Daily Archives: May 24, 2009

Pakistan’s mystics in sights of Taliban

By CHRIS BRUMMITT – 

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Worshippers still flock to the grave of Rahman Baba, a Muslim mystic revered by millions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But they now pray at a mound of rubble and twisted steel — all that remains of his tomb since militants bombed it.

The blast in March was the most high-profile in a recent spate of attacks against Pakistan’s homespun, tolerant brand of Islam by hard-liners trying to replace it with the more austere version espoused by the Taliban, al-Qaida and other Sunni extremist groups.

“This hurts deep in my heart,” said Ihasan ul-Haq, as he looked through a rainstorm onto the ruins of the once ornate, whitewashed tomb on the outskirts of Peshawar, a main northwestern town coming under the influence of the extremists. “And to think they do this in the name of Islam.” Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan, Sufism, Taliban

The Taliban as the Borg

By Irfan Husain

Dawn 16/05/09

AS a result of being glued to our TV screens, watching the fighting and the burgeoning refugee crisis in the northwest, many of us will have missed major events unfolding elsewhere.

I, for one, watched enthralled as the Nasa space shuttle blasted off on Monday to rendezvous with the orbiting Hubble telescope to repair and upgrade the ageing deep space imaging platform. Those who wish to see stunning images from the outer edge of the universe can log on to www.hubblesite.org. Continue reading

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Filed under culture, Identity, Pakistan, Society, Taliban, war

Strings Attached

By Pervaiz Munir Alvi

Since 9/11 government of Pakistan has received roughly ten billion dollars from the USA in military and civilian aid. Half of this amount was as rent reimbursement for the use of Pakistani military facilities by the USA for her Afghanistan war efforts while the rest was as direct economic aid to Pakistan. Bush administration had no strings attached to the funds and Government of Pakistan was free to spend the money as it deemed fit. As a result of this economic aid combined with lifting of other economic sanctions by the US, Pakistan government under President Musharraf was able to retire some of its debts, revive its economy and at the same time built up its foreign reserves. But that was mostly during the years when both the White House and the American Congress were under the Republican control.

In year 2006 midterm elections the political fortunes of President Bush and the Republican party declined. The Democratic Party which historically has been less sympathetic to Pakistan sought to change the terms and nature of American aid to Pakistan. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan, USA

UN Humanitarian Appeal: CEO SRSP Speech

Here is a speech delivered by the CEO SRSP Masood UL Mulk at the UN Flash Appeal at the National Library in Islamabad. The four speakers on this occasion were the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, The Federal Minister for Finance and Planning Ms Khar, the Chief Secretary of NWFP and Masood Ul Mulk the Chief Executive of SRSP

Ladies and Gentlemen,
On 15th May SRSP teams  based at the Transit Facilitation Center  on the Malakand Mardan road, established with the help of UNHCR, to receive displaced people observed that more than 400 vehicles came down that road  each hour, continuously, for almost twelve hours carrying  people fleeing the war. This was a tale repeated many times and at many points on many days.
Less than 20% of these people found space in the camps established by the government to receive them. Some went to government schools. The vast majority were taken care of by the moral economy of the area reflected in its social networks, strong ties of reciprocity and traditions of hospitality and humanity. Continue reading

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Filed under North-West Frontier Province, public policy