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Archive for the ‘pakistan’ Category

Never, Ever Forget

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It is hard to believe that eight years have passed since the attacks of 9/11. Like many anniversaries, it is a good time to take stock of what happened, what is happening, and what will happen.

I am dismayed by the fact that 9/11 has quickly become ancient history for many people, especially the pundits, bloggers and the rest of the commentariat. Many are complaining about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The war in Iraq, whatever its outcome, is a boondogle and never should have been undertaken. There was no al-Qaeda or weapons of mass destruction; so whatever its supporters say, it was a strategic failure. There is no arguing this point.

On the other hand, the war in Afghanistan is a “just” war, which has been treated like a neglected step-child, especially by the Bush Administration and their misguided “War on Terrorism”. Underfunded and undermanned, the war in Afghanistan has been floundering for awhile now. The Taliban, it seems, is getting stronger by the day. Osama bin Laden has yet to be found. And our chief ally in the region, Pakistan, has been wishy-washy at best.

The time has come to rethink this war and the war on terrorism.

We can quibble over how to go about it, but leaving Afghanistan is not an option. We need to fight smarter. After all, the price of peace is eternal vigilance.

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Written by niraj

September 11th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Will We Ever Know Who Did It?

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No doubt the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in the Pakistani city of Lahore is an act of pure terrorism, but questions remain: who and why?

Everybody, including the entire desi blogosphere, will be bandying their own pet theories; and, naturally, I have a few of my own. The pro-Pakistani bloggers will blame the attacks on a known enemy of Pakistan. This is code for India (and its intelligence agency RAW), of course. The pro-India bloggers, on the other hand, will blame Pakistani-based jihadis and their supporters (primarily the ISI).

Most people are in a fog of information regarding these matters. And we bloggers are no exception given that we get most of our information from second-hand or third-hand sources, which is hardly ideal to get at the truth. So we filter these new sources through our biases, prejudices, stereotypes, etc.

Honestly, will anyone know the truth behind this attack?

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Written by niraj

March 3rd, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Dawn New Design Sucks

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I use to be an avid reader of Dawn, one of South Asia’s premier newspapers. It seems they have rolled out a complete redesign of their web site.

To be honest: I don’t like it. Though aesthetically pleasing, and gentle to the eye, it is a net loss, in my opinion. What was gained by good locks was lost in functionality. For example, if you want to access the newspaper’s editorial, op-ed and letter pages, you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the web page – below the fold, so to speak, cleverly hidden in a gray box with opaque letter. A poor design decision.

I say bring back the old version of the web site. Sure it was an eye sore but at least everything was easy to find.

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Written by niraj

February 19th, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Posted in internet,media,pakistan

Lone Pakistani Notices Darfur

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Interesting letter published in Dawn that I would like to share:

THIS is apropos of the report saying that almost six years of fighting in the Darfur region of Sudan has killed 200,000.

This is very shocking, indeed. The Muslims have been killing Muslims in Darfur since 2003. It is strange that nobody in Pakistan talks about it. The religious parties don’t speak out against this death and destruction.

I would greatly appreciate if anyone could explain the reasons for this intriguing silence.


Nobody in Pakistan talks about it because both victims and perpetrators are one in the same: in this case, Muslims. Same goes for Pakistan, where Muslims wantonly kill other Muslims except that is much more noticeable to the average Pakistani because it hits so close to home.

What happens in Darfur is too far away for anyone in Pakistan to care– out of sight, out of mind. In my mind, racism also plays a factor: African Muslims are considered inferior by other Muslims. Nevertheless, the plight of Palestinians is quite popular among Pakistanis because it hits all the right buttons: Jews, imperialism, Crusades, Americans, etc. Yet the body count is much higher in Darfur than in Palestine, but Israelis are treated as genocidal, and not the Sudanese government.

It’s this double-standard that has trapped Muslim countries in their rhetoric about injustice by the Israelis.

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Written by niraj

January 20th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Pipe Dreams

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I believe India is foolishly staking its energy needs on this potentially troublesome IPI pipeline, which it has agreed to in principle:

Pakistan and India have principally agreed to resolve fundamental issues of Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project and committed to start the construction work next year.

The most pressing concern for India, of course, is energy security since the pipeline will traverse the restive province of Balochistan, a hotbed of insurgency and unrest. Can Pakistan guarantee that the pipeline will not be harmed in anyway?

Regarding security Khawaja Asif said there is no security concern to the pipeline as we have made precatuionary measures to protect it. He said the gas pipeline will come from Iranian Balochistan along with coastal route and joint Nawab Shah in Sindh.

Then this happens:

Unknown saboteurs blew up two gas pipelines supplying gas to Och power plant and Punjab in two different incidents in Malguzar area of Jaffarabad and Doli area of Dera Bugti districts in the wee hours of Sunday, police sources told APP.

If Pakistan cannot keep its own pipelines secure how can it protect the IPI, which India is desperately relying on to slake its thirst for energy? Proponents will say the IPI pipeline will bind India and Pakistan, forcing to them to work closer and, hopefully, reduce tensions. Perhaps. But I believe Pakistan will also use it as a cudgel to force India’s hand on issues like Kashmir.

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Written by niraj

April 29th, 2008 at 8:49 am

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Jagdeesh Kumar’s only crime, it seems, was to be a Hindu in a Muslim country. He was killed by an enraged mob because he supposedly blasphemed Islam, which is a crime in Pakistan (thanks General Zia, hope your stay in hell is a pleasant one), during a heated argument with a co-worker at the factory where Jagdeesh worked.

The blasphemy laws are odious, unfair and applied capriciously (and most Pakistanis would agree with me), but the rule of law still prevails. Alleged offenders like Jagdeesh deserve their day in court, a fundamental human right. But even this was denied to Jagdeesh, who wasn’t handed over to the relevant authorities as the law dictates. Instead, the mob took matters into their own hands: they pronounced judgment and meted out punishment, right then and there. Mob justice at its finest.

All this happened while the police stood idly by, twiddling their thumbs, as they are ought to do. I don’t know if they were lazy, or they actively aided and abetted the mob, or are outright incompetent– probably the combination of the three– but they did nothing to save Jagdeesh’s life.

For me, it is just one more confirmation that minorities are forsaken in Islamic Pakistan. They are discriminated against, live in dhimmitude, and their testimony does not hold up compared to Muslims in Islamic courts. In essence, they are second-class citizens.

Jinnah, when he established Pakistan, promised a secular republic, but his dream, like the Hindus who decided to stay in Pakistan after Partition, has turned sour.

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Written by niraj

April 20th, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Posted in pakistan,religion

How To Con A Billion Dollars

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From The Pakistan Observer:

London—The US has promised to curb air strikes by drones against suspected militants in Pakistan, as part of a joint counter-terrorism strategy agreed with the new civilian government in Islamabad, the Guardian London has claimed. That strategy will be supported by an aid package, potentially worth more than $7b (£3.55b), which is due to go before Congress for approval in the next few months.

The package would triple the amount of American non-military aid to Pakistan, and is aimed at “redefining” the bilateral relationship, US officials say.

According to the newspaper, Pakistan will also be given a “democracy dividend” of up to $1b, a reward for holding peaceful elections and forming a coalition government. Of that, $200m could be approved in the next few days. [Link]

A $1 billion democracy dividend! This is one hell of a scam. Where can I get some of this action?

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Written by niraj

April 18th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

China: Friend Of The Environment?

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No one kisses China’s ass more than The Pakistan Observer, whose editorials are nauseating for their sycophancy, if not outright worship of the Red Dragon. In its latest editorial, it heaps praise on China’s new found concern for the environment:

The world today is facing grave threats due to unplanned, reckless and irresponsible development that has produced serious ecological and environmental problems for the mankind. Most of these problems are the direct result of the blind pursuit of material development by the West, which is still not prepared to take bold and vital steps to save the globe from impending disaster. In this backdrop, China deserves credit for bringing leaders and experts together to discuss the crucial issue of how to improve environment of Asia. This is timely initiative in view of the fact that after Japan, South Korea and Malaysia, countries like China and India too are moving swiftly on the path of industrial growth raising concerns about environmental issues.

If China wants to improve the environment, it should look in its own backward. According to The Guardian, no friend of capitalism, China is the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, and it’s only going to get worse. Many of China’s major cities live in clouds of pollution so toxic residents have to wear masks. And in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, China has banned thousands of automobiles from Beijing in order to improve its air quality.

It is quite obvious that the developing countries, which are at the receiving end, cannot spare adequate resources to undertake comprehensive programmes for promotion of environment and therefore, it is responsibility of the rich and developed nations to provide them financial assistance as well as transfer technology for the purpose.

Interesting. Is The Pakistan Observer saying that China– with over $1 trillion in foreign reserves and arguably the second largest economy in the world– is still considered a developing country, and that developed countries (code for the West) should give it resources to improve its environment so China can continue its economic growth at no cost? Ridiculous, simply ridiculous.

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Written by niraj

April 14th, 2008 at 10:25 am

Pakistan To Get Aid To Fight Terrorism: Here We Go Again

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With the restoration of ‘democracy’ in Pakistan, the United States will reopen the aid spigot:

President George W. Bush has cleared the way for giving millions of dollars to Pakistan to fight terrorism this year, the White House said as a new government took power in Islamabad.

In a memo to the secretary of state dated Monday, Bush used his authority to exempt Pakistan from a law that restricts funding countries where the legitimate head of state was deposed by a military coup, as in Pakistan.

The waiver, which Bush has approved every year since 2003, opens the way for the United States to provide about 300 million dollars this year to key “war on terror” ally Pakistan to boost its counter-terrorism operations.

It’s not like the $10 billion given since 2001 hasn’t been put to good use or anything, so why not another $300 million, a drop in the bucket for President Bush. The returns have been spectacular after all. Let the Chinese build Pakistan’s infrastructure and profit from it while the United States takes taxpayer money and sets fire to it.

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Written by niraj

April 11th, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Pakistan’s Humble Leaders?

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Wit is a rare commodity these days, combine it with humor and it’s even a rarer find. KO fills both qualities amiably with this hilarious post, where he explains how Pakistan is becoming an egalitarian society:

Pakistan is turning out to be a very egalitarian society. Some of the new crop of politicians come from very humble beginnings, indeed. Sure, not all of them started out humble, but all of them have improved in leaps and bounds from their starting point. Not too many countries can boast of that, so here is a listing of our extremely egalitarian politicians:

Asif Ali Zardari, went from selling cinema tickets in black and second hand cars to political husband, First Mate to Benazir, than billionaire extraordinaire. Considering he never worked much, being busy with polo, cars, vacations, exile and jail, it’s amazing how fast he went from zero to hero. Back in his heyday as a young man about town, he had his finger in every pie – today, he is the pie.

Nawaz Sharrif‘s family owned a smallish middling sized industrial concern, not doing too well – but after the military blessed the family their fortunes started rising on rockets. Today, his star is high up in the sky, hanging with the likes of Zardari and Saudi Kings. From not much money and land at all, Nawaz turned himself into a veritable landlord by acquiring land and contracts everywhere.

Sarcasm never sounded so good. Read the rest.

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Written by niraj

April 1st, 2008 at 1:07 pm