Courtesy The Friday Times: — The elusive quest for peace between India and Pakistan remains hostage to the military-industrial complex at both the global and regional levels. Such is the dynamic unleashed by two imagined “nations” that their existence as states is dependent on a perpetual state of confrontation. More so for Pakistan, given its deeply embedded paranoia, which has assumed a reality of its own. Sixty-two years ago, it was hardly envisioned that the two states would erect an iron-curtain and fight forever. From actual wars to propaganda campaigns the task seems complete now. The oft-repeated phrase ‘trust deficit’ is a natural culmination of this ugly process. Of late, another dimension has been added, i.e. information-deficit as India had marched towards a new phase of its economic development, it has stopped taking interest in transitional Pakistani society and kept the time-warped framework of understanding Pakistan. However, the situation cannot remain static. Policymakers are slow to catch up on both the sides.
Mumbai factor: Twenty months ago, the Mumbai attacks changed the atmosphere created by President Zardari’s unprecedented offers of peace, dialogue and cooperation. The day Zardari made his remarks in a conclave organised by the Hindustan Times in 2008, many observers saw a Mumbai coming. The jihadis of Pakistan and perhaps their counterparts in India were quick to stop this process. Ironic that PPP, a party fed on the Pakistani nationalist rhetoric, thirty years down the road had read the writing on the wall. Pakistan’s future and survival is dependent on a reduction of hostilities with India. More importantly, this also holds the key to correcting the endemic civil-military imbalance.
Zardari’s stride: Why would a national security state apparatus bloated by an Indian threat not react to Zardari’s statements: “I do not feel threatened by India and India should not feel threatened from us…today we have a parliament which is already pre-agreed upon a friendly relationship with India. In spite of our disputes, we have a great future together.” As if this was not enough, Zardari declared that Pakistan will not be the first country to use its nuclear weapons, thus undermining a carefully constructed Pakistani nuclear doctrine of first-use. Continue reading
Hit and run
By Shakir Husain The News, May 17, 2010
Whenever people ask me about the funniest Asif Zardari joke I’ve ever heard, my response is always, “That he is the most successful president in the 63 year history of Pakistan.” I can picture readers cringing, noses wrinkling, and people asking to be passed the sick bag. What makes this nauseating sensation worse for most is that if you can get past the silly grin, the last name, the face – whatever your pet Asif Zardari peeve is, you will realise it’s true. Before you abandon this piece here to go and fire off a nasty email to me and the Editor, think about this rationally by removing the last name from the presidency, and just objectively look at what the man has achieved in the two years he has been in office.
Asif Zardari has spent more years in jail than any other politician in this country, has had millions of dollars spent on investing several dozen graft cases which have amounted to nothing concrete against him. Today, he controls the largest national political party in the country – the PPP. The man has dodged more silver bullets in the last two years than any other politician could even imagine. Asif Zardari has overseen the signing of the NFC Award, a feat unto itself. He has signed the18th Amendment to the Constitution defanging himself and any future president who feels like dismissing parliament. Asif Zardari has given provinces more of a share of the revenue they contribute to the federal government, which has always been a sticking point, and he has given the provinces the right to raise additional taxes and retain them. All sore points during Pakistan’s history. Continue reading
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
Published in the Daily Times
Giving Credit Where it’s Due (Daily Times 04/26)
By Agha Haidar Raza
Pakistan recently had two major delegations visiting the US. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi led the first contingent under the auspices of a new ‘Strategic Dialogue’ with the US. In the second trip, Prime Minister Gilani led his team to President Obama’s first Nuclear Summit. Attended by over 47 heads of state, the summit was the largest gathering of world leaders to descend upon the US soil since the 1940s. Recognised as one of the world’s safe-keepers of a nuclear stockpile, Pakistan gained a nod of approval from the world’s seven nuclear bomb carriers.
I am unaware if many journalists or citizens in Pakistan read foreign newspapers, magazines or even blogs, but over the course of the nuclear summit, many international media outlets praised our country. From the words of admiration showered on Pakistan by President Obama for keeping its nuclear arsenal safe, to the positive role played by Prime Minister Gilani, it was our time to be in the limelight. Much attention was directed towards the professionalism of Army Chief General Parvez Kayani while the brilliant display of diplomacy carried out by Ambassador Husain Haqqani did not go unnoticed. Penned as a key ally of the US and taking the war to the very militants who threaten the fabric of our peace and security, Pakistan garnered much respect from the world community. Continue reading
Filed under Army, Benazir Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, Economy, Egalitarian Pakistan, India, Islamabad, Jinnah's Pakistan, Judiciary, Kerry Lugar Bill, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, public policy, state, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari
Posted by Raza Rumi
We are grateful to Babar Mirza who has translated an interview given by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja to Sohail Waraich in June 2007 which is recorded in Waraich’s book ‘Adlia ke Arooj-o-Zawaal ki Kahani’. The interview is a must read for all those who are interested in Pakistan’s politics and institutions. A biographical note is also available for those who wish to know more about the life and times of J. Khawaja. The latter resigned when J. Iftikhar Chauhdry was illegally deposed by the Musharraf regime. Later, he was part of the lawyers and judges movement and he was re-inducted into the Supreme Court after J. Chauhdry was restored as the Chief Justice in 2009. The interview also explains why Justice Khawaja took oath unde the 2000 PCO during the Musharraf regime.
Just as in any other part of the world, Punjab too has its share of stigma. Leaders from other provinces and many historians allege that the people of Punjab are not brave or courageous. Only time will establish the truth or falsehood of this allegation, but, in the recent judicial crisis, only one judge in Pakistan resigned from his office and that judge was a Punjabi from the Lahore High Court, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja. Perhaps this was why Sindhi nationalist Rasool Bux Paleejo had to admit that Punjab’s strong stance in the judicial crisis had compensated for her many misgivings in the past. The Punjabi judges who decided to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry have further helped clear the judiciary of many an allegation and perhaps the mistakes made by Punjabi judges in the past would now be remedied. Bold and fearless though the role of judiciary has been, the first drop of rain was Justice Khawaja and that will always remain to his credit.
Justice Khawaja is a very private person. He shies away from the world of fame. Perhaps this is why he did not give any interview or try to gain prominence after his resignation. Had any other judge resigned in similar circumstances, he would have justifiably lead protests, presided over meetings or at least given interviews to newspapers and television channels. But the reclusive nature of Justice Khawaja kept him away from all that. He felt the reference against the chief justice to be a burden on his conscience and resigned to free himself from that burden. Continue reading
by Raza Rumi
Two years after the civilian government took office, there are few signs of economic recovery and this does not augur well for the fate of democratic governance in Pakistan. We are somehow doomed to bear the brunt of authoritarian regimes in social and economic terms. By the time a civilian government puts its house in order, the long and short marchers are ready to take over. The story this time has been no exception. Following the trends of the 1960s and the 1980s during the Musharrafian decade, unsustainable growth rates were touted as the raison d’etre for the apparent efficiency of a military regime. It is true that the Musharraf era inducted Pakistan into the globalized economic system, boosted domestic demand for consumer products and attracted huge doses of foreign assistance shortly after the military decided to ditch their erstwhile strategic allies, i.e. the Afghan Taliban. But it left the country in dire straits – bankrupt, politically polarised and mired in the worst inflation of our times.
The signs of economic fatigue and food inflation had appeared during Musharraf’s last year in power. An unprecedented energy crisis also plunged the nation into literal and metaphorical darkness and the global recession caused an economic slowdown all around. Consequently, from the high growth-rate of 6 percent, we were in the lowest growth category, even in the poor South Asia region. A 2.2 percent growth rate implies that our current population increase per annum is untenable. Similarly, the highest ever recorded inflation of nearly 25 percent in 2007-2008 also hit the fixed-income citizenry and the millions of poor, depriving them of basic sustenance. Continue reading
(The views expressed here are not necessarily subscribed by the PTH – Editors)
THE TIMES OF INDIA
By Indrani Baghchi
March 22, 2010
Those who know him say he is a brooder. But those who know him well will tell you that’s just one of the layers to the deeply complicated and thinking mind of Pakistan army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The bluster that marked Musharraf has been dumped for quiet gravitas as the man from Rawalpindi goes about turning friends like the US and Britain into closer allies and outmanoeuvering not-so-friendly neighbours like India and Afghanistan at international fora. In a country brought to its knees by terror, corruption and an inept political system, the former ISI chief is putting up a masterly show as he calls the shots.
Sitting with foreign minister S M Krishna this February, US defence secretary Robert Gates said he was going to Pakistan the next day. So who was he going to meet? Oh, a number of people, said Gates, but his most important conversation would be with Pakistan army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. “Why not Zardari?” asked Krishna, referring to the Pakistan president. “Because Kayani is the most important man out there,” Gates said matter-of-factly . And Gates should know – in Washington, he’s often described as the most powerful defence secretary Pentagon has had in a long while.
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, this low-profile general has emerged from the shadows. The obvious ineptitude of the Pakistan political establishment seems to have finally helped burnish the credentials of the Pakistan Army whose reputation was in tatters in the final days of the last military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf. And with its return has emerged its boss Kayani. Compared to Zardari’s gang that just can’t shoot straight, many in Pakistan seem to view the Army chief as a better bargain – although it’s debatable that they’ll want a return to military rule.
Filed under Afghanistan, Army, Benazir Bhutto, FATA, India, Islamabad, Pakistan, south asia, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari