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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

If he was ever tempted to claim the title of Caliph, he never did so, preferring to consolidate his rule in the heartlands of the Arabian Peninsula rather than cultivating the extra-territorial ambitions and seeking the sort of external confrontations that had destroyed his predecessors in the early 19th century. But the central claims of Saudi Hanbali/Wahhabi/Madkhali Salafism about the religious legitimacy of a ruler and the duty of allegiance owed to him remain foundational to the state he created...

In present times, many schools and madrasas are running institutions where boys and girls study together in the same classroom, Numerous madrasas in Bihar and Gujarat allow boys and girls to sit in the same class. But AMU stands apart. It breeds counter-modernism. It continues to further gender-based segregation among Muslim students. It runs separate schools for boys and girls. Even undergraduate girls and boys cannot study together. ....

Yemen was poor and vulnerable before the war: It depended on imports for 80 percent of basic grains and suffered severe water shortages. Today, three-quarters of the country’s 28 million people suffer food insecurity, including 8.4 million who are wholly dependent on food aid to survive. Some 50,000 children died of hunger and related causes last year alone, according to the humanitarian group Save the Children. One million people have cholera — the world’s largest such epidemic in a half-century....

 

The infiltration of terrorist elements into mainstream politics in Pakistan now appears imminent. As they compound the power they have secured through violence and extremist street mobilization with constitutional legitimacy, the fundamentals of Pakistan’s politics can only change for the worse. Establishment parties who have long exploited these extremist groups may find that their own power is significantly compromised, or even directly challenged, by the inroads extremist formations make into the country’s electoral politics....

 
Pakistan’s Media Community Is Effectively under Siege
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Pakistan’s Media Community Is Effectively under Siege
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

The unwarranted blocking of the distribution of one of the main independent newspapers has yet again shown that the military are determined to maintain their grip on access to news and information in Pakistan. It is clear that the military high command does not want to allow a democratic debate in the months preceding a general election....

 

“The threat of transnational terrorism is rearing its head again. TTP militants have relocated to Afghanistan. The Islamic State (IS) is establishing a footprint in Afghanistan near the Pakistani border with a very real potential of spill over into parts of Pakistan. This situation has been compounded by the return of battle hardened militants from Syria and Iraq….

Draconian rules—including not just a ban on women drivers but also alcohol prohibition, severe dress codes requiring women to cover themselves before leaving the house, and state-enforced gender segregation in virtually all public places, including Starbucks—have been so well publicized throughout the world that many casual and distant observers of the Middle East think this sort of thing is par for the course over there. It’s not....

Migrants who had come to Pakistan from India faced a double jeopardy: first they lost their belongings and faced enormous hardships while crossing the border, and second following the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 they were uprooted again. This community made enormous sacrifices for the creation of Pakistan, only to have their patriotic credentials questioned by successive governments....

 

That is the MBS pattern and it has an echo: it is the manner of the Russian Communist regime at the conclusion of its long exercise of power. The pattern is clear: granting alleged reforms while attempting at the same time under the radar to reinforce control. According to reports, Human Rights Watch criticised the arrests and said that Saudi authorities had long repressed activists and dissidents for peaceful activities....

 

The AL-led Government has consistently reaffirmed and demonstrated its determination to honour its 2008 Election pledge to bring the War Criminals of the 1971 genocide to justice. The achievements on this count are already remarkable. The Trials are the unfinished agenda of the Liberation War, and need to be sustained, despite efforts of anti-liberation forces and their sympathizers in the Diaspora and international community, to disrupt the process....

 

India can get away with anything because it is not internally troubled and no terrorism radiates from it to the outside world while Pakistan faces sanctions for harbouring terrorists. No matter what India does to punish Pakistan, it is with the tacit approval of the world sick of Pakistan’s lack of internal sovereignty with 60 per cent of its territory without the writ of the state....

 

Pakistan could not have vaulting quality of leadership after Muhammad Ali Jinnah died on 11 September 1948. In the early 1950s, social chaos in Pakistan did make the political organisations weak and corrupt which promoted nepotism. The newly born ‘Islamic state’ was passing through febrile situations when landlords, corrupt politicians and bureaucrats held power and influence over public offices and filled their coffers....

 

Amidst the iniquitous engineering Pakistan’s political structures are increasingly exposed to, there is emerging the promise of a rights movement premised on the legitimacy of its demands and the relevance of its message, claiming space and accountability within a constricted political landscape. While framed within the context of Pashtun identity and experience,...

 
Arab League's Paralysis Reflects Its Irrelevance
Mohammad Pervez Bilgrami
Arab League's Paralysis Reflects Its Irrelevance
Mohammad Pervez Bilgrami

The Arab League has turned out to be a disastrous venture for both Arabs and Muslims; a group run by lackey states and kingdoms that have proved to be utterly ineffective in world politics. Its failure and ineffectiveness is actually rooted in the formation of this effete ethno-lingual intergovernmental organization – actually a product of the flawed phenomenon of Arab nationalism as propagated by the colonial powers a century ago....

 

But the “reformer” prince’s rhetoric is colliding with the reality of his rule. Since May 15, his government has been arresting human rights advocates — among them some of the most prominent Saudi women activists — in a crackdown that perpetuates long-standing Saudi repression. The crown prince’s playbook is an old one. For strongmen in the Muslim-majority world, the trope of the scary Muslim is invaluable. It allows them to bond with sceptics of Islam abroad...

 

Pakistani Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai visited Pakistan for five days in March this year. She is Pakistan’s second Nobel Laureate and has been rejected by most Pakistanis; the first laureate, Dr Abdus Salam, was also rejected. Pakistan supports Aafiya Siddiqi instead, an al Qaeda agent serving 86 years in an American prison, whose release has also been demanded by Pakistan as well as by the terrorist organisation, Islamic State....

 

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran are both responsible for this horrific carnage. Both states are responsible for deepening the sectarian fault lines in the region. Saudi accusations of Iran orchestrating a serpentine Shiite takeover of the Arab world are self-serving exaggerations that conveniently cloak Riyadh’s own malfeasance...

 It is this silence, practised by the not-yet-disappeared in the Soviet Union and in Germany that permitted enforced disappearances to take place, their numbers to grow. So, too, will be the consequences of similar silence in Pakistan. No one expects things to devolve, their own lives to be impacted — until it is too late. The not-yet-disappeared of Pakistan must awake, suddenly and immediately, and realise that innocence is not sufficient protection against the abyss of disappearance....

 

Israel has made political efforts to protect its interests in Syria, but there is not much possibility that such efforts can succeed. Even if for some reason an outside party such as Russia induced Iran to agree not to build a base that threatened Israel, Iran cannot be counted on to keep such an agreement, and no one else would feel strongly enough to insist that Iran live up to it. Iran cares more about this issue than anyone else except Israel....

 

Ending wars and finding a comprehensive regional solution would put an end to Iran’s expanding influence and inevitably result in the political and military undermining of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Without this, Lebanon will remain controlled by the current political equation....

 

The recent manifestation of disenchantment in the way things are done and run in Pakistan is being articulated through the rising expression of injustice and dismissive treatment, particularly amongst the Baloch and the Pakhtuns. Specific conditions exist in both ethnic and national groupings, and this is being made clear by how their different representatives act out their frustrations with the federation and its dominant constituent. Belonging to very different social formations, the Baloch and the Pakhtuns have conveyed their concerns very differently.....

 

Najib has made no pretence of picking a successor, and might leave all options open in the manner of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Russian President Vladimir Putin, a tool that increases the leader’s power. Even before the election, Najib also has started to build up his cult of personality, purging other powerful people in the ruling coalition and surrounding himself with sycophants....

 

The religious political parties are not only manipulating religion but also the socio-political and democratic norms of the country. The big guns of religious politics have entirely failed to serve even their agendas on Islam; invigorating and contributing only hatred, violence, sectarianism in the society of “Islamic Republic of Pakistan.” The political warfare of religious political parties are the misfortune of an Islamic society and fuel momentum toward a destabilized, radicalized society....

 

Safe Charity concept calls for becoming more aware of the surroundings and providing monetary relief to those whom we know are in need. So the next time you do charity, big or small, just make sure it remains only with the good intention of helping people in need and is extended to being vigilant of not becoming prey to the trap of violators. Best way of doing charity in such a scenario is starting from near ones, ie, home, immediate and distant neighbours and needy relatives....

 

For some time now, Bangladesh has been pressing Pakistan to apologize for the genocide of the Bangali population in 1971. The occupation army showed no compunction in butchering an estimated three million of their (mostly unarmed) fellow citizens over a nine-month period to quell a liberation struggle in its then eastern wing. In reply, Pakistan has urged Bangladesh to forget the unfortunate incidents of the past and move on to a new, better relationship. Well short of an apology, its utterly inadequate response glosses over what remains the most shameful blot in Pakistan’s less-than-stellar history....

 
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