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Showing posts from October, 2011

Imran Khan's historic rally - Time to Change Revolution at horizon in Pakistan

Imran Khan has been labouring it out in the political wilderness for 15 long years. Sometimes appearing a natural liberal, at times a forced conservative, but forever irking his political opponents with his cheeky condescending smile. But while he always seemed to be just around the corner, he had never really arrived. It all changed on the slightly nippy autumn Sunday evening.

Let there be no doubts. Imran Khan and his PTI have arrived politically, and with a real bang. In one bold stroke, which was being described by many pundits as a needless and possibly fatal risk, he stood transformed from a promising political power to a threatening electoral force. During his cricketing days, Imran had the knack to prove a game changer, it now seems he just may be able to do that also in the much more complex game of politics.
The massive rally will indeed be the flavour of the day on news channels for a couple of days and has already served the purpose of serving notice on all who refused to…

Can't Win in Afghanistan? Blame Pakistan

Soon after the US invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban government in 2001, I predicted that Taliban resistance would resume in four years, writes Eric Margolis.
My fellow pundits, who were cock-a-hoop over the US military victory over a bunch of lightly-armed medieval tribesmen, became drunk on old-fashioned imperial triumphalism, and denounced me as "crazy," or worse. But most of them had never been to Afghanistan and knew nothing about the Pashtun tribal people. I had covered the struggle against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980's and was well aware of the leisurely pace of warfare favored by Pashtun warriors.

"Do not stay in Afghanistan," I warned in a 2001 article in the Los Angeles Times. The longer foreign forces remained in Afghanistan, the more the tribes would fight against their continued presence. Taliban resumed fighting in 2005.

Now, as resistance to the US-led occupation of Afghanistan intensifies, the increasingly fr…

Turkish experience with secularism, democracy

“Democracy and secularism are not in contradiction with Islam” was the point underlined by Dr Ihsan Yilmaz during an interactive session titled ‘Contemporary Turkish Politics in the Light of State-Law Relations’ at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs’ library on Saturday.

Dr Yilmaz is the associate professor of political science at Fatih University, Istanbul.

In the beginning of his talk, Dr Yilmaz said that Turkish experience was unique because it had democracy and secularism and the large population of practising Muslims had come to terms with secularism and democracy. He said the Turkish experience could be an inspirational role model for the rest of the Muslim countries, because now political Islamists in his country were operating within the parameters of constitutional framework. He said it was important to understand that the Turkish experience was not anti-Islam.

Going back in history, Dr Yilmaz said the Ottomans were pluralistic and theirs was a kind of a secular…

US Led Bogus Wars on Terrorism

Bogus Wars The UNO- a global institution of formal HOPE for the mankind failed to stop the powerful aggressors in their plans to invade Iraq and Afghanistan for purely strategic-political domination and to occupy the natural resources.  The UNO’s inaction and inability to fulfill its mandate of the Charter has made it a redundant organization simply to rejoin the historical failure of the League of the Nations – a complete failure in contemporary history, from the working of the UN to the global adventurous organizations such as the NATO, the UN Security Council, the EU and other security establishments. They exist to protect the self interest of the so called Five Superpowers (known bullying actors of the UN Security Council), as has been the case throughout the human history. E.H Carr foresaw the teaching-learning role of the history but the modern so called superpowers appear devoid of making good out of the living history. NATO’s priorities were chartered in the collective defens…

India's Silent War

A 40-year long civil war has been raging in the jungles of central and eastern India. It is one of the world's largest armed conflicts but it remains largely ignored outside of India.

Caught in the crossfire of it are the Adivasis, who are believed to be India's earliest inhabitants. A loose collection of tribes, it is estimated that there are about 84 million of these indigenous people, which is about eight per cent of the country's population.

For generations, they have lived off farming and the spoils of the jungle in eastern India, but their way of life is under threat. Their land contains mineral deposits estimated to be worth trillions of dollars. Forests have been cleared and the Indian government has evacuated hundreds of villages to make room for steel plants and mineral refineries.

The risk of losing everything they have ever known has made many Adivasis fertile recruits for India's Maoist rebels or Naxalites, who also call these forests home.

The Maoists&…

Libya’s path to Democracy

If there is one thing more fraught, more attended by failure and more difficult to do than fighting a war, it is building the peace which follows. Our modern wars are fought in weeks or months — but building the peace is measured in decades.

Wars are violent and swift. Building peace is long, painful and almost always untidy. Winning wars needs decisiveness. Building peace needs strategic patience.

What happens next in Libya is unlikely to be tidy or elegant to watch. Get used to it. The country is tribal by nature and the war has been tribal in its conduct. Finding a constitution — probably a highly devolved one — that can provide a framework to contain these pressures is not going to be easy — especially with such oil revenues to be distributed, so much religion to infect minds, and so many arms in the peoples’ hands.

But there are strengths to build on. There are some able individuals who are more than capable of efficiently running their country. With the world waiting at Tripoli…

Tajikistan and Uzbekistan: Crackdown on Islamists may backfire

TASHKENT: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on Saturday that efforts to crack down on religious freedom might backfire.She said this could lead to increased sympathy for radical views in Central Asia, a region the United States sees as key to the future stability of Afghanistan.Clinton met Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon and Uzbek President Islam Karimov to thank the two Central Asian states for their cooperation in the US-led war in neighbouring Afghanistan.She stressed to both that freedom of religious expression was tied to the region`s future security, US officials said.“I disagree with restrictions on religious freedom and shared those concerns,” Clinton told a news conference after meeting Rakhmon in Dushanbe on the last full day of her latest overseas trip.She said efforts to regulate religion “could push legitimate religious expression underground, and that could build up a lot of unrest and discontent”.Clinton`s visit to the two former So…

Why Sufism?

To counter the emergence of fundamentalism in Pakistan, the ruling classes as well as intellectuals are advocating the revival of sufism. However, it is evident that ideas and the system cannot be revived because fundamentalism is a product of a certain time and space and fulfills the needs of that age.

Secondly, the very idea of revivalism indicates intellectual bankruptcy and lethargy of our intellectuals who are either not ready or do not have the capacity to understand the very phenomenon of religious extremism and its advent as a result of social, economic and political changes in society. A number of myths are associated with sufis. One of the arguments being that they converted non-Muslims and are responsible for the spread of Islam through the subcontinent. To portray them as missionaries discredits them as an impartial community. To convert someone means that they initially did not believe in the truthfulness of other religions. If this view is correct, it does not explain h…

Bringing Solutions to the Table in Afghanistan

By Ayesha Siddiqa
If you are a journalist or a political commentator, you are certain to get frantic calls from friends and family inquiring whether there will be a war between Pakistan and the US. The recent increase in tension between Pakistan and the US is unprecedented as both allies appear poised to come to blows with each other – or at least this is the common perception on the streets of Pakistan. There is concern in the country’s policy-making circles as well; they are considering a whole range of possibilities from an increase in American drone attacks to additional surgical strikes inside Pakistan, such as the one on Osama Bin Laden’s compound on May 2. There are fears too of American boots on the ground, which will naturally be viewed as a clear violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan HinaRabbani Khar (second from right) speaks at the APC held in Islamabad in September. Photo: AFP / Press Information Department Nothing seems impossible con…

Top 5 Ways Jewish Law Justifies Killing Civilians

Islamophobes claim that Islam is more violent than other religions, particularly Judaism and Christianity.  To prove this, they argue that the Islamic holy book, the Islamic prophet, and the Islamic God are all uniquely violent–certainly more so than their Judeo-Christian counterparts. We proved these claims completely bunk by showing the Bible to be far more violent than the Quran,the Biblical prophets to be far more violent than the Prophet Muhammad, and Yahweh of the Bible to be far more violent than Allah of the Quran.  (See parts 123456-i6-ii6-iii6-iv,