Monthly Archives: March 2009

Rethinking Karzai in Kabul

Posted by YLH

All is not well in Kabul these days.   US Government has become increasingly disenchanted with the way Mr. Karzai has run his affairs in Kabul.  Now if the corruption charges were not enough,   he is alleged to have backed an effort to legalize marital rape under some false religious pretext.   One still remembers when Mr. Karzai was touted as the president of Afghanistan.  He was presented as the “George Washington” of Afghanistan- a chivalrous figure on a horse out riding on the crestwave of American military might to deliver democracy to Afghanistan. It has been almost eight years since he has remained in power achieving pathetically little and all he has given people are excuses.  Afghanistan is run by war lords who now call themselves governors.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Taliban

With Obama at the “most dangerous place in the world”

By Akbar S Ahmed

Seated a few yards in front of President Obama as his invited guest at the White House on Friday, March 27, I heard him describe the areas I had been in charge of–including Waziristan–as “the most dangerous place in the world.”
Obama was laying out what I suspect will become the signature foreign policy effort of his presidency. He had shifted the American focus of the last eight years from the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ultimately he will be judged by the success or failure of the objectives he laid out in his speech. As if to confirm the sentiment of Obama’s speech, at the same time as he delivered it, a suicide bomber in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan blew himself up and seventy other people in a mosque at Friday prayer. Around the same time, an Afghan soldier, trained by Americans, turned his gun on two American soldiers killing them and then shot himself. The stakes, therefore, could not be higher.

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Filed under Pakistan

Z.H. Zaidi has passed away

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Barely a few months after he was forcibly evicted (only to be restored) from his official residence,  Z H Zaidi, the renowned researcher and the curator of Jinnah Papers has passed away.

In a country where people are left unconnected to their heritage,  the loss of great men like Ahmed Hassan Dani,  Khalid Hasan and now Zawar Hussain Zaidi is accutely felt.  Z H Zaidi, as he was known,  was a lone crusader who spent last decade and a half liberating Quaid-e-Azam Mahomed Ali Jinnah’s Papers from government’s stranglehold.  His is a profound loss though the work he has done shall remain easy reference for generations to come and one day when Pakistan will relive the legacy of Mr. Jinnah as a progressive and modern republic,   we shall honor Zaidi and many like him for the great the work that they undertook on behalf of a nation that was till then in deep slumber. Continue reading

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Saving Pakistan from conspiracy theorists and hate mongers

Bilal Qureshi

The terrorist attack on Police Academy in Lahore must have been a wake up call for those who have been arguing that ‘war on terror’ is America’s war. On the contrary, it is a war that is being fought in Pakistan and for a majority of Pakistan, it is heart sinking to realize that men, driven to insanity by different reasons, are blowing themselves up, just to inflict pain on the country.

This unfortunate attack in Lahore could be, and it should be the beginning of a new resolve by the country to not let anyone, either domestic, or foreign to unnecessarily exert pressure on Pakistan. The country belongs to the people who live in Pakistan and it is up to the Pakistani public to decide their future, their alliances and allegiances going forward. Continue reading

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Domestic Violence in Expat Indian/South Asian Community

 

Videsh: Heaven on Earth

By Aisha Fayyazi Sarwari

Any film on domestic violence is not an easy one to make; Deepa Metha is getting some vitriolic reviews from India for directing a film limited in technique, plot and dialogue. This barrage of misguided critique is in fact the very essence of the reactionary logic Indians, and South Asians largely, adopt when faced with a complex problem – shoot the messenger. Continue reading

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Filed under India, Punjabi, south asia, Women

Minorities’ Demands and the Government

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

It is a step in the right direction that minorities’ quota is being restored and August 11 will be celebrated as the “Minorities Day” but not nearly enough.    For one thing it may be remembered that in Pakistan’s initial days the quota of 5% was for Scheduled Caste Hindus alone.   Secondly Pakistan is notorious for under-reporting religious minorities.  If the various Catholic groups are to be believed,  Pakistan’s Catholic population alone is somewhere in the range 8-10 million.  10% would be a fair calculation for minorities for the time being and therefore as a first step the quota should be around 10%. Continue reading

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What do Kaiser Bengali and other nay-sayers want?

The well written and well argued  but sadly misdirected piece by Mr. Kaiser Bengali in Dawn today  is exactly what is wrong with us in Pakistan in my view.  The Lawyers’ Movement has won a victory which is bigger than ideology- it is about independence of judiciary.  The logic of a nation state based on institutions ultimately leads to constitutionalism which in turn – no matter how diluted – results in a polity aware of its rights.  It is true that the Lawyers’ Movement had elements from all sections and ideologies including the right wing but to try and make it into some sort of a “quasi-theocratic right wing movement” is an insult to a truly people’s movement on a purely secular issue.   The writer takes great pains to point out that some of the people distantly associated with the movement, the Hamid Guls etc,  were part of the intelligence effort to install General Zia in power but he forgets that the movement itself was led by a liberal democrat and a true PPP wallah (unlike the false ones making a mockery of the party right now).   Continue reading

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