By Sabrina Tavernise and Waqar Gillani
Published: February 27, 2010
Cross Post from The New York Times
LAHORE, Pakistan — Umar Kundi was his parents’ pride, an ambitious young man from a small town who made it to medical school in the big city. It seemed like a story of working-class success, living proof in this unequal society that a telephone operator’s son could become a doctor.
Lahore has enduring social problems like chronic unemployment.
But things went wrong along the way. On campus Mr. Kundi fell in with a hard-line Islamic group. His degree did not get him a job, and he drifted in the urban crush of young people looking for work. His early radicalization helped channel his ambitions in a grander, more sinister way.
Instead of healing the sick, Mr. Kundi went on to become one of Pakistan’s most accomplished militants. Working under a handler from Al Qaeda, he was part of a network that carried out some of the boldest attacks against the Pakistani state and its people last year, the police here say. Months of hunting him ended on Feb. 19, when he was killed in a shootout with the police at the age of 29.
Filed under Al Qaeda, Army, Economy, FATA, Islamabad, Lahore, Pakistan, poverty, psychology, Taliban, Terrorism, USA
Cross Post from The New Yorker
The Taliban’s jihad, like rock and roll, has passed from youthful vigour into a maturity marked by the appearance of nostalgic memoirs. Back in the day, Abdul Salam Zaeef belonged to the search committee that recruited Mullah Omar as the movement’s commander; after the rebels took power in Kabul, he served as ambassador to Pakistan. “My Life with the Taliban,” published this winter, announces Zaeef’s début in militant letters. The volume contains many sources of fascination, but none are more timely than the author’s account of his high-level relations with Pakistani intelligence.
While in office, Zaeef found that he “couldn’t entirely avoid” the influence of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. Its officers volunteered money and political support. Late in 2001, as the United States prepared to attack Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the I.S.I.’s then commanding general, Mahmud Ahmad, visited Zaeef’s home in Islamabad, wept in solidarity, and promised, “We want to assure you that you will not be alone in this jihad against America. We will be with you.” And yet Zaeef never trusted his I.S.I. patrons. He sought to protect the Taliban’s independence: “I tried to be not so sweet that I would be eaten whole, and not so bitter that I would be spat out.”
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, India, Islamabad, Obama, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, war, War On Terror
This is a disturbing report. Rule of law will remain a distant dream when officers of the court start behaving in this manner. PTH
Lawyers torture cops, Geo team
Friday, February 26, 2010
By Numan Wahab
LAHORE: In yet another act of hooliganism, lawyers tortured the Anarkali Police SHO and a Geo News correspondent on the premises of the District and Sessions Court on Thursday.
The Samanabad police arrested two people — Sajid Hussain and Nisar Hussain — who happen to be brothers of a woman lawyer, Mohsina Javed, on Wednesday night in a case. On Thursday, ASI Akram of the Samanabad police produced the accused brothers in a court where Anarkali police Naeem Anwar Bajwa and Inspector Zaheer of the Islampura police were also present in connection with different cases.
A group of lawyers attacked the Anarkali SHO and Islampura police inspector, who had nothing to do with the Samanabad arrests and tortured them severely. The lawyers also ripped their uniform, official documents, abused and threatened them with dire consequences. In the meanwhile, a Geo News team rushed to the spot but the lawyers did not let it cover the incident and instead threatened it and deprived Geo News correspondent Asim Nasir of his official card. They ripped the camera bag, abused and violently pushed the Geo News correspondent and cameraman. Continue reading
PTH is lucky to have attracted the time and commitment of two formidable co-editors. I am most grateful for BC and AZW to contribute their writings and take the time to edit, moderate and upkeep this cyber-zine. With our formidable YLH, the trio have been helping me in keeping the elusive ‘fine [im]balance here. Please welcome them – I am sure that their identities are not new to the readers. Here are brief profiles that reflect their interests, pursuits and more – Raza Rumi (founding editor, PTH)
B. Civilian escaped from an unpopular political history as a libertarian into the world of Dilbert. He has recently liberated himself from this refuge and has become a student of Law, not the texts that are taught and qualify a student for a degree, but the great principles underlying the nature and kinds of human interaction. His initial and child-fresh contributions to PTH are based on his dawning understanding of the nature of man and the interaction of man with the cosmos. B Civilian believes in a democratic, plural and progressive Pakistan as envisioned by Jinnah.
AZW is a Pakistani professional, currently found writing for PTH along the icy shores of Lake Ontario. He passionately believes in Pakistan as a progressive Muslim state that can become a model for Muslim world. AZW works in the financial markets, calls reading and long distance running his two favourite interests, if they ever can be classified as interests that are spelled out together. He strongly believes that society is a complex organism, yet for this organism to prosper, the underlying rules are quite simple. To start with, complete rule of law ensuring individual safety, honour, and property rights is a must. The government’s sole role is to provide protection of its citizens, ensure a level playing field for all the society members, and provide healthcare and up to high school education for free to all of its participants. That’s all there is for the government to do. Democracy and capitalism are by nature loud and garrulous. And it pains him to see that Pakistanis frighteningly jump on military bandwagon too often to look for artificial stability. He is cynically optimistic, believing that future is what we make of it, and the direction is as important as where we currently are.
by Raza Rumi
Given the average shelf life of any civilian government, it is almost miraculous that the incumbent government has survived and there are signs that its removal is not immediate. The longevity of civilian order has less to do with the inherent strengths of its style of governance or delivery of public goods that it had promised in its manifesto. The survival of this government is an outcome of the lack of options for the establishment as well as its international allies, notably the Western powers. Leaving the conspiracy theories and the excessive over-reliance of the analysts on the American factor, we can safely argue that the military establishment of Pakistan and its intelligence agencies has found themselves in a unique situation since the assumption of the presidency by Asif Ali Zardari.
The truth is that Pakistan People’s Party, an anathema to the civil-military bureaucracy, has assumed the most important and powerful offices that a civilian government can aspire for. Two years ago, when the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani was Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
I was invited yesterday to a get together at the Islamabad Club by the Indian High Commission because- as I was informed by the political officer of the High Commission- of my articles on the life of Quaid-e-Azam Mahomed Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, in particular my piece titled “The Future Belongs To Jinnah”. I went wearing a Pakistani flag on my chest. Continue reading
By Halima Khan
Water is necessary for human survival and development while water is a scarce good. Conclusively lack of water hinders development and also dignified life. This assessment is obvious from global trends, as well as from Pakistan’s national and local struggles for better access to water.
According to figures available by the United Nations and other international organizations, 1.1bn people are devoid of sufficient access to water, and 2.4bn people have to live with no sufficient sanitation. In keeping to current trends the projection is that about 3bn people of a population of 8.5bn will experience water shortage by 2025. 83% of them will belong to developing countries, more often than not in rural areas where even today now and then only 20% of the population have contact with sufficient water supply. This definite lack of water is contrasting to the academic conclusion that there is enough ground water in all regions of the world to certify plenty of water supplies for all people. Only 6% of global freshwater is used by households, while 20% is utilized industry and another 70% by agriculture. The finale drawn from these framework conditions is that water shortage and the unequal distribution of water are global problems rather than regional problems that need international solutions.