Daily Archives: June 12, 2009

The Idiot’s Guide to Pakistan

From www.Foreignpolicy.com

CHEAT SHEET: After eight years of a White House that often seemed blinkered by the threats posed by Pakistan, the Obama administration seems to grasp the severity of the myriad crises affecting the South Asian state. The media has followed suit and increased its presence and reporting, a trend confirmed by CNN’s decision to set up a bureau in Islamabad last year. And yet, the uptick in coverage hasn’t necessarily clarified the who’s-doing-what-to-whom confusion in Pakistan. Some commentators continue to confuse the tribal areas with the North-West Frontier Province. And the word lashkars is used to describe all kinds of otherwise cross-purposed groups, some fighting the Taliban, some fighting India, and some fighting Shiites. I admit, it’s not easy. I lived in Pakistan throughout all of 2006 and 2007 and only came to understand, say, the tribal breakdown in South Waziristan during my final days. So to save you the trouble of having to live in Pakistan for two years to differentiate between the Wazirs and the Mehsuds, the Frontier Corps and the Rangers, I’ve written an “idiot’s guide” that will hopefully clear some things up. Continue reading

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Maududi’s Children

The intellectual debate on Islam in Pakistan has gone through a cycle. While traditional Islam saw pitchforked battles between Barelvis and Deobandis,  so did those who rejected traditional Islam. From 1947-1970,  Islamic Modernists  (or what Fazalurrahman called Aligarh Westernists who had been the intellectual force behind the creation of Pakistan) and as well as rationalists/Quranists such as Allama Pervez were ascendent. From 1970 onwards, with closer ties between Jamaat-e-Islami and the Army in Bangladesh, Maududian revivalists became strong as arbiters of Islamic questions in Pakistan.   Now some of that has been reversed.   This article below does an extraordinary job in tracing the history of Islam’s intellectual debate in Pakistan.    However NFP fails to mention that the very progressive Muslim scholar Ghamidi has also emerged from the Maududian tradition and that just like Hassan Al Banna’s family today is in the frontline of the intellectual movement against Taliban-style Islamism,  Maududi’s  own family (not the Jamaat-e-Islami which is essentially an Islam0-fascist organization) have also evolved to a more liberal point of view,  showing that unlike Traditional Islam where positions are fixed as dogma dictates,   the reform movement in Islam, even when it goes sour in the case of Maududi or Syed Qutb, is much less rigid.  This has major implications when considered in light of the elections in Iran. I have always felt that even a rigid and fanatical non-reformist non-cleric like Ahmadinejad is better than most palatable cleric from Qom in the long run because the latter is confined by Dogma by training -YLH

By Nadeem Farooq Paracha from Dawn Blogs

In Pakistan even the traditional Muslim practice of reasoning in matters of religion – originally introduced by the 9th century Mutazilites – is at times treated like some kind of an abomination to be feared, discouraged and repressed. It is easy to accuse the proverbial mullah for this. And it is equally easy to blame him for being anti-intellectual and regressive. Continue reading

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Huge Blast at Jamia Naeemia Lahore and in Nowshera

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

There are confirmed reports of a huge blast in Jamia Naeemia, a leading seminary in Lahore.  It is feared that a renowned Sunni Islamic scholar,  Dr. Sarfraz Naeemi,  has passed away in this blast.

Dr.  Sarfraz Naeemi was one of those Islamic scholars who came out in the support of the Swat Operation against the Taliban only a day ago.  Continue reading

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Pakistan: A society of endless contradictions

jemima-khan-192_667949eBy Jemima Khan

Courtesy Sunday Times

The day I’m leaving for Pakistan a round-robin e-mail pings into my inbox from an address I don’t recognise, Wise Pakistan. The message reads: “It is important you watch this to see what’s coming.” Continue reading

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Five Year Forecast: Whither Pakistan

 

From The Bulletin

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

First, the bottom line: Pakistan will not break up; there will not be another military coup; the Taliban will not seize the presidency; Pakistan’s nuclear weapons will not go astray; and the Islamic sharia will not become the law of the land. Continue reading

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Pakistan 60s and now

Masood Sharif Khan Khattak

Way back in the 1960s Pakistan was truly on the move. The early Ayub years gave us the “Green Revolution” because of the construction and commissioning of dams such as Mangla and Tarbela. Barrages were erected all the way down to the Guddu near Hyderabad. These dams and barrages gave birth to an efficient network of canals and small distributaries which in the sixties not only made Pakistan self-sufficient but surplus in agricultural products. Continue reading

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