Daily Archives: May 14, 2009

Scuffles at northwest Pakistan refugee camp

By RIAZ KHAN

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Refugees fleeing Pakistan’s fight against the Taliban scuffled for relief supplies on Wednesday as the military said it had secured footholds in a northwestern valley overrun by the insurgents.

The operations against Taliban militants in the Swat Valley area are shaping up as a major test of the Pakistani army’s often questioned commitment to uprooting an insurgency that the U.S. says poses a threat to the existence of the nuclear-armed, pro-Western state.

The army claims to have killed more than 750 militants, but the fighting has also driven some 800,000 people from their homes, creating a humanitarian emergency that could undercut support for the fight among its people and politicians. Continue reading

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Filed under North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan

Pakistan to Cross Investment Target, Minister Says

istan to Cross Investment Target, Minister Says 
By Camilla Hall
May 13 (Bloomberg) — Pakistan will exceed its $10 billion target for overseas direct investment by September, the nation’s investment minister said.
“The majority of that is going to come from the Gulf,” Waqar Ahmed Khan said at a news conference in Dubai today, without giving details. “Investment is secure and the law of the land is sovereign.”
Pakistan needs overseas investment to bolster an economy predicted to grow at the slowest pace in eight years. Growth and investment have slumped as Pakistan contends with Taliban militants on its western border and strained relations with India in the east.
South Asia’s second-biggest economy will raise as much as $2 billion in investment from the United Arab Emirates in the housing sector, Khan said. Pakistan needs eight million “affordable homes,” he said.
Pakistan planned to raise $10 billion in overseas investment by December as companies from the Middle East build power plants and pour money into fuel exploration, Khan said in an interview in January.
Overseas direct investment in the nine months ended March 30 declined 8 percent to $3.04 billion, according to central bank data.
Pakistan’s army has killed 751 Taliban militants in the northwest since an operation began on April 26. Thousands of people have been killed in terrorist attacks that the government blamed on the Taliban.
The economy may expand 2.5 percent this fiscal year, compared with 5.8 percent last year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Total foreign investment last year fell to $5.19 billion from $8.43 billion in the previous 12 months, missing the government’s target of $6.5 billion.
To contact the reporter on this story: Camilla Hall in Dubai at chall@bloombergPakistan to Cross Investment Target, Minister Says

By Camilla Hall

May 13 (Bloomberg) — Pakistan will exceed its $10 billion target for overseas direct investment by September, the nation’s investment minister said.

 “The majority of that is going to come from the Gulf,” Waqar Ahmed Khan said at a news conference in Dubai today, without giving details. “Investment is secure and the law of the land is sovereign.”

Pakistan needs overseas investment to bolster an economy predicted to grow at the slowest pace in eight years. Growth and investment have slumped as Pakistan contends with Taliban militants on its western border and strained relations with India in the east. Continue reading

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Pakistan’s displacement camps: A study in contrasts

The government’s large Jalala camp pales in comparison to privately run Hazrat Usman. Analysts warn that could turn huge numbers of Pakistanis against the military crackdown on the Taliban.

By Mark Magnier

Reporting from Takht Bhai, Pakistan — At the entrance to the Hazrat Usman camp just south of the Swat Valley, a welcoming committee greets those fleeing violence between the government and militants with a cool glass of water, a meal and a place to sleep with fans and a pharmacy. Continue reading

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Filed under North-West Frontier Province, Northern Areas, Pakistan, war

Talibanization: Nemesis of a Betrayed Idea

By Aasem Bakhshi

In order for Islamic idea to stand up to the efficacious ideas of twentieth century dynamic societies, it has to recover its original efficacy, that is to say, to resume its position among the ideas that make history -Malik Bennabi

This Sunday, as I was nibbling Malik Bennabi’s ‘Islam in History and Society‘ at my car mechanic’s workshop, a 15 year illiterate boy who was working there asked me about the ‘Sabaq‘ (lesson) I was reading. I told him that it was not a ‘Sabaq‘ in the classical sense; rather, a book about history, society and religion. Perhaps deceived by the beard on my face and the title of the book, the kid spontaneously shared with me his own one-second sociological percept. “The establishment of Islamic law is better than the current system“, the boy remarked as if he was insinuating agreement with my presumable stand, “we will have quick justice and everybody will be equal.” I engaged with him for some time and by the end of our brief conversation, I realized how the kid’s perception was shaped by the complex matrix of economic deprivation, sense of injustice and a belief in an almost superficial Islamic ideal. While driving back, I kept wondering whether the boy would have any qualms accepting Taliban’s brand of Islam in exchange of justice as a starting point; would he doubt the authenticity of their religious pronouncements – unmarried women as war booty, the Jizya, dhimmi status of non-muslims, black turbans, long beards and 15th century school syllabi – if they promise to get his illegally detained cousin released from jail. Continue reading

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Filed under Identity, Islam, Islamism, Pakistan, Society, Taliban, Terrorism

General Patraeus’s “The Surge” in Afghanistan will not Help

Situation now: As of the end of April 2009, Afghan insurgents have killed 90 foreign soldiers marking a 67 percent increase from the same period of 2008. The UN and European Union and NATO security establishments speak of an over 70 percent spike in the spiral of violence. The coalition-insurgents clashes also leave about two dozen dead almost daily. The American Security Project attributes the rise in incidents to the spread of the Taliban, which it said has a “persistent presence” in about 75 percent of the Afghanistan. This deteriorating situation qualifies as the main source of General Petraeus’s proposed “surge” that will raise the US troops to 68,000 by the end of the year. Of the new US reinforcements, some 17,000 soldiers and marines will join the NATO force in Helmand to bolster British, Canadian, Dutch and other NATO troops fighting resurgent Taliban in the southern provinces. This surge will bring the total number of foreign forces in Afghanistan to nearly 100,000 drawing an interesting parallel with the peak number of Soviet troops in Afghanistan i.e. 120,000. Continue reading

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, USA

Ghamdi on Islam and the Taliban

Posted by Raza Rumi

A friend sent this piece with an introductory message that ” Ghamdi’s life is under threat by the Taleban as they want to eliminate all who can challenge them. Can they eliminate 168 million of us?” Ghamdi is a beacon of hope and enlightenment in these dark days.

The Taliban say that democracy is a concept alien to Islam. According to them, the ideal method of establishing a government according to Islam is the method adopted by Mullah Omar in Afghanistan. Constitution, parliament and elections are evil innovations of modern times. Islam is not bound by any of these institutions for its enforcement. The Continue reading

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Filed under Islam, Islamism, Taliban, Terrorism

IRI Survey: People support democracy in Pakistan

Islamabad – The International Republican Institute (IRI) today released its survey of Pakistan public opinion. The poll was conducted March 7-30, 2009.
The randomly selected sample consists of 3,500 adult men and women from 216 rural and 134 urban locations in 51 districts in all four provinces of Pakistan. The margin of error for the national sample will not exceed + 1.66 percent in 19 out of 20 cases.

IRI has conducted surveys in Pakistan since 2002. The goal of the program is to both gauge public opinion and to use this information in IRI’s work with Pakistan’s political parties.

A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, IRI advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, good governance, and the rule of law. Continue reading

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