry, are like throwing petrol into a raging fire. Former Ambassador Tariq Afridi, a good friend from my school days in Abbottabad, educated at Cambridge and a world class polo player, looking at the general decline and collapse around him, believed that “this is who we really are.” He thought that until the 1960s and 1970s, the older generation trained by the British had been able to maintain some standards of morality, behavior, dress, and character but with the passing of that generation, the Pakistan elite today was “reverting to type.” This elite is tiny and lives in a bubble of affluence. The vast majority of Pakistanis live a very different life. They are mostly jobless, barely literate, hungry, and angry. They use the rhetoric of Islam to express their anger at their plight and are no longer prepared to see the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty and do nothing about it. They expect the government alone to clear up the mess. But this is a problem not for the Prime Minister of Pakistan alone. It is a problem confronting the nation itself, and every citizen must accept the challenge to take back and reestablish the writ of the state. But time is running out. There is talk of wanting the Sharia among ordinary Pakistanis by which they mean justice, jobs, and incorrupt

Pastor’s wife presents a gift to Dr Hoti after she spoke from pulpit in Islamabad Katchi Abadi church with Prof Ahmed looking on

nected from the suffering and poverty around them. They have become real citizens of the globalized world where the poor are invisible and being made invisible, they are dehumanized. The elite have an infinite capacity for self-destruction. While the upper class enjoys the perks of globalization—connectedness with the world, financial and business deals with multinationals, bank accounts, property and holidays abroad, children studying in the West, and high standards of living—they are not prepared to share

and efficient administration. Islam is thus a highly potent symbol for those challenging the current order. Ordinary servants are encouraged to think of the house in which they work as their own, the peasants to take possession of the land that they till, and kidnapping for ransom as a justifiable act against those seen as heartless and corrupt members of the elite. These acts, which are blatantly against Islam, are justified as Islamic ones. The frightening fact is that people have little idea of the theology and history of Islam itself. Leaders

Prof Ahmed with wife Zeenat and daughters Dr Hoti and Nafees and granddaughter Anah at the birthplace of Guru Nanak at Nankana Sahib

even the crumbs with their impover-

of groups involved in these acts target

an opposing sectarian or class group and pronounce that they are not real Muslims and therefore deserve to be put to death. Minority groups–like the Hindus and Christians–have been targeted and are terrified. Pakistan appears to be in the midst of a slow motion revolution. The violence seems to be coming from every direction, and the elite has been unsuccessful in checking it. Something like 50-60,000 Pakistanis have died in the years since 9/11. General Hameed Gul, once the all-powerful head of the ISI and supporter of the Taliban, was confident that the Taliban would be in power within two years. He said, “Both dictatorship and democracy have failed.” But this is not a revolution in the manner of Iran, in which a recognized leader, Imam Khomeini, led an organized clerical structure to take power from a corrupt and effete Shah of Iran. Nor is this a revolution in the classic Marxist mold as in Russia led by Lenin or in China led by Mao. There is no recognized leader, nor a unified organization or even an established command and control structure, or a vision of what would happen if these groups actually succeeded in destroying the fabric of the administration that holds up Pakistan. It is this imprecision of organization and ideology which makes the revolution so dangerous to the stability of Pakistan.. Jinnah’s Pakistan The battle lines for Pakistan have been clearly drawn between a Taliban version of the country with all the chaos and turbulence that it entails and one envisaged by Mr Jinnah, a modern Muslim state. Whether you admire Mr Jinnah or are a critic, there is no doubt that in the context of Pakistan, he symbolizes a modern Muslim nation promising full rights to women, minorities, and the poor. He unequivocally supported the rule of law and the constitution. Besides he is perhaps the most powerful unifying factor in a divided nation. Remove Jinnah and no other Pakistani can fill the void. Yet I found many Pakistanis cynical about Mr Jinnah and challenged the very idea of Pakistan itself. Recently Jinnah’s last resting place in Ziarat was destroyed. The symbolism of what had happened shocked me both because of my high regard for Mr Jinnah but also because that beautiful house had been part of my charge when I was Commissioner of the Sibi Division in the mid-1980s. There is a constant debate in Pakistan between the so-called liberals and the more conservative elements that both use—and distort—the message of Mr Jinnah. The former argue that Jinnah was “secular” by citing his speech to the Constituent Assembly on 11 August 1947. They point to the lines in which Mr Jinnah said that Pakistanis were free to worship, the Hindus in their temples, the Christians in their churches, and the Muslims in their mosques. The argument assumes that Islam somehow is intolerant of its minorities. That is not the correct Muslim position whatever the realities of Pakistan today. If we are to take the example of the Holy Prophet of Islam himself, the Treaty of Medina guaranteed freedom of worship for the Jews and the Prophet’s letter to St. Catharine’s Monastery in Egypt, guaranteed the same for Christians. Besides, when Lord Mountbatten came down to Karachi to preside over another session of the Constituent Assembly just three days later and proposed that the model for Pakistan should be Akbar, the Mughal Emperor, Jinnah HOMECOMING, P22



Tax Season Opens January 31 as Tax Preparers Ponder a Roster of Challenging Issues Not Confronted before n By Rafique S.M. Ahmed


he Internal Revenue Service has announced to open the 2014 tax filing season on Friday, January 31 instead of January 21 as previously announced and is encouraging taxpayers to efile returns to receive their refunds much faster. Needless to say, taxpayers will not receive any tax refund checks in the month of January for obvious reasons just like last year. The 2014 tax season seems to bring in a roster of very challenging issues not confronted before and is forcing all tax preparers throughout the country to be up to speed in understanding the new laws fairly quickly. In addition to the delayed start of the tax season, thanks to October’s 16-day government shutdown, there is also a great deal of anxiety and confusion among both taxpayers and also tax preparers arising from the implications of the Affordable Care Act, continuity of certain expiring provisions, the re-introduction of personal exemption phase-outs, Pease limitations on itemized deductions for highincome earners and the Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act. Taxpayers will also miss 55 tax breaks which expired at the end of 2013. Several provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 were enacted in 2013 raising the highest individual income tax rate to 39.5 percent in 2013 in addition to an increase in dividend and long-term capital gains tax rates from 15 percent to 20 percent for the same income level. The IRS has also imposed a tax equal to 3.8 percent of the lesser of an individual’s

net investment income or the excess (if any) of the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income over stated threshold amounts of $250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and surviving spouses, $125,000 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $200,000 for other taxpayers. Electronic-filing is showing substantial improvement every year. More than 122 million e-filed returns in total were processed by the IRS during 2013 up from 119.6 million in 2012. More than 45.2 million taxpayers prepared and e-filed their own returns on home computers compared to 43.2 million a year earlier. E-filed returns prepared by tax professionals increased slightly totaling more than 77 million returns. The following are the other significant changes in the tax landscape of 2013 which may affect your tax returns: • The personal exemption was reduced by 2% for every $2,500 by which the AGI exceeds $300,000 for Married Filing Jointly, $275,000 for Head of Household, $250,000 for Single and $150,000 for Married Filing Separately. • The deductible for medical expenses was increased to 10% of AGI. However, there is a temporary exemption from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2016 for taxpayers age 65 and older and their spouses who can still claim deductions when the expenses reach 7.5% of their AGI. • Additional Medicare Tax of 0.9% went into effect in 2013 and applies to an individual’s wages, RRTA compensation and self-employment income that exceeds $250,000 for Married Filing Jointly and $200,000 for all other taxpayers. Employers will be held responsible for withholding the additional Medicare Tax on wages paid in excess of the new threshold in a calendar year. • Effective January 1, 2013, the Adoption Credit amount that can be excluded from an employee’s

gross income for adopting a child with special needs is $12,970. • The 2% reduction in selfemployment tax has expired. The rate is back to 15.3% instead of 13.3%. • AMT exemptions are indexed for inflation. • Bonus depreciation is still good for 2013, but expires January 1, 2014. • The Pease Limitations were enacted in 2013 reducing itemized deductions by the lesser of 3% of the amount by which the AGI exceeds the threshold amount based on filing status or 80% of the itemized deductions. Joint filers with adjusted gross income greater than $300,000 and single taxpayers with AGI exceeding $250,000 may see a decrease in their deductions. • The IRS is allowing employers to offer employees a chance to carry over to the next year up to $500 of unspent health-related dollars in their flexible spending accounts. • Foreign earned income exclusion increased to $97,600. • The annual limit for Social Security (FICA) wages for 2013 is $112,500. The FICA tax on this amount was re-instated at 6.2% for 2013. • Standard mileage rate for business use of vehicle is increased to 56.5 cents per mile. The rate for use of vehicle to get medical care or move is increased to 24 cents per mile while for charitable use, the rate remains unchanged at 14 cents per mile. (Rafique S. M. Ahmed is a professional Tax Accountant and has been providing accounting and tax services in California for more than thirty-five years. He is also an Authorized IRS Electronic Filing Provider, and is located at 1109 Via Verde, San Dimas, California 91773. He can be reached at (909) 599-1412 or 599-1414.)

NPR Interviews Lekovic about Women in American Mosques Los Angeles , CA: On February 15,

Edina Lekovic, MPAC’s Director of Policy and Programming, was featured in a story on NPR’s All Things Considered, which focused on the physical and symbolic space for women in American mosques. Additionally, the story featured an online project called Side Entrance launched by Chicago-based activist Hind Makki. Last year, Makki asked women from around the world to share photos of their prayer spaces. Submissions ranged from isolated, moldy storerooms to soaring, lushly carpeted halls, and a public conversation ensued on social media, which has also spread to broader community conversations. SEE: “Muslim Women Challenge American Mosques: ‘Now Is the Time’ ” (NPR) Makki said the online project began when she posted photos of women’s prayer spaces from some Chicago mosques on her Facebook page. The photos ranged from one of women praying behind a tall divider to a walkin closet prayer space with covered windows to prayer halls where women pray in the same open-air space. The photos went viral. In the article, Lekovic said this conversation is about more than the

entrance to the mosque. “Part of what’s at stake is the question of where Muslim women will put their talents,” she said. “Now, if the mosque is an environment in which they see that the fruits of their labor will be beneficial to the community, they will put their time and energy there.” This past year, one of MPAC’s platform issues was women’s empowerment. Starting with a women and girls retreat in Irvine, CA, which focused on “Discovering Your Best Self,” MPAC organized forums, programs and legislative campaigns. MPAC also launched a national campaign to mobilize American Muslims to work for the passage of Reauthorization of the 2013 Violence

Against Women Act (VAWA) and, in recognition of its work on this important piece of legislation, MPAC was invited by the White House to witness the signing ceremony. The online project, Side Entrance, and the NPR story are bringing muchneeded attention to the situation of equality of space and the role of American Muslim women in the broader community. The NPR article reported that national Muslim leaders are paying attention. “The Islamic Society of North America is urging mosques to recruit more female board members, and a recent conference centered on a campaign to improve women’s prayer spaces.”

Urge the House to Pass Bill Supporting Rohingya Human Rights


he ongoing violence and persecution against the Rohingya people of Myanmar has become increasingly dire in recent months, yet it remains largely overlooked in the public eye, says an MPAC release. It adds: The recently introduced House Resolution 418 urges the government of Burma to end the persecution of the Rohingya people and to respect internationally recognized human rights for all ethnic and religious minority groups within Burma.

Introduced by Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) last month, the resolution has already garnered support from 19 members of Congress from the both sides of the aisle and awaits passage in the House Foreign Relations Committee, but needs 31 more in order to qualify for a vote on the House floor. Now is the time for all people of conscience who value human rights and religious freedom to contact their elected officials to urge them to support this resolution and send a message to the government of Myanmar. Among the forms of human rights abuses committed by the Burmese government are: denying them citizenship, not recognizing the Rohingya as an official minority, dictating a two-child policy for them and state-police raiding and killing Rohingya in their villages indiscriminately. Adding to the travesty is the fact that this crisis is underreported due to the complicity of the Burmese government with Buddhist aggressors which ultimately does not allow human rights groups to verify the number of those killed and quantify the tragedy in numbers. With Burmese President Thein Sein denying the atrocities, the struggle of the Rohingya people continues unabated. The crisis has spilled over to neighboring states, including Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia where Rohingya refugees have fled as a result of the ongoing violence and persecution they face in their homeland. More than 140,000 Rohingya have risked their lives and their families to reach save havens, only to be placed in detention camps along the Thai border, be subjected to human trafficking or be returned to their persecutors. H. Res. 418 highlights the Burmese government’s denial of the Rohingya’s persecution and urges Sein to recognize and address this injustice. The resolution reads in part, “the Burma Citizenship Law of 1982 has long excluded from approved ethnic groups the Rohingya people, despite many having lived in northern Rakhine state for generations, and has thereby rendered Rohingyas stateless and vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.” Beyond the resolution, the state of the Rohingya should be added to the Atrocities Prevention Board’s agenda. Under the mandate of the board, “the intelligence community will collect and analyze information that allows [us] to better anticipate, understand and counter atrocity threats.” Increased data collection and analysis is helpful in gaining more exposure and understanding the threats on the ground. We urge Congress to pass this bill considering our interests in preserving human rights, promoting security in the region and supporting inclusive democracies. The challenge to passing H. Res 418 is not opposition; it is lack of awareness that the bill even exists. The lack of media exposure of the crisis and bill makes it increasingly difficult to pressure members of Congress to support it.

January 24th Designated as Day of Prayer for Rain Anaheim, CA: The Islamic Shura

Council has designated this Friday January 24th as a special day of prayer for rain in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement last week that California is in a state of drought. We ask all mosques to hold special supplications to God for rain (Salat al Istisqa) after the weekly congregational Friday prayers. We also ask all full-time Islamic Schools to hold special prayers for rain and help children understand the importance of minimizing their water usage at home and wherever they may be. “As human beings, we can neither create nor produce rain but the Creator can. So we ask God, the all merciful, to bless us with abundant rain to fill our lakes and rivers and have mercy on us in the State of California,” said Dr Muzammil Siddiqi, the Chairman of the Islamic Shura Council. “To create a statewide prayer vigil for rain, we have coordinated with our sister councils in Bakersfield and Northern California who are also designating this week to pray to end the drought in the State of California,” said Shakeel Syed, the Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council. “We are also urging our other sister councils in Michigan and Illinois to also ask their member Mosques to pray for the State of California.” We urge the community to actively work to conserve water and remember the Qur’anic principle that God loves those who do not waste. Please consider taking the following steps: • Imams - Prophetic advice with respect to drought and rain after each daily prayer • Mosques - hold community dialogs on Friday evenings • Families - study the Holy Qur’an about those who waste and those who conserve • Calculate your total family water usage • Learn some easy steps to save water indoors and also outdoors • Try to water your lawn every other day instead of every day, also water in the early morning or at night • Institute shorter showers at home. One way to make this happen is set a timer or take a cold water bath When you visit a restaurant, ask the waiter to not bring water unless you ask for it and ask them to give you water only as much as you need • Skip your car washes for a while or use a bucket of water rather than the hose to minimize water usage.

Bazm-e-Hamd-o-Naat to Organize Eid Miladun-Nabi on Jan 25


azm-e-Hamd-o-Naat has extended an invitation to the community to attend an Eid Milad-un-Nabi function it is organizing. A message received from the Bazm states: ‘’We are pleased to invite you, your family and friends to join us for the Eid Milad-un-Nabi on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 6:00 pm at the Branco Center Calpoly University, Pomona. Qiraat, hadiths by distinguished scholars and Hamd-oNaat by renowned naat khawans’’ will be presented. For more information call 626-256-7894.



rejected the idea, pointing out that they already had their own role model to inspire them, which was the holy Prophet of Islam. In order to understand Jinnah we need to put both speeches together, and a clear picture of a just, orderly, and compassionate society emerges. He condemned nepotism, provincialism and corruption while emphasizing special care of the poor in society. The Quaid was adamant however that Pakistan would not be a “theocracy.” Realizing the importance of Mr Jinnah and in order to understand him better, I had spent most of the decade in the 1990s in conceiving and completing the Jinnah Quartet, which comprised the feature film Jinnah, a documentary film, an academic book and a graphic novel. I received both adulation and vitriol for my efforts. Lies were told in print especially about the Jinnah film (ignoring the detailed audit report which was conducted in 2000 by a British firm-- see the Jinnah Film Audit Report which is on-line). Dr Mushtaq, a gentle and scholarly man, had written to me that Pakistanis only honor their heroes after they die and he predicted that after my death Pakistanis would love me and name a day in my honor. Before his theory could be tested, I decided it was time to leave. The situation warrants a longterm and radical strategy to re-establish the writ of the state. It needs to be holistic and long-term. The path ahead will be difficult and will require courage, wisdom and compassion from the leaders of Pakistan. The first most vital step is to establish the writ of the state. This can only be done by the reconstitution of a strong, neutral, just, and compas-

sionate civil service, police, and judicial structure in the districts. The elected representatives need to work in tandem with the bureaucracy. The argument that high quality civil servants no longer exist is not correct. Even on this trip I had the privilege of meeting over lunch some of the legendary officers of the old Frontier Province like Omar Khan Afridi and Azam Khan who could be persuaded to advise and guide the service. Even younger officers like Khalid Aziz need to be actively involved in this process. They all agree with my thesis in The Thistle and the Drone that without the reconstruction of a strong political administration and tribal leadership the Tribal Areas will not be stabilized. But the process would not be successful unless the army was withdrawn and allowed the traditional structures to function. The army needs to change its role in Pakistan affairs. Its soldiers are not trained in civil administration but to keep the borders safe. Of course, they need to assist bureaucracy when the situation demands. But without the army returning to the barracks, the civil administration will not be able to grow. It is therefore a Catch 22 situation for both. The army still remains largely intact, its command and control structure in place, in spite of the debilitating and long drawn war on the periphery. The appointment of a charismatic new army chief, General Sharif, has raised hopes among Pakistanis of a leader capable of confronting the challenges that Pakistan faces. I also noted the energy and vitality in the genuinely free media, in the arts and in literature. There was so much impressive talent in Pakistan. And most important there was a freedom in the air which offset the real challenges of electricity and gas shortages, the high prices and collapsing

law and order. Pakistan must also reach out to its neighbors especially India and Afghanistan and convert the prickly relationship to a friendly one–as Mr Jinnah envisaged. There is so much in common between Pakistan and the two countries in cultural and historical terms that could be built on. Bolder foreign policies on both sides of the border are needed to bring people together. With the population explosion and depletion of resources combined with the collapsing law and order situation in the country, Pakistan simply cannot afford to be entangled in complicated hostile relations with its neighbors. Pakistani Homecoming In spite of the gloom and doom of the elite and the law and order situation, my trip to Pakistan had gone very well. I was overwhelmed by the love and hospitality I received everywhere I went. My wife Zeenat and I had flown in to Lahore from Washington, DC at the end of November as guests of Dr Jim Tebbe, the Rector of Forman Christian College, where I was to receive an honorary PhD at the convocation. The award was given in an impressive ceremony by Mr Mohammad Sarwar, the Governor of the Punjab. It was a great honor for me and I found the event deeply moving. I felt nostalgic as I wandered about the beautiful Forman campus lost in memories of one of the happiest periods of my life. Zeenat and I were delighted to be with our daughter Dr Amineh Hoti and son-in-law Arsallah Khan Hoti in Islamabad and to see how much they were contributing to Pakistan in their own fields. Both were promoting better understanding and better citizenship through notions of insaniat (humanity), ilm (knowledge) and

adab (culture). We were privileged and thrilled to be present when Dr Hoti launched the Center for Dialogue and Action at Forman in Lahore and Arsallah was appointed to the important post of Member of the Privatization Commission. As a family we were blessed to participate in interfaith bridge building. We visited Nankana Sahib not far from Lahore to pay respects to the birthplace of the great prince of peace Guru Nanak who founded the Sikh faith. We celebrated Christmas with the poorest section of the Christian community living in the midst of the opulence in Islamabad. The Pastor welcomed us to take part in the ceremonies and Dr Hoti spoke beautifully from the pulpit conveying a message of peace and harmony. I was delighted to be able to reconnect with old friends like Wasim Sajjad, my class fellow from school in Abbottabad and the former president of Pakistan and chairman of the Senate, and Kamal Hyat my close friend from my Forman College days, and relatives such as Syed Ahmed Masood. Another school friend, former Ambassador Anwar Kemal, lived just outside Islamabad on a farm and generously provided us with a regular supply of the “best” home produced egg in Islamabad. I also felt privileged to meet some of the most important men of the land, for example Mian Shahbaz Sharif and General Raheel Sharif (no relationship between the two in spite of similar sir names). Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, the former Prime Minister and another Formanite, treated my family and me with the warm hospitality and affection for which he is famous. Sartaj Aziz, the elder statesman of Pakistani politics, graciously chaired the book launch of The Thistle and the Drone at the Institute of Strategic

Studies Islamabad. Because he is the Foreign Affairs and Security Advisor to the Prime Minister the media was in attendance in full force and next day the headlines were about Mr Aziz condemning drone strikes in Pakistan. It is these intelligent, patriotic, and committed Pakistanis—and there are thousands of Pakistanis of this caliber—who are keeping the country functioning and giving it optimism in spite of the chaos around them. I sometimes marvel at the courage of these Pakistanis. I know that most Americans would not be able to live in these conditions with any sense of equanimity and calmness. I was also able to discuss my ideas at a lunch hosted for me by the Dean of the Ambassadors in Islamabad, the popular Argentinean Ambassador Rodolfo Martin Saravia, who had invited several of his fellow ambassadors. Senator Mushahid Husain, a high profile public intellectual, invited me to the Senate to address a large gathering of Senators and Parliamentarians from the government and opposition benches in the grand Banqueting Hall of the Senate. Senator Sabir Baloch, Deputy Chair of the Senate, introduced me affectionately in his welcome address by saying that we had met decades ago when I took over as Commissioner of Makran Division, which is his home. He said because I was related to Sir Sayyed Ahmed Khan, I emphasized education and within a week of arrival announced that I would build the first big public school of Makran. When I was told there was no money in the budget, he said with a chuckle, I declared a tax on any Makrani wanting a gun license. With these guns, the Senator recounted, I said you kill each other, and with the school you will be able to educate yourselves. HOMECOMING, P29



n By Momina Sibtain

orraine Adams, a Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist and author, is presently in Pakistan to work on a novel she is currently writing. It focuses on the archaeology of the Indus Valley Civilization and the familial values of Pakistani people. In a tête-à-tête with The Express Tribune, Adams talks about her illustrious career and association with Pakistan.


Lorraine Adams — Celebrating Pakistani Culture

Seated in a casual lounge at a friend’s residence in Lahore, Adams looks composed and welladapted to the local environment. “There is something so lovely in the generosity of Pakistani people, they selflessly do things for others and welcome guests with open arms,” Adams says. The ease with which she carries herself in a Nida Azwer ready-to-wear patchwork kameez and shawl makes it hard to discern whether she is a foreigner or grew up here. Adams is pictured in a Hassan Sheheryar Yasin outfit on her wedding day in the US three years ago Adams’ career took a turn in “Investigative journalism is a know about the generosity of the Western world needs to be broader August 2001, when she gave up her job as an investigative journal- limited reality,” she says. “It does people and the values they hold,” than the [debate over] veiling and non-veiling.” ist for the Washington Post. She not allow you to connect with peo- says Adams. Thus, in the midst of potent She talks about Dr Shehla was asked to rejoin post-9/11, but ple and everyone is just a source.” she refused. “I did not like the way This holds true since there are partiality, Adams became an au- Akram as her inspiration for one the Washington Post was covering some investigative journalists, who thor, who aims at celebrating rath- of the characters in her upcoming 9/11,” says Adams. “The coverage only view a country for the stories er than rebuffing the culture of the book. “Dr Shehla runs a hospital, a pharmaceutical company and was too pro-government and it they can extract from it instead people of South Asia. seemed biased. The hysteria against of exploring the grave realities of “There are so many inspiring also set up a women’s chamber of Muslims was so extreme that I its residents. “Journalists abroad women here. I want to write about commerce,” states Adams. “These wanted to learn more about the get embarrassed talking about the the strength of women in Pakistan,” are the type of stories that need to people.” Pakistani soul. They do not want to says Adams. “The discussion in the come out of Pakistan to bridge this

n By Bina Shah


Karachi, Pakistan

Pakistani Cinema’s New Wave

fter years of economic doldrums and creative drought, Pakistani movies are pulling in crowds at home and garnering awards at international film festivals. It’s a miraculous restart for an industry that has seen more highs and lows than a threehour Bollywood blockbuster. Taking the power of storytelling into their own hands, Pakistani filmmakers are fashioning muchneeded, nuanced portraits of their country — and cultivating a degree of national pride that hasn’t been felt for a long time. In 2012, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s “Saving Face,” about victims of acid attacks in Pakistan, earned the country its first Academy Award, in the best short documentary category. For local film buffs, the win was a harbinger of good things to come. In preparation for this year’s Oscars, for the first time in half a century Pakistan submitted a film for consideration in the best foreign-language film category. While the entry, “Zinda Bhaag” (“Run For Your Life”), failed to make the short list for nomination, “the very fact that we could select a movie that would represent us at the Oscars makes us proud,” says Ms Obaid-Chinoy. The director believes that 2013 will “go down in history as the year that Pakistani cinema was reborn.” Pakistani cinema thrived in the 1960s, with political and romantic films like “Bombay-Wallah” (1961), “Shaheed” (“Martyr,” 1962) and “Armaan” (“Desire,” 1966), featuring the screen legends Waheed Murad, Nadeem Baig and the actress Shabnam, among others. It survived the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and went on to peak in the early 1970s with classics like “Umrao Jaan Ada” (“The Courtesan of Lucknow,” 1972) and “Aina” (“The Mirror,” 1977). At the height of the glory days,

by conservative estimates, Pakistani studios released more than 100 films a year and some 700 cinemas were operating. In the 1980s, Mohammad Zia ul-Haq’s military dictatorship censored any films that tried to address weighty issues. That decade’s ultraconservative mores discouraged the participation of talented Pakistanis, especially women. The collapse was swift: “Lollywood,” Pakistan’s affectionate nickname for its Lahorebased film industry, churned out tasteless films replete with violence, choreographed disco numbers, melodramatic plotlines and poor acting. By the end of the 1990s, production had slowed to about 50 films each year. Hundreds of cinemas across the country were torn down. In 2006, Pervez Musharraf, as president, began to ease restrictions on the importation of Indian films, which had been banned in Pakistan since the war between the countries in 1965. The newly available Bollywood productions drew so many viewers that multiplexes were built to meet the demand. The new capacity, in turn, gave a new generation of Pakistanis, either trained abroad or

already working in television and advertising, an incentive to start making movies of their own. With advances in digital filmmaking permitting lower budgets and an audience already exposed to high-quality international cinema, Pakistanis began to produce bold works.

Eight years later, high import taxes on equipment and lack of government support still impede industry growth, and financial investment by wealthy producers remains difficult to find. But Ms Obaid-Chinoy is optimistic. The approximately 100 cinemas now operating in Pakistan (for a population of over 180 million) are “more than I’ve seen in my entire life,” she says Eight years later, high import taxes on equipment and lack of government support still impede industry growth, and financial investment by wealthy producers remains diffi-

cult to find. But Ms Obaid-Chinoy is optimistic. The approximately 100 cinemas now operating in Pakistan (for a population of over 180 million) are “more than I’ve seen in my entire life,” she says. Tired of the one-dimensionality of the portrayal of Pakistanis on Western screens (as terrorists, bombers, victims or collaborators), independent Pakistani filmmakers are telling other, more sophisticated, stories. With more than 20 films released in 2013, production is rising. One of last year’s releases, “Main Hoon Shahid Afridi” (“I Am Shahid Afridi”), about a small-time cricket league in the northeastern city of Sialkot, sends a powerful message of religious tolerance. “Josh” (“Against the Grain”), in which an upper-class woman investigates the kidnapping of her maid, imagines a world where social justice isn’t beyond the reach of the poor. In the deceptively quiet “Lamha” (“Seedlings”), the son of a wealthy couple is accidentally killed by a rickshaw driver. The film looks evenhandedly and with compassion at the different griefs suffered by the couple and the driver.

social disconnect that now exists between it and the West. The author has taken it upon herself to educate the people in her life about Pakistan. “All my friends are now well-educated about the country. My husband [screenplay writer Richard Price] is currently working on an HBO mini-series Criminal Justice and he has placed a Pakistani immigrant family at the center of the plot.” The author lightly chuckles as she shares a few fun moments with her husband regarding the mannerisms of Pakistanis. “It is now very common at home for my husband to ask me questions like ‘Would a Pakistani person say this’ or ‘would a Pakistani person do that?’” Of her intimate connection with Pakistan, she shares with us an interesting personal fact. She wore a Hassan Sheheryar Yasin outfit on her wedding day back in the United States, three years ago. “Oh, I love Pakistani fashion. It’s fascinating to see the way it has grown during the time I have come to Pakistan,” she shares. “I was mesmerized at how designers worked out of their houses back in 2006 when I first came to Lahore and now, I see these polished retail stores selling exquisite outfits.” As she soaks in Pakistani family values and explores the archaeological sites of Harappa and Taxila during her short visit to Pakistan, we eagerly await her next book. “Zinda Bhaag,” the country’s 2014 Oscar entry, pays loving tribute to Lahore and 1970s Lollywood. The directors, Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, enlisted real Lahoris in the depiction of the grim realities faced by Pakistanis who attempt to escape economic hardship through illegal emigration. Equally unconventional were decisions to cast the Bollywood legend Naseeruddin Shah in a lead role, and to take postproduction to India instead of Malaysia or Thailand. These fresh approaches augur well for greater Indo-Pakistani cooperation, and have jump-started an industry declared all but dead a few years ago. Last year, Lollywood, too, stepped up its game. In “Waar” (“Strike”), an English-language thriller inspired by the 2009 Taliban attack on a police training center near Lahore, Pakistan is rived by the pressures of the “war on terror.” The film’s unabashed patriotism attracted huge audiences nationwide. “Waar,” which was Pakistan’s first big-budget film, earned some $1.9 million in just over one month, making it also the country’s highest-grossing film to date. Its success signals the eagerness of Pakistanis to discuss terrorism on their own terms. “We want to have the right to represent and choose our own narrative,” Ms. Obaid-Chinoy says, “rather than a narrative that is imposed on us.” Gloria Steinem has said that “every social justice movement that I know of ” started with people “telling their life stories.” By this formulation, Pakistani cinema’s new wave hints at a country on the cusp of a major shift. Each film is at once a window into a dynamic country going through difficult times, and a blueprint for how its people might find their way to better days ahead. (Bina Shah is the author of several novels, including “Slum Child,” and short-story collections. - The New York Times)


P24 – PAKISTAN LINK – JANUARY 24, 2014 n From the book by Michael Hart


y choice of Prophet Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Of humble origins, Prophet Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world’s great religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive.

The majority of the persons in this book had the advantage of being born and raised in centers of civilization, highly cultured or politically pivotal nations. Prophet Muhammad, however, was born in the year 570, in the city of Mecca, in southern Arabia, at that time a backward area of the world, far from the centers of trade, art, and learning. Orphaned at age six, he was reared in modest surroundings. Islamic tradition tells us that he was illiterate. His economic position improved when, at age twenty-five, he married a wealthy widow. Nevertheless, as he approached forty, there was little outward indication that he was a remarkable person. Most Arabs at that time were pagans, who believed in many gods. There were, however, in Mecca, a small number of Jews and Christians; it was from them no doubt that Prophet Muhammad first learned of a single, omnipotent God who ruled the entire universe. When he was forty years old, Prophet Muhammad became convinced that this one true God (Allah) was speaking to him, and had chosen him to spread the true faith. For three years, Prophet Muhammad preached only to close friends and associates. Then, about 613, he began preaching in public. As he slowly gained

n By Murtaza Haider Canada


bha Narain Lambah knows how to build and protect cities. She does this by saving one building at a time. Abha, a Mumbai-based award winning architect, has restored private buildings and public places to return cherished facades and landscapes back to the citizens.

Researchers and practitioners involved in city building gathered at the Frere Hall in Karachi for the second Pakistan Urban Forum to exchange notes on how to save our cities from the continued rot and squalor. The Forum was jointly held with the Contemporary South Asian City Conference, which was supported by the South Asia Institute at the Harvard University. The forum brought together urban experts, citizens, and activists who parleyed for three days to find ways to reverse the urban rot that plagues most South Asian cities. Cities across South Asia are growing haphazardly and not meeting the minimum expected standards for urban services, such as water, sanitation, and transport. The environmental decay plagues almost all large South Asian cities. Terrorism related violence has made city-

Prophet Muhammad - The Most Influential Man in History converts, the Meccan authorities came to consider him a dangerous nuisance. In 622, fearing for his safety, Prophet Muhammad fled to Medina (a city some 200 miles north of Mecca), where he had been offered a position of considerable political power. This flight, called the Hegira, was the turning point of the Prophet’s life. In Mecca, he had had few followers. In Medina, he had many more, and he soon acquired an influence that made him a virtual dictator. During the next few years, while Prophet Muhammad’s following grew rapidly, a series of battles were fought between Medina and Mecca. This was ended in 630 with Prophet Muhammad’s triumphant return to Mecca as conqueror. The remaining two and one-half years of his life witnessed the rapid conversion of the Arab tribes to the new religion. When Prophet Muhammad died, in 632, he was the effective ruler of all of southern Arabia. The Bedouin tribesmen of Arabia had a reputation as fierce warriors. But their number was small; and plagued by disunity and internecine warfare, they had been no match for the larger armies of the kingdoms in the settled agricultural areas to the north. However, unified by Prophet Muhammad for the first time in history, and inspired by their fervent belief in the one true God, these small Arab armies now embarked upon one of the most astonishing series of conquests in human history. To the northeast of Arabia lay the large Neo-Persian Empire of the Sassanids; to the northwest lay the Byzantine, or Eastern Roman Empire, centered in Constantinople. Numerically, the Arabs were no match for their opponents. On the field of battle, though, the inspired Arabs rapidly conquered

all of Mesopotamia, Syria, and

wrested from the Byzantine Em-

Mesopotamia and Egypt, the two cradles of ancient civilization, have remained Muslim, as has the entire coast of North Africa. The new religion, of course, continued to spread, in the intervening centuries, far beyond the borders of the original conquests. Currently it has tens of millions of adherents in Africa and Central Asia and even more in Pakistan and northern India, and in Indonesia Palestine. By 642, Egypt had been

pire, while the Persian armies had

Reviving the Economic Base of Pakistani Cities living even more precarious. It’s time to re-imagine the city and be proactive, like Abha Narain, in protecting our urban habitats. Abha has been leading the fight to preserve cities by rescuing one building at a time. She has campaigned and acted against the neglect and ugly manifestations of consumerism that left historic buildings in India either crumbling or hidden behind large billboards. Abha and concerned citizens fought the status quo that failed to protect the health and good looks of cities in India. She restored defaced facades and rehabilitated decaying interiors of India’s rich architectural heritage. At the same time, she fought to reclaim public places for public use. Abha was aided in her efforts by other ordinary citizens who decided to reclaim what was rightly theirs. She told the forum that it was a gynecologist’s petition that helped remove billboards from the façade of a heritage building in India, thus allowing all to appreciate the architectural gems that remained buried under offers for cheap toothpaste or other consumer disposables. Abha represents the power of the ordinary citizen. Once citizens decide to exercise their civil rights

and deliver on their obligations, the status quo improves. It all begins

The Forum was jointly held with the Contemporary South Asian City Conference, which was supported by the South Asia Institute at the Harvard University with one concerned citizen and a movement is born as a result. The second Pakistan Urban Fo-

rum is also the result of one person’s initiative that is slowly turning into a movement. In 2006, the third World Urban Forum (WUF) took place in Vancouver. I met Dr Nasir Javed, who heads the Urban Unit within the Punjab government, at the WUF. While the rest of the Pakistani delegation was busy sight-seeing and doing tableegh (no exaggeration here), I saw Dr Javed running from one session to another, lugging whatever reading material he could get hold of. He told me that he wants to take these publications with him to build Urban Unit’s library to aide his professional staff in discharging their duties. As we met on the last day of the Forum in Vancouver, Dr Javed announced in a determined voice that he would hold a similar forum in Pakistan to help formulate the urban agenda for one of the fastest urbanizing nations in the world. In 2011, Dr Javed and the Urban Unit organized the first Pakistan Urban Forum in Lahore that was attended by experts based in Pakistan and abroad. I had the good fortune of attending both urban forums in Pakistan. I saw hundreds of excited youth in 2011 in Lahore and now in Karachi, attending the forum in the hope of making sense of the mess their par-

been crushed at the key battles of Qadisiya in 637, and Nehavend in 642. But even these enormous conquests, which were made under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad’s close friends and immediate successors, Ali, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, did not mark the end of the Arab advance. By 711, the Arab armies had swept completely across North Africa to the Atlantic Ocean There they turned north and, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, overwhelmed the Visigothic kingdom in Spain. For a while, it must have seemed that the Muslims would overwhelm all of Christian Europe. However, in 732, at the famous Battle of Tours, a Muslim army, which had advanced into the center of France, was at last defeated by the Franks. Nevertheless, in a scant century of fighting, these Bedouin tribesmen, inspired by the word of the Prophet, had carved out an empire stretching from the borders of India to the Atlantic Ocean the largest empire that the world had yet seen. And everywhere that the armies conquered, largescale conversion to the new faith eventually followed. Now, not all of these conquests proved permanent. The Persians, though they have remained faithful to the religion of the Prophet, have since regained their independence from the Arabs. And in Spain, more than seven centuries of warfare, finally resulted in the Christians re-conquering the entire peninsula. However, Mesopotamia and Egypt, the two cradles of ancient civilization, have remained Muslim, as has the entire coast of North Africa. The new religion, of course, continued to spread, in the intervening centuries, far beyond the borders of the original conquests. Currently it has tens of millions of adherents in Africa and Central Asia and even more in Pakistan and northern India, and in Indonesia. In Indonesia, the new faith has been a unifying factor. ... ents’ and grandparents’ generations have left them with. I met in Karachi with Jahanzeb (not his real name) who is originally from Buner, but now lives in Karachi after escaping the violence in his hometown. He has a grade 12 education and tons of uncertainty about his future. He works night shifts at hotels doing odd jobs to support his family in Buner. He asked me about what, if any, promise Karachi holds for him. The urban youth in Pakistan are the nation’s greatest asset because they have the education, awareness, aptitude and drive to build their lives. They are also disillusioned. They heard from experts at the Forum in Karachi speaking in English, a language not understood by those who really need the help of experts. For the urban disenfranchised at the Forum, there was much lost in translation and context. Jahanzeb had a plan. He told me that he would like to buy second hand clothes and leather bags from Karachi and ship them to Buner for retail. He was concerned that cottage industries in his hometown had died because of the violence. The lack of electricity also made it hard to operate small home-based units. The result is massive unemployment amongst those who have CITIES, P26



Pakistan Pull Off Astonishing Chase Sri Lanka

SHARJAH: Pakistan turned a Test that had been an abysmal advertisement for cricket for four days and one session on its head, with an incredible batting performance after lunch on the final day, when they scored 302 runs in 57.3 overs to sucker-punch Sri Lanka and level the series. Their runrate of 5.25 was the second highest in a successful chase of a 200-plus target, and the protagonists of this heist Azhar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed and Misbah-ul-Haq - proved that the soporific pace of the previous days was entirely by design, largely Sri Lanka's to protect their 1-0 lead. For the fifth day to have ended in a result, both teams needed to play extraordinary cricket. Pakistan were extraordinarily purposeful; Sri Lanka were extraordinarily negligent. The visitors began the day with a lead of 220 and five second-innings wickets in hand but batted so slowly, adding 19 runs in the last 16.4 overs. With a minimum of 59 overs left in two sessions Sri Lanka were still favourites, if not to win then certainly to draw, but they were ultra-defensive from the outset against a desperate Pakistan unit. As Misbah-ul-Haq's side motored

Misbah-ul-Haq is congratulated by team-mates after hitting the winning runs, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sharjah, 5th day.

Razzaq Snubbed From Preliminary T20 Squad KARACHI: Just a day after showing his availability, senior all-rounder Abdul Razzaq failed to find his place in Pakistan's 30-man preliminary squad announced for the

upcoming ICC World Twenty20. Razzaq said on Sunday that he had regained fitness and was looking forward to being a part of team. However, the selection committee wasn't impressed with his performance during his comeback against South Africa in the UAE. In contrast, hopes revived for Kamran Akmal after his inclusion in the list, following some decent performances in domestic cricket."Kamran can be used as an opener," an official close to the selection committee told The Express Tribune. "He has good batting credentials." The selectors have also inducted all-rounder Zohaib Ahmed following a good run. Illyas becomes PCB's chief selector? It has been learnt that former Test cricketer Mohammad Illyas returned as the PCB chief selector. While the Board did not make any announcement on the appointment till the filing of this report, the official confirmed that the former cricketer has been appointed for the vacant position. "Illyas headed the final meeting to select both the ICC World T20 probables and the U19 World Cup squad," said the official. Preliminary squad Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmad Shahzad, Sharjeel Khan, Shahzaib Hasan, Nasir Jamshed, Khurram Manzoor, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, Harris Sohail, Yasir Arafat, Yasir Shah, Hammad Azam, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Zohaib Ahmed, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Bilawal Bhatti, Anwar Ali, Asad Ali, Ehsan Adil, Mohammad Talha, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Raza Hasan, Abdul Rehman, Sarfaraz Ahmed. All-rounder Abdul Razzaq said on Sunday that he had regained fitness and was looking forward to being a part of team. J

Australian Open: Sharapova Suffers Melbourne Exit MELBOURNE: Maria Sharapova joined Serena Williams in making an early exit from the Australian Open on Monday, but defending champion Victoria Azarenka swept into the quarter-finals with an 18th straight victory at Melbourne Park. Third seed Sharapova was scratched from the title race with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 loss to Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova. Hindered by a hip niggle, the 2008 champion admitted that the year's first Grand Slam had probably come a little early after she missed the US Open and back end of last season with a shoulder injury. "I certainly would have loved to play a little bit more before playing a grand slam, but this is the chance that I was given," said the Russian. As the only surviving top three seed left in the women's draw, Azarenka looks to be running out of serious challengers as she charts her course towards a third successive title. She outplayed Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2 with ease in 91 minutes. However, the second seed denied that the departure of Serena and Sharapova left her and last year's losing finalist Li Na as favourites for the title. "I don't consider anybody as the favourite, I just go out there and play my best," she said. "We've seen over

the last couple of days that somebody can bring their best game on any given day so you have to stay alert." Vintage Federer books Murray quarter-final A majestic Roger Federer emphatically returned to the Grand Slam big-time by trouncing Jo Wilfried-Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 to book a blockbuster quarter-final with Wimbledon champion Andy Murray. J

towards the target with an unfamiliar efficiency, it became too late for Angelo Mathews to snap himself and his side out of stupor. Sri Lanka sank in the Sharjah twilight, with their captain and fielders feebly complaining about not being able to see the ball. Pakistan needed 195 in 35 overs at the start of the final session, and they had made a tactical decision to send Sarfraz Ahmed in at No.5, shortly before the tea break. He proved to be the catalyst, and the method he used to attack Rangana Herath's defensive line oozed with resourcefulness. Herath operated from over the wicket and pitched wide outside leg stump for most of his 19 overs, which cost 100 and yielded no wickets, but when he did so after tea Sarfraz took guard near the wide-ball indicators outside leg stump and lofted inside-out through covers to beat a packed onside field. After several such shots, Mathews moved a fielder from the leg to the off, and Sarfraz promptly slogged Herath over the midwicket boundary to take 15 runs off the 29th over, the most expensive of the match. While Sarfraz made use of his license to run riot, Azhar accumulated

briskly in a more organised manner, driving the seamers and sweeping Herath off his negative line. With the field spread deep, Azhar picked off the gaps to get to his half-century off 79 balls, and his 89-run stand with Sarfraz came at a run-a-ball. Pakistan needed 116 off 22.2 overs when Misbah walked in, after Sarfraz had been caught gloving a Shaminda Eranga short ball down the leg side. Mathews remained defensive despite having a new batsman at the crease and the 40th over of the chase, from Suranga Lakmal, was a defining one. Azhar jumped outside leg and drove, forcing a full-length dive from the deep-cover fielder, the next three balls went to deep point and deep midwicket, before Misbah pulled to the fine-leg boundary. The over cost 12 runs, and Pakistan's momentum was unaffected by Sarfraz's departure. Despite Azhar and Misbah sweeping and reverse-sweeping Herath at will, irrespective of whether he bowled over or round the wicket, and the left-arm spinner proving utterly ineffective at controlling the run-rate, Mathews did not use his offspinner Dilruwan Perera at all. J

South Africa Asks ICC to Withdraw Controversial Proposal CAPE TOWN: Cricket South Africa (CSA) has demanded immediate withdrawal of a "fundamentally flawed" draft proposal that would effectively place Australia, England and India in charge of the world game. Put forward by a working group of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Finance and Commercial Affairs committee, the proposal recommends international calendar and revenue share being controlled by the three boards who bring the most income to the game. In a letter to all full members of the ICC and its president Alan Isaac, CSA president Chris Nenzani said more consultation was needed into the merits of the proposal and felt the ICC has not followed its own setout procedures in this case. "... these proposals should first be referred to the relevant ICC committees or sub-committees for proper consideration and to make recommendations to the ICC Board," Nenzani wrote. "Although there is nothing to prevent a review of the ICC funding model or finances, the proposal selfevidently is inextricably tied up with a fundamental restructuring of the ICC, which has far - reaching Constitutional implications.

"The draft proposal is, therefore, fundamentally flawed as regards the process and, therefore, in breach of the ICC Constitution. "In the circumstances we propose that the draft proposal be withdrawn immediately given that the proper procedures have not been followed. "In our respectful opinion, a more considered, inclusive/consultative, and properly constitutionally-ordained approach is required." CSA's response follows that of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which confirmed on Monday it would oppose any structural overhaul of world cricket's administration. "Chairman Zaka Ashraf has been told Pakistan should not support any such changes as it would divide the cricket world and effectively give all veto powers to India, Australia and England," a PCB governing board member, declining to be named, told Reuters. J

Doolan, Marsh Picked for SA Trip

MELBOURNE: Australia dropped batsman George Bailey from the squad for their three-test tour of South Africa on Monday and brought uncapped Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh into the 15-man party. Bowling all-rounder James Faulkner, who was 12th man throughout the Ashes series, was also included in the party and is likely to contend with Doolan and Marsh for the number six spot in the batting order vacated by Bailey. "We felt Alex and Shaun have games that are well suited to facing South Africa in South Africa," said chief selector John Inverarity. "We consider that both are strong players of pace bowling which is important." James Pattinson and Jackson Bird have been called up to reinforce the pace attack of Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle. Johnson pips Clarke to Allan

Border medal Australia's Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson denied Michael Clarke a hat-trick when the paceman edged his skipper in a tight vote to pick up a maiden Allan Border medal on Monday. Johnson garnered 168 votes to cap a spectacular comeback by claiming his country's most prestigious individual award. "I just knew in my own heart that if I had that opportunity that I could make the most of it," said Johnson. Clarke, however, could not be denied Australia's Test Player of the Year award, while George Bailey (One-Day Internationals) and Aaron Finch (Twenty20) won honours in the shorter formats. Australia's Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson denied Michael Clarke a hat-trick when the paceman edged his skipper in a tight vote to pick up a maiden Allan Border medal. J



Looking for Price Appreciation? Look into Growth Stocks n By Saghir Aslam (The following information is provided solely to educate the Muslim community about investing and financial planning. It is hoped that the ummah will benefit from this effort through greater financial empowerment, enabling the community to live in security and dignity and fulfill their religious and moral obligations towards charitable activities) Growth stocks provide a way to invest now in companies that may be poised for future success. While investors seeking regular dividend payments may wish to invest in income stocks, growth stock investing is a good choice for investors seeking share price appreciation. Rather than pay out sizable dividends, growth companies typically reinvest their earnings back into the business. Thus, growth companies’ revenues and earnings are expected to increase more rapidly, which generally leads to share price appreciation. For a growth investor, current income is less important than a company’s continued growth. I would like to share three examples with you, McDonald’s, Motorola, and Apple. Here are three stocks that I bought long ago and at times it seemed like a long, long wait. As a matter of fact, I had to wait so long for McDonald’s and Motorola that I wanted to throw in the towel. But I reminded myself that in order to succeed I must stick to the plan. Believe me it wasn’t easy. The wait was very, very long but as always with

Allah’s blessing patience finally paid off. Emerging-growth companies are smaller and less well capitalized than the average growth company. As they become larger, many emerging growth companies can be found in the high-technology sector. Investors in emerging growth companies must have a high tolerance and be willing to accept greater portfolio volatility than those who invest in income stocks or regular growth stocks. Some examples are Enpoint, Net2Phone, and Exodus. Growth stocks frequently trade at price-to-earnings ratios that are significantly higher than those of the market as a whole. In other words, investors pay a substantial premium for stocks considered to offer aboveaverage earnings growth potential. One of the challenges faced by growth stock investors is that it is often difficult to forecast earnings accurately. As a result, growth stocks tend to have extreme up-and-down price fluctuations if projected earnings are exceeded or if earnings are disappointed versus estimates. Monitoring Growth Stocks Investors usually want to review their growth stock holdings regularly to make sure the companies’ prospects continue to justify

premium price-earnings ratios. Often, by the time growth opportunities are recognized by the general public, stock prices have been drive up and price-to-earnings ratios are no longer as attractive. As a result, the potential for further appreciation decreases. In general, you should only consider growth stock investing if you are more interested in share price appreciation than income. If you are a conservative equity investor, you can participate in growth stocks by staying with high quality blue-chip names. If you are an aggressive investor, you can seek out opportunities among the smaller emerging-growth companies. These types of companies are extremely volatile. You need a very strong stomach. They are not for everyone and can be very risky. Before you invest in any of these types of companies, please keep the following in mind: volatility, risk, and time frame. You should only invest your risk money into these types of companies. As always before investing do your homework thoroughly. (Saghir A. Aslam only explains strategies and formulas that he has been using. He is merely providing information, and NO ADVICE is given. Mr. Aslam does not endorse or recommend any broker, brokerage firm, or any investment at all, or does he suggest that anyone will earn a profit when or if they purchase stocks, bonds or any other investments. All stocks or investment vehicles mentioned are for illustrative purposes only. Mr. Aslam is not an attorney, accountant, real estate broker, stockbroker, investment advisor, or certified financial planner. Mr. Aslam does not have anything for sale.)




Irvine, CA

Exchange Rates for Currency Notes* Countries

Selling Rs.

USA S.Arabia UK Japan Euro UAE

Buying Rs.

106.30 28.45 175.00 1.0100 144.40 28.80

106.50 28.65 175.25 1.0300 144.60 29.00

(*January 21, 2014)


the development of a strong knowledge economy, according to former education minister Dr Ata ur Rehman. Student enrollment in universities increased from 270,000 to 900,000 and the number of universities and degreeawarding institutions increased from 57 in 2000 to 137 by 2008. In 2011, a Pakistani government commission on education found that public funding for education has been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2007 to just 1.5% - less than the annual subsidy given to the various PSUs including Pakistan Steel and PIA, both of which continue to sustain huge losses due to patronage-based hiring. Constitution Not Suicide Pact: To those who say nothing should trump the constitution of Pakistan, let me remind them that there is legal precedent to suggest that there are things more important than the constitution. “The Constitution is not a suicide pact” is an oft-repeated phrase in American political and legal discourse. It refers to the belief that constitutional restrictions on governmental power must be balanced against the need for survival of the state and its people. It is frequently attributed to Abraham Lincoln who is said to have used it in answering charge that he violated the United States Constitution by suspending habeas corpus during the American Civil War. Others who have used it include Justice Robert H. Jackson (Terminiello v. Chicago, 1949) and Justice Arthur Goldberg (Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 1963).

important house standing committee, said the party lawmakers weren’t happy with the overall management of the national economy. Ever-increasing oil prices, back-breaking inflation, and the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar have already put the government in a tight corner. “At least on the economic front, people expected better handling from the PML-N government but, unfortunately, things aren’t moving in the right direction,” said the lawmaker, who didn’t want to be named. Aware of the cabinet meeting which was not attended by Ch Nisar, the chairman of the standing committee said the interior minister and his colleagues had wanted a frank discussion with the finance minister on the state of the economy, which Mr Dar turned into a media show. “As far as my information goes, Ch Nisar and others wanted to know why the government is failing on the economic front because with every passing day, people are losing patience as well as the hope they had pinned on us. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his inaugural speech, committed that within the first 100 days of his government, people will at least feel the difference,” said the PML-N lawmaker, “but that promised positive change” is yet to come.

returned since violence ceased. Jahanzeb knows where to buy the raw material in Karachi and how to ship it to Buner. What he lacks is seed funding and support. He lacks guarantors for the prime minister’s youth loan program. He did not know of SMEDA. Jahanzeb, and millions like him, are caught in a vicious circle. They have energy, ideas, and enthusiasm. They lack collateral and experience. They flock to cities in large numbers hoping for a better future. The cities instead swallow them and spit them out with the rest of the refuse. This needs to end in urban Pakistan. That cities are the engines of economic growth is a mantra repeated by experts, civil servants, and politicians. They, though offered little to show how to harness the true potential of entrepreneurial spirit in urban Pakistan. The urban rot in Pakistan is a result of, among others, urban poverty and supply side market failures. The governments can remove these structural impediments by adopting growth promoting policies. Such change does not require money. It only requires the establishment not to slap and humiliate the vendor who is offering a service, even without a permit. Establishing and expanding the economic base in urban Pakistan is the real challenge. And while we ask the governments to do their job, we should do ours. Abha Narain Lambah and Dr Javed have shown us how individuals can take initiatives that mature into movements. If you are interested in helping your city or neighborhood, do something about it, today. (Murtaza Haider is a Torontobased academic and the director of - Dawn)

For Pakistan, Bangla Desh & India Compiled by: Hasan Chishti


Pakistan/Bangla Desh

1st Unmarried sons & daughters of U.S. Citizens

Dec., 8, 2006


Dec., 8, 2006

2-A Spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents

Sept., 8, 2013

Sept., 8, 2013

2-B Unmarried sons & daughters (21 years of age or older) of permanent residents

June 1, 2006

June 1, 2006

Married sons & daughters of U.S. citizens

April 15, 2003

April 15, 2003

Brothers & sisters of adult U.S citizens

Oct., 1, 2001

Oct., 1 , 2001








2nd Members of the professions holding advanced degree or persons of exceptional ability


Nov. 15, 2004

3rd Skilled workers Other workers

April 1, 2012 April 1, 2012

Sept. 1, 2003 Sept. 1, 2003


Priority workers

Certain special immigrants



Certain religious workers





5th Employment creation Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers and Pilot Programs

UNLIMITED FAMILY-BASED Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens (IR): The spouse, widow(er) and unmarried children under 21 of a U.S. citizen, and the parent of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older. Returning Residents (SB): Immigrants who lived in the United States previously as lawful permanent residents and are returning to live in the U.S. after a temporary visit of more than one year abroad.



Issues and Questions

n By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

Questions of Life and Death

Gems from the Holy Qur’an


or take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, We have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the law). (Al-Isra’ 17:33)

Say: “Come, I will rehearse what Allah has (really) prohibited you from”: join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want - We provide sustenance for you and for them - come not nigh to shameful deeds, whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that you may learn wisdom. (AlAn’am 6:151) Islam considers human life sacred. Life is to be protected and promoted as much as possible. Since the Florida woman Terri Shiavo’s case came in the news, there is a lot of discussion on the issue of life and death. It is important for us as Muslims to understand our position and also to prepare ourselves in case we or our dear ones confront such a situation. There are a number of important questions: 1. What is the Islamic position on euthanasia? 2. Is it permissible to prolong life artificially and at what point it is allowed for doctors to “pull the plug”? 3. In case of dispute who makes the final decision: doctors, parents, spouse, children or government? 4. When does the death occur? 5. How important it is for us Muslims to prepare a will explaining our position in this matter? 1. Euthanasia or “Mercy Killing”: There is no provision in Islam for killing oneself or another person to reduce his/her physical or emotional pain or suffering from sickness or injury. It is the duty of the doctors, patients’ relatives, and the state to take care of the sick and to do their best to reduce the pain and suffering of the sick, but they are not allowed under any circumstances to kill the sick person. The sick person also should patiently endure the pain and should pray to Allah. Faith and patience bring both comfort and blessings in this life and in the eternal life. If, however, a number of medical experts determine that a patient

is in a terminal condition, there is no hope for his/her recovery and all medications have become useless, then it is permissible for them, through a collective decision, to stop the medication. Under no condition it is permissible to induce death. As long as a person is alive, it is his/her right to be fed. Medical experts and relatives should not withhold nutrition from a living person. They should do their best to provide him/her with necessary nutrition by whatever method it is possible. 2. Prolonging life artificially: The Shari’ah favors life and emphasizes that life should be protected as much as it is possible. According to the Qur’an “saving one life is like saving the whole humanity” (AlMa’idah 5:32). Thus the Shari’ah scholars are in favor of using all methods, including artificial resuscitation to protect life. If a patient is placed on life support and the doctors see no improvement in the patient’s conditions, and the doctors indicate that artificial resuscitation has become useless, then with due consideration and care and by collective decision of medical experts, family members and religious scholars, it would be permissible to decide to switch off the life support machine and to al-

low nature to take its course.

If a number of medical experts determine that a patient is in a terminal condition, there is no hope for his/her recovery and all medications have become useless, then it is permissible for them, through a collective decision, to stop the medication. Under no condition it is permissible to induce death

3. In case of dispute who makes the fiGOLDEN BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY IN U.S.A. nal decision, Shari’ah would prefer a consensus and collecLooking for an investor/operator to run an existing successful tive decision in this matter. The decision should multiple fast food well known chain in U.S.A. be made with Fast food or retail business experience required. E2 visa option compassion and by bringing all available for non-resident of U.S.A. on investment of $125,000.00 the family members together by to 150,000.00. Projected minimum income of over $50,000.00. explaining the whole situation and consequencSend inquires to

es. It is better that courts should not interfere in this matter unless there is a suspicion that, for example, the doctor belongs to an organ transplant group or the family member is interested in the inheritance or bequeath or anyone in the team is accused of professional misconduct. It is better to make error and save life rather than err and lose life. 4. When is a person dead? Muslim medical experts have defined death in the following way: An individual is considered dead in one of the following two situations: A) Complete irreversible cessation of respiratory and cardiovascular systems. B) Complete irreversible cessation of the functions of the brain including the brain stem. This should be confirmed by the accepted medical standards. In case of brain death it is required to have the presence of a reliable medical specialist well experienced in the clinical diagnosis of brain and brain stem death and the various implications of such diagnosis. 5. Preparing the will: The Prophet - peace be upon him urged all Muslims to prepare their will. It is always good to have an Islamic will. The way the situation is changing and the increasing involvement of the governments and courts in this matter, makes it even more urgent and necessary that we carefully think how to prepare our Islamic will, not only for the distribution of inheritance, but also for our medical treatment in case of coma or other complications and also our proper Islamic burial. May Allah keep us on the right path and save us from difficulties in this life and in the life to come. Ameen. (Khutbah at ISOC - Safar 15, 1426/ March 25, 2005)

(Recently, a media talk show host, well known for his anti-Muslim bias, saw it fit to make scornful remarks against the Qur’an on TV. In these columns, selections from this Holy Book will be published, so that unacquainted readers of the Pakistan Link may be able to judge for themselves. Translator’s notes will be added and identified where necessary.) Chapter 3,Verse 145 And no human being can die save by God’s leave, at a time preordained. And if one desires the rewards of this world, We shall grant him thereof; and if one desires the rewards of the life to come, We shall grant him thereof; and We shall requite those who are grateful [to Us]. Chapter 3,Verse 151 Into the hearts of those who are bent on denying the truth We shall cast dread in return for their ascribing divinity, side by side with God, to other beings – [something] for which He has never bestowed any warrant from on high; and their goal is the fire – and how evil that abode of evildoers! Chapter 3,Verse 191 Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the succession of the night and the day, there are indeed messages for all who are endowed with insight, [and] who remember God when they stand, and when they sit, and when they lie down to sleep, and [thus] reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: “O our Sustainer! Thou hast not created [aught of] this without meaning and purpose. Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! Keep us safe, then, from suffering through fire!” Chapter 3,Verses 196-198 Let it not deceive thee that those who are bent on denying the truth seem to be able to do as they please on earth: it is [but] a brief enjoyment, with hell thereafter as their goal – and how vile a resting place! – whereas those who remain conscious of their Sustainer shall have gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide: a ready welcome from God. And that which is with God is best for the truly virtuous. Chapter 3,Verses 199-200 And, behold, among the followers of earlier revelation there are indeed such as [truly] believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon you as well as in that which has been bestowed upon them. Standing in awe of God, they do not barter away God’s messages for a trifling gain. They shall have their reward with their Sustainer – for, behold, God is swift in reckoning. O you who have attained to faith! Be patient in adversity, and vie in patience with one another, and be ever ready [to do what is right], and remain conscious of God, so that you might attain to a happy state!



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Sunday morning, February 8 and 9, at the Sea View. Boasting big name from across the border, Basant in Karachi is expected to be attended by Bollywood singer Mika Singh and Bhangra king Sukhbir Singh. International Film Festival: Director Assad Zulfikar Khan, an upcoming filmmaker, has been tasked with looking after the International Film Festival, which is being held in collaboration with the Raindance Film Festival based in London. According to Khan, it will feature numerous award-winning films along with local film entries. A competition has also been planned to boost the enthusiasm of amateur filmmakers and the film industry of Pakistan. Fashion Festival: The fashion festival will feature works by designers exclusively on Sindhi theme. The event, however, is not being looked after by Karachi’s own fashion gurus – instead, its management has been given to the son of the late Salman Taseer, Sheheryar Taseer. Sufi Night: For those willing to spend Rs2,000, Keerti Sanghatiya, Abida Parveen, Masroor Fateh Ali and Sayee Zahoor will perform on February 7 at Bagh Ibne Qasim. Ghazal Night: Aptly titled ‘Mohabbat Bhari’, a ghazal night has been planned for Valentine’s Day, featuring artists Talat Aziz, Ghulam Ali and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan at the DHA Moin Khan ground. Tickets for couples are priced at Rs5,000. Grand Mushaira, Sindhi Music Mela: To bring back some indigenous music and poetry, a grand Mushaira will be held in Karachi on February 3. Meanwhile, local Sindhi singers will go on a 12-city tour between February 2 and February 15. Fun for all: Known to be Asif Ali Zardari’s favorite sport, horse and cattle grand prix will take over the streets of Hyderabad on February 2 as part of the festival. On the streets of DHA Phase VIII, a donkey derby with participation of Lyari residents, will take place on February 4. The donkey carts will be painted in neon colors while the jockeys will wear hi-tech gears. “Lyari’s residents are excited about this already – they have prepared their carts and we will facilitate them with hi-tech attire and props,” said Alam. A deep sea fishing tournament is also scheduled to be held on February 6 at Mubarak village. Cricket Tournament: A professional cricket tournament is also part of the festival for sports enthusiasts. The series has already started and the finalists will play at the the Moin Khan Academy on February 13. Show over: The closing ceremony will be held right next to the Keenjhar Lake in Thatta in an open ground. With lights, live music, fireworks and celebrities, the organizers hope to end the festival with a bang. Artists Atif Aslam, Ali Azmat, Bilal Khan, Asim Azhar and others are expected to perform live at the ceremony. HOMECOMING FROM P22

Through the friendship and bonhomie of the gathering, two themes cropped up which I had heard in many other gatherings: That the United States was bent on destroying Pakistan and that interfaith dialogue was dangerous because it was a conspiracy to “dilute” the purity of Islam. I made the point repeatedly that the suspicion of Americans that so many Pakistanis harbor and their view of Americans as a hostile monolith is a mirror image of what many Americans think of Pakistan – a hostile Islamic population bent on spreading terrorism in the cause of their faith and determined to attack Americans. As for interfaith di-

JANUARY 24, 2014 – PAKISTAN LINK – P29 alogue, I believe these distinguished Parliamentarians were unaware of Islamophobes in the US like Robert Spencer who argued exactly the opposite that interfaith dialogue was an attempt by Muslim scholars like me to convert Americans to Islam and that Islam was a dangerous and evil religion. Dialogue and bridgebuilding were the need of the hour. Besides, I pointed out the crisis in Pakistan could only be managed by Pakistanis themselves. The majority of the Senators responded positively to my message of understanding and bridge-building. I had met, it seemed, everyone there was to meet, appeared on the major television chat shows, and addressed various gatherings, including the top Universities and young Pakistanis in schools, but one thing was still missing, and that was a meeting with a living mystic. Then on the eve of my departure, my friend and comrade of many decades, Dr Ghazanfar Mehdi conveyed an invitation from Pir Naqeebur-Rahman of Rawalpindi and his wife for a dinner in my honor at their house. The Pir was a leading Sufi figure of the Naqshbandi order and therefore spiritually linked to Zeenat’s direct ancestors like the legendary Akhund of Swat and the Wali of Swat. With his green hat, long flowing hair and talk of universal love, the Pir is a prime target for the Taliban who specifically attack such spiritual leaders as they speak of a universal and inclusive Islam. He is also easily accessible which makes him more vulnerable. As a sign of Islamic duty to the less fortunate, he runs a langar which provides cooked meals round the clock for the poor, who may at any time, without invitation, come and eat. There was a festive air at the Pir’s large compound that night with strings of bright lights twinkling in different colors. It was an auspicious time: the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet of Islam. Sufis in particular celebrate the occasion with great joy and praise the Prophet as a “mercy unto mankind”. The Pir and his followers were on hand to greet us with honor. Remarkably, the Pir’s wife is an articulate leader for interfaith dialogue among women and has been active in this field with the American Ambassador’s wife. She had also worked with Dr Hoti and the two were happy to re-connect. As we sat on carpets for dinner, the families joining us, Dr Mehdi read a beautiful Urdu poem composed by him in honor of the Prophet. The Pir then organized the showing of my video poem, “I, Saracen,” on a large screen TV. He appreciated it with kind words and blessed my efforts in building bridges. This was the perfect ending of my visit to Pakistan, a dinner hosted for me by a leading Pir in which we could celebrate the Prophet’s birthday and talk of the message of peace and compassion for all humanity. The future would be difficult for Pakistan, but I could see hope. Despite the chaos and mayhem of contemporary Pakistan, there was still wisdom and compassion deep in the soil of Pakistan. This, I thought to myself that night, was after all the land of Datta Sahib, Bulleh Shah, Baba Fareed, Rahman Baba and so many other mystics and spiritual leaders throughout Pakistan who advocated faith and peace. Their mystic verses had influenced the great Guru Nanak and his followers invited Mian Mir to lay the foundation stone of their most revered house of worship, the Golden Temple in Amritsar. This

land was rich with bridge-builders. The arc of my visit had been completed. I left Pakistan feeling optimistic. (Akbar S. Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, Washington, DC, the former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK and former member of the Civil Service of Pakistan. His latest book is The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (Brookings 2013). PROTEST FROM P1

he had discussed the issue with the Federal Government and was finalizing a new strategy for the pilgrims’ routes. He said it should be a good idea to start a ferry service from Karachi to Chahabar, Iran would be a good idea. “Ferry service would be safer, we will make special traveling arrangements and subsidize the fare for Shia pilgrims.” The Chief Minister claimed sectarian attacks in Balochistan had declined by 35 per cent in 2013 but the beginning of this year was marked with very unfortunate events. As many as 31 Shia pilgrims were killed in two suicide attacks during this month of January while more than 60 sustained injuries. Banned hardliners Lashkar-eJhangvi claimed responsibility for the attacks and vowed to continue them in the future. Quetta city shuts down: Shops, markets, eateries and trading centres on Alamdar Road, Hazara Town, Liaquat Bazaar, Prince Road, Abdul Sattar Road and adjoining areas remained closed. Traffic was thin on the roads. The strike was called by Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), Balochistan Shia Conference and Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen (MWM). Addressing a news conference, leader of MWM MPA Mohammed Raza said the protest will not end until representatives of the federal government come and ensure that a targeted operation will be conducted against terrorists. “We will not bury the dead bodies until a practical step is taken. No one can pacify us, the Hazara community,” he said, adding that the “federal government should order a targeted operation to eliminate terrorists.” ATTACK FROM P1

Military officials said the strikes were based on “confirmed intelligence reports” and some of those killed were linked to high-profile attacks including a bloody double suicide bombing on a church in the northwestern city of Peshawar in September. Jet fighters began pounding targets around 1 2 : 3 0 a m (7.30pm Monday GMT), an official said, and were later joined by helicopter gunships. Military sources said 40 terrorists were killed in the air strikes, though local residents

said there were civilians among the dead. Independent verification of the number and identity of casualties was not possible because media and aid workers are not allowed to visit the area. Officials said some of the dead were linked to recent bombings including the Peshawar church and an attack on Sunday on paramilitary troops in northwestern Bannu city that killed 26 - the deadliest on Pakistan’s armed forces in recent years. In claiming responsibility for the Bannu attack, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) threatened more strikes to avenge their former leader Hakimullah Mehsud, killed by a US drone in November. But TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid also said the group was “ready for meaningful negotiations” if the government halted US drone strikes and withdrew troops from the tribal areas. Officials said those killed in Tuesday’s air raids included “foreigners” - a term that usually refers to Arab or Central Asian fighters - as well as members of the Punjabi faction of the Taliban. As the military mounted their aggressive riposte to the militants, police in Islamabad said they had seized 100 kilograms of explosives and arrested three people in a raid. Debate has raged for some time in Pakistan about whether a full-scale military ground offensive should be launched in North Waziristan to rid the area of militants once and for all. A security official said Tuesday’s air strikes were not the start of an offensive but instead a “retaliatory action”. According to another report at least 36 of the 40 killed during the air strikes in the North Waziristan tribal region on Monday night and Tuesday were foreign fighters. Thirty-three Uzbeks and three Germans were among those killed during the air strikes which also injured at least 15. Important commanders were also among those killed in the onslaught. They included Wali Mohammad and Asmat Shaheen. Maulvi Farhad Uzbek and Shaheen Betini were also among those killed. Residents of the area said helicopter gunships were continuously hovering in the sky, while jet fighters were making regular sorties. They said that such sustained bombardment from the air was unusual in North Waziristan. Separately jet fighters pounded suspected Taliban hideouts in Tirah

valley, part of Khyber, another of the seven tribal districts, killing four militants. Tirah, once a stronghold of Pakistani militant groups was retaken by the military late last year though some groups still hold out in parts of the mountainous valley. DEAL FROM P1

independence for the Punjab and the eradication of slavery in all of the Punjab, a province of 100 million,’’ Mr Forrest said. The Punjabi Chief Minister, Shabaz Sharif, welcomed the deal and said he was pleased to announce that the Punjab was the first province to commit to becoming the first Pakistani province to eradicate slavery. Under the agreement, mining experts from Australia will investigate the possibility of using the Punjab’s huge deposits of lignite coal which is low-grade and not commercially viable at the moment. But if the coal can be developed through new technology at a cost of $US40 a barrel it can be used to produce diesel. Mr Forrest, the chairman of the Fortescue Metals Group, said the eradication of slavery and replacement of foreign fuel would both help economic growth. Mr Forrest said he had assurances from Pakistan that once the feasibility study was completed, and if the development was possible, there would be a transparent public process for tendering to establish the conversion of coal to diesel. NATION FROM P1

“A concerted effort and united stand will enable us to achieve the desired results,” he added. The chief minister assured the prime minister of his support to the government’s policy on terrorism, saying, “We will follow the government’s policy on this issue.” “We are together against the terrorists and want to give a strong message to them through our unity,” he said and added that peace and security were the foremost issues today. The chief minister asked the prime minister for assistance for the recovery of Arbab Abdul Zahir Kansi, a leader of ANP from Balochistan. He said, “We want that the menace of kidnapping for ransom be eliminated from our province and we need support of the federal government in this respect.” The prime minister expressed his concerns over the kidnapping for ransom cases and assured the delegation that he would take steps for the recovery of Arbab Abdul Zahir Kansi.


I want to learn the Urdu language and need a tutor fluent in Urdu and English for informal tutoring. Tutor should preferably be living in the San Fernando Valley (Encino, Sherman Oaks, Northridge, Van Nuys, etc.), or possibly the West Los Angeles area. Meet once per week at convenient time and location. Rate $15 to $20 per hour depending on qualifications. Please call Mr. Hasan at cell phone (310) 948-3850.




t would be easy to refer to her as a 'pint size' star but the very petite Ayesha Omar has been making some pretty big waves in the industry she's now shining across. She has taken the stage by storm with her characterisation of Sandy in Nida Butt's adaptation of the 70s classic, Grease. Her voice loomed large over this season of Coke Studio, where she delivered an impressive version of a classical giant, Laage Re Nain. And her role as Khoobsurat on the popular sitcom Bulbulay has made her one of the most influential young actresses on television today. Ayesha confides that a style of clothing she wears in


e is young, talented and now married. Singer Adnan Sami Khan's son Azan Ali Khan tied the nuptial knot with his childhood sweetheart last week. The wedding was attended by the who's who of show business. Azan A's mother, actress Zeba Bakhtiar, looked happy as a bee on the occasion. The 20-year-old groom is an ad film-maker and his first feature film is also in the offing. So, alls well in Mr Adnan Sami's life. Oh sorry, in his former wife's life. Meanwhile, it appears that the troubles that Adnan Sami Khan was having living in India

the sitcom sells out in minutes. To drive that point home, two young ladies come up to her as we sit down at Neco's Cafe for the interview. They compliment her on looking even prettier in real life than she does on TV. There can be no stardom without scandal and the trajectory of Ayesha's career has been dominated by just as much controversy as popularity. She stirred up criticism of grand proportions for winning Best Album at the 2013 Lux Style Awards, which she


talks about, along with much more … You're a brave person for diving straight into a musical (Grease) despite the criticism you faced after winning the LSA. Are you prepared for a live performance? I had a very colourful childhood with a lot of song, dance, theatre and dance drama. I've done a lot of theatre since school and got used to the stage very early on. There was also a lot of singing as I was part of underground bands in college. In fact I never thought I'd be on television and it's still stage and singing that has my heart. So Grease is where my heart is. When it comes to criticism, I never take life that seriously. I do read everything that's written about me but I'm my own biggest critic. Plus, apart from a couple of bad reviews the reaction to my music has been fantas-

are over, or have been put aside for the time being. The property issue, the matter of his alleged misbehaviour with a former wife and the visa expiry issue have taken a back seat and Adnan S is doing shows in the country again. His recent performance at an event where tribute was being paid to women was liked by the audience, which included actress Jaya Prada, among others. Also, the singer's latest album is not doing bad in the Indian audio market. So good on you Adnan S! But beware, notes, sorry tables could be turned anytime. Courtesy Dawn

tic. The response to Coke Studio was huge. I certainly did not expect that kind of response. But tell me, do you think you deserved to win the Lux Style Award last year? That's a really tough question but let me explain. You see people think I got an LSA for Best Singer whereas I didn't. My award was Best Album and it was a voting category so while it was never released officially, I had uploaded my entire album on Sound Cloud and people had heard it. Truth is that the album was very well made and the main track, Khamoshi, was picked up as title track for a play. This doesn't mean that I was the best singer; I would never compare myself to Sajjad Ali or Sajid and Zeeshan, who are terrific and I don't think I could ever come to that level as a singer. But I do think the album was well made. A part of me still doubts that I deserved that award but then that's just me. I always doubt myself.

Could that be why you keep switching paths and seem to be doing too many things at the same time? I get bored very easily and I don't want to limit myself to one thing. I want to experiment and express myself in different ways. I'm not the kind of person who focuses on just one thing. I've painted, done theatre, television morning shows, food shows, music, dance and I've even designed.





Pakistan Link - January 24, 2014  
Pakistan Link - January 24, 2014