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Servants, not masters

by Saad Hafiz In the aftermath to the country’s independence, Mr Jinnah clearly articulated the role of the military: “Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.” Other than large-size pictures of the founding father that adorn military institutions, Mr Jinnah’s unambiguous view on civil-military relations was soon buried like the rest of his legacy, to the country’s detriment. With Mr Jinnah’s passing, the military swiftly suborned the political apparatus, becoming the driving force behind the country’s politics, ideology and destiny. It saw fit to manipulate civilian politicians, manage civilian institutions, and invest in a military economy … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, human rights, Jinnah, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Society

Ostrich’s Syndrome

by Ahsan Fraz The Pakistan Protection Ordinance was passed by the National Assembly of the country on 7th April this year with a heavy majority and now the bill is ready to be presented in the Senate for their approval. The bill, if passed by the senate, will give more powers to police and other security forces. They can kill, arrest and search anybody without warrant who may appear suspicious on any of the many grounds stated in the ordinance. There is much hue and cry over this bill in opposition and debates are going on in media about the austerity of the bill. The nub of the hitch is overlooked once more as the bill is not even close to what is indispensable. It looks like that the government is avoiding … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, Democracy, ISI, Islam, Islamism, Law, Pakistan, peace, Politics, public policy, Religion, Society, Taliban, Terrorism, violence

‘A bullet has been chosen for you’: Attacks on journalists in Pakistan

‘A bullet has been chosen for you’: Attacks on journalists in Pakistan

By admin Amnesty has released its latest report entitled  “A Bullet Has Been Chosen For You” – Attacks On Journalists In Pakistan  The situation in Pakistan seems dire. Here are the highlights: At least 34 journalists may have been killed as a direct consequence of their work since democratically-elected government was restored in March 2008. Only in one case have the perpetrators been convicted, the 2011 killing of Geo TV correspondent Wali Khan Babar, and even in this case … Read entire article »

Filed under: human rights, Media, Pakistan

Does A Veil Define A Muslim Woman’s Character?

Haider Rifaat Fear is the first word that comes to my mind when I hear the phrase “Degradation of Women.” Islam, on every level has given women paramount rights more than any living being on earth. On account of the terrorist activities, millions of lives have been affected in both, rural and urban areas of Pakistan. Children’s mindsets, on the other hand are being brainwashed in some religious institutions, even today. Furthermore, several extremist groups have been using children as military weapons. In many rural areas of Pakistan, women are forcibly thwarted from holding pens in their hands. Similarly, there have been cases of sexual enslavement, castigation and physical ill treatment of women who struggled to receive better education from schools and colleges. One of the reasons as to why such … Read entire article »

Filed under: human rights, Islam, liberal Pakistan, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion, Women

Talibanistan – Land of the Taliban

Saniya Ahmad “Welcome to Talibanistan. Yes, that’s what the name Pakistan has changed to. The country is run by a little bit differently now, but please don’t be afraid. You’ll get used to it soon enough. Just wanted to give you a little heads up on how things are running here so that you can get accustomed quickly. Talibanistan is a Muslim country. Any citizen of any other religion is deported or found dead somewhere. The Muslim minority sects i.e Shias and Ahmadis are by all means Wajib-ul-Qatal, since their beliefs are a tad bit different than those of the Talibans, and of course the Taliban do not like anyone to have a difference of opinion with them. Ahmadis and Shias are running for their lives, they barely make it to the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Taliban, Terrorism

Poles Apart

Haider Rifaat After witnessing the current situation in Pakistan, I have come across many individuals who assess other nations based on stereotypical beliefs. There are numerous factors which make Pakistan and the U.S. entirely different. However, one of the most vital factors which has created a rift between the two countries is the cultural difference. Pakistan and the U.S. have not been able to get along well on account of the distinct cultures. Several conservatives who mainly dwell in the rural regions of Pakistan do not approve of western clothing. In contrast, the U.S. supports diverse cultures and people from different religious affiliations. Moreover, modernization has become a trend in Pakistan, yet people who belong from traditional backgrounds oppose western customs, particularly the openness in the society. Keeping the culture aspect aside, there … Read entire article »

Filed under: culture

On negotiations with Pakistan’s Taliban

by Malik Rashid As Pakistan’s government begins to talk with the Taliban, many Pakistanis wonder if the two negotiating parties are real adversaries. Can the so-called negotiations terminate the little freedoms Pakistanis have gotten acquainted with in the past few years? Since enmity across the borders hasn’t been operational lately, military’s new doctrine identified homegrown militancy as the biggest threat to ‘national security’. Like the old doctrine proposed a perpetual war of survival against neighboring states, the internal war must be indefinite to maintain military’s domination of the state. Hence the fear could be well founded that negotiations with Taliban could limit freedoms and democracy in the name of Islam instead of establishing peace in the country. But it is not 1977, and lately the Tunisian constitution has offered a rare hope on terms of reconciliation between … Read entire article »

Filed under: Terrorism

The Islamization of Pakistan

The Islamization of Pakistan

by Syed Foaad Hassan Quaid-e-Azam in his March 1940 presidential address said “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders; and it is only a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality. This misconception of one Indian Nation has … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islamism, Jinnah

Sheikh Hasina’s Witch-Hunt in Bangladesh

Sheikh Hasina’s Witch-Hunt in Bangladesh

I am highly grateful to Mr. Riaz Haq to contribute this article. Please, PTH DOES NOT essentially agree with all the things written in this article. However, for the sake of freedom of speech, we are publishing this article. Regards Raza Habib Raja Riaz Haq Bangladesh Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina Wajid, daughter of independence leader Shaikh Mujib ur Rehman, set up what she calls “International Crimes Tribunal” (ICT) in 2010 to try those accused of committing … Read entire article »

Filed under: Bangladesh

Modern Two Nation Theory

By Syed Foaad Hassan Under the light of Quaid’s words, “Minorities to whichever community they may belong; will be safeguarded. Their religion or faith or belief will be secure. There will be no interference of any kind with their freedom of worship. They will have their protection with regard to their religion, faith, their life, their culture. They will be, in all respects, the citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of caste or creed” and the current picture of Pakistan in my opinion, we should demand a separation of State where everyone can live freely according to his belief, can go to Mosques, Churches, Temples etc. Where people who try to speak for rights of a minority should not be killed like Governor Taseer was killed; where Mumtaz Qadri, Hafiz Saeed, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islamism, Pakistan, Terrorism

What Is A Pakistani?

By Nabeel Jafri Many claim that Pakistan is a failed state. A problem cannot be solved without identifying it. So I sat down to dissect the problem but soon ran into a whole new one – to understand Pakistan, I had to understand the Pakistani first. In order to conduct some credible research, my Pakistani couldn’t simply be somebody I knew. It had to be a Pakistani I had no association with and someone who would be recognized by others for being a Pakistani as well. Thus, I set out to find myself a Pakistani to interview.   Unsure of where to start my search, I gave my parents a call. My mother answered the phone. ‘Mamma, I’m looking for a Pakistani. Where can I find one?’ ‘I can’t hear you properly. The rain damaged … Read entire article »

Filed under: musings, Pakistan

Nuclear Prestige

By Saad Hafiz Pakistan, the world’s only Muslim nuclear power, celebrated Youm-e-Takbir (Day of God’s Greatness) this year with the usual fervor and chest- thumping bravado. The day marks the country’s nuclear tests in 1998, which were a tit-for-tat response to earlier Indian tests. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program is set-up as a military deterrent against India. It is also regarded as the ultimate guarantor of the country’s survival. The nuclear program has come to play an important role in sustaining purported national self-esteem. “Nuclear nationalism”, or so to say, and anti-Americanism can easily excite Pakistanis, as may well be imagined, and which tends to deflect attention from the ruling elite who have historically done little to solve pressing national problems. It also helps to paper over internal dissension in an increasingly fractious … Read entire article »

Filed under: Army

Delusion Galore

Azhar Ali Atmosphere around him was laden with heaviness due to his morbid mien. Contemplating a lively note was not only impossible, it was blasphemous. All the subordinates instantly switched to sepulchral slant as soon as they found themselves in his company. There was something eerie in the air you shared breathing with him. He smiled very rarely. If at all he did, it was blisteringly tinged with irony. No one ever saw him laughing. Nothing moved, even in the civil sphere without his tacit approval, and a substantial number of notables were always at hand to pay homage to his ‘benign’ lording over the sparsely populated large tract of mountainous terrain, yet the ephemeral distraction did little to alleviate his exasperation and constant sense of being scrutinised. Trappings of his power … Read entire article »

Filed under: Army, Short Story

Political parties and elections

by Saad Hafiz Pakistan’s historic path has been ridden by intrigue, strife and bloodshed overseen by power-hungry generals and money grubbing politicians. The chaos in the country also proves that a common religious identity is not a guarantee of stability, security, democracy and free elections. Past elections have not been able to foster a feeling of common destiny. Some elections were so widely and flagrantly rigged that civil rebellion broke out requiring the army to be called in, thus exposing the weakness of political leadership in the country. The army simply shoved the political leadership aside through a coup d’état when it realised that political power depended on it. The Pakistani electorate has an opportunity this week to reverse the country’s anti-democratic legacy. The people can choose the political parties that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Elections, Liberal Democratic Pakistan

Short memories

By Saad Hafiz: Some Pakistanis appear tired of democracy after a short civilian stint of five years. A recent BBC poll suggests that more Pakistani youth would prefer Islamic law or military rule than democracy. More than half of 5,000 18-29 year-old Pakistanis polled said democracy had not been good for them or the country. Almost a third of registered voters in Pakistan are under 30 years old, and are expected to play a big part in the general election due in May. The poll respondents reached their ‘no to democracy’ conclusion based on the inability of the civilian government to deal with the economic and security issues facing the country. Approval ratings for the military were about 70 percent compared with just 13 percent for the elected government that just … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy