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Pakistan under Siege
Ajit Kumar Singh

Pakistan under Siege
Ajit Kumar Singh

This orchestrated political drama also appears to be the Army's attempt to shift attention from the much publicized operation Zarb-e-Azb that was launched on June 15, 2014, to eliminate terrorists from the NWA of FATA. During more than two and half months of the operation, no significant gain has been made in the region. Though a press release by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on September 3, 2014, asserted that 910 'militants' had been killed in the operation, and that that the SFs had cleared five towns, including Miranshah, Mir Ali, Dattakhel, Boya and Degan, this has limited credibility, given past records of superficial and exaggerated claims of the Pakistani Forces. Significantly, the Jamaat al-Ahrar, a new faction of the TTP, has claimed that only 30 fighters had thus far been killed in operation Zarb-e-Azb,.....

 

‘Love jihad’ and Bollywood
Anna MM Vetticad

It would be easy to pretend that this trend is a mere coincidence, or to cite exceptions to counter the argument being made, or to accuse columnists of a cynical over-analysis of innocent entertainment. Let’s not be naïve or lie to ourselves, please. Bollywood and its viewers would do well to introspect about the patriarchal-communalism evident in these ‘coincidences’. The last thing this country needs is for its film industries to unwittingly support off-screen bigotry……

 

Pakistan’s Perennial Crisis
Husain Haqqani

The Pakistani military does not realise that its meddling makes Pakistan more unstable, not less, as does its insistence on a narrow definition of the national interest, which civilians are not allowed to alter….

 

Al Qaeda Has Announced The Creation Of A South Asian Branch, Dubbed Al Qaeda In The Indian Subcontinent:  The Question Is Why Now?
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

Al Qaeda has barely been operational for the past few years, battered by the death of Bin Laden and US drone attacks that have wiped out many of its senior commanders. Zawahiri has been critical of the Islamic State’s anti-Shia stance – it is one of the reasons that the Islamic State ended its allegiance to al Qaeda. Worse, many of the al Qaeda affiliations in Afghanistan, the Arab world and West Africa have switched their loyalties from Zawahiri to the Islamic State…..

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Send In the Clowns, The Pakistan Politicians
Irfan Husain

What this sorry episode has done is to confirm the image of politicians as jokers in the eyes of the military. As it is, the officer class is indoctrinated with an unflattering view of civilians. But when politicians engage in their periodic tussles for power, they only make themselves look ridiculous to the army, as well as to the people they represent. Small wonder opinion polls repeatedly show the low level of respect enjoyed by our ruling elites…..

 

Sharif Must Fight Imran For The Sake Of Democracy
Mehr F. Husain

How things change. But generally, there has been little realisation of the difference between expressing contention according to the situation, i.e. differentiating between whether the head of state is aggressively claiming sovereignty like Musharraf, or he/she is the result of a rotting system due to lack of political evolution, as in PM Sharif's case….

What Next: One Would Hope That All Stakeholders Draw Lessons from the Gruelling Episode
Imtiaz Gul

Rumours and unsubstantiated claims of tons of money flowing into coffers of certain media houses, anchors and analysts also added to the dismay of people at large, wondering how civilian and military agencies can dole out precious public money to individuals for narrow political objectives. Political parties as well as the religio-political group called Pakistan Awami Tehrik led by a maverick naturalized Canadian national also ostensibly dished out massive funds to favourites for running down rivals or eliciting favourable views.....

 

Operation Get Nawaz Sharif
Najam Sethi

The “conspiracy” to get rid of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been exposed. Although the circumstantial evidence was compelling, no one, not even the government and parliament, had hard-core facts to prove who was doing what and why…..

 

‘Pak Infiltrators Out There Somewhere In the Forest…Waiting, Just Like Us’
Praveen Swami

The survivors of the group, suspected to be from the Lashkar-e-Toiba, fled into the forests, abandoning their backpacks and radio sets. Intelligence sources have told The Indian Express that the dead, or one of the survivors, appears to be an important commander: a wireless station across the LoC has been calling out the code name “Charlie 2”……

 

The Fall of The Neutral Umpire in Pakistan
Dr Mohammad Taqi

A whisper campaign started in earnest about how Mian sahib was an unforgiving, stubborn man who was overreaching way too early in his term. While the security establishment had played footsie with domestic, regional and transnational jihadists for decades, it threw the decision to act against them in the PM’s lap. Interestingly, the most vocal opponents of the military operation in Waziristan were the military-friendly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Imran Khan, not PM Sharif. Piggybacked on this was the time tested establishment mantra to berate civilians for corruption and poor governance….

 

Pakistan: Rise of the Mob
Khaled Ahmed

“We will free Pakistan of pharaohs”. The Dawn wrote: “The image of a righteous Prophet Moses (Musa) dethroning a wicked Firaun (pharaoh) has often been employed before. It was perfectly effective during Iran’s Islamic Revolution. A poster of Ayatollah Khomeini, in the role of Musa dethroning Mohammad Reza, the last shah of Iran, cast in the role of pharaoh. Hosni Mubarak, the erstwhile strongman of Egypt, was also termed by his opponents as a modern pharaoh.”….

 

Curbing Religious Violence
DC Pathak

In a democratic setting there are three domains of life of a citizen - 'religious' that defines the personal sphere of relationship of anybody with his or her God, 'social' that encourages harmonious relations with other citizens, and 'political' that gives the same freedom to everybody to elect the rulers of the country. If the leadership of the community allows religion to create socio-political 'exclusivism' it is not democratic. We have examples of Muslim leaders successfully leading the Hindus politically…..

 
Love you, Dhaka
Shakoor Majid

We have class one human beings in our city, and 95% of them are very simple in their ways of living and beliefs. We have a corrupted class of people like many others in the world. Our corruption comes from the politicians and from rotten intellectuals. The quantity of these people is very few in number, the rest of our people are very nice, humble and honest…..

 

Tariq Ramadan and the Reconfiguration of Islamic Authority on Web 2.0
Hasan Azad

In his article Ramadan mentions this year's White House Iftar (July 14, 2014), where President Barack Obama spoke of "Israel's […] right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas," while Muslim leaders attending the Iftar remained silent. Ramadan contends ISNA and RIS are run by supposedly Sufi-inspired men who say "Yes sir!" to power, whether in the US or in the Middle East. In the article, Ramadan is perhaps also referring to Habib Ali al-Jifri - an influential Islamic scholar based in Abu Dhabi, who has 3,700,000 followers on Facebook - and his recent "prayer of Tawfiq" for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi……

 

Thankfully, the demonstrators were persuaded to withdraw without any bloodshed but the complete inability of a demoralised police force, though present in sizeable numbers, to tackle the law and order situation effectively, has again left the administration red-faced......

 

Securing Pakistan's Democracy?
Peter Drysdale

Whether Prime Minister Sharif or Tahir-ul-Qadri and Khan initiated the move to military mediation and how the military has played into the development of the crisis itself are questions that are at this stage difficult to determine. But senior politicians and constitutional experts have denounced it as a national disgrace that reflects badly on the commitment to genuine democracy across the political spectrum…..

Passing The Buck: If My Son Dies Because I Couldn’t Get Him To The Hospital, I Will Accuse Nawaz Sharif Of Killing Him On Judgement Day
Irfan Husain

This refusal to face failure and learn from it has ensured that we remain locked in a perpetual cycle of denial. Others, too, try and blame others for their mistakes, but by invoking God, we leave no room for discussion and analysis. After all, how can mere men question His will? This assumes, of course, that God has not given us the gift of free will and the power to shape our own future. And if this life is only a brief transition to eternity, then it’s pointless doing anything to improve the world.....

 

The August Tragedies of Bangladesh
Muhammad Nurul Huda

In August 1975, the architect of Bangladesh's freedom and most of his family members were violently and shamefully murdered by some disgruntled army officers. The tragic ramifications of that dastardly incident are still being felt by a shocked polity. The trial and conviction of some of the perpetrators of that gory incident have brought some solace and the nation waits for the punishment of the remainder.....

 

After Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri Protests, Secularism Has Lost Its Force in Pakistan
Mehr F Husain

What is interesting is how people have steadily responded positively to religious-affiliated actors participating in a political battle for power. With the ASWJ entering the arena and supposedly showing its support for the PML N, it is likely to put off those who were rooting for the PML N causing them to flock to Qadri who is known for his anti-violence stand.  On one hand, putting the political opportunitism aside, the ASWJ is capitalising on a situation where religion and politics have merged by campaigning for democracy and they have supporters. ….

 
Woe is Pakistan
Najam Sethi

Woe is Pakistan
Najam Sethi

The conclusion is inescapable: If Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri are resorting to unconstitutional means to force out a prime minister; the same prime minister hasn’t mounted a true constitutional defence against their charges. The tragedy is compounded by the reluctance of the “miltablishment” to uphold the same constitutional imperative in such murky circumstances. Woe is Pakistan…..

 

Norway’s Muslims Rally against ISIS
Tarek Fatah

“We cannot fight ISIS without fighting the doctrine of jihad and without exposing the bankruptcy of Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran,” he said. “Too many leaders in the West are reluctant to identify the elephant in the room, which is Islamism. If they cannot fight the ideological foundation of ISIS, then we will see the ISIS cancer spread.”....

Racism against Blacks Universal
Tarek Fatah

The genocide of black African Darfuris by men who called themselves “Arab Janjaweed” is a testament to Arab, anti-black racism. Even today, the term many use to address blacks in Arab countries is, “Ya Abdi” (O my slave)…..

International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Should Lift Ban on Turban

Last month, the international Sikh community and Indians on the whole were shocked at the news of two Indian Sikhs having been told by the International Basketball Association (FIBA) to remove their turban if they wanted to participate in the game. Two Indian Basketball players Amarpal Singh and Amjyot Singh were representing India in the Asia Cup Championship in China. The racial discrimination perpetrated by the FIBA has caused outrage among the Indian sports fraternity in particular and all the Indians in common. The two Sikh players from India were told to remove their turbans just before the game. FIBA authorities said that wearing turbans violated the rules of the International Basketball Federation.....

 

The Parliament panel committee recommended legislation on forced conversions in 2012.  The report held local police officers, tribal chiefs and politicians responsible for not helping minorities recover their kidnapped community.  Since then no measure administratively and/or legislation is planned to be discussed on the floor of the Parliament.  I further go on to state that the government of Pakistan should serious take up the issues of minorities of Pakistan. The minorities as well as the women in Pakistan are not safe at all…..

 

A Firebrand Demagogue and a Fire-Breathing Cleric Can Push the System of a Banana Republic To The Brink
Irfan Husain

By their reckless brinkmanship, both Imran Khan and Qadri have exposed themselves for what they really are: rash gamblers willing to chance everything on the roll of the dice. They have squandered their credibility by betting that they could cause enough havoc to force the army to intervene. But as many of their disillusioned followers call it a day, it has become clear that they have failed in their purpose. Apart from exposing Imran Khan and Qadri, this crisis also shows how weak the state has become…..

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