Daily Archives: October 18, 2010

Who is playing with whom?

Cartoon by M.Ali

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Public Opinion in Pakistan’s Tribal Regions

By Peter Bergen,Patrick C. Doherty,New America Foundation and Ken Ballen, Terror Free Tomorrow
September 28, 2010 |

Executive Summary

The New America Foundation and Terror Free Tomorrow have conducted the first comprehensive public opinion survey covering sensitive political issues in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.

The unprecedented survey, from June 30 to July 20, 2010, consisted of face-to-face interviews of 1,000 FATA residents age 18 or older across 120 villages/sampling points in all seven tribal Agencies of FATA, with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent, and field work by the locally-based Community Appraisal & Motivation Programme. Funding for the poll was provided by the United States Institute of Peace, a congressionally funded think tank, which had no other role in the poll. The poll was conducted before the large-scale floods that have inundated Pakistan. Continue reading

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Fiction: Coffee With Kiran – a short story

Writer’s Note and Disclaimer: All names, characters and places, except Dallas, Houston and Denver are imaginary. Any resemblance to a person, living or dead is merely a coincidence.

The curtain finally came down, I was exhausted. Two hours at a stretch on my feet, drenching in sweat, but it was all well worth it. My concert was a smash hit. The crowd was wild with joy and excitement. Dallas Playdium was packed with South Asians, dying to get a glimpse of me. How strange this feeling was. I was a no name mediocre singer wanna be, 5 years back. Even my close friends used to laugh at me. Daanyal Basheer a no name singer was now “Danny Badshah.” Something transformed this Daanyal to Danny, which was nothing short of a miracle. Continue reading

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Moghuls: Architects of Palaces Only

With so many recent actors to blame, it may seem far-fetched and unfair to dig up the buried deads of the Moghul kingdom from their splendid tombs to blame for the current royal mess in Pakistan. I certainly don’t mean to absolve the current actors of their crimes. Rather, my argument is that the current actors perform on a stage constructed by Moghuls.

The Moghuls, the first to unify India since pre-Christ Mauriya dynasty, ruled precisely when the development of science with the support of the state was unleashing modernization in Europe. While Europe took off, the Moghuls kept India chained to the ground. The Universities of Bologna and Oxford were established in 11th century. The only education available under Moghuls was religious education at seminaries. India was the second most industrialized country then after China. However, this was due to the efforts of artisans who learnt their trade from their fathers. The state provided little assistance in the development of new technology but taxed heavily. Fine palaces were built from the taxes but the hands of the builders were chopped off. Continue reading

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A Soldier’s Soliloquy: Can a Person Refuse to Fight?

by Aasem Bakhshi

…if called upon by the government to do so. Thomas Hobbes would concede this right with some limitations and John Locke would probably deny. And even though Lockean tradition is superior in terms of social contract theory, I tend to take refuge behind Hobbes, considering the Leviathan I am subjected to in my part of the world. But I am still not sure how to tackle this question, which albeit still at some distance, is moving towards me while staring ceaselessly on my face.

While the angst is becoming unbearable and the masochist within me is yet again alive after so many years, I ramble inveterately in search of judgment. Continue reading

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VIEW: Obama’s Gandhi syndrome

 By Yasser Latif Hamdani (Courtesy Daily Times)  

The west has an ancient tradition of paying lip service to eastern mystics to fill some sort of deep spiritual void. Jesus Christ was the first in the line of eastern mystics. It was the other JC — Julius Caesar — who truly is the harbinger of western civilisation and power

President Barack Hussain Obama, the son of a Kenyan international student in the US, is at the epitome of power and prestige in the world. His life reads like the classical American dream. Product of a mixed marriage and of inclusive religious traditions, Harvard educated Obama owns in Chicago a house worth $ 1.9 million, which has a 1,000 bottle wine cellar. Having risen to the corridors of power and taken the seat as the chief executive of the strongest nation on earth, he is also the commander-in-chief of the strongest and most technologically advanced armed forces in the world, which are, on his orders, stepping up their attacks against Taliban militants in Afghanistan and its border regions with Pakistan.

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