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Political Developments

Political Developments

By Daniyal Arif History was made when, first time in the country, a political government transferred mandate to another political government after completing its full tenure. The development was unprecedented. Never has a political elected government done it before in 68 years since the inception of the state. It did seem an omen of bright prospects for democracy and other fundamental state institutions. Political elite foresaw it as a milestone and a silver lining for the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, Constitution, Corruption, Democracy, Elections, human rights, Islamabad, journalism, Media, Pakistan, Parliament

Are Pakistan and Israel Similar Ideological States?

Are Pakistan and Israel Similar Ideological States?

By Fazal Abbas The Israeli onslaught on Gaza enters its third week; more and more evidence of atrocities is being made public, producing widespread expressions of outrage around the world. There have been numerous protests around the world against the war crimes being committed by Israel whereas political leadership of the world, Muslim in particular, remains in slumber. The deaths hike the total Palestinian toll to 583 since the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge on … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, Gandhi, Hinduism, History, India, Jinnah, Kashmir, Pakistan, Palestine, Palestine-israel, Partition, war

It All Started With…

Obaidullah Khan Some of us might have heard the story of the young apprentice who was sent to a renowned healer of that time in a far away village to master the art of healing and could become a source of blessing for his village where no healer was available. The first patient they attended together was suffering from abdominal problem. The healer checked the pulse and while observing the surroundings he saw some grains of chickpeas under the patient’s bed. He asked the patients whether he ate chickpeas last time. His speculation got confirmed and the healer suggested the medicine and the patient became healthy again. While returning the apprentice told him that he had learned a lot during that visit and had already mastered the art of healing enough and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blasphemy, Citizens, Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, human rights, Islamism, Justice, Law, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Opinion, Punjab, Religion, Rights, secular Pakistan, Society, violence

A Dysfunctional State

by Saad Hafiz Pakistan’s societal, economic and political travails place it in a category of deeply dysfunctional and nearly ungovernable states. Generally speaking, dysfunctional states exhibit high degrees of institutional inconsistency, social malaise, ideological confusion, political malfunction and national paranoia. As a consequence, such states are unable to leverage their people’s histories and traditions to construct effective formal institutions with wide legitimacy; nor can they draw on the social capital embedded in cohesive groups to facilitate economic, political, and social intercourse; neither are they able to employ the established governing capacities of their citizens to run the affairs of state. Moreover, national development is much dependent upon the quality of a nation’s human capital. Dysfunctional states do not invest in human capital—such as better schools and hospitals. They tend to discourage people … Read entire article »

Filed under: Economy, Egalitarian Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, Pakistan, Society

A Talibanised society

By Saad Hafiz It is hard to argue against the notion that Pakistan is a fertile ground for extremist Islam, its causes and conflicts. Pakistan’s status as an ideological state has resulted in the proliferation of Islamic political groups of all kinds. The country’s constitution states that it is an Islamic state, religion is a way of life and that indoctrination, and no other competing ideology, is allowed. Moreover, national policies pursued since Pakistan’s creation have set the country’s trajectory away from the tolerant, syncretic and peaceful strands of Islam, and towards a harsh, literalist and limited version of Islamic values. Extremism is also driven by a pernicious mix of cultural and religious factors — the labyrinthine working through shame-honour/power-challenge codes, Islamic fatalism and the notion of violent jihad. It is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Taliban, Terrorism

Taliban Are Right, We Are Wrong!

by Obaidullah Khan How painful is this fact for those who have not yet abandoned reason that our independent and sovereign state is negotiating with the terrorists. We are down to such a low that we are begging for mercy from those who are vicious barbarians and brazenly attack innocent citizens and the state institutions while our state seems to be helpless against them. Such barbarians must be dealt with an iron fist, is an established principle of politics in any country that claims to be independent and sovereign. Apart from disgracing the martyrs of our nation, whose blood is still of no value to our rulers, are we not disgracing our constitution by surrendering before those who are contemptuously mocking the writ of the state and its constitution and are … Read entire article »

Filed under: Terrorism

What Muslims Should Remember….

Raza Habib Raja It is often claimed by my fellow Muslims that the world is unfair to us and harbors misperceptions about Islam. What Muslims often overlook is that world’s perception about them as well as Islam is shaped by their actions. So this is what they should remember before complaining. If you endorse terrorism, either openly or through apologetic defense, and that too on religious grounds, then please do not expect the world to consider Islam as a religion of peace, because it simply won’t. It is hard to imagine it doing so when some of the followers are ready to blow themselves in the middle of crowded places which contain even little children on the pretext that Israel has been unfair to Palestinians! Or West has been unfair to Islam. It is even … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, minorities

A State in Search of a Nation!

A State in Search of a Nation!

By Saad Hafiz Pakistan’s main ideological foundations were based on a separate nationhood, culture and civilisation identified by Islam. The founding fathers envisaged Pakistan as one unified, centralised nation, with one religion, one people and one language. What began as an obvious attempt to use the emotional attachment of the Muslim masses to religion also became the building block of Pakistani nationalism. What followed was the disconnect of nationalism from modernity, a failed project of a consensual … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, History

Tackling Terrorism

by Obaidullah Khan The prospect of tackling terrorism and dealing with terrorists are two separate issues. On the latter our leadership is obscuring the matter, thus delaying the immediate actions. If the terrorists are not controlled, this could result in grave consequences. But if this object is somehow achieved (which is in fact not possible without an iron fist), even then, the eradication of terrorism still needs some other drastic measures. Otherwise it can resurface with more deadly consequences. This situation can be compared with the efforts of those who were advised to draw a certain amount of water from the well in which a dog was drowned. But they only drew water, not the dead dog. No doubt facing the terrorists and defeating them is the matter at hand but addressing … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Happy Independence Day

To prosper and progress a state needs to replace distrust by openness: achieve security by confidence-building and transparency, and develop a common moral consciousness and moderation says Saad Hafiz As the stage-managed ceremonies marking Pakistan’s 67th Independence Day approach, it may be worth examining the state of the state. This is not to belittle ‘befitting’ national celebrations, which can become important elements of a national identity. Every nation needs symbols, traditions and ‘auspicious’ days to affirm its distinctiveness and pass its traditions to the next generation. Contrary to other modern states that are based on nation and history, Pakistan was founded on a controversial premise that a nation can be created and sustained on the basis of a religious identity. This segregationist, essentially negative concept, which served as the basis of the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Jinnah unequivocally wanted Pakistan to be a secular state

Jinnah unequivocally wanted Pakistan to be a secular state

  (Photo: Jacket Cover of leftist Indian historian Dr Ajeet Jawed’s book “Secular and Nationalist Jinnah“) By Yasser Latif Hamdani I am writing this article as a rebuttal to Khuldune Shahid’s article “Jinnah’s Pakistan a mirror of his contradictions.” It is necessary because if you do not counter a falsehood in public domain over time it is taken to be the truth. It is sad that there are many OpEd writers who when writing on this topic do … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Perils of India Focused Security Doctrine

  Ahmed Rashid is one of my favorite authors. Although some of readers claim that he deliberately indulges in Pakistan bashing, I have actually found him to be extremely balanced and objective. In all three books ( Taliban, Descent into Chaos and Pakistan on the Brink), Ahmed has been critical not only of Pakistani establishment but also of the misdirected realpolitik of USA. Ahmed does not mince words when he accuses USA of turning a blind eye to Pakistan’s nurturing of militant organizations. Ahmed is of the opinion that it is Pakistan which should be dealt with more comprehensively  than Afghanistan. In fact the key to peace in Afghanistan is a stable and militarily passive Pakistan. However, for Pakistan to achieve that it has to completely reassess its external policies and also … Read entire article »

Filed under: Afghanistan, Army, India

Soft states and hard power

By Saad Hafiz: Pakistan is categorised as a ‘soft’ state, exhibiting symptoms of an advanced level of administrative breakdown. Under these conditions the executive functions of the state, namely policing, taxation and general administration, are performed poorly or not at all. In spite of having clearly defined territorial boundaries including land, sea and airspace, soft states tend to lose full control of their territory and suffer regular infringements of sovereignty. A soft state may contain elements of ‘soft’ power such as an attractive culture, political values, and policies, which give it the ability to ‘seduce’ (as opposed to coerce) other parties. In contrast to being a soft state, Pakistan’s ranking as a ‘hard’ power is 13th of 193 countries based primarily on total population and military prowess. A country’s hard power is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

A truly Islamic welfare state

By Saad Hafiz: The establishment of a truly Islamic welfare state is a popular slogan in Pakistan, particularly during election season. It is presented by its proponents as an all-encompassing panacea for societal ills. It is argued that such a state would eliminate vices like feudalism, lawlessness, injustice, ethnic and sectarian conflicts, obscenity and vulgarity, and ostentation. It would reduce the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor; it would dispense impartial justice to all irrespective of the status and would help in the equitable distribution of wealth. An Islamic welfare state would achieve this equitable distribution within the framework of individual freedom but with spiritual and legal imperatives to safeguard public interest, moral constraints against unearned income, and social obligations to ensure a just distribution of income and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam

Is Pakistan a failed state?

Prof. Farah A.Khan: After more than a decade I recently travelled on the Grand Trunk Road from Lahore to Gujranwala and on to Sialkot. My experience was mindboggling. Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot have become one city. Small Qasbas like Muridke and Kamokee are now boomtowns merged with the cities of Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot. The GT Road is lined with factories, high-rise buildings, schools, colleges, madrassas, banks, marriage halls, shops etc. All the shops in Lahore are represented in the new ‘cities’ along the road. Roads leading out of Lahore to towns like Sheikupura and others have suffered the same fate. This huge development of construction and businesses is rather perplexing. Pakistan is suffering from more than 14 hours of electricity and gas load shedding. Rupee is losing its value and inflation … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan