Daily Archives: March 4, 2011

Up and down

Don’t let the flag-flying car, the deluge of invitations to seminars and the house in the Minister’s Enclave fool you; finance minister Hafeez Shaikh has got a terrible job. True, in the physical sense of things, it is infinitely better than that of a brick kiln worker. But, to continue with the analogy, consider the brick kiln worker has an eerie set of employers who urge him frantically to make more bricks in lesser time, all while tying both his hands behind him.
Our chief

Common challenges

There is a need on the part of the PML(N) leadership to give serious consideration to the proposal made by Prime Minister Gilani to Mian Nawaz Sharif on Thursday. Gilani has proposed working together to rescue the nation from the crisis emanating from terrorism and economy. While the PPP and the PML(N) have parted company in Punjab, what must not be lost sight of is that Punjab cannot remain immune from the malaise afflicting the rest of the country. Mian Shahbaz Sharif’s appeal to

Winds of change

As Libya teeters on the brink of a chaotic civil war, its strongman Muammar Gaddafi obstinately refuses to quit. Delusional about his invincibility, he has vowed to die a martyr rather than step down or go into exile.
Will the process in Libya be an exception to the winds of change blowing over the Middle East that have swept away corrupt and autocratic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt? Gaddafi is counting on tribal loyalties and his narrow support base to stick to power around

White Lies

While Colonel Gaddafi fights for political survival and all the perks that come with it, he may be unaware of another move in Pakistan to do away with his name. The colonel can bomb protesters in Libya but what can he do about Lahoriites who want Gaddafi Stadium renamed. He obviously cannot send fighter jets to kill those who demand that an iconic building discard the name of a dictator who is getting really bad press these days. Some alternative names have been posted on social

Widening schisms

The brutal assassination of the Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, the only non-Muslim member of the cabinet, is another indelible stigma on the face of a country that appears rapidly degenerating into a quagmire of blood and hatred. The fact that this happened in the federal capital in broad daylight is reflective of the impotence of the government to stem the fundamentalist tide. The silence of the religious parties adds to the humiliation of the country.<br

Let Libya be

What the US-led West is doing in Libya is what they have always done: remaining silent about the excesses of a helpful dictator as long as he is able to keep the masses under control. They court the autocrat, enter into lucrative business deals with him and earn super profits by selling weapons including devices of mob control like tear gas shells, rubber bullets, water cannons and weapons that dictators can use against protestors in urban areas. Once the masses are up against the

No farewell to arms

A recent UNESCO report has stated that Pakistan spends 7 times as much on arms than it does on primary education and this with 7.3 million children out of school in the country.
According to the same report, just one-fifth of this arms budget would be enough to finance universal primary education in the country
This is an indicator of our messed up priorities. More arms to fill our armaments but no education for 7.3 million children of our own. Our security paradigm will

Street crimes

Up till now street crimes like snatching of cell phones, money at bus stops and traffic signals was common. But now these crimes have reached their peak where truck full of men come and take away their belongings.
Recently, I happened to witness this very incident in a marriage ceremony I attended. Many armed men came in right at the time of rukhsati, put guns to the heads of bride and groom and took away everything from the guests as well as the bride. Some 400 people became

Public transport needed

Through your esteemed column, I want to raise a very important matter concerning my area Gulshan-e-Hadeed.
When this area was established, it was not considered to be a part of Karachi as this area lied too far. But now, Gulshan-e-Hadeed is a part of Karachi. Due to its distance, people have to face many problems and one of them is public transport.
Though people have to go to different areas all over Karachi for their jobs, there is just one coach under the name of Muslim

Jobs for special people

The last time I visited the Rizal Park in Philippines many kiosks were set up where deaf and dumb people were working. They prepared and served fast food to customers. They were earning livelihood for their families besides having the satisfaction of being a useful part of the society. On the contrary, in our society, the deaf and dumb people are treated as burden.
For the welfare of these specially gifted people, we and the government should set up similar type of kiosks in

Balochistan treasures

Strategically located between Afghanistan and the warm waters, Balochistan has always been a superpower’s paradise with a treasure-laden terrain containing an abundance of gold, copper, coal and other natural resources. It is Pakistan’s largest yet the most neglected province where there have been several insurgencies over the last six decades. Its worsening law and order situation today is playing havoc with the peace and stability of the country.
The ethnic cleansing regime,

Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder: is the government going to wake up?-I

The latest addition into the casualty list is the gory murder of Federal Minister for Minority Rights Shahbaz Bhatti and nobody knows how long this casualty list will continue to unroll to accommodate many more deceased. The file of this cold-blooded murder would also be piled away after some routine official claims, establishment of some new committees and their blockbuster revelations but it will end in the same old-fashioned cold response what we have witnessed in many other

Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder: is the government going to wake up?-II

The assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti is a cowardly act carried out by terrorists and should be denounced unequivocally by all sections of the society. This is the moment when the minorities of our country need our relentless support. We should stand with them and convey to our fellow countrymen that being Pakistanis, we are all one nation. We should all put in our efforts to curb these terrorist and extremists from alienating these minorities. It is to be understood that they are as

Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder: is the government going to wake up?-III

The tragic assassination of Shahbaz Bhatticomes only a couple of months after another assassination of a high profile politician, Salmaan Taseer. The attack is not on minorities or the rights of minorities as both these individuals were known for their outspoken support for minority rights. But through this attack an attempt has been made to kill the rising majority voices of people renouncing violence and extremism. This cowardly attack should be renounced by every section and it is

Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder: is the government going to wake up?-IV

After Salmaan Taseer’s death, this assassination of Mr Shahbaz Bhatti does not come as a shock. This horrible crime will also be shoved under the carpet. Religion has turned Pakistan into a schizophrenic society. This is such a tragic day for Pakistanis. It really, truly is evidence for why Pakistan is a failed state. The death of liberal Pakistan is the death of Pakistan. All the sane voices speaking for change in blasphemy laws will be silenced by the bullet. Insanity has taken over

Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder: is the government going to wake up?-V

Shahbaz Bhatti was murdered because he wanted to bring harmony and peace in the country. Some elements do not want to see a peaceful Pakistan. He is another victim of terrorism. One more courageous person dies. May Allah give him highest place in Heaven and his family strength and courage to cope with his death!
Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday proposed to hold a thorough debate in the National Assembly to devise a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorist

Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder: is the government going to wake up?-VI

While one can hear complains of VIP security and a large entourage being awarded to ministers in Pakistan, the question which comes to mind is why any police escort or security was not given to a sitting Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti. With all the threats received due to his outspoken opinion on sensitive issues, it is a serious lapse of security. It is time that the police and other law enforcement agencies should seriously consider revamping their security protocols regarding

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