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Pak-US relations and the politics of absence

By S Farwa Zahra: After much media attention, US secretary Hilary Clinton and Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar finally had a “dialogue” in London over Pak-US relations. From news reports, it seems that Ms. Clinton really had a lot to say, but what was our foreign minister doing the whole time? What is striking about all news reports surrounding this meeting is the fact that while there are a number of statements from Clinton and other US officials, we don’t hear Khar speaking. There is not even a single quote from her. It only took me a few clicks over different news reports to find out what could have turned a bilateral “dialogue” into a US monologue. The sources for all these stories were western news agencies like Reuters and AFP. I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics

[Draft] Comment moderation policy & Community guidelines

From Editors of Pak Tea House Dear Readers, PTH is a space on the blogosphere that promotes ideas of liberalism, tolerance, equality, freedom of speech and respect for Law. We want our society to be a harmonious, tolerant society and we want fellow Pakistanis to agree to disagree with each other. Keeping in view these principles, we are presenting our future policy regarding comments made on the posts. We want people to reply to posts if they do not agree with the author but we will not tolerate any kind of hate-speech, trolling or abuse. There are 6 simple guidelines which we expect all participants on  PTH to abide by, all of which directly inform our approach to community moderation. We are open to refining them, please give your feedback. 1. We understand … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Pakistan’s Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy wins an Oscar

Saving Face directed by Pakistani investigative documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Daniel Junge, received the prestigious Academy Award in the category: Best Documentary (Short) at the 84th Annual Academy Awards®. Here is the acceptance speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rvRi6skW-M&feature=youtu.be The category of Best Documentary (Short) was presented by Rose Byrne & Melissa McCarthy to Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Daniel Junge. This marks both Sharmeen and Daniel’s first ever Oscar award and was also the first Oscar to be awarded … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Future of Pakistan’s Western Frontier

By Prof Farakh A Khan (This is continuation of my last article.. It was felt that this subject requires greater depth since people in Pakistan have distorted view of our Fata issue. The origin and evolution of Jihadi Wahhabi movement has to be put in proper perspective) Conflict in society is the oldest human response inherited from our evolutionary animal past. As human society graduated from sticks and stones as weapons of aggression to high explosives and air war the level of carnage increased dramatically. We are now entering phase of robotic war lased with nuclear technology where power of destruction has escalated to a new level. The level of misery caused by modern wars is not acceptable anymore. War in Afghanistan either by foreign forces intervention or internal conflict for the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics

Arab Revolts and Western Dilemma

Raza Habib Raja The phrase “Arab Spring” has been imbedded in our collective conscience till infamy. The recognition of this term has come due to constant media coverage of the wide spread revolts which till now have ejected almost four autocrats (If you include Saleh of Yemen). It may well also end up in dislodging Asad from Syria depending whether the momentum decisively shifts against him, whether army continues to support him or withdraws its support and most importantly whether West decides to intervene in the same way as they did in the case of Libya. What has happened in these countries is not a revolution but rather revolt against autocracy which over the years has become intertwined with the destiny of these countries. When you completely stifle pluralism, curb opposition and not allow … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

A licence to kill

By Saad Hafiz: It is no big secret that since 9/11, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with the support of allied agencies has been fighting a global ‘dirty war’ or applying state-sponsored violence, against al-Qaeda and its acolytes, encompassing both counterinsurgency and counter-terror tools. The elements of dirty war traditionally include murder, kidnapping, torture, disappearances or simply blowing up the opposition through the use of drone technology. Drone strikes have been a sore point with the public and Pakistani politicians, who describe them as counterproductive and violations of sovereignty that produce unacceptable civilian casualties and creates more jihadists. Still, despite its public stance, it appears that Pakistan and its security services have quietly supported the drone programme as part of the counterinsurgency operations against the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistan’s involvement includes providing … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

A study of Anti-Americanism in Pakistan (Part III)

by Abdul Majeed Abid Regarding the basis of hate towards the US, Professor Hamid Kizilbash’s paper in 1988 stated that Pakistanis give three kinds of reasons for negative feelings about America. One involves U.S. policies toward Pakistan such as failure to come to Pakistan’s aid during the Bangladesh crisis, using Pakistan for its own interests, and opposition to Pakistan’s peaceful nuclear program. A second deals with American global policy, including support of Israel, opposition to Iran’s present government, and use of force against small Third World nations. The third includes American involvement in Pakistan—for example, support of the military regime, obstructing a settlement of the Afghan issue, and responsibility for the decline in the value of the local currency. Columnist Fasi Zaka in one of his columns suggested that the kind of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics

Interview: Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, the First Pakistani Oscar Nominee

by Nadia Rasul Visual storyteller and Academy Award nominee Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy spoke to Asia Blog recently about the strong tradition of storytelling in Pakistan, the need for spreading awareness and generating dialogue about critical social issues in the country, the impact of digital media technologies on her work and what an Oscar nomination means to her. Chinoy is the first Pakistani to be nominated for an Academy Award for her film Saving Face. Her film, which … Read entire article »

Filed under: culture, Media, video

Power of Individual Evolution

By Said A Chaudhry: The most vexing debates are often those that end with no winners. Whether it’s ideas of revolution in Pakistan or the good old Evolution vs. Creationist debate. One is usually left with a cerebral convulsion begging for clarity. Regardless, I have a simple axiom, Pakistan does not need a peoples revolt and that something as beautiful as a human being could not have been formed by mere chance. Learning the complexities of the human body in medical school and reading a few history books helped me arrive at this logic. It also led me to question; why functioning intricacies of the human body can not be translated into social life and statecraft. There is a shrieking call for change in Pakistan. But who exactly is it that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

A study of Anti-Americanism in Pakistan (Part II)

By Abdul Majeed Abid History tells us that relations between Pakistan and United States started on the right note, as demonstrated by aforementioned speech of Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan. It was followed by the decade of co-operation between the two countries in matters of trade and military training. As we can see, the seeds of perceived animosity were laid during the 1965-71 period during which United States stopped the military aid to both Pakistan and India in the wake of the 1965 war. The people responsible for arousing these sentiments were the dexterous politicians of Pakistan and to some extent the religio-political parties and they did that just to mask their own shortcomings. A similar attitude was shown by Mr. Bhutto when he blamed the alarming political situation upon the machinations … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics

A study of Anti-Americanism in Pakistan – Part 1

by Abdul Majeed Abid “Yours is a great country with enormous resources of wealth, experience and technical skill. We, who believe in individual initiative, effort and enterprise do not believe that the era of private ownership is over. But we do believe that we have entered upon an era when capital should come out of its shell and move in the spheres of international social objectives and move on from exploitation to production.  Your country fought … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan, USA

Radicalism and Engineers

By Abdul Majeed Abid Professionals form the backbone of a society. Professionals include Doctors, engineers, bankers, businessmen, lawyers, soldiers and law-enforcers. Pakistani society as a whole has been affected by the problem of increasing intolerance and religious extremism over the years. One of the many causes of this rise is the state of textbooks in Pakistan that promote hatred and bigotry(Consider for instance Meri Kitab, which is a required text textbook for grade one students in most public schools. Seven out of 16 chapters in Meri Kitab contained religious sermons. A report by United States Commission on International Religious Freedom found that textbooks were filled with disparaging remarks about the Hindus, while never mentioning that for centuries Muslims and Hindus had lived peacefully in the subcontinent.). Students are taught from a young age to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

Paul Robeson, Nehru and Jinnah

By Yasser Latif Hamdani I first came across Paul Robeson at Rutgers University in the 100th year of his birth. His image was all pervasive for he was possibly the most well known Rutgers College graduate around the world.  The Paul Robeson centre on Busch Campus was dedicated to art, culture and African American fight for equality in America. Robeson was an extraordinary man; an all American Football Player, a concert singer, actor, communist, international citizen. What I later discovered was his intimate connection to the subcontinent through Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.  The two men had a lot in common including Lady Edwina Mountbatten, that sultry seductress and the wife of the Last Viceroy of India,  who both men had at different times been smitten by.  There … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Philosophy of Change

Philosophy of Change

  By Engr. Syed Ghulam Mustafa M.E Electronics System Engineering Munna Muslim Pakistani is one of my best friends, I have known him since my childhood. He has sacrificed his whole life in motivating the people for change. He believes that one should struggle for the betterment of society and his surroundings in his utmost capacity. He is really an honest person, and unlike our conventional and seasonal politicians he does not seek any personal benefit for his … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

Pakistani Middleclass, Army and Democracy

By Raza Habib Raja A few weeks ago I wrote a detailed piece on the reasons as to why democracy in Pakistan and its neighboring India has taken such divergent paths. In my opinion the reasons have to do with history of independence movement, early years after independence, image of the army in both the countries and also the attitude of middleclass in both the countries. In any society, particularly a modern democratic society, middleclass provides a critical as well as decisive mass. Moreover it’s an extremely important contributor to intelligentsia, media and services sector, particularly critical services such as bureaucracy and armed forces. In our side of the world, the middleclass particularly urban middleclass, eventually is the major determinant of the dominant opinion and even the official policy.  This influence is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized