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Winning the ideological war

Winning the ideological war

Balal Haider “This is a war of ideologies, and idea can’t be defeated by force and bombs. The truth will be the winner” Omar Khorasani, the spokesman of the TTP Mohmand Agency tweeted early today on his official twitter account. This statement in isolation is correct but when put into context spells the disaster for TTP and all allied terrorists. TTP are known to have spreading their ideology throughout the region trough sword. They force people to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Terrorism

Explaining evil acts

By Saad Hafiz: While al Qaeda and the young men shooting up the school both seek to create terror in others, only the evil acts of the first are labelled as actual terrorism Trying to explain the evil acts that kill innocents daily round the globe like the one that killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, USA, is on a par with explaining how the universe was formed. There may be no greater expression of evil than the murder of children in their classrooms. Mary O’Toole, who worked for 15 years in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit where she studied psychopaths and helped capture killers, described Adam Lanza’s well-planned shooting rampage as “callousness in the extreme” and “off the charts”. The men who resort to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Terrorism

Confronting the evil within

By Saad Hafiz: A decade after Pakistan became a frontline country in the global war on terror, domestic terrorist organizations, particularly the Tehrik-i-Taliban (Pakistan) look as strong as ever.  There has been speculation that the murderous attack on Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old girls’ rights activist, by a Taliban hit squad which has led to an unusual outcry in Pakistan and abroad, may be the tipping point that will galvanize popular opinion to support vigorous action against terror groups. This would require that the country accept something that it has been unable to thus far, which is that all forms of terrorism are evil with no shades of grey. There has been longstanding reluctance within the government and society to stand up to Islamic groups that preach hatred and practice violence, which probably … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

The believers share my infidel air, it is only I who suffocate.

By Usman Ahmad: I first wrote this piece in 2010 after the terror attacks on two Ahmadi masjids in Lahore. Today the words seem to read as true as they did in those fateful days, perhaps even more so. The murder of two Ahmadis in Nawabshah over the last fortnight have shown that there are many lessons still to be learnt. Alas, we seem no closer to heeding the lessons of the past. So this is meant as an expression of solidarity and love for the fallen. The article has been slightly amended from the original piece. I too am an Ahmadi. I am the brother of Muhammad Akram and Maqsood Ahmad. I am an Ahmadi brought up in the west. I have faced many struggles reconciling the ambiguities that arise from being … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

A psycho-social perspective on terror

By Raza Rumi The launch of Dr Unaiza Niaz’s excellent book in September was most symbolic, as the world commemorated the ghastly incident of 9/11 and the subsequent ten years of ‘war’. The global media pundits had remarked that the world will not be the same place after 9/11. In our neighbourhood we have seen a gruesome war and occupation in Afghanistan; and its spillover into Pakistan making it a playground for terrorists of all shades … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion, Reviews

There’s a Pakistan beyond the ISI and terror; wish it was stronger

By Anshul Chaturvedi General VP Malik’s book, “Kargil – From Surprise To Victory” is not quite what I expected to see on the shelf at the bookstore in the Sheraton lobby in Karachi; but then, after Katrina staring at me from hoardings extolling the virtues of Lux body wash and Veet hair remover, and an improbably rosy-cheeked Kareena pitching in for Head and Shoulder from her billboards, after seeing skimpily dressed babes walking the ramp on a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Terrorism

Fascists strike again in Pakistan: Minorities Minister killed

Raza Rumi Sometimes it feels we are living in  stone age where no dissent and no call for a tolerant society is possible. Murder, violence, mayhem are the order of the day. Today, we mourn the death of Shahbaz Bhatti who had been repeatedly threatened, but not intimidated. It is time for Pakistan’s political parties to take stock of this situation and get their own ideological house in order before they are wiped out as well. Pakistani … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, Islamism, secular Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism

Good luck, General Kayani

Raza Rumi http://tribune.com.pk/story/30713/good-luck-general-kayani/ In a hurried non-speech, the prime minister has confirmed that the incumbent army chief will stay on for three years. Unprecedented as the decision might be, it is perhaps the best option under the current circumstances. Pakistan is battling against domestic and external terrorism. Given how the army works, it is clear that the military establishment wants a continuation of national security policy. Lack of policy continuity has been the hallmark of Pakistan’s governance.  At least with General Kayani’s extension, the military operations in the northwest and approach to the Afghanistan imbroglio will also remain unchanged. This is good for Pakistan for three reasons. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Afghanistan, Islamabad, Islamism, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, secular Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, war

No alternative to peace with India

Raza Rumi Once again, the fragile peace process between India and Pakistan has commenced. It is too early to say whether it will lead to an amicable settlement of seemingly intractable issues. What is clear is that the peoples of the two countries want peace, security and progress. The elites, which agreed on the messy Partition and raised nation-states and huge militaries, have surely flourished at the expense of people. A causal look at India’s poverty and Pakistan’s social indicators proves this point. As a confidence building measure, a group of Pakistani journalists visited Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to meet their counterparts, think tanks and selected top-level officials. This was a timely and fruitful visit and reminded us that there is a formidable peace constituency in India. After the Indian home minister … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Bleak prospects

Raza Rumi It is evident that the Pakistani state faces a crisis of legitimacy and survival. Twelve years ago, on May 28, the Pakistani state displayed its nuclear prowess to the world especially to the ‘infidels’. After a decade, statehood and its compromised effectiveness stand exposed. True that the victims of the Lahore attacks were an underclass or at best residents with partial citizenship, i.e. the Ahmadis. But the inability of state agencies to fight splintered terror networks is worrisome. The federal government had warned the provincial authorities of the impending attacks. The usual slovenliness and chaotic governance of the Pakistani variety treated it as just another communiqué. The police arrived late; and terrorists had implemented the plans rather adroitly making a mockery of Pakistan across the globe. Imagine a terrorist was … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islamism, minorities, Politics, public policy, Punjab, Terrorism

No respite in Lahore: Gunmen storm Jinnah Hospital, 12 dead

Just as we thought that the government will proceed with investigations, another act of violence has broken out. Ostensibly to save a terrorist under treatment in Jinnah Hospital. This is madness and utter chaos. When will this stop. People have been taken as hostages and reportedly one terorist is on the rooftop of the Hospital. If this is not a failing state and security appratus then what is it? Raza Rumi : At least 12 people were killed when armed men stormed the emergency ward of Jinnah Hospital here, Medical Superintendent said Monday. According to Geo correspondent, two gunmen entered the emergency ward and opened indiscriminate fire, killing eight people, and injuring several others. According to Geo, three to four guards and attendants are among the dead. The firing is still underway while police … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Terrorism, Shameless Religious Bigotry and Pakistani Mindset

  We are grateful to Raza Habib Raja to have authored this post for PTH. Today’s horrific events demonstrate that the threat of terrorism and Talibanisation is real and not imagined. Raza Rumi   The Attack on Ahmedis Today   As I write these sentences, the details of the most shameful attack on the religious sites of Ahmedis in Lahore are unfolding. However, this is not new as Pakistan has been the victim of this brazen behavior repeatedly. The thirty years of state sponsored “true” Islam is showing its colors. In Pakistan all the minorities are constantly harassed and state’s protection has often proved completely ineffective when a serious attack occurs. Although the counterargument can also be made that state is not also able to protect even when Muslims are attacked. In case of Ahmedis it … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, Pakistan

Lahore's now the latest target of Taliban

Raza Rumi Once again the terrorists have hit Lahore. But this time they have chosen the favourite target of the fundamentalists – the Ahmedis who were declared as non-Muslims in 1974. Two places of worship have been attacked and innocent people have died. This is unacceptable and outrageous. It means that the state policy of exclusion has finally turned the country into a nightmare – a polity where freedom to worship, profess religious orientation and expression is not only curtailed by simply denied. The resolve of the Government and the Army must be now strengthened after these tragedies. We condemn the state excesses and also the this heinous act of terrorism. It is almost surreal to see what is happening in Lahore – there is no law and order, no law enforcement worth … Read entire article »

Filed under: Al Qaeda, Islamism, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Punjab, Society, Taliban, Terrorism, violence, war

Pakistani-Americans and Police Sharing, and Trying to Spread,Trust

Pakistani-Americans and Police Sharing, and Trying to Spread, Trust Cross Post from The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/17/nyregion/17conn.html By ANNE BARNARD (New York Times) — STRATFORD, Conn. — Last month, a resident of Avon, Conn., received a threatening letter full of religious references. The police chief there, Mark Rinaldo, wondered whether the letter implied a broader threat from a Muslim militant. He called Dr. Atique A. Mirza, a Pakistani-born Muslim cardiologist, who studied the letter for cultural, religious and political clues. They concluded that the threat probably involved a narrow dispute between neighbors. Now that a Pakistani-American man from Connecticut, Faisal Shahzad, stands accused of trying to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, setting off soul-searching and unease among the state’s thousands of residents of Pakistani descent, Mr. Rinaldo and Dr. Mirza are holding up their … Read entire article »

Filed under: Identity, Islam, minorities, Pakistan, psychology, Taliban, Terrorism, USA

For Times Square Suspect, Long Roots of Discontent

 Reproduced from The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/nyregion/16suspect.html?pagewanted=1 Published: May 15, 2010 This article was reported by Andrea Elliott, Sabrina Tavernise and Anne Barnard, and written by Ms. Elliott. Just after midnight on Feb. 25, 2006, Faisal Shahzad sent a lengthy e-mail message to a group of friends. The trials of his fellow Muslims weighed on him — the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the plight of Palestinians, the publication in Denmark of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad. Mr. Shahzad was wrestling with how to respond. He understood the notion that Islam forbids the killing of innocents, he wrote. But to those who insist only on “peaceful protest,” he posed a question: “Can you tell me a way to save the oppressed? And a way to fight back when rockets are fired at us and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, FATA, Identity, Iraq, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, Pakistan, Religion, Taliban, USA, violence