An exclusive post by Aamenah Yusafzai for PTH
The recent attacks on two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore demonstrate the urgent need to strengthen the rights of Pakistani minorities. Pakistan is not a country inhabited by Muslims only, or even Sunni Muslims. This is represented by the green and white of the Pakistani flag, a fact often taken for granted. The three quarter green represents the majority Muslim population, while the one quarter white represents non-Muslim minorities.
The preamble to the Constitution provides that provisions be made for “minorities freely to profess and practice their religion and develop their cultures.” Furthermore, it provides for guarantees to “fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality.” Article 36 further reiterates the security of minorities by the state by stating that “the State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities.”
The state is required to protect sectarian and religious minorities. Yet it is doing the complete opposite. Section 295B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) calls for life imprisonment for anyone who “willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the holy Quran”. Section 295C imposes the death penalty or life imprisonment on anyone who defiles the Prophet Muhammad. Although not enacted to undermine the rights of minorities, unfortunately, that is what Section 295 is often used for. Continue reading
Cross Post from The New Yorker
The Taliban’s jihad, like rock and roll, has passed from youthful vigour into a maturity marked by the appearance of nostalgic memoirs. Back in the day, Abdul Salam Zaeef belonged to the search committee that recruited Mullah Omar as the movement’s commander; after the rebels took power in Kabul, he served as ambassador to Pakistan. “My Life with the Taliban,” published this winter, announces Zaeef’s début in militant letters. The volume contains many sources of fascination, but none are more timely than the author’s account of his high-level relations with Pakistani intelligence.
While in office, Zaeef found that he “couldn’t entirely avoid” the influence of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. Its officers volunteered money and political support. Late in 2001, as the United States prepared to attack Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the I.S.I.’s then commanding general, Mahmud Ahmad, visited Zaeef’s home in Islamabad, wept in solidarity, and promised, “We want to assure you that you will not be alone in this jihad against America. We will be with you.” And yet Zaeef never trusted his I.S.I. patrons. He sought to protect the Taliban’s independence: “I tried to be not so sweet that I would be eaten whole, and not so bitter that I would be spat out.”
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, India, Islamabad, Obama, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, war, War On Terror
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP – NEW REPORT
Pakistan: Countering Militancy in FATA
Islamabad/Brussels, 21 October 2009: The military operation in South Waziristan is unlikely to succeed in curbing the spread of religious militancy in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), unless the Pakistan government implements political reforms in that part of the country. Continue reading
Finally, the operation in Wazristan is under way, thank God. Pakistan is doing a good job of clearing every place that was a safe heaven for the nuts in and around Pakistan. Now, policy makers in Pakistan should not focus on achieving short term military objective. This war is not going to be easy and a lot of people believe that this is a generational issue as for as defeating the Taliban threat.
Obviously the military is going to easily defeat those who are going to take up arms against the army in Wazirstan, or at the very least, it is hoped that the army is going to defeat them. However, after the military moves out, how will the civilian population going to react to the future Talibans interested in making Wazirstan their home again? This is a very important question and I Continue reading
By JANE PERLEZ
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A wave of attacks against top security installations over the last several days demonstrated that the Taliban, Al Qaeda and militant groups once nurtured by the government are tightening an alliance aimed at bringing down the Pakistani state, government officials and analysts said. Continue reading
by Ibrahim Khalil
At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, let me quote a joke that was making the round couple of years ago.
After a meeting between Manmohan Singh and Pervez Musharraf, an announcement is made that Kashmir issue has been resolved. At the press conference, Manmohan Singh says that “Pakistan has agreed to give up its claim of holding a plebiscite in Kashmir. General Musharraf will inform you of the rest of the details”. General Musharraf comes on the microphone and says, “We have fought three wars with India over Kashmir. Continue reading
Down and Out in Shah Mansoor
By KATHY KELLY and DAN PEARSON
In Pakistan’s Swabi district, a bumpy road leads to Shah Mansoor, a small village surrounded by farmland. Just outside the village, uniform size tents are set up in hundreds of rows. The sun bores down on the Shah Mansoor camp which has become a temporary home to thousands of displaced Pakistanis from the Swat area. Continue reading