Daily Archives: August 19, 2010

A spiritual journey across America

Diplomat, film-maker, anthropologist and playwright Dr. Akbar S Ahmed continues to inspire many in his brave journey to prove to the world that Islamic values are universal and completely compatible with modernity, democracy, pluralism and liberalism.   This – as one can imagine- makes him an equally attractive target for both Islamo-fascists and Islamophobes.    For the world to heal the wounds of the last 10 years,   Dr Ahmed must succeed. I was especially touched by this remarkable article in the Washington Post.  -YLH

Courtesy Washington Post

By C. Naseer Ahmad

Professor Akbar Ahmed’s remarkable book “Journey Into America- The Challenge of Islam” inspired my recent journey across America.

Through his books, documentaries, lectures and other events, Professor Ahmed takes his students, friends and followers on many interesting journeys. Actually, I met the author at the Corner Bakery, Union Station, Washington, DC, when we both were on a journey to New York in November 2001. Since then I have accompanied Professor Ahmed to the FBI Academy, a meeting of a DC Chapter of a Jewish Community Organization, a US military base tour arranged with the help of the White House before the Iraq War and many landmark events. Continue reading

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Support the ‘Karachi Relief Trust’

I just got this update from Beena Sarwar who has apprised us of the fantastic work being done by a group of motivated citizens in Karachi. This is a credible organisation with the right approach. It should be generously supported. Raza Rumi
Karachi Relief Trust is a disaster management organization, originally started by a group of individuals (many of whom I know personally) to help those affected by the cyclone in Balochistan & Sindh, in 2007. Their website

is Karachi Relief Trust http://www.karachirelief.org/ & they are now doing stellar work towards helping those affected by the worst floods in living memory get back on their feet. Among their most significant contributions at this point are the pioneer water filteration units they’re introducing – EPA certified, 99.9% effective (at removing viruses, bacteria and parasites) Family Instant Microbial Purifiers – KRT will deploy 50,000 purifiers to provide up to 10 million liters of purified drinking water per day – http://www.karachirelief.org/pakpani.htm Continue reading

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Disaster management – which way now?

Raza Rumi

When the earthquake hit us on the morning of 8th October 2005, we said that the disaster caught us with our pants down. The mini disasters of Cyclone Yemyin in 2007, the Ziarat earthquake in 2008 and the presently unfolding mega disaster suggest that we never bothered to pull our pants up and are continuously trying to cover our nether regions with Post-It stickers. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was launched in 2007 with a lot of fanfare but a quick look at the (recently lapsed) National Disaster Management Ordinance tells us that it is another toothless tiger whose job is to ‘coordinate’ among its provincial, regional and district-level counterparts. Now, we are a very funny nation. When it comes to taking responsibility for public, we quickly don our ‘federal’ garb and declare that the centre cannot interfere in a job that is primarily provincial/local. Such commitment to federalism, alas, is never forthcoming when it comes to resource exploitation, but that is another story.

NDMA’s mandate can perhaps be classified into three categories: mainstreaming risk-reduction in development programmes, overseeing contingency planning, and coordinating response to disasters.

Before the media promotes NDMA over Zardari and fake-degree holders, as being chiefly responsible for all our woes, it would be pertinent to look at the organization’s capacities and powers. After its establishment, a retired army official was appointed as its head. It took a while before the consultants hired by the United Nations could come up with an organizational structure. But NDMA could not attract the best of professionals chiefly for the work environment. This resulted in NDMA ending up mostly, with pen-pushers. Continue reading

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Pakistan: Being Untrustworthy in a Humanitarian Crisis?

Zubair Faisal Abbasi

International development organizations recently conveyed us a message that government in Pakistan is untrustworthy and therefore humanitarian aid in desirable quantity is hard to arrange. Many of us accepted the argument and starting divulging additional reasons on international donors being right in avoiding a direly needed bout of foreign assistance. We should try to be critical about such claims which primarily blame the victim.

Let us say, you call us untrustworthy and therefore you refuse to pour money into our kitty so that we fight against the unprecedented calamity on our own. You call our state institutions untrustworthy slipping into the coffin of a failed state. You call us untrustworthy because we got a ‘bigger cheque’ from the USA and refused the Communists. Had we accepted the smaller cheque and fought the imposed war against you then what we were supposed to be? Traitors? But we accepted the cheque and remained trustworthy till the time cheap gun fodder was needed. The transaction was simple and persuasive. We, the untrustworthy, joined the most ‘truthful’ arrangements like SEATO/CENTO and remained most aligned nation outside the NATO and fought as frontline state – we remained trustworthy. Now once the war-machine appears to be tired, exhausted, and needs oiling then we become untrustworthy, corrupt, and extortionists. In fact, we were trustworthy for the expansion of military-industrial complex and now when we need humanitarian assistance we are untrustworthy. Continue reading

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