Daily Archives: November 14, 2010

Our apology to LUBP wallas

Raza Rumi

PTH apologises to LUBP its editors, authors and readers for the indiscretions and thoughtless (and in some cases unacceptable) comments from some of us.

I have been meaning to write this post for the past few days. The delay took place due to my hectic travel schedule as well as the existential shock that came in the wake of the recent exchange of unpleasant and unfortunate words between our blogzine and the fiery LUBP/criticalppp blog. The disagreements and emotional arguments led to bad blood between two internet platforms which are on the same side of the political spectrum. If the disagreement had remained within civility, this unconditional apology would not have been needed. It is being rendered because we at PTH feel that excesses in terms of language have been committed from some of us.

Having said so, we also regret some of the posts and comments at LUBP especially in terms of ascribing motives of all sorts. In general, I avoid reacting to comments about me but some of them were unwarranted. My support for Sherry Rehman is not linked to a person or a motive but an unflinching belief in democratic norms which cannot be compromised due to partisan interests or priorities. My other colleagues here at PTH were shocked at the aspersions that were cast on them. One should refrain from name calling just on the basis of disagreements.

At the same time, we are cognizant of the ugliness of the exchanges and agree that some of the responses were downright inappropriate. We regretfully state that defence of a particular position should be worded in a language that is intellectually engaging and remains within the bounds of civility. Obviously some of us, in their zeal to defend themselves, failed.

PTH takes responsibility and offers an unconditional apology to all but particularly to editor Ms Sarah Khan. As a common friend between the two blogs has rightly pointed out that PTH and LUBP have a lot in common and share a similar vision for a democratic, tolerant and secular Pakistan.

At PTH we are not too well-organised. Perhaps, this is a gap that we need to address. Experience such as this one has taught us a lesson or two. We will surely take corrective steps. Of course, we value and welcome disagreements even amongst us – debate is vital for a plural and democratic culture. But we have to set civilised boundaries of a discourse.

Let’s hope that we bury the hatchet and move on.

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Pakistan: Flirting with state failure?

Dr. Niaz Murtaza

Of all the frequent and embarrassing appearances that Pakistan presently makes on various lists of malfunctioning countries, none has rankled national pride more than its appearance on the Failed State Index of the US-based Fund for Peace. Since 2006, Pakistan has regularly ranked around no. 10 among 40-odd ‘critically failed ‘countries. Giving Pakistan regular company near the bottom are countries like Somalia, Afghanistan, Congo and Zimbabwe. Is Pakistan really a failed state and can it be redeemed?

A state’s essential functions include maintaining security, collecting taxes, managing the economy, providing infrastructure and social services, dealing with external entities and legislating. Of these, maintaining security is the most critical function. Poor performance on others and some weakness on the security function results in being designated a weak state, as are most developing countries. Excessive weakness on managing security leads to being designated a failed state. Finally, collapsed states are those where the government and even the army disappear or survive in exile, as in Somalia (perennial leader of the pack). Continue reading

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