Nasima Zehra Awan
Pakistan may have lost a talented fiction writer when Fatima Bhutto went into journalism. Clearly, she is adept at spinning a tale, fudging facts and re-defining reality in a manner that is the exclusive domain of talented story tellers. Throw in her photogenic looks and her propensity to endear herself with the security establishment and she is the poster child for them. This poor author does not share the same connections as Fatima Bhutto, so she will clearly not pass of (Fatima’s) alleged ISI links as established fact. Clearly, my humble perception was reinforced when I read her recent article, “Why my uncle Asif Ali Zardari’s rule in Pakistan cannot be trusted“.
The most outlandish spin in her article was that it was President Zardari who had banned facebook in Pakistan:”banned 500 websites — including YouTube, Facebook and Google — under the pretence of protesting against anti-Islamic material on the web” Two months ago, in their zeal to accommodate their political benefactors, Pakistan’s compromised Judiciary allowed for petitions that called for the banning of facebook and all the sites alluded to by Fatima. In their Islamist zeal, the Lahore High Court passed a judicial order that called for closing internet access to facebook. Zardari’s coalition government, already being lynched by the Judiciary had no choice but to comply. It is extremely disingenuous of Fatima to completely remove the context and the major instigators of internet censorship in Pakistan and place the blame on the President. The latter had already limited his role in governance by initiating and guiding the parliament to pass the 18th Amendment that gave back most executive powers to the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers! What Fatima completely fails to mention is that the temporary facebook banning in Pakistan had nothing to do with Zardari and everything to do a politicized Judiciary that was returning favours to its Jamaat Islami backers. Continue reading
Posted by Raza Rumi
An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission that asserts “conflict over Balochistan will undoubtedly have profound negative effects on the entire region” – Here is a paper by Baseer Naveed on three-day international conference on “Balochistan Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Meeting the Challenges” by Baloch Voice Foundation from February 22-24, 2010 at Bangkok, Thailand
The situation of human rights in Balochistan province is deteriorating day by day due to the heavy-handed policies adopted by the government and the Pakistan military towards the people. Not a single day passes without enforced disappearances, abductions, arrests, torture in military or Frontier Corp’s camps and the murder of opponents. It looks as if the law is prohibited in the province.
The killing of a renowned politician, Sardar Akbar Khan Bugti, former governor and chief minister of the province and some 37 of his supporters in a mountain hideout by the Pakistan military on August 26, 2006, has thrown the country headlong towards a catastrophe that can only be averted by intense international and national efforts. In January 2005, when an army officer was alleged to have raped a doctor working in Sibi, the president-cum-army commander used his influence to save the accused by bombarding the area, killing several people and forcing evacuations. And on other occasions, as now, the air force has been used to bomb the people of Balochistan into submission. Continue reading
Eighteenth Century Ruler of Modern Day Afghanistan & Pakistan
By Pervaiz Munir Alvi
[ We are delighted to publish this essay written exclusively for PTH – Ed.]
Ahmad Shah Durrani was born in 1722 as Ahmad Khan Abdali at the city of Multan. By the age of twenty five he had become ruler of the vast territory stretched from Mashhad in the west to the Punjab in the east; the land mass that today roughly forms the modern twin countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He rose to power at a time when the Mughal Empire (1526-1857) based in Delhi and the Safavid Empire (1501-1722) based in Isfahan were disintegrating. Ahmad Shah at the expense of these two neighboring but dwindling empires was skillfully able to carve out an empire of his own. His rule although relatively short (1747-1772), was significant in the sense that it ultimately changed the course of the history of the South-Central Asia. Continue reading
PARIS — Pakistan finally bowed to Washington’s angry demands last week by unleashing its military against rebellious Pashtun tribesmen of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) — collectively mislabelled “Taliban” in the West.
The Obama administration had threatened to stop $2 billion US annual cash payments to bankrupt Pakistan’s political and military leadership and block $6.5 billion future aid, unless Islamabad sent its soldiers into Pakistan’s turbulent NWFP along the Afghan frontier. Continue reading
By Eric Margolis – 3rd May 2009
PARIS — The Taliban are coming! The Taliban are coming!
French troops in Afghanistan were just rocketed by Taliban.
Last week, a bunch of lightly-armed Pashtun tribesmen rode down from the Malakand region on motorbikes and in pickup trucks and briefly swaggered around Buner, only 100 km from Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
Hysteria erupted in Washington. Hillary Clinton, still struggling through foreign affairs 101, warned that these scruffy tribesmen were a global threat. Continue reading