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Study Reports New Threats to Global Security but Reveals Encouraging Long-Term Trends

The new Human Security Report (Report) from the Human Security Research Project at Simon Fraser University argues that long-term trends are reducing the risks of both international and civil wars. TheReport, which is funded by the governments of Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and will be published by Oxford University Press, also examines recent developments that suggest the world is becoming a more dangerous place. These include the following:

 

  • Four of the world’s five deadliest conflicts––in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia––involve Islamist insurgents.
  • Over a quarter of the conflicts that started between 2004 and 2008 have been associated with Islamist political violence.
  • In the post-Cold War period a greater percentage of the world’s countries have been involved in wars than at any time since the end of World War II.
  • Armed conflict numbers increased by 25 percent from 2003 to 2008 after declining for more than ten years.
  • Continue reading

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Stage managed events

Usman Ahmad

Stage managed events, speeches, ceremonies and the like have always been a part and parcel of political life – designed to thwart investigation and comment and present an extremely filtered and polished image of the political classes. They are the arena in which masterful politicians and spin doctors contrive to manipulate the media and thereby the general public. In the Regan era, he and his media guru, Michael Deaver, were consistently brilliant in their capacity to present Regan against a flattering backdrop and seldom did a poor picture of the president or a weak sound bite enter the consciousness of the American people. In the era of ‘Spin’ in the UK, Tony Blair and his now ubiquitously labeled ‘New Labour cronies’ were so manipulative that many remember their time in government more for its public relations and rhetoric than policy and substance.  One of the most memorable instances of this was in Tony Blair’s very first day in office, when images of him entering Downing Street mobbed  by massive crowds were flashed across the globe. Later the whole event turned out to be a contrived spectacle  in which party members were mechanically transported en masse to greet and ‘cheer for’ the victorious Prime Minister.  As Machievelli put it, ‘one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.’ Continue reading

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PAKISTAN: The Christian community in Karachi needs immediate protection from imminent attacks by extremist

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: The Christian community in Karachi needs immediate protection from imminent attacks by extremists

Around a dozen Christian youths were arrested and tortured and their houses searched by their Muslim neighbours in the presence of police officers to arrest a young Christian man, Zohaib alias Noami, (20), the son of Pervez Rahi, who was in love with a Muslim girl, Anum, (18), the daughter of Muhammad Abid. Noami and Anum ran away together on the night of November 20 to marry in another city. After the incident a reign of terror was spread though the Christian community living in Baldia town and Saeedabad, Karachi, the capital of Sindh province.

The houses were attacked by Muslims in groups and many young Christians were arrested and handed over to the police. After being severely beaten by the mob they were taken to the Saeedabad Police Station where they were tortured by the police officers to reveal Noami’s whereabouts. Continue reading

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Strategic grandeur

Raza Rumi

As if Pakistan’s domestic woes were not troubling, the unravelling of the US strategy and its implications are eluding even the best of strategists. Mind you, Pakistan is a place every third person is a ‘strategy’ expert and the term ‘strategic’, thanks to the militarisation of the Pakistani mind, is an ever-popular reference. The ideological domination of Pakistan’s discourse is a palpable reality. This is why, across the political spectrum one finds a sense of victory over the failure of US strategy in Afghanistan. This failure is interpreted as the validation of Pakistan’s ‘genuine’ and ‘legitimate’ interest in Afghanistan.

What has worried me most in recent weeks is the capitulation of the liberal-secular chatterati to this pop-discourse of military war games. One is not surprised when former generals and the hawkish hordes of former Foreign Office mandarins express their jubilation. But when supposedly rational and progressive experts pontificate about how ‘we’ have made ‘them’ fail, it is simply shocking. This identification of Pakistani nationalism and patriotism with the invasion of Kabul through proxies is a strange phenomenon. Continue reading

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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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Outcry over death sentence for ‘blasphemy’ mother who offered farmhands water

A press release by AFP published in the Sydney Morning Herald forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

A Pakistani court has sentenced to death a Christian mother of five for blasphemy, the first such conviction of a woman and sparking protests from rights groups.

Asia Bibi, 45, was sentenced on Monday by a local court in Nankana district in Pakistan’s central province Punjab, about 75km west of the country’s cultural capital of Lahore.

Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy, but the case spotlights the Muslim country’s controversial laws on the subject which rights activists say encourages Islamist extremism in a nation wracked by Taliban attacks.

Ms Bibi’s case dates back to June 2009 when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields.

But a group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim, she should not touch the water bowl. Continue reading

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Will revolution save Pakistan?

Several recent articles have pointed hovering clouds of imminent revolution in Pakistan given the fast deteriorating situation and repeated disappointments with democracy and dictatorships. However, genuine revolutions tend to be bloody and produce mixed results. Some have led to functional democracies and thriving economies, while others have produced totalitarian governments and stagnant economies. In fact, most immediately successful revolutions have produced poor results later on. A dispassionate analysis of the possibilities and consequences of revolution in Pakistan seems sensible before pulling out our prayer rugs in support, so that revolutions do not disappoint us too, like the East Asian dictatorship model.
A genuine revolution is a fundamental change in power structure over a short period of time through violent means, and results in a new class taking over power, as in Europe, where capitalists replaced aristocrats. Heavy taxation by aristocrats on the new industrial economy to support their decadent life-styles provided ammunition for urban grievances. European revolutions succeeded as capitalist classes had attained significant wealth and power through scientific discoveries and colonial exploits. This allowed them to overthrow decaying landed classes and establish modern thriving economies.
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