Cases of young girls being kidnapped, raped and released, are reported everyday from various parts of Karachi. The fact that no arrests have been shows the priorities of those at helm of our financial capital. In a rare instance, when such an attempt was thwarted on 2 March at a shopping complex in Clifton and the assailants were caught by video surveillance cameras, their faces were not shown to the media to ‘name and shame’ as deterrence. For this to go unnoticed in a country which prides upon calling itself an Islamic Republic is shameful. No other state would allow such heinous crimes to go on unchecked. Who is responsible for such a state of affairs? Is it the city administration, the provincial government, elected representatives, or the numerous security agencies being paid for by tax payers? For five years, we have had an elected government, but no legislation has been undertaken to effectively prosecute terrorists. On 3 March, terrorists launched an attack on the residents of Abbas Town, killing over 55, using an inflammable chemical. This is the same chemical which was used in 12 May, 2007, when lawyers were burned to death. After all these sectarian hate attacks occurred right in the centre of Karachi or Quetta. They plan and stage these attacks from within these cities and manage to flee. Terrorism can only be curtailed in Pakistan if there is a total crackdown on all criminals, whether they be affiliated with TTP, any political party or sectarian outfit. MALIK TARIQ Lahore
Talks about the talks had been going on for far too long and as the drawdown approaches and the endgame starts shaping up the communicative process starts to dominate the battleground. The Americans have been involved in the process for much longer now as talking sessions have taken place between the Taliban and the US representatives. The Taliban have been given the status of being a major stakeholder in the post 2014 future of Afghanistan therefore any idea of peace and harmony in the region would have to be associated with them. The Taliban office in Qatar had been set up specially to facilitate the process. Further, the Afghan peace council has been found pampering the Taliban by succumbing to every demand they make such as releasing of key Taliban figures from jails, for the sake of peace. India, however, is a regional power that has never played its role in bringing stability into the region is finding itself at a loss as the war nears its goal. The Pakistani side, however, had always been advocating the need for genuine reconciliation as it was believed as the only viable option towards a harmonious end. The all parties meeting held recently according to the JUI-F chief, is being marked as the official beginning of the peace process by the Pakistan side. Further, the KP governor has declared his office as the centre for reconciliation which indicates that this time the authorities and the politicians mean business. PROFESSOR KABIL KHAN Peshawar
Pakistan was created for the Muslims of the sub-continent with only one argument that Muslims are a different nation and need a separate state to practice its religion - Islam. The Muslims could not live with Hindu majority population where Hindus worship cows and Muslims eat cows besides host of other differences in historical and cultural values. With this background of creation of a separate state, Pakistan should practice Islamic values as dictated by Quran and Sunnah. No doubt our constitution lays down in its Objective Resolutions that no law would be framed which is repugnant to Quran and Sunnah, but what use this resolution is when nothing is seen according to Quran and Sunnah in the state. The case in point is the recent appearance of pictures of our foreign minister meeting with foreign dignitaries. She should not shake hand with male diplomats/officials thus projecting wrong Islamic values to other countries and not justifying representing a Muslim country. I strongly feel if our lady parliamentarians and ministers dress up according to Quran and Sunnah, they would look more graceful and convey the correct Islamic values to their counterparts of non-Muslim countries.
Former minister Dost Khosa has reconciled with the PML-N’s leadership. One day he tendered a public apology to the Sharifs and two days later, he along with his senator father and elder brother, an MPA, went to meet Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. Some months ago, Dost blew hot and cold against Shahbaz Sharif in a TV appearance, accusing him of dictatorial behavior and not listening to party members. Since the election season is round the corner and politics being the only source of income of the Khosa father and sons, they came making a beeline to ask for forgiveness. This particular father and sons clan could not have done better, for the father is a senator and senior adviser to the chief minister and all his three sons are lawmakers. If it is not dynastic politics, what else is it? Shahbaz Sharif, instead of giving party tickets to this clan, should find new candidates with better reputation.
American contributions towards the growth and development of international law and jurisprudence have been great. The founding fathers of America were genius – George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison – who introduced the modern concepts of democracy, liberty and fundamental right. They were the flag-bearers of human rights and fundamental freedom. Likewise, the “Monroe Doctrine” propounded by the president James Monroe in 1823 reflecting the US foreign policy of the time was based on the principle of non-intervention that helped promoting self-respect among the member of international community. This process still continues, however, in the negative direction. The so-called “Bush Doctrine” by the George W Bush is essentially based on the concept of Unilateralism in the international intercourses. The principle of “No-Fence-Sitting” based on his proclamation that “you are either with us, or with terrorists” has called for the unqualified and unquestioned support by the international community for the War on Terror. Now, the drone attacks conducted by Uncle Sam worldwide, and mainly in Pakistan, is an important development and contribution in this regard. Here are the important points of its newly introduced and recently evolved “Drone Doctrine.” Firstly, a single incident like 9/11 can give a nation a sort of “license to kill” and impose upon another nation a “liability to be killed.” Under this license, one can attack any country and dismantle any regime all over the world. Secondly, in the name of some “higher cause” e.g., War on Terror, now one state can violate the national sovereignty of other state and may totally reject the protest or objection by the other state upon this. Thirdly, no formal authorisation from the UN Security Council is required for an international intervention in violation of the International Law and UN charter including Article 2(4), refraining to the member state from the use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of other states. Fourthly, a civil and non-military agency of a state, like CIA, can directly and openly involve in the acts of hostility against an alien state. Lastly and most importantly, one can act as prosecutor, adjudicator and executor simultaneously and arbitrarily by relying on the new fundamental principle of “guilty until proven dead.”
Four more years for Obama. What it means to us is four more years of drone attacks and killings of innocent people on the western border of Pakistan. Obama claims that his policies are worth another four years, so the one momentary chance of drone attacks being stopped has also diminished. A few changes he’s willing to make are in his country’s fiscal fixes, taxation and immigration. Keeping that in view, if Obama administration does not changes its policy towards Pakistan, why not Pakistan changes its policy towards America? It’s a give and take relationship after all. The least our government can do is to stop these drone attacks that are creating a continuous unrest in the country. And for this, we Pakistanis, don’t need to wait for elections, it’s now or never. HUDA NASIR Islamabad
A recently published study prepared by Centre for Investigative Reporting of Pakistan( CIRP) revealed that two-third of lawmakers sitting in our country’s present assemblies did not file income returns for the financial year ended on 30-06-2011. Quite a sizeable number of parliamentarians reportedly do not even have national tax number (NTN). In a country where legislators themselves appear to be violating income tax law, one should not be surprised to note that it has tax-to-GDP ratio is just 9.5 percent, the lowest in South Asia. The story does not perhaps end here. It is generally perceived that big businessmen also do not pay their due share of income tax to exchequer. A country where legislators as well as big businessmen do not pay their due share of tax to the government, it is very likely that this tendency will trickle down giving the society a tax avoiding culture which is very alarming sign for us as a nation. However, I would like to point out that it is not a rocket science as to how to improve tax-to-GDP ratio. The simple solution is that our political and business leaders should first set examples of paying their due share of tax to the government. The rest of puzzle will be solved automatically. EJAZ AHMAD MAGOON Lahore
It is a pity that some editorials have come out in support of Sindh’s concern that the flow in the Indus will be reduced if Kalabagh dam is built. Dams are built the world over to overcome shortages and not to create them. Mangla dam was built to compensate for the loss of the three eastern rivers and brought about a green revolution in the country. Could it have done this by reducing the flow in the Jhelum? Tarbela dam increased supply to the canals by 25 percent, could it have done this by reducing the flow in the Indus? Sindh got an additional 7 million acre feet of water from Tarbela dam? As per the Water Accord of 1991, Sindh stands to get 2.2 million acre feet from Kalabagh dam, can it get this if the dam reduces flow in the Indus? Please check with the Sindh irrigation department to see the post-Tarbela increase of 7 maf over the pre-Mangla withdrawals in the canals of Sindh, also the 27 lac acre increase in the area under cultivation. These increases did not come about by reduction in the flow of the Indus. In this day and age of technology, we should speak on the basis of verifiable data and not on the basis of hearsay. ENGR KHURSHID ANWER Lahore
Malala Yusufzai, a young girl from Swat, was attacked by the Taliban of Fazlullah group from across the border in Nuristan, Afghanistan. This also led to pressure on Pakistan to undertake operations in North Waziristan. But this is a serious matter; operations are undertaken in order to bring relief. Any operation has to be undertaken after gathering reliable intelligence, with able assistance of local population and keeping in mind the tribal traditions. Secondly, there has to be a mechanism that ensures timely replacement by a pro-active civil dispensation as and when the army vacates the area. Army is ever since managing the civilian affairs as the federal and provincial governments are unable to take the charge. The political administrations can’t move without army’s escort. This did not happen even in worst operations during the British Raj. Challenges for army redouble as a large number of troops deployed on eastern front have been move to western border, thus leaving the defence against India unbalanced. This situation has been exploited by neighbouring countries and an invisible foreign hand seems to be working behind fuelling insurgency in the troubled areas of FATA as well as Balochistan. Vacation of posts by NATO-ISAF forces on the other side of the border leaves the Durand Line vulnerable for Pakistan. This indicates towards the plot to keep Pakistan Army engaged on its western borders, so that continued engagement weakens the armed forces from within. So Pakistan has more at stake than what seems at the face value. The human angle has never been given any priority. People of FATA, who are loyal to Pakistan, are fed up of terrorism. The situation demands a strategy to be made afresh involving locals, all political parties and stakeholders, with an aim to win over the hearts and minds. Army must be relieved of the local administration burden. It can be redeployed in DI Khan. Development work must start with the cooperation of local tribes. Politically elected representatives and civil society organisations must rally people and show their presence by sharing their grief and treating them with dignity. Political parties must establish offices inside North and South Waziristan. Political government should hold negotiations with the tribes to redefine social contracts. No joint NATO-Pak Operations should be conducted. We should not overstretch army’s deployment in FATA and Swat. Political activities must be allowed in FATA, elections must be held across the tribal area, committees be formed to write a new social contract, the FCR needs to be re-written, FATA be declared a separate province, and development work be started a massive pace to bring the tribal people to mainstream.
I boarded PK364 on Feb 25 from Karachi for Islamabad, checking in one soft bag and a carton. At Islamabad, when the porter put my bag on the trolley, I saw that the zip and lock of my bag was broken, and it was tied with a brown string. Lodging the complaint with the PIA staff present at the lounge, I was asked to open the bag and check the contents. As feared, my gold and silver jewelry pouch was missing. A formal complaint was lodged with PIA but after more than 24 hours, I have not heard from any one. Though I did tell them that they could catch the culprits very easily as the ASF guy as you enter the lounge is the only one to see through the scanner what each bag contains. He must then be sending a word to his partners at the loading side where they had the time to identify my bag, break the lock and the zip, take the pouch out without disturbing any other item, then tie the bag with a string. The footage of my bag being scanned between 3 to 3.30 pm would be at the entry point. They could identify the guy who was on duty and get to the gang. But this takes efforts and willingness to catch a thief. If the whole system is involved (which seems to be the case as nobody has responded despite that the case having been referred to the highest authorities) then there is no hope for me to get my valuables back. This apparently is not the first case, many such cases of bags being opened and stuff stolen have been reported. The response of PIA staff at Islamabad airport was the best: “You should not carry valuables in check-in baggage”. I think they should put up written instructions as well as make it known to all passengers travelling by PIA that please do not carry any valuables in your bags as our staff is most untrustworthy (rather we have thieves as employees). I am very disturbed; the feeling that your baggage is so unsafe and can be stolen within the airport area is actually very distressing. Who can one approach? This is a big game with big players. Can anybody do something to catch the thieves? TASNEEM AHMAR Director Uks, a research, resource and publication centre, Islamabad
Brazen attacks on sufi shrines in upper Sindh reflect a very dangerous social trend in the land of sufis. Some extreme developments in the past year or so like Hindu migration (mostly from upper Sindh), forced conversion of Hindu girls plus this fresh wave of attacks on shrines must have worried left forces of Sindhi nationalism. Sindh, since the days of “Bazm-e-Sufia-e-Sindh” founded by GM Syed, has been a citadel of tolerant Sufi inspired Sindhi social attitudes and behaviours against establishment’s ideological onslaught. An opportunist political leadership of Muslim League after the demise of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah sided with those who had openly opposed the formation of Pakistan leaving no choice to left leaning forces of cultural nationalism but to hit back. The formation of Bazm was one such endeavour. The ultimate purpose was to preserve the delicate diversity of Sindhi society which had evolved through a process of interaction between Muslim mystics and local rituals of Hindu faith. The strong bond of Sindhi language has kept the diverse population in terms of religion and ethnic back grounds united and served as a cultural chain, from southern district of Thatta to northern districts of Jacobabad and Shikarpur. The right wing establishment revised its strategy and entered the province in 80s through religious seminaries. Riots against Ahmadi community in upper Sindh in early years of 80s was an early manifestation of states policy of imposing it’s so called policy of Islamisation. Ultra right ideology motivated produce of seminaries are now attacking Sufi symbols in Sindh and removing the last hurdle to finally Islamise Pakistan. Institutional radicalisation through religious seminaries across the country is the most effective tool that has been used by extremist forces since Afghan jihad days. Petty interests of corrupt politicians in the ranks of all major political parties are driving them ever closer to these forces of insanity, everywhere in Pakistan including Sindh. So-called harbingers of secularism are now shaking hands openly and in some places doing under hand deals with anarchists just to retain their seats in next parliament. The situation is a great challenge to the forces of Sindhi nationalism in decades where the entire socio-economic balance of Sindh is at stake.
I don’t know what kind of people we are. Living in the Daroghewala area on the main GT Road, I witness lawlessness around me all the time. First of all, the governemtn has to clearly mark this area as a commercial, industrial or domestic one. No one seems to know what is the status of this area. Factories have grown up like mushrooms here, some of which are a serious threat to the environment and can have severe health hazards. Right on the main GT Road, opposite Moninpura PTCL exchange, used tyres are burnt on daily basis to extract residual fuel, leaving highly toxic elements in the air without any check or treatment. And when it happens, which is too often, residents of the area are left gasping for fresh air. How anyone can get a permit to develop this kind of a factory in a residential area is beyond my comprehension. No government department i.e., health, environment protection, waste management control or even the city district government has taken any step to handle the situation. Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif is requested to please find some time from his pet project of Metro Bus System and look into the matter and do something about it.
In the wake of consistent intelligence failure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan which has resulted in ever increased terrorists attacks against general public and religious/sectarian minorities, the federal government has decided to transfer more than 300 officers and agents of intelligence agencies (excluding ISI) under its control. For damage control, government wouldn’t like to publicise these transfers, calling the action as a ‘routine’ activity. Isn’t not interesting that army spokesman was compelled to issue a statement denying any link between army and sectarian terrorist organisations? At the same time the Punjab government is again being alleged for having a soft corner for sectarian outfits. Liberal parties who have been taking a tough line against Taliban and other terrorists are also on the retreat; that’s evident from the outcome of ANP’s called All Parties Conference. Therefore, no half-hearted efforts by army and federal/provincial governments can take us anywhere unless the whole country gets united in its resolve to root out the terrorism. Only then political parties, security forces, judiciary and media may feel the heat. But this is not going to happen and tomorrow will be bloodier than today.
On the day when national media reported that Planning Commission of Pakistan succumbed to pressure of new federal finance minister and cleared 22 projects and four concept papers worth Rs 73.578 billion for PM’s Gujar Khan Package etc, the PTI spokesperson was still obsessed with Lahore Metro Bus system inaugurated and operational now for over two weeks. The only change was that while the Punjab government insists that Rs 30 billion was the cost, and PTI previously insisted along with the likes of Raja Riaz that it was worth over Rs 70 billion, but the spokesman has now hiked the cost to over Rs 100 billion. Is this the party that will bring about a change? Perhaps it will serve PTI better if it confines to projection of its own manifesto and decides whether it will oppose the sitting coalition government headed by President Zardari’s PPP, or continue to play role of opposition to official opposition.
It has been observed that in developing countries like Pakistan, every year thousands of poor and needy people die from Asthma because of their lower purchasing power of highly expensive medicine available in the market as well as relief providing tools. For this I am proposing the idea of salt based inhaler. These inhalers will be introduced to secure asthma patients. It is a potential opportunity for us to use cheap resources of our country and converting them into profit making products. As available inhalers are expensive and sometimes not safe for the patients, salt based inhaler can provide a perfect balance in between patient care and cost effectiveness. Dry-salt-inhalers have a lot of benefits for human body. It will not be out of place to say that salt can be considered as an essential constituent of human body. Dry-salt-inhaler will utilise the simple curative principle of breathing salty air as in salt therapy centres. The dry-salt-inhaler is a convenient, drug-free and non-invasive device and falls under the category of physical care. The salt’s antiseptic and detoxifying properties will not only kill germs and bacteria in the air before it is breathed into the system but it will also help the absorption of oxygen. Using it is as simple as putting the mouth piece into mouth and start inhaling normally, exhaling through the nose. Deep breathing helps too. A 15-20 minutes daily use is useful. With its low cost and better results, many patients in the country would find it extremely useful. KANEEZ ZAHRA Lahore