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Current Affairs

Real People, Mere Numbers in Dr Tahirul Quadri’s March
Asha’ar Rehman

Subsequently, the focus of the search shifted to Dr Qadri’s possible backers. Since he had been presumed to have been tasked to do a job, his own ability and resources were of secondary importance. Those believed to be pulling the strings were to ensure numbers by his side. For many days, this is how the equation was, or was widely perceived to be....


Voice of the Establishment: Welcome to the Fourth Term of George W. Bush
Inderjeet Parmar

...  why has Obama maintained the principal planks of the foreign and national security policies of the George W. Bush administrations, despite having promised radical change? In their haste to explain, most commentators cling to what are now ‘old favourites’: Obama’s legacy of wars and financial crises; his lack of experience in foreign affairs; his personal insecurities at being commander-in-chief but having served in no wars....

Rape And Punishment- Conservatives Exposed
Asghar Ali Engineer
The Jamat-e-Islami has come out with the solution that women should dress decently and co-education should be stopped for eradicating rape. As if rape is promoted by co-education. The Jamat has resorted to 19th century discourse when co-education was to be introduced and was being discussed. Mohan Bhagwat also said that rapes are committed only in India (meaning modern cities) and not in Bharat (i.e. villages)

‘Canadian Society Is Our Heaven’: Cleric Behind Pakistan Protests Touts Islam, Democracy, Tim Hortons
Rubab Abid
Tahir ul Qadri told the National Post, “Islam teaches democracy, Islam teaches human rights, Islam defends the rights of minorities. Islam does not believe in discrimination. So my interpretation of Islam is a bit different from the mullahs. I feel that the teachings of Islam creates a moderate, progressive, free and democratic society, free of every kind of extremism and terrorism. This is my interpretation of Islam and what I want to see here.”


Maulana Tahir-ul-Quadri and Imran Khan: the Cleric And the Cricketer
Rafia Zakaria

Tahir-ul-Qadri could well be called Imran Khan with better timing, a beard and a more religiously appealing resume. Whether or not the neatly bearded cleric commanding the crowds in Islamabad will succeed in toppling the flailing Zardari government may not be known, but he has undoubtedly been blessed by the benevolence of good timing....

A WAY to benchmark the seriousness of the present India- Pakistan crisis is to imagine the consequences of a Mumbai type mass- casualty attack by Pakistan- backed, or Pakistani, terrorists in India today. Given the national mood, it would be difficult to rule out anything then, even war. ...there is no alternative to engaging with our conjoined sibling. There are poisons in our relationship that predate partition of 1947, and these need to be worked out before things normalise....


Green Books, Red Herring and the Loc War
Praveen Swami
Pakistan’s military literature provides some insight into what is going on. The country’s generals, it shows, hope heightened tensions with India will help rebuild their legitimacy, extricate themselves from a domestic insurgency they are losing, and push jihadist groups now ranged against the Pakistani state to turn their energies eastwards. India, driven by a barrage of ill-conceived war polemic, is pushing itself into this trap....


Tahirul Qadri Threatens To Topple The PPP Government, Zardari Ready To Flee
Maulana Tahirul Qadri

On the other hand, a section of the intellectuals see Tahirul Qadri’s move as an attempt to derail the democracy and suspect that some invisible power is supporting him. They have questioned the source of the funding for his political adventure. Someone called him a pied piper who has come to Pakistan to make a mockery of democracy while some others have opined that he is an agent of the army whose aim is to postpone the elections and felicitate the army takeover.


The Mindset in Pakistan Is Changing but India’s Hawks Still Don’t Get It
Mani Shankar Aiyar

The mindset in Pakistan is changing. But India’s hawks still don’t get it. My friend, the cine artiste and poet, Farooque Sheikh, has summed it up better than I ever could. He describes the TRP war being whipped up by our hysterical TV anchors as “dangerously boring and boringly dangerous” We need most to talk when we are on the edge of war; least when the going is, in any case, good.....

Beware the Dogs of War
Nirupama Subramanian

Beware the Dogs of War
Nirupama Subramanian
Despite a solid system to ensure that such violations are resolved immediately, it seems as if this time, there was a deliberate absence of will to use this mechanism to its entire capacity. The meeting between the field commanders did not last even 15 minutes....


Civil-Military Relations And The Qadri Drama
Ayesha Siddiqa
Within a day of Tahirul Qadri’s Long March to Islamabad, things have started to fall into place regarding the intention of the imported maulana. With the passage of the day, all non-parliamentary and non-political forces seem to be taking their place in subverting the political system. Supposedly eager to improve the quality of democracy, all of these characters are happy to flout democratic norms to push their way into power.


Pakistani Cleric Qadri Energizes Calls for Reform
Sean Maroney
It is his call for the military to participate in the election that has left many in the political establishment worried. For the first time in Pakistan's history, the country is poised to have a peaceful handover of power from one civilian government to another. But Qadri's demand for military involvement, as well as his ties to the Zia- and Musharraf-era governments, have led critics to accuse him of being a military puppet.

Anarchy and Chaos in Pakistan
Vidya Bhushan Rawat, New Age Islam

Anarchy and Chaos in Pakistan
Vidya Bhushan Rawat, New Age Islam
The Pakistan army plays an important role in ‘running’ the country. The civilian government at the moment took after General Parvez Musharraf resigned and decided to leave Pakistan. Musharraf was the hero of Kargil and the entire operation was an open secret yet completely denied by Pakistan army. They continued that it was a Jehad by the Mujahiddins and not a war by Pakistan army.


Pakistan’s Army Lurks Behind Cleric
Tarek Fatah
A Canadian cleric, who has twice played a part in backing military juntas in nuclear-armed Pakistan, is back in that country. And once more, he appears to be facilitating a military takeover in Islamabad. Tahir-ul-Qadri is better known for his role in the creation of the infamous “Anti-Blasphemy Law” of Pakistan that has brought untold misery to religious minorities and agnostics.


Area of Darkness: Anger across urban India
Saeed Naqvi
Nothing in recent history has gripped India like the gang-rape and subsequent death of Jyoti Singh Pandey. Saeed Naqvi analyzes the crime as well as the urban youth's unprecedented response to it, and in both cases comes up against the unchecked social pressures of Indian society


The Rapist In The Mirror
Praveen Swami

For many men, then, violence against women works much as drugs do for addicts: it offers at least the illusion of empowerment where none exists, fixing feelings of rage and impotence. This, in turn, points to a wider malaise. Marxist scholar Antonio Gramsci noted that Fascism arose in a society “where mothers educate their infant children by hitting them on the head with clogs.” How men behave — on the streets with women, with other men, with animals — is taught. In our society, violence is not an aberration; it is the tie that binds us.

We Must Speak Up Now
Rajdeep Sardesai

We Must Speak Up Now
Rajdeep Sardesai

Liberal Muslims, too, need to speak out strongly against the MIM brand of politics. Only an alliance between Hindu and Muslim liberals can isolate noisy extremists from both communities. The silent majority can't remain silent any longer. Don't forget that it was the same Akbaruddin Owaisi who physically attacked the Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen at a public function a few years ago. Why wasn't there a similar outcry then, one wonders.

The Owaisis, Both Muslim And Hindu, Must Be Brought To Justice
Shirish Koyal
It’s just right that Akbaruddin Owaisi has been charged with sedition and waging war against the state, besides other serious offences. It’s time all Owaisis, Muslim or Hindu, are given similar treatment and punished. Never mind if they are potential Prime Ministers. Hope Akbaruddin’s case will make peddlers of hate think twice.

Owaisi, Raj Thackeray: The Suave New Faces Of Hate Politics?
Akbaruddin Owaisi and Raj Thackeray

With the rise of Akbaruddin Owaisi, the new icon of hate-speech in India, Raj Thackeray, the ‘Hindutva hottie‘, has competition. But, together, they seem to have demolished the long-held stereotype of hate politics in the country.

They are among the limited edition of younger, hate-speech politicians in India: clean-shaven, suave, well-educated and sharply dressed. Both had an urban and privileged upbringing and went to schools and colleges where they mixed with cosmopolitan crowds.

But when they open their mouth, there is something shockingly misplaced: it’s pure venom that goes well – to our trained eyes and ears – with saffron, vermillion, beards and skull-caps.

Owaisi Arrest: How The BJP And MIM Hope To Gain From It
Akbaruddin Owaisi

“The MIM has bowled to the BJP a well-flighted delivery that we have hit for a sixer.” This was the reaction of a BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh, who spoke on condition that he would not be named, describing the face-off between the two parties.

“Yes, there is a lot of anger and anguish over the kind of language Akbaruddin Owaisi used against our Gods and Goddesses but there is also the realisation that there is a tremendous opportunity that we should exploit politically,” he explained.

Believe it or not, the thinking is on the same lines in the political enemy camp. The MIM admits it is on the back foot after Owaisi’s arrest but now its leaders and cadre are determined to fight it out, both legally and on the streets and polarise Muslim public opinion in its favour, even outside Hyderabad’s Old city area.


Bhagwat ka Bharat: Foeticide, infant mortality among girls, dowry deaths, khaps, honour killings – which of these have we imported from the West
Javed Anand

Respected Bhagwat Ji,

First you said that rapes and gangrapes happen in India, not Bharat, because the former has embraced Western ideas and abandoned Indian values. You’ve spoken again now, to put women in their proper place:

serving their husbands in their marital homes. Some people think you’ve put your foot (make it plural) in your mouth. But I say, right on, keep talking. Young India, the middle class especially, is listening. And I am sure you’ll be hearing from them soon. Meanwhile, permit me to point out that your views are pretty close to many voices from the Muslim world: from the Taliban in Pakistan to the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia. Perhaps it’s time votaries of Hindutva and champions of Islamic fundamentalism came together in a new coalition of the culturally constipated: “Us vs the West”.

Communal Riots -2012: Petty, Sometimes Personal Quarrels Assumed Communal Shape
Asghar Ali Engineer

The Assam communal violence made Indian Muslims once again very insecure like the Gujarat riots and in Mumbai during the month of Ramadan they took out a huge procession consisting of some 45 thousand people which resulted in violence on the streets of Mumbai in South Mumbai. Once again the atmosphere was charged with communal tension. Here in this article I am not giving details of these unfortunate events as I have already written on them in Secular Perspectives.

The Arab Spring's First Constitution
Larbi Sadiki

Article 14 came to embody the public demand for freedom, dignity and "bread". It commits the state through the instrument of development planning to work towards social justice, solidarity, equitable distribution, consumer rights and workers' rights. Moreover, it promises to "divide development costs between capital and labour" as well as equal sharing of revenue.


Not many in Pakistan are happy at Dr Hoodbhoy’s elevation to UN’s Advisory Board
Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy

He is one of the best scientists Pakistan has produced. Apart from being a scientist and an academician, Hoodbhoy is an environmentalist and social activist and regularly writes on social, cultural and environmental issues. He is seen in Pakistan as a crusader for the cause of scientific rationality in a society beleaguered by religious obscurantism, fundamentalism and orthodox religious thought.

A New Drone Experiment
Najam Sethi

If Dr Qadri’s long march materialises, the chances are that a crisis will be precipitated to draw the military into the fray. The government’s reaction could be one cause. Terrorist attacks on the procession could draw blood and create a law and order problem. Imran Khan and other oppositionists including pro- military religious groups and organisations could join hands with Dr Qadri to exploit the occasion to destabilise the government and engineer its ouster.

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