Let go of fear

No society can expect to move forward on its agenda of modernisation and progress without letting go of its inherent fear and inhibitions about its traditions. This is of great importance to our own society in Pakistan where we often hear stories like the following: A man is shot dead, his women violated and his house burnt to the ground. A young girl Samina is married to the Holy Scripture, another in a nearby village tells the horrific tale of Karo Kari, while the third, she didn’t

Regional cooperation

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif’s recent visit to brotherly Muslim country Turkey should be taken as a welcome step in the wider economic context.
Pakistan is a continued victim of the 9/11 incident which has weakened us from within. We are the target of terrorism and a victim of economic compulsions resulting due to lack of energy resources. This recent step is in the right direction. It may achieve many successes.
Punjab government signed multiple agreements

New Year gift

Having celebrated the Christmas, when the world was welcoming the New Year on January 1st, CIA operated drones hunted down 19 persons in South and North Waziristan.
All those blown up in such attacks were allegedly extremists and terrorists, as usual. When the Western world was eating, drinking and merrymaking, its drones were spilling the blood of the innocent thousands of miles away.
In Mirali, after the drones had left the victims drenched in blood, the rescuers were

Dirty politics of MQM

By breaking the alliance with the PPP, the MQM has once again manifested that its political approach lacks national perspective. The MQM has rather proven that it is nearly a provincial party if not regional.
In the hour of utmost difficulty, when our beloved country is entrapped between monsters of hyper-inflation and sheer energy crises, what Pakistan needed the most was political stability.
The decision of MQM would not only unleash lethal economic disasters, but also has

Shoot down drones

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander said on January 2 that they had shot down many spy planes including the two “Western spy drones” entering the Iranian airspace. Bravo! This is the example of a living nation. And this is in sharp contrast to the 124 American drone attacks in 2010 inside Pakistan that killed 1,184 persons, though, according to a report in a national daily, those among killed were 59% civilians while the remaining 41% terrorists belonging to numerous militant groups

Politics of national interests

Though it’s a fact that the MQM has decided to sit on opposition benches, as did the JUI(F), and critics have started pointing towards the jolts that the government may face, it should not be forgotten that the beauty of democracy is all about tolerating voices of dissention and bringing all stakeholders in the democratic fold through amicable means. Letting the government alone at this time may not be too good an option.
The PPP government’s efforts to bring back the coalition

Gilani’s calculations

While the MQM has announced the withdrawal of support to the government, it says it has kept the door open, as does President Zardari, for reconciliation, Babar Awan has clarified that the President is not going to ask Gilani to seek a vote of confidence. Even if a no confidence move was to succeed, of which there is little chance on account of a lack of consensus in the opposition about a new prime minister, mid-term elections would be the only way out which suits no stakeholder.

Peace in Afghanistan

The grandly named High Peace Council which is due from Kabul today hasn’t really achieved much since it was formed last October. That is but understandable. What’s a year of attempts at peace in the face of a decade-long insurgency? But it does appear that the said council won’t be making much of a headway in the near future either.
Led as it might be by former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, the council simply isn’t empowered enough to make much headway. Some, however,

Dr Faisal Bari

What education reforms?

Hardly anyone in Pakistan would disagree that: a) getting education right to ensure quality education for all children in Pakistan is a very important goal for our national survival and future, b) education is currently in a mess and needs major reforms, and c) this should have priority for our government.
The current governments – federal and provincial – have been in power for almost three years. If these governments wanted to do something in education sector, before their

Umair Javed

A crisis of representation

‘At a certain point in their historical lives, social classes become detached from their traditional parties. In other words, the traditional parties in that particular organisational form, with the particular men who constitute, represent and lead them, are no longer recognised by that class (or fraction of a class) as its expression. When such crises occur, the immediate situation becomes delicate and congerous, because the field is open for violent solutions…’ (State and Civil

Imran Khan

Our unsung heroes

By claiming responsibility for lashings, public beheadings and suicide bombings, the Taliban have declared themselves villains of the caliber that cannot be found even in the goriest of movies. But like anywhere else, the emergence of these villains has also prompted the rise of heroes.
Take for instance the case of Liaqat Ali Khan, of the Dagai village of Matta in Swat. On October 17, 2008, Liaqat received an unexpected guest at his house; the guest was Zhang Guo a Chinese

Syed Hassan Belal Zaidi

Divorce & other adventures

As the PPP government took power after the February 2008 elections, the people of Pakistan were promised many things. Along with far-fetched notions such as cleaner schools, better-funded public toilets and tax cuts for alcoholics, the promises included an end to lota-cracy, horse-trading and parliamentary spot-fixing. But with the world and many Pakistani children watching, Messrs Rizvi and Sabzwari announced their unhappy divorce from BB ki hukoomat. As you can no doubt imagine, the

Increase in fuel prices

It is with reference to your editorial titled ‘Petrol Bomb’ and other unfair labels. Being reader of your esteemed paper I am badly jolted by your views expressed in your editorial supporting the government for its recent increase in petrol prices. If subsidies are not the proper way to control runaway inflation in the country, then the government cowering (using your terminology in your editorial titled ‘Blasphemy backtrack’) to impose agriculture income tax on rich feudals, income

Police attitude

Some of the people are not aware of their rights and thus face problems when a policeman or any other law enforcer tries to harass them.
Misbehaviour by police is intolerable. However, due to the feudal system that is still prevalent in most parts of the country, the police force has always remained under political influence. As a result they try to consider themselves as above the law. Being a public servant, you can tell a policeman that he should behave appropriately. In case

High moral values

Recently, there has been a news report that an ailing son of a militant has died in a jail at Peshawar. He was the son of Dawlat Shah, a member of Lashkar-e-Islam. It was further reported that the boy was of 16 years, had no charges of terrorism against him and was only being held in connection with his father. He was suffering from kidney disease and died due to non-availability of treatment facilities, even the request by his family to release him were rejected.
I want to

Hindus in Balochistan

There are a considerable number of Hindus living in Balochistan. They are not only living there for a century now but are totally incorporated in the tribal system. Apart from this fact, minorities create diversity in a society and help to ward off extremist forces by creating interfaith harmony.
However, the kidnappers and extortionists are also targeting Hindus along with other people. State law provides protection to the minorities in Pakistan but somehow the implementation is

Indian arms built-up

In Pakistan-India context, the equation rests at 100 to 150 nuclear warheads of mixed nature. Both are in state of stalemating each other as far as the use is concerned, thereby placing an extremely capable deterrence against each other. Grounds other than nuclear are not so equal playing fields.
India, with its huge defence budget and almost negligible operational liabilities as compared to Pakistan, is pursuing a massive modernisation and rearming programme with force