By Sarath Kumara
9 July 2010
Despite opposition from the US, Pakistan signed an agreement with Iran on June 13 to go ahead with a $US7.6 billion gas pipeline between the two countries that will provide a desperately-needed supply of energy to Pakistan from 2014. The deal cuts across Washington’s efforts to isolate Iran economically through UN Security Council sanctions and its own unilateral penalties against Tehran’s nuclear programs.
The agreement signed between the Iranian Gas Export Company and the Pakistan Inter State Gas Limited will provide 21.5 million cubic metres of gas daily to Pakistan. The pipeline will run from Iran’s large South Pars gas field. Islamabad will carry out a feasibility study over the next year for its section of the pipeline before beginning construction. Continue reading
Pick up the annals of history, and we find frequent examples of the abject failure of using religion to manage a state. One of a better example today is the neighbouring state of Iran. A 1979 “revolution” ensured that a quasi monarchist dictatorship was replaced by a theocratic based dictatorship. As Iran uncomfortably grinds towards further chaos, Pakistan, as its very next door neighbour needs to take note. The Iranian situation has various chilling messages for Pakistan:
1) The religious theocracy in Iran enjoyed much better support in Iran because of the dictatorship of the Shah. Pakistan has tended not to elect religious right in the corridors of power even though the society has been remarkably conservative in its religious outlook. But the failure of democratic rule to effectively govern the country while providing its citizens the basis rights for their poperty, honour and better economic conditions will result in a scenario not too different from Iran’s. The failure of the Shah to govern the country with proper rule of law, using fascist tactics to ensure his own rule, and failing to provide for economic sustenance for common masses conspired to tilt the public opinion in favour of the religiously mandated movement. It doesn’t take much for a society ruled by corrupt and iron fisted rulers to turn towards self proclaimed messiahs, whether they are religious right or hard left communists.
2) Now some 30 years later, Iranians are finding it firsthand the iron fisted religious right that had replaced the Shah. Seeking to rule Iran with a divine rule, the new Iranian rulers are resorting to the same fascist techniques that their predecessor used three decades back, and which led directly to his downfall. Iran is a simmering powder keg right now, with deep tensions and resentment against the rulers boiling under the surface that may erupt at the cost of great loss of life. Iranian political leadership is facing the same quagmire that a divinely mandated government will face from time to time; what if the democratic vote looks to undermine the divine structure of the government?
From Saudi Arabia to Iran to Afghanistan to Malaysian and Indonesian provinces, we can be sure of one extremely important social measure that an Islamic religious government takes when it comes to power; enforce women modesty. An Islamist may not have much of a social or economic agenda. But he will make sure that a woman is covered first and foremost. For our readers more in tune with the current Iranian social and political situation, your comments on this thread would be most appreciated. (PTH)
Published at Bloomberg.com
By Ali Sheikholeslami in London
June 1 (Bloomberg) — Iran has barred private schools from teaching music, saying it clashes with the establishment’s Islamic values, following a push to enforce moral standards that may lead to a national dress code for university students.
“The use of musical instruments is against the principles of our value system,” Ali Bagherzadeh, head of the private- schools office in the Education Ministry, said in a phone interview from Tehran today. Iran’s 16,000 private schools have 1.1 million students, the Islamic Republic News Agency said.
I was born into a Sunni Muslim family in a northern city in the UK. The city is home to a large Muslim minority from Pakistan. I come from an educated and broad minded family with middle of the road type of values. Religion was never really a huge issue but I did the usual cultural thing of learning how to read the Quran in Arabic till I was 10 years old.
At around the age of 14, I became interested in Islam and joined the Young Muslims UK. This was my first real exposure to practical Islam. We would attend camps and have weekly meetings usually to discuss the Quran and the Hadith of Muhammad. For all intents and purposes everything was going well and my family was happy that I had decided to take it upon my own back to learn about the religion of my ancestors. I remember walking two miles to a shop from school to hire Ahmed Deedat debates and shouting “Allah-hu-Akbar” whilst watching other less worthy opponents beaten to a pulp.
Filed under Activism, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Citizens, culture, Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, Europe, human rights, India, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Islamism, Pakistan, Philosophy, Religion, Rights, violence, war, Women, youth
By Nadeem F. Paracha
1. Asif Ali Zardari is the devil incarnate.
2. The Pakistan Army is the saviour.
3. The Taliban are resisting American imperialism.
4. We hate American foreign policy unless it suits us. We are against American imperialism if it means we have to ditch the Taliban as that would be against the aspirations of our founding father, Mohammed Bin Qasim. We will no longer shop at Marks and Spencer because they are somehow connected to Israel. However, that does not mean we will switch off our computers and cell phones whose chip technology has been made possible due to major contributions from Israeli scientists. Continue reading
Filed under Al Qaeda, Army, baluchistan, Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, FATA, Humour, India, Iran, Islam, Islamabad, Kerry Lugar Bill, Pakistan, Punjab, Punjabi, Religion, Taliban, USA, War On Terror, Writers, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari
January 25, 2010 will be remembered as the day when much of the planet buzzed about diplomatic talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban movement. The chatter comes in the context of a number of conferences that will be held over the course of the next week that focus on dealing with Afghanistan’s jihadist insurgency. The countries being represented at the meetings — including the United States, the Central Asian states, Europe, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, India and China — have a stake in what happens in Afghanistan.
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, Great game, India, Iran, Islam, Islamabad, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, quetta, Religion, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror
Cross Post from Daily The Dawn
December 10, 2009
By Cyril Almeida
Afghanistan is so last week. What with the NRO hearings, suicide bombings, drone strikes, talk of the Quetta shura and Al Qaida’s safe havens there really is too much going on for anyone to think about Afghanistan right now.
In any case, so much has been written and said about Afghanistan post-Obama’s speech that it is difficult to imagine anything new or original being added to the debate.
Except, having digested much of what has been talked about here in Pakistan, there is a nagging feeling that the state has missed yet another chance. A chance if not for a fresh start, then to be creative or even add something positive to the mix.
Filed under Afghanistan, Army, Democracy, Economy, India, Iran, Islam, Islamabad, Pakistan, quetta, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, war, War On Terror