Daily Archives: June 4, 2009

All Eyes on Obama

US President Obama with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan

US President Obama with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan

From Al Jazeera


It’s very much an invited audience, security is extremely tight and one of the opposition newspapers today, in its front page said that Obama is arriving in Egypt but Egypt has been evacuated.

“Parts of the city have been closed down and other parts have been given a major facelift. They have been washing and painting and cleaning all the routes in which the president will travel as he moves to the various events across Cairo and then to the pyramids,” Bays said. Continue reading



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Pakistan’s Struggle for Modernity

From the Wall Street Journal

By Fouad Ajami

The drama of the Swat Valley — its cynical abandonment to the mercy of the Taliban, the terror unleashed on it by the militants, then the recognition that the concession to the forces of darkness had not worked — is of a piece with the larger history of religious extremism in the world of Islam. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was the latest in a long line of secularists who cut deals with the zealots, only to discover that for the believers in political Islam these deals are at best a breathing spell before the fight for their utopia is taken up again.

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The Sole Struggle

From Daily Times

By William Milam

The question remains whether the PPP-PMLN solidarity on this can hold beyond the army’s campaign in Swat. There is much more territory to regain and hold. Remember, one of the principal tenets of counter-insurgency military strategy is to take and hold territory

A couple of weeks ago while I was in the United Kingdom to promote my recently-published book, I found myself facing an audience at one of England’s ancient and most prestigious universities. The questions were intelligent and well-informed. One very bright student challenged my assertion (better explained in the book than in my presentation, perhaps) that one of Pakistan’s fundamental problems is that it has not yet, 62 years after its creation, settled on a national identity.

My contention is that two mutually exclusive competing visions of the Pakistani state/nation are still vying for dominance. The one we in the West know best is that of the state’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who outlined on August 11, 1947, a vision of a secular, tolerant, progressive state/nation. Continue reading

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Ideology and Jihad : What do they mean for Pakistan?

From the Dawn

Ideology and jihad have always remained a part of Pakistan’s political discourse but without an agreement on what the two concepts mean. They have meant different things to different people at different times.

Pakistan’s current crisis, too, can be traced in large measure to a dogmatic view that the ideology of Pakistan is Islamic and jihadist in the sense of fighting for faith, and is enjoined on all Muslims. Both show up together in Mr Majid Nizami’s recent plea to the Taliban to wage jihad in Kashmir and not in their own country. The Taliban are unlikely to pay heed but the point to consider is that if Mr Nizami as chairman of Pakistan’s Nazaria (ideology) Foundation has the right to coax the Taliban to fight the Indian forces in Kashmir, by the same token, he cannot deny the same right to Sufi Mohammad, ideologue of the rule of Sharia, to fight the Pakistan Army in Swat. Continue reading


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Jinnah vs. the Terrorist Trinity

From the Daily Times

The religious groups that opposed Pakistan’s creation in 1947 — namely, the JUIF and the JI — are closing ranks for a common cause: opposing military action against the Taliban and undermining Pakistan’s rebirth as a moderate Muslim democracy

The ongoing military operation against Taliban insurgents in Malakand Division is more than a matter of national survival: it is Pakistan’s last chance to rid itself of the self-induced cancer of violent jihadi politics, and reclaim Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan as a democratic state in sync with rest of the world.

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Swat & Pakistan

By Bilal Qureshi

The issue of internally displaces people (IDP) is a serious one. United Nations has estimated the number of displaced people to be about 2.4 million and has asked the world community for about $ 543 million to help these folks. The situation is too bad for people to sit idle and not do anything.

Regretfully, the world community has been giving tons of aid to Pakistan for decades for one reason or another and it is only natural to expect donor fatigue, but this is not the time for the world community to hold back. Continue reading

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The Madrasa Myth

By Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das, C. Christine Fair, and Asim Ijaz Khwaja writing for the Foreign Policy
Posted June 2009
And how private schooling can save Pakistan’s next generation.

On May 3, the New York Times published a lengthy description of Pakistan’s education system. The article, like so many before it, rehearsed a well-known narrative in which government schools are failing while madrasas are multiplying, providing a modicum of education for Pakistan’s poorest children. Continue reading

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