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When Noam Chomsky Wept
Noam Chomsky

I had learned of countless grandmothers burned alive by napalm, countless children buried alive by 500-pound bombs, parents shredded by anti-personnel bombs. I had felt pellets from these bombs still in the bodies of the refugees lucky enough to escape, interviewed people blinded by the bombing, seen napalm wounds on the bodies of infants. I had also learned that the U.S. bombing of the Plain of Jars had turned a 700-year-old civilization of some 200,000 people into a wasteland, and that its main victims were the old people, parents and children....


Don’t Misconstrue Insurgency Fatigue as Political Fatigue
B Raman is former additional secretary

The government of India has done well to release the text of the report of the three-member team of interlocutors headed by Dileep Padgaonkar. Any further delay in the initiation of follow-up action might have created an impression in the state that the entire exercise was an eyewash to gain time. The perceived past inaction of the government in the face of accumulating grievances has contributed to a deep sense of alienation followed by the insurgency....

This Year the Spring Water is Clear, Kashmir is at Peace
Riyaz Wani

“Kashmir is now peaceful. I have this intense feeling that I have come back home,” “My parents had also come last year. They found the same old environment of Hindu-Muslim amity in which they had grown up. They want to come back”. “All my Muslim neighbours came to welcome me. I was overwhelmed with joy and emotion,” “I can’t bear to see that pundits no longer live among us, in our localities,” Muhammad says. “I wish they return to their homeland and Kashmir becomes old Pir Vaer....

Heed the Kashmiri Youth's Anguish
Ram Puniyani is a communal harmony activist

TIME AND again, interacting with youth from Kashmir, what comes strikingly forth is their pain and anguish, their frustration, their realisation of the brutality of the system in which they live. They have a high level of understanding of the issues involved and are restless about their present and future. What have we done to be labelled as terrorists, is one of the questions on their mind and lips. Why do we in Kashmir have to face torture from different quarters? ...


The ‘Islamisation’ Debate In Pakistan And The Secular Space For Society
Nadeem F. Paracha

The ‘Islamisation’ debate in Pakistan should not only be about the implementation of various ‘Islamic laws’ by the state and governments of Pakistan. It should also incorporate the study of the so-called Islamisation of public space, or space that was historically and inherently secular in nature. One of the most prominent examples in this respect is the manifold growth in the number of mosques and madarsas in the last 25 years….

What Do Memo,NATO And Veena Have In Common?
Mehreen Zahra Malik

The ‘facts’: a magazine cover of the model-actress wearing nothing but an ISI tattoo; another one of her in an underwear version of battle fatigues, hand grenade pin between teeth, that one ominous word, ISI, hissing across her arm. Whether the ISI tattoo was her idea? Whether she even knew ISI stood for the Inter-Services Intelligence..…

The mandate of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) for building a globally democratic space for developing Internet related global policies is quite clear. The WSIS outcome document states that, “the process towards enhanced cooperation (on Internet-related international public policies), (is) to be started by the U.N. Secretary-General ... by the end of the first quarter of 2006.” However, six years down the line, developed countries do not seem to be willing to even formally discuss how to operationalise this very important WSIS mandate of “enhanced cooperation,” much less do something concrete about it.....



Pakistan-America: Terms Of Re-Engagement
Najam Sethi

Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan has been replaced by the Obama doctrine of swiftly degrading Al-Qaeda via drones, increasingly fighting with the Taliban by means of a refurbished "Afghan army", strengthening President Hamid Karzai economically and militarily, and pulling out NATO from Afghanistan by 2014. Therefore, unless Pakistan wants to become another North Korea, its best option now is to help secure a stable and peaceful Afghanistan ….


Someone from Mumbai India even dared to declare that taking subsidy is not Haram. May Allah Sub'hanhu wa Ta'aalaa save Indian Muslims from such a thinking. Haj is compulsory for those who can afford it and that too once in a life time. In my opinion thought of taking any subsidy for Haj itself is against the teaching of Islam….


Terrorists And Traitors: Why Is Home Minister Chidambaram Under Attack From Saffronists?
Union Home Minister Chidambaram Under Attack From Saffronists

We had a long conversation and the talk veered round to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and the attack he is under from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Now, I have had good reason to believe that the BJP picks on Chidambaram essentially because he is sitting on a lot of explosive information about saffron terrorism in this country. I have been told by many top cops in Bombay that saffronists may be involved in a lot more terrorist activity in India these past years than just the Malegaon blasts or that at Ajemr Sharif and in the Samjhauta Express. Particularly with situations in Maharashtra – like the discovery of false Muslim beards and caps from a saffron hideout in Gadchiroil district a few months ago – they have shared much of their information with Chidambaram because they find their political masters in Bombay (Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Home Minister R R Patil) too politically naive to shoulder the burden of those facts.

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. …

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