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Be vigilant of what not only might happen in the Indian peninsula, in the islands but also of what may happen in the wider Indian Ocean,” then President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed had warned cadet officers at the Sri Lanka Military Academy on December 27, 2011. His words rang true on Tuesday when mutinous factions within the police and the Army joined hands to remove him, ... 


Rather than allowing events to drift towards a political or even military showdown, Maldivian President Mohammed “Anni” Nasheed has shown great fidelity to democratic principles in a country where none existed before him by stepping down from office with grace and poise. As President, Nasheed began well. With much help and cooperation from his predecessor, he could ensure a smooth transition when much trouble was feared. -- N. Sathya Moorthy


The myth of the Muslim vote bank, though denied by sociologists and debunked by psephologists, refuses to die. It reasserts itself with new vigour at every election. Even those well aware of the diversity within the community cannot resist building their arguments on this spurious claim. Whether they are Thai, Chechen, Palestinian or European, Muslims are judged unfailingly by their faith and so-called beliefs. -- Shahid Siddiqui

In the present political crisis Islamic radicals have also played an important role. There has been growing Islamic radicalism in Maldives. Islamic radicals have been trying to create problems for the government of Nasheed who represented the moderate stream in the country. Islamic radicals even demolished the monument constructed by Pakistan at Addu city on the occasion of the 17th SAARC summit in November. Nasheed is an honest man but unfortunately he is not an astute politician. -- Anand Kumar

……. the real enemies of Islam are the leaders, the Deobandis, the various extremist leaders and their followers, who behave like this, because what they do is to strengthen the extremely negative image of Islam as an intolerant, repressive, and violent culture, as an ideology masquerading as a gentle faith, whereas actually what happens every time it’s crossed, or every time it dislikes something, is that it resorts to threats and violence. Dar-ul Uloom is the group from which the Taliban learnt their ideology. This is the group which in the notorious Imrana case, a couple of years ago, said that a woman raped by her father-in-law should be divorced by her husband as a result… if this is the face of Islam and it is going to take root in India, then it is a very bad state of affairs.-- Salman Rushdie in an interview to Barkha Dutt

What we see as a legitimate demand for freedom of expression from the artistic community, is seen by many in the Muslim community as a demand for freedom to indulge in an act of blasphemy against their religion. The extremist mindset of sections of the Muslim community—like the extremist mindset of sections of the Hindus and other religions— is a harsh ground reality which is likely to continue for some years to come unless there is a better spread of education in the different communities and more enlightened leaderships emerge in them. Till then no amount of public debates and TV talk shows would eradicate this mindset. -- B. Raman

Had the Indian liberal used logic and not courtesy then, arguing for justice, opposing any threats of violence from fringe elements whether Hindu or Muslim, perhaps those fringes would not have grown to be the problem they are today. Perhaps we could have seen a JLF where anti-Rushdie groups shouted slogans and waved placards - their democratic right - but feared threatening violence in place of severe censure. Perhaps we would have had a situation where, realising targeting artists wasn't going to win elections; politicians - both Hindu and Muslim - would have ensured the Muslim community got its fair share of jobs and education. -- Srijana Mitra Das

The elements of hidden extremism have to be ferreted out from the army and other sensitive organs of the government in a bold but practical manner. Investigations have revealed that some, including those already indoctrinated, have tried to misinterpret Islam to spread extremism. With its roots in the Liberation War, the Bangladesh army must project itself as a well disciplined professional force. -- Haroon Habib

The attempt to introduce strong-arm measures must be viewed against the backdrop of a persistent effort in the U.S. to use judicial processes to access personal data about individuals abroad using services such as Twitter, in the wake of the WikiLeaks expose. It makes matters more difficult that the U.S. court order prohibits the disclosure of its contents. Are there more technology companies that were covered, that have not come to light, for instance? -- G. Ananthakrishnan

But our Constitution and our liberal secular ethos are the essence of our modernity and Ghalib represents this eminently. He was a poet par excellence and his poetry represents modern secular values along with the value of love. Ghalib’s poetry is ghazal poetry though he wrote in other genres also but he is mainly known for his ghazals which is basically love poetry. And he was follower of what is known as wahdat al-wujudi school of Sufism which is most liberal school among Sufis. -- Asghar Ali Engineer

There is no evidence that the Taliban have undertaken “to abandon violence and respect the human rights of their fellow citizens.” Besides, the Afghan Government and not the US has initiated the talks, and it becomes clear from a report in The New York Times of 12 January, that the Taliban took a year to respond by announcing its intention to open a political office in Qatar. -- Hiranmay Karlekar

That Iranian isolation theme only gets weaker when one learns that the country is dumping the dollar in its trade with Russia for rials and rubles -- a similar move to ones already made in its trade with China and Japan.  As for India, an economic powerhouse in the neighbourhood, its leaders also refuse to stop buying Iranian oil, a trade that, in the long run, is similarly unlikely to be conducted in dollars. India is already using the yuan with China, as Russia and China have been trading in rubles and yuan for more than a year, as Japan and China are promoting direct trading in yen and yuan.  As for Iran and China, all new trade and joint investments will be settled in yuan and rial. -- Pepe Escobar

The Washington-Tehran face-off is causing unease in world capitals as the Iranian resistance is likely to be superior to what America and its allies faced in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan. In all these theatres, the Western allies bludgeoned the states with brute military force, but had no strategy to hold the ground thereafter. Hence America ran from Iraq and is trying to quit Afghanistan; the Libya story has yet to unfold. -- Sandhya Jain

The onus is now on the US to determine the future of this non-functioning alliance. Will it be terminated once and for all? Will the US seek to attain its vital interests with other regional allies, like India and Afghanistan? Will this alliance remain interrupted as of now? Will it grow albeit in a stunted manner only becoming operational when required - as a transactional deal? -- Imran Malik

Cognitive dissonance abounds. To torture a terror suspect, for example, is always morally wrong; to kill him, video game style, with a missile fired from a remote-controlled drone, is morally justified. Crippled by fear and insecurity, we have sleepwalked into a situation where governments have arrogated to themselves the right to murder their enemies abroad. -- Mehdi Hasan

This is no morality play. It has nothing to do with that hound called accountability, with whose aid governments have come and gone in Pakistan’s circular history. Behind the fig-leaf of the noblest intentions – and let’s not forget with what the road to hell is paved – this is a power struggle, driven by nothing higher than the usual stupidity on display when the Islamic Republic is in crisis. -- Ayaz Amir

On the ‘Memogate’ sidelines, Veena Malik figuratively wormed her way back into recent headlines. Her tattooed arm on the title of Indian magazine FHM made a Facebook friend spontaneously quip: ‘Veena Malik posed naked for a magazine with ISI tattoo on her arms. In retaliation, Zaid Hamid will feature naked with a Mohammad bin Qasim tattoo in the next issue of ISPR’s monthly Hilal magazine’. Another Facebook friend counterposed Veena Malik’s bare-it-all picture with images of Bombay massacre wrought by Ajmal-Kasab Eleven and posed the question: ‘What disturbs us more?’ Answer, at least in view of hysterical media reaction, was obvious. A social pornography began to clog the airwaves as was the case after Veena Malik appearance in ‘Big Boss’. Her Big Boss performance was judged by our mullahs. -- Farooq Sulehria


Today, Libya's state institutions exist merely to extract the country's vast oil wealth and distribute it via subsidies. In a state that embodied the whim of its leader for 42 years, the rule of law does not exist. Explaining why he helped spearhead a 1993 military coup attempt, Air Force Officer Muhammad Bashir Salah said, "We have neither a state, nor laws, nor a constitution." Indeed, even the military, which in many Third World countries is the strongest state institution, was marginalized under Qaddafi. The revolutionary committees' attacked it for being "a traditional fascist institution". Qaddafi declared his desire to disband the army on several occasions, and its role was so insignificant that it played almost no part in defending the regime during the eight months of fighting that overthrew him. -- Barak Barfi


For one thing- Islam was never in danger in Maldives, but what should alarm the people was the way the opposition political parties used this occasion not only to politicise the whole issue but also to whip up frenzy to accuse the Government of trying to wipe out the “Islamic faith of the people” by subterfuge. -- S. Chandrasekharan

Impatient, frustrated and impulsive, Khan illustrates a naive understanding of Pakistani politics, which remains deeply wrapped in bureaucratic red tape, conspiracy theories and civil-military power struggles. At one point, he brutally states, “Never should our army chief ever be allowed to talk directly to the US or any other government” (p.363). “I was and always have been an idealist” (p.155); one wonders if behind Khan’s idealistic rhetoric lies a strong, optimistic leader with a serious vision or a young and naive philanthropist, still searching for direction. -- Arsla Jawaid

Till recently, potentates thrived in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia for it was feared that barking mad mullahs would otherwise overrun Israel. As long as that scene brought out a scream, the West let Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi rule the Middle East. It was as if they could cure everything in that region, from an oil shock to a snake bite. Tunisia and Tahrir Square switched on the lights and chased the ghosts away, but unlike in the past, the US, this time around, did not blow a fuse. There was dissent in Israel, too, and that surprised the world. Those who routinely fell for the scare that attacking Zionism was tantamount to supporting Nazism and denying the Holocaust, protested in their thousands in Palestine. With banners unfurled, they came out in the open demanding jobs and just governance. They also stood together, not as Arabs and Jews, but as Israelis. This new-found public mood laid another fear to rest. -- Dipankar Gupta


Historically, Pakistan has been a state driven by crises, much of them self-generated in order to attract international -chiefly American -assistance and attention. ….. Pakistan, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has stood up in Parliament and demanded that the Army and its shady intelligence arm, Inter Services Intelligence, frequently called “a and state within a state“, report to Parliament to the country's elected government. -- Editorial Asian Age

Clearly, there is some "understanding" between General Kayani and President Zardari/PM Gilani aimed at "resolving" Memogate without destabilizing the government and effecting regime change. This "solution" may lead to the decapitation of Mr Haqqani and the neutering of President Zardari without any immediate or formal indictment of either. This "arrangement" will have a significant impact on the SC's order to the government to revive the money laundering cases against President Zardari in Switzerland. -- Najam Sethi


Alongside the dangers, however, the Arab uprisings also present Israel with challenges and opportunities. It would be hard to overstate the potential consequences for Israel of a strategic alliance between an Islamist government in Cairo and the Hamas regime in Gaza… In the short term, Israel has no choice but to ride out the consequences of this misguided policy and to try to reclaim the moral high ground. -- Andrew Friedman 

Those who are in the habit of seeing Islamabad with the prism of prejudice and paranoia are celebrating the humiliation of the Islamic republic. One section justifies it by saying “what goes around comes around” meaning that Pakistan is getting what it deserves. The problem is that such sick thought has many takers in this healthy democracy which prides itself as the voice of the third world countries. Pakistan’s present trouble poses discomforting questions to us – how can, as an independent nation, we support intrusion into a sovereign country’s territory and pride? How far are we okay with the presence of western troops at our door step? -- Sanjay Kumar

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