Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi

Games that states play

The bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States have become increasingly complex, manifesting convergence and divergence at the same time and reflecting varying degrees of distrust from time to time. Both apply pressure on each other, although the US has more levers to pull to off-balance Pakistan.
The major reason for the games the US and Pakistan play with each other is that they share the goal of elimination of terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan but diverge

Mubasher Lucman

Help needed

Asia Begum is a widow with seven children, five of whom are young girls and are both physically and mentally challenged. They range from age groups between 7 years to mid teens. The two older ones, who are normal, have not been able to complete their formal education and are reduced to taking care of the younger siblings along with their mother. The children must be washed, bathed, fed and cleaned every day. It also means they have to be carried on a back to a toilet each day. The two

Mayank Austen Soofi

Wishful thinking

What will be new about 2011? Can it be possible that for an Indian passport-holder like me, going to Lahore becomes as simple as going to Lucknow? Can you be able to commute easily from Karachi to Kanpur? Can Kashmir… uh, let’s face it: Kashmir won’t be solved in our lifetime. But is India-Pakistan peace possible? Readers, I have a New Year wish. I’m not asking for the impossible. In 2011, I just want to see this report in my favorite daily, The New York Times written by somebody like

Hassaan Ghazali

Lost in Pakistan

The year 2010 will always be remembered as the year in which the hit American TV series “Lost” ended. As the curtain fell on six long years of a sci-fi survivalist extravaganza, the show had attained cult status across the world with critical acclaim and popular success for its spiritual and mythological underpinnings. The series tells the story of various individuals and groups of people after a passenger plane crashes on a mysterious tropical Island. The series finale, simply titled

Owning democracy

Many critics say that the democracy – “rotten democracy”, as they like to say it – is not the panacea for all ills but they should not forget that democracy, whether brought about by one party or coalition, may be a bitter pill but much better than getting victimised under arbitrary rule of one man, having no say or participation.
Furthermore, we say that Pakistan is suffering from various maledictions like misgovernance, regionalism and ballooning economic crisis but it needs to

PCB’s shame

This is with reference to reports that Waqar, Afridi and Maj Najam have given testimony confirming continued meetings of Salman Butt, Asif, Kamran Akmal and Amir with the Majeed brothers inspite of warnings not to do so.
The question that remains unanswered is what was the role of Shafqat Rana and Yawar Ali in this shameful episode which has brought shame and disgrace to Pakistan cricket. After all what is the role of a manager and in this case two of them. Reports also suggest

Distorted justice

Dubious cases are being noticed wherein a corrupt employee in the private sector, facing a threat of his termination by the employer, disappears for a few days and files a false case of forcible detention by his employer ostensibly supported by false witnesses.
Such cases are liable to drag on for a long time in spite of enquiry reports of police investigation showing the spurious nature of cases.
Such cases often happen in lower courts which are not entirely free from

Pakistan at a standstill

It appears that Pakistan is all about Benazir Mr Bhutto and Zardari nowadays. All year round, there are ceremonies of PPP with live coverage on every TV channel alongside worth billion of rupees print advertisements. Who pays for all this?
Is it from PPP funds or the tax money squeezed from the 170 million hungry stomachs?
The political leaders, jurists, judges and opinion makers must ask this question in the media and insist on the answers from the Prime Minister,

Music in Islam

In our society, we have to face some tough questions on simple issues. Take music for example. I am a music lover and I often play few musical instruments due to which some people argue with me over the controversial issue of music being prohibited in Islam. After going through Quranic injunctions and Hadiths, I find that Quran has nowhere banned music or singing while the Hadiths have some interesting points for us.
Music is in every corner of our universe, birds, animals,

Charismatic leaders

Our country had a mixed bag of leaders. We had leaders of intellect and leaders of determination. Some daring and charismatic leaders also came to the national scene. The most interesting case is that of the charismatic leaders. They can overcome many obstacles and are usually able to gather a large following. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto are among them.
Charisma is a trait found in individuals whose personalities are characterised by a powerful charm. They have

It is not Quaid’s Pakistan

Punjab Chief Minister, while addressing the 134th birth anniversary function of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, said that it was not the Pakistan that was envisaged by the Founder of the Nation, as notorious, corrupt and fake degree holders have become the decision makers.
He was right about what the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted the country to be: free from the evils of sectarianism, nepotism, terrorism and corruption. Ironically, it is the PML(N), Chief Minister’s

What’s your plan?

New Year is a time of new beginnings. It is a time to prioritise your thoughts and set your goals. While checking my to-do-list at work, something interesting caught my eye. It was the last week of December – the moment of realisation of the fact that I have entered into the beginning of the end of this year. Oh yes! Another year is moving towards its conclusion and, in this fast paced life, this is the ideal time to slow down, take a break and look back at the prior eleven months

Tall claims

Funny that the so-called political leader, whose sobbing tantrums put many a theatre to shame, has threatened the second largest party in the country with a political incarnation in the Punjab province, the province where it has no actual presence. MQM’s leader, Altaf Hussain, living in exile and fearing the sword of justice hanging above his head in the country, sounds real funny when he says that he will face Nawaz Sharif in Punjab by proving his political strength.
These are

Being cool

The PPP and PML(N) are gradually realising the need for sobriety while making comments about each other. This was evident from Law Minister Babar Awan’s press briefing as well as from the address delivered by Mian Nawaz Sharif at a rally in Muzaffarabad. While PPP’s central executive committee has strictly restrained its members from offering provocations to other parties, the PML(N) chief deflected the criticism that he had turned the party into a friendly opposition not by indulging

Words of praise

It was always very counter-intuitive. The late Richard Holbrooke, a career diplomat, was the straight-talking, undiplomatic bad cop. As opposed to professional solider Gen David Petraeus, boss of international forces in Afghanistan, who exudes the kind erudite diplomacy one would expect from a State Department official. Asked about a year ago about allegations that Pakistani spy agencies were maintaining links with terrorist networks, he replied, it is impossible to know about the

On the judicial revolution

What was the point of the judicial revolution? Was it to restore one man to office? Or was it to establish the independence of the judiciary? Either way, how would you assess the revolution from today’s perspective?
This was the question posed at a recent roundtable hosted by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. And predictably, it set off a small storm amidst the lawyers gathered.
I don’t intend to summarise the many viewpoints offered but the plurality of opinions

Syed Hassan Belal Zaidi

Counting the ways

Life, as I know it, is very hard. Falling out of bed every morning, stumbling into the shower and then trying to keep your chai stable and your cigarette dry as you drive over pot-holed roads to a dead-end job. Working 10, 12 and sometimes 16 hours at a stretch is bound to tire even the most athletic of us, so imagine what a piece of lard such as myself must go through, day in and day out. Since I work for a TV station, it’s not like I have much recreational time anyway. Even when I