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Saadat Hasan Manto: Curator Of a Hollowed Conscience
Ayesha Jalal

A cosmopolitan humanist, he rejected narrow-minded bigotry and refused to let distinctions of religion or culture interfere with his choice of friends. During a brief life that fell short of 43 years, he lived in Amritsar, Bombay, Delhi and Lahore, forging friendships that survived the arbitrary frontiers of 1947…



Salman Rushdie To Write Book On Imran Khan
Nadeem Farooq Paracha

Rushdie and Imran recently experienced an acrimonious fall out when Imran refused to attend a Duran Duran reunion concert in Mumbai in which Rushdie was also invited to perform a live human sacrificial ritual on stage to summon the devil….


India's god laws fail the test of reason
Praveen Swami, The Hindu

Perhaps Indians can congratulate themselves that the god laws have not been used to persecute and kill religious dissenters, as the ever-expanding blasphemy laws which sprang up in Pakistan. Mr. Edamaruku's case ought to make clear, though, just where things are inexorably headed. If Indians wish to avoid the fate of the dystopia to the country's west, its citizens desperately need to accept the right of critics to attack, even insult, what they hold dear.

In 864 CE, the great physician, [Imam] Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Zakaria al-Razi, wrote: “The miracles of the prophets are imposters or belong to the domain of pious legend. The teachings of religions are contrary to the one truth: the proof of this is that they contradict one another. It is tradition and lazy custom that have led men to trust their religious leaders. Religions are the sole cause of the wars which ravage humanity; they are hostile to philosophical speculation and to scientific research. The alleged holy scriptures are books without values”.

Following a rich scholarly life, and a tenure as director of the hospital in Baghdad patronised by the caliph Abu al-Qasim Abd 'Allah, [Imam] al-Razi died quietly at his home in Rey, surrounded by his students. In modern India, his thoughts would have led him to a somewhat less pleasant end.


Best Time To Move On Jammu and Kashmir
A S Dulat is a former R&AW chief

There have already been tens of thousands of tourists in Srinagar in March, not the best time in the valley, vying to visit the tulip garden. Militancy is at an all time low with separatists, even hardliners among them, demonstrating moderation….



Is Iran On The Nuclear Edge?
Praveen Swami, The Hindu

Tim Goldman, Switzerland's Ambassador to Tehran, wrote in his covering letter that the proposals had been approved by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, then-President Mohammad Khatami, and then-Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazzi...

The Afghanistan Riddle
Eugene Robinson

The Afghanistan Riddle
Eugene Robinson is with The Washington Post.

These friendly-fire killings are not just isolated incidents, the report says, but a “continuing pattern” that is leading to a “crisis of trust” between allied and Afghan forces. Unless there is reform of “profoundly dysfunctional Afghan governmental systems and key leaders,” the report predicts, “any efforts in developing a legitimate, functional and trustworthy Afghan army and police force will continue to be futile.”

State Vs. The People
I.A Rehman Chairman HRW Pakistan

Even if this knowledge was not easily available any investigating authority would have concluded that the so-called Lyre gangs could not have built up their arsenals of heavy weaponry without the connivance of the state apparatus, if not its collusion. Nor could they have acquired the means of raising, training and maintaining a force capable of murder and extortion and subverting peace in other ways…


Hashmi didn’t stop there. Participating in a rally organised in Multan by the Deface-Pakistan Council — an umbrella body of quasi-political religious parties opposing the opening of NATO supplies lines to Afghanistan and the Most-Favored Nation trade status to India — Hashmi vouched for the “piousness” of Saeed. “A social worker,” he said, “can never be a terrorist but all those declaring him a terrorist are the real threat to the peace of the world.”…


Free laptop is not the answer. What is?
Pervez Hoodbhoy teaches physics and political science
Earlier on, a still bigger revolution had been promised. Pakistan Television was founded on the premise that its core purpose would be education. At the invitation of the Pakistan government, an Enesco team visited Pakistan and met with the ministers of law, broadcasting, and education. In a subsequent report the team leaders, HR Cassirer and TS Duckmanton, wrote:….


The Saudis are officially considered to be among the Muslim states which don't recognize the Israeli regime; however, they haven't hesitated to publicize their ties with the Israeli officials during the recent years, especially when it comes to their cooperation with Tel Aviv against Iran. Allying with the Zionist regime and betraying a Muslim friend with which it had long maintained sound and reasonable ties can be considered as a manifestation of Saudis' miscalculations...

The representatives of power loom workers – namely Akbar Ali Kamboh, Babar Shafiq Randhawa, Fazal Elahi, Rana Riaz, Muhammad Aslam Malik and Asghar Ansari – were charged with attacking a factory, injuring its owners and burning it down on Jul. 20, 2010, charges that all six individuals have denied.


Her Majesty Elizabeth II: The Queen
The writer is assistant professor of history at Forman Christian College.
Just over half a century later, Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne on February 6, 1952, not only as Queen of the United Kingdom but also as the Queen of Pakistan (as Pakistan had still not become a republic). She proclaimed that: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it is long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong”. Since then, Elizabeth II has been a great example of service and strength of character, not only for the countries in which she is head of state, but for a large part of the world….


Americans and Saudis: Hands off Pakistan’s Pipeline Please!
The writer is professor of physics at Quaid-i-Azam University in
Now and then, as though out of sheer boredom, the United States shoots itself in the foot and loses the occasional goodwill it creates with aid programmes. Iran’s gas could be critical for avoiding mass rioting and social breakdown. Should it actually come through, the proposed 56 inch diameter, 2,100-kilometres long IP pipeline would deliver a whopping 750 million cubic feet of gas per day from Iran’s South Pars gas field, located near Iran’s southern city of Asalouyeh. …

Murtaza Razvi: He Who Could not be Tamed
Murtaza Razvi

Till the very end, he continued to write pieces that required exemplary courage, honesty and introspection. If the thought of personal safety crossed his mind, he didn’t allow his work to reflect that. All I can do now is to send out a silent prayer to him and his family. And hope to convey to him that he will be missed more than he can imagine. He, in turn, would talk with rare pride about his wife and their three angels – if memory serves me right, they are named Maya, Priya and Dina. …

Indo-Pak Time is Now
Murtaza Razvi

Indo-Pak Time is Now
Murtaza Razvi

The strengthening of India-Pakistan relations, despite many unresolved issues between them, can work wonders for redefining Pakistan’s national security prerogatives over the medium to long term. With eyes set on a possible breakthrough in relations with India and on the party’s prospects beyond the election, Zardari had a good reason for thanksgiving at Ajmer. …

When Manmohan Singh comes to Islamabad
Pervez Hoodbhoy teaches physics and political science

Still better news is that the Zardari-Singh joint communique says “practical, pragmatic” solutions will be sought for disputes. Showing his willingness to put Mumbai 2008 on the back-burner, Singh accepted Zardari’s invitation to Islamabad. This is exactly the way it should be; frequent high-level meetings are the best confidence-building measures. But what should the two sides talk about?...


Persecuted and oppressed by Islamabad, the tortured Shias of Gilgit-Baltistan are now looking towards New Delhi for help. After all, the Government of India does officially claim the area to be its own. It stands to reason, therefore, that it should also be responsible for the safety and welfare of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. …


Zardari on India Yatra: Too Little, Too Late
Murtaza Haider is at Ryerson University, Toronto

Accompanied by a 40-member delegation and an 11 per cent approval rating, President Asif Ali Zardari visited India earlier this week where he met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who, unlike Mr. Zardari, enjoys the confidence of 87 per cent of his fellow countrymen. Given the lack of substance in the Zardari-Singh dialogue, political pundits shifted their focus to the gastronomical particulars of Mr. Zardari’s meal with the Indian Prime Minister. …


Pakistan Running Scared of Pashtuns
G Parthasarathy is a distinguished diplomat and author in India

To check the tide of rising Pashtun nationalism, Pakistan’s ISI is promoting the non-Pashtun Taliban who may soon be in control of southern Afghanistan. With ISI backing and American acquiescence in these developments, Afghanistan soon became the hub of global terrorism, once Mullah Omar was installed in Kandahar. Osama bin Laden was welcomed as an honoured guest by the Taliban, with the Al Qaeda and militant groups ranging from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Chechens, to the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines …

Delhi Stopover of Zardari: Sunni Punjabi Elite Indifferent to Shia Sindhi President
K. Gajendra Singh is a former diplomat

As for the geopolitical template of Hindustan or South Asia, the people now dominating Pakistan, i.e. the Punjabi Musalman in Lahore or Islamabad have though out history been envious of the rulers of Hindustan with their capital on Yamuna in Delhi or Agra with their vast territories for revenue, even without Deccan .They invited the Moguls to invade Hindustan when Afghans were ruling in Delhi .Later they invited Afghans and Iranians when Moguls were ruling in Delhi. …


Why Karachi Burns Again and Again
Pervez Hoodbhoy teaches physics and political science at LUMS (Lahore)

Scientists who study fish habits say cramped aquarium conditions hugely increase fish-on-fish violence. When the tanks are large enough, or the fish few enough, the inhabitants are perfectly peaceful; the fish flutter their eyes as they sweetly swim past each other. A recent pioneering study says fish need their space — and they become upset when it isn’t there. Ronald Oldfield, the biologist who did the research, says that fish in their natural ecological environments sometimes aggressively compete for food or shelter. …


Quaid Imam Khan and Sarah Palin: The Neocons of Politics
The writer is a freelance columnist residing in the US

In American politics, if there is anyone who can match the popularity of Imam Khan, his omnipresence in the media and the simplistic understanding of complex international issues, it can be no other than Sarah Palin. Like Imam Khan, Sarah Palin is very popular at the grassroots level. She also has mastered some of the catch phrases like “corruption” and has a blind following in the country. In addition, both of them believe that religion should guide political decision-making. …


Flogging the anti-Americanism Horse to Death
Nadeem F. Paracha is a journalist, cultural critic and satirist

But the more militant and violent expressions of this new-found anti-Americanism in the shape of Jihadist and sectarian outfits failed to gather much sympathy from most Pakistanis  In fact, a gradual sense of repulsion against these outfits began to emerge…. The mainstream political parties are now concentrating more on economic and social issues, rightly conscious of the fact that these are what get the most attention from the voters. …

Does Mumbai Killer Qassab Deserve this Show of Fairness?
K. N. Bhat is former additional solicitor-general of India

The show of fairness through the ritual of re-examination of the whole material by the executive in considering mercy petitions is abhorrent. Unfortunately, it is not just the politicians who indulge in such stunts. Kasab was caught red-handed, literally so. His unmistakable figure was repeatedly seen on TV screens while the massacre was on. Because he was caught alive, an elaborate trial took place in as open a fashion as any civilised country can have. …

Rediscovery of Non-Alignment
Chinmaya R. Gharekhan

Rediscovery of Non-Alignment
Chinmaya R. Gharekhan is former Indian Ambassador to the United Nations

'Nonalignment 2.0' is not without its flaws but on the whole, the document offers a comprehensive view of foreign policy, makes sensible suggestions and is lucid, readable and deserving of wide debate. Eight eminent men — alas, not a single woman — has rendered a very useful and much-needed service by producing “Nonalignment 2.0: A Foreign and Strategic Policy for India in the Twenty First Century.”…

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