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Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Death Trap In Rawalpindi

Original Daily Times Article
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C12%5C29%5Cstory_29-12-2011_pg3_6
Published on December 29, 2011

My birthplace, Rawalpindi, has a strange notoriety: it has been extremely unlucky for the prime ministers of Pakistan. Liaquat Ali Khan became a victim of Syed Akbar's bullet back in 1951, in what was then known as Company Bagh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was murdered in 1979, at Rawalpindi Central Jail. I use the term 'murdered', although he was supposedly sentenced to death by the Lahore High Court, and the Supreme Court had upheld that verdict, for obvious reasons. It is commonly termed as a 'judicial murder'. His daughter, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto became a victim of an assassin's bullet four years back in December 2007. What a strange coincidence that she died at the same Company Bagh, now known as Liaquat Bagh. Boy what a death trap that Company Bagh is.
Benazir was an amazing and remarkable person. She was a tigress from the inside; she had the unyielding spirit to fight, which of course she had inherited from her parents. She stood firm in front of her critics and it would be not an exaggeration to say that many men in our republic were afraid of her zestful Bhutto spirit. Simply put, she was the man! My neighbourhood convenience store owner, an Afghan, just left me speechless at her death. Mind you he is not so academically well versed but he said, "Saab, what kind of men are these who would hit a woman, and that too from the rear?"
Each year around this time, we have ceremonies where she is remembered and eulogised and rightfully so. But rarely do we want to reflect upon what went wrong so terribly in our republic that popular leaders had to pay the highest price, i.e. their lives. Sadly, the entire South Asian region is marred with examples of political assassinations. It is a shocking reminder that as nations we have not matured to understand the implications of such horrific incidents, and in Pakistan in particular, where we brush such things aside and tend to move on.
We always hear the age-old bickering of the people, 'Our country never had a good leader, and that is the reason why we are in such a pathetic state.' They are absolutely right because we kill our elected leaders and expect some Superman to descend from the heavens to eradicate our miseries. Leadership requires patience, perseverance and above all continuity. Regretfully, all these are commodities that we do not possess. No wonder we look at the khakis as our 'saviours' and want them to rescue us. We fail to understand that democracy is the only way to go. Look around the world and you will get the answer.
BB was her father's daughter in every sense and respect, who staunchly believed that the people are able to decide their own destiny. No matter who they are, what social sphere they belong to, they have a voice and a choice. She was meant to fulfil his unfinished mission. If it would have been anyone else, given the treatment the Bhutto family received from Zia, they would have left politics for good. She was a real fighter, who shattered all the myths surrounding a lady becoming a prime minister of this beleaguered nation. Given the fact the humiliation Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah had to face at the behest of another dictator, Ayub Khan, BB's commitment was unwavering, exemplary and commendable.
Ironically, we do not appreciate our leaders when they are alive and tend to glorify them after their death. The same people who are acknowledging her political acumen now were the same people who made her life miserable when she was alive. She was called 'corrupt', 'inept', 'unfit' and 'incompetent', and was totally dogged by accusations and slurs. But as they say, we are dead from the inside; no wonder we only give reverence to the dead.
What a lady of substance, who knew that death was looming and yet did not stray from what she truly believed in. In her final days, she was ridiculed for signing a 'deal' with a tinpot dictator. To the critics, a question is warranted. What other options did she have? Live in exile forever or take a chance? She took one and ended up in a life of eternity.
That begs another question. How come Baitullah Mehsud knew that she was going to become the prime minister of Pakistan again and issued a threat to her? She had not even made it to Pakistan when such a threat was up in the air. Something somewhere does not make sense to a layperson like me. Besides, Musharraf was still supposedly going to be the president under that 'deal'. He was the one who was actually leading the war on terror, so why was BB being singled out?
People will come up with all kinds of excuses. They will come up with all kinds of spin. The facts remain there and one day they will be unearthed. Who did Syed Akbar, the killer of Liaquat Ali Khan, truly work for? Why was there a coup against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto when the agreement of holding fresh elections in 1977 was almost done? Who laid that death trap for Benazir at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi? Until then, let's enjoy our slumber and wait for the angels to descend from the heavens to lead us and get us out of this abyss.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Letter From Garhi Khuda Bux

Dear Asif,

A week or so back, when your PK 01 touched the Mauripur Air Base, many hearts sank. The detractors, opponents, adversaries, and some so called friends, were shell shocked. The Pundits and Analysts on TV screens, who had written you off, were cursing their words. Each time they made the prediction, that you are finished, you have emerged and proved them absolutely wrong. Yes, they felt the same about me.

But this has never been new to you. They paint you as this villain, who has no conscience or morals. You are loathed, chastised and humiliated with all kinds of abuse and slurs. Amazingly, all of this would be enough for any other person, to call it quits. But they fail to understand, you are made up of a different mettle. When you came to the folds of the my Bhutto family you knew that you married a cause.

Please click on the link below to read the rest of the article:

http://pakteahouse.net/2011/12/27/a-letter-from-garhi-khuda-bux/
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Stumbling On The Political Pitch

After 15 long years, Imran Khan has finally come out of the commentary box, so to speak. He says he is finally ready for a real political innings. And now, what was otherwise an aging non-entity of a party called PTI has received a few botox shots via the dissidents of other parties.

Imran Khan, the cricket hero and philanthropist, has become the darling of many TV talk shows as a politician with serious heft. Using this platform, he has been criticising the so-called status quo. In his line of fire have been the usual culprits, the PPP and PML-N. Both, according to him and his followers, have plundered the national wealth. To his followers, he is no less than a messiah in disguise who is ready to relieve

To read the entire article, please click on the link below:

http://t.co/RyIiCXac
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our Selective Sense Of Honor

Hardly a few days ago, 24 of our jawans were killed by the NATO attack at Salala. After the attack our entire country went into frenzy and there was condemnation and outrage pouring in from every nook and cranny. Our sovereignty was supposedly under attack and there was a huge hue and cry. Pakistan then sent a unified message to NATO and all others involved that 'enough was enough'. Our national pride and honor was at stake and we would do anything to protect it. This was the dominant theme, and our patriotism was dependent on this perspective.
 
In Lahore last week, certain front organizations for banned outfits demonstrated their expression of anger towards the incident as well. No holds were barred and these people exercised their right to free speech with plenty of hate speech. Come to think of it, the writ of the armed forces was challenged as well, as these groups vowed to declare their own war against NATO and some other countries. The icing on the cake was the presence of our former Minister of Railways and the Minister of Religious Affairs, at such an auspicious occasion.

Please click on the link below to read the rest of the article;

http://blogs.thenews.com.pk/blogs/2011/12/23/our-selective-sense-of-honour-2/
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fall of Dhaka And a Fall Guy

If hypocrisy was a sport, undoubtedly we Pakistanis would be the world champions. True to the core, till this day we are unmoved by the atrocities we unleashed on our eastern wing and dub it all as a conspiracy. Heck, we do not even want to accept our own mistakes and apologise to the millions of Bangladeshis because how could we possibly be wrong.

Every time December comes, the wounds of a shameful and utterly disgraceful defeat are renewed. The images of helpless Bengalis and their massacre by our 'valiant soldiers' comes to mind. There are certain people who want to put the blame on a so-called controversial individual, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB). Till this day, these individuals blast a false narrative and consider ZAB responsible for the breakup of united Pakistan.

Please click on the link below to read the rest of the article:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C12%5C21%5Cstory_21-12-2011_pg3_6
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lessons That Should Be Learnt From The Fall Of Dhaka

Somehow after over 4 decades, we have not learned much from the fall of Dhaka. A wing of Pakistan was severed and we were busy spinning the "conspiracy theories", much like we are at the present time. This scribe clearly remembers as a young child, what transpired, which led to our shameful surrender.

Back then the mantra was the "Evil Indian" conspiracy and today our boogey man happens to be "Evil Umreeka." We fail to do the honest introspection of what our failures and faults were, which led to the inevitable division.

To read the rest, click on the link below:
http://t.co/VAoq4rLf
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Of Memogate and Other Scandals

By D. Asghar

It sure seems like late President Nixon must be turning in his grave. He had no idea that the term coined for the demise of his presidency, 'Watergate', will get different twists and names in a faraway country called Pakistan.

The infamous 'Memogate', which involves the infamous Mansoor Ijaz and former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, has been played over and over in the local and international media. It has been analysed and beaten to death by analysts, pundits, and so-called political leaders alike. It seems a lot has been said and now the matter is supposedly in the hands of our Supreme Court.

Please click on the link below to read the entire article:
http://t.co/bO6cxIoq
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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why Are People So Disgruntled With Democracy

The people of Pakistan have been singing the change mantra so often that by now it has truly lost its significance. When you engage people advocating for a sweeping change, or a revolution (often termed as a 'tsunami' in Pakistan), they are just as clueless as an infant.


The basis for any politically healthy nation is its political foundation. This political foundation is commonly referred to as the constitution or framework that a country has to live up to. There are divergent and conflicting views about this so called change. Many utopian idealists want the elected government to disappear overnight and have fresh, proven, and 'clean as a whistle' patriots to take charge.


Please click on the link below for the rest of the article;

http://t.co/t2E2AMwk
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Get Well Soon Mr. President

As the details are still sketchy and unknown, but it appears that President Zardari was taken to Dubai. A tweet from a relatively reliable source mentioned, that he may be flying to London soon, for medical reasons.

Of course the usual speculations and rumors are rife about the political scene and the innuendos will continue to trickle in. From what can be deduced, it seems to be something critical, and that's one of the primary reason why the President had to depart immediately.

Please click on the following click to read the complete article;

http://t.co/b8hEc7J4
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Is Boycotting Bonn Conference A Good Idea?

The NATO bombing and killing of Pakistani soldiers was deplorable and extremely unfortunate. It was indeed very sad to see our soldiers lose their precious lives in the ill fated incident at Mohmand. The lives of many were cut short by the rain of continuous fire power. The amount of pain our soldiers endure to fulfill their duty typically goes unnoticed, however, this time their ultimate sacrifice was observed and felt by the rest of the world.

The usual barbs were exchanged between NATO and their Pakistani counterparts, and a chain of steady reactions followed. The arguments and counter arguments, the allegations and the rebuttals were played continuously in the media - shortly after which NATO and the US extended their apologies rather swiftly.

Please click on the link below to read the entire article:

http://t.co/bYVij3GX
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shah Mehmood Qureshi's Flight To PTI

As expected, Mr. Qureshi made his much awaited decision to join, Imran Khan's PTI at Gothki. The twitter sphere went ablaze with tweeps (including myself) registering their comments. Mostly being critical of his decision to join the now perceived as the "Establishment's Party." The followers of PTI take major offense to that allegation and deny it vehemently. They attribute it to the charisma and character of our former Cricket skipper.

Ironically, Pakistan has always had a history of "King's Parties." All Muslim Leagues with the alphabet soups were the brain children of many infamous smooth operators. As a fellow blogger said , the most appropriate name of this party would be PML-I, but I digress.

Please click on the link below to read the rest of the article:

http://t.co/r6oZ9wRL
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Meet Barrister Nawaz Sharif

According to @etribune, Mr. Sharif has vowed to uncover all the faces behind the #memogate. He not only filed a petition in the apex court, but has promised to present some of the portions of the case, himself. Hence meet Barrister Nawaz Sharif.

So the gloves are off and it almost seems like Mr. Sharif is going for the jugular. It seems like no more friendly opposition game. The heat is on in November.

Here we have all in the opposition trying to send the government back to the pavilion. Each day a new announcement surfaces about a former politician joining the bandwagon of Imran Khan. The irony is that, all lotas and rejected politicians of old parties have found their new home, you guessed it PTI.

From the looks of it, it is becoming evident that an electoral alliance between N League and PTI is on the docket.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Au Revoir Ambassador Haqqani

A fellow blogger commented on the recent development pertaining to Hussain Haqqani's resignation as Pakistan's Ambassador to the US, "its not the end of the world." I agree with my esteemed colleague. It may not be end of the world, but it sure seems like the world around people leading the PPP government, although may not be ending but it is no longer going to be the same. Many Pakistani Americans would agree along with many Pakistanis that Haqqani sure was one of the best envoy to the US. Perhaps that was his biggest shortcoming.

To read the rest, please click on the following link;
http://t.co/lqoKW4qr

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Friday, July 15, 2011

$800 Million Question

The moment that dreaded news of the US government suspending its $850 Million aid to the Pakistani Military, hit the wires, there was this flurry of various experts. All weighing in with their expert comments to exacerbate the already stretched and strained relationship  between Pakistan and US. This was of course followed by all sorts of other explanations along with jingoistic comments.

The ongoing love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with America, begs some serious introspection. The gist of the matter is that any and all relationships, whether personal or national are dependent on vested self interest. To exploit a situation to maximize the self benefit is considered sound diplomacy. To say that we are lagging in that art of international politics would be a major understatement.

Ever since the event of May 02, we have been going through various debacles and till this date, we have not come to the realization of what challenges we face as a nation. We are surrounded by not so friendly nations around us. It is hard to admit, but it is due to our doing as well. From the get go, we seem to be in  a "la Shaheen mode". If it all boils down to the "strategic depth", then make no mistake, we have dug a deep one for ourselves.


Please click on the below listed link to read the rest of the article.

http://www.viewpointonline.net/800-million-dollar-question.html
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mumbai Massacre Part 2

As these lines are being written, over 20 precious lives are no more in Mumbai. 100 plus people are injured and as reports trickle in, sadly the number of impacted physically, keeps on rising.

People of Mumbai have barely recovered from the 2008 terrorist attacks and now this. Many speculations and opinions came to fore almost instantaneously, thanks to electronic media and twitteriti. Some were just down right stupid as usual and some were worth paying attention to.

The electronic media reported just yesterday that, India has given a list of most wanted criminals to Pakistan. Mostly people related to terrorism and related senseless acts. Its a pity that we have (supposedly) within our boundaries, responsible for such heinous acts. It is equally damning to hear rebuttals, which are proven erroneous down the road.

For the rest of the article, please click on the link below:

http://pakteahouse.net/2011/07/14/mumbai-massacre-part-2/
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Edhi Sahib, We are Disappointed!

Undoubtedly, Edhi Sahib is the last bastion of hope in the Land of Pure. A selfless human being, who has rose to immeasurable heights, all because his countless services to humanity.

The entire Pakistan is proud of him and he is the symbol of the real Pakistani spirit. A man who's rescue vans go through the cities, immediately after any disaster. He is the pioneer of "Emergency Response" in Pakistan.

His simple and honest personality is so uplifting for many. A source of real inspiration for millions across the country. He is the angel in our land, where greed and lust rules.


Kindly click on the link below to read the rest of the article.

http://nblo.gs/kgyJ1
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Monday, July 4, 2011

The Long Road Ahead For The US

A country of 180 million plus people, so skeptical of a country, that influences their lives so immensely. If your guess is Pakistan and the US, you are right on the money. No one is denying that there is a basis of such feelings, based on a troubled past. However life never completely dwells in the past, it has to move forward.

Overlooking Pakistan from the vantage point of US, it seems like a major mess. Where jingoistic emotions run high, and people are always looking for a pinata to vent their deep rooted frustrations. US seems to be the convenient villain to many. It is often presented as Enemy Number One of Pakistan and above all Islam.

Now looking Washington from Islamabad, it has its own twists and turns. The Imperialist, the Evil the Capitalists and what have you. Despite all this the dire need for the assistance from US cannot be denied. All relations, whether personal or national go through some test or trial. Needless to say, there is such a challenge that both nations are facing right now, based on mutual misunderstandings.


Please click on the link below to read the rest of the article
http://www.pkhope.com/the-long-road-ahead-for-the-us/
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Friday, June 24, 2011

President Obama's Road Map To Re Election

Original Article: Pak Tea House

President Obama laid out his plans for troop draw down from Afghanistan. At least he is cognizant of the fact that 2012 re election bid is fast approaching. He will be on the campaign trail soon, behind the podiums, talking to a whole lot of Americans.

It is no surprise, that his approval ratings took a plunge again, right after the OBL episode. The fact remains that generally people are a bit disappointed with the first term. The troop withdrawal was one of his 2008 campaign items and it is wise of him to follow through.

The Obama administration can definitely take credit for OBL elimination and some other stalwarts of the Jihadi side, in and around Pakistan. It is true that, Pakistan has taken a lot of heat right after May 02. The other fact that Afghanistan is one heck of a monster is perhaps well known to his policy gurus. When all the American troops depart, there is a strong possibility of the resurgence of not so America friendly, non state actors.

Please click on the link below to read the rest of the article at PTH:

http://nblo.gs/jCx7M
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

So The Terrorists Were Foreigners

Original Article: ViewpointOnline.net

Our own NADRA's records came back negative on the PNS Mehran attackers. The conclusive verdict as expected, the terrorists were "foreigners." The term foreigners, opens up a Pandora box of confusion. And yes we have plenty of that going around in the land of pure.

If one was expecting that NADRA records were perfect, then I would like to sell the Eiffel Tower or perhaps Golden Gate Bridge to that individual. Secondly, who in their right mind would think, that these individuals would go to NADRA, apply for an Identification Card and then decide on going to a suicidal mission. Lastly, the snap taken by a scribe, of a dead person, sort of gives you the impression, that it is not your average Pakistani person. The looks and complexion do not fit the average Pakistani profile.

Please click on the link below to read the rest of the scribble:

http://bit.ly/jhwP3Z
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's a people's government after all

Original Article: Daily Times

In any other part of the world, whoever led to the bin Laden hideout in Abbottabad, would be rewarded. I had foolishly thought that these people would get the sum of the bounty that Bush had announced on OBL's head. But in Pakistan things are mostly the other way around. When the New York Times broke the news that 'CIA informants' in Pakistan were under arrest, I shook my head, perhaps like many others, and muttered, "There we go again."

If these people were responsible for espionage of state secrets or did something that compromised the national security, Pakistan had all the right to react in this manner. Here we have people who facilitated the riddance of a notorious terrorist, who had nothing positive to his credit, who are now facing the music for it. There was a swift denial from the usual quarters rubbishing any such move. It was dubbed as yet another attempt to smear the spotless and the valiant.

Please read the rest of the article by clicking the link below:

http://bit.ly/jMMgYz
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

It’s Time for a Television Content Rating System in Pakistan

Original Article: Newsline Magazine

A girl, perhaps in her mid teens, lustfully dreams about a man in his early 30s. A middle-aged man flaunts his polygamous relationships. Teenagers enjoy smokes and booze at a rave. If all of these seem like scenes from a British or American soap, then you are definitely mistaken.

All of this is displayed on Pakistani TV channels, as part of the dramas and soaps that are supposed to be "family entertainment." Of course, the truth is that some of these dramas are quite explicit and are not fit for many young viewers.

No one is suggesting censorship or forced Islamisation of the idiot box. But it seems that with the recent media revolution, all channels here are in dire need of some serious self-scrutiny. This scribe tries to stay away from television altogether, but very occasionally catches a glimpse or two of our creativity. Recently, I've been exposed to handful of shows across different channels. Make no mistake, something is out of place on our desi tube.

Please click on the link to read the remaining article at Newsline Magazine

http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2011/06/its-time-for-a-television-content-rating-system-in-pakistan/
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Punishable By Death Needs To Die

Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah's recent statement, inciting violence against fellow politician Babar Awan amazes and disgusts me. A law minister is supposed to uphold the law, not the other way around.

In most countries,  such a bizarre statement from a public official would instantly result in a prompt resignation.

Political discourse and difference of opinion do not mean anyone has the right to put someone's life in danger. Healthy societies thrive on differences and emerge stronger, based on dialogue and mutual respect. Ours unfortunately, is still struggling to understand the basic meaning of freedom of speech.

There is a saying that goes around in this country:

"Pakistanis only understand the language of the danda (stick)."

For more click on the link below and read the complete article at the Tribune Website.

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/6460/punishable-by-death-needs-to-die/
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Deep Rooted Frustrations

Original Article: Viewpointonline.com

The advent of information revolution has truly shattered the myths of what used to be our religious or patriotic cocoon. In this day and age, where information is traveling perhaps at the rate of speed of light, we are unable to blind this world with our imaginary narratives


Not a single day goes by without people lambasting the situations and conditions around our nation. At one end you have social issues and to the other political. There seems to be such a confusion and chaos. A nation in all honesty trying to find itself, with some very tough and challenging questions.

On a social level we are struggling with the concept of what kind of Pakistan it ought to be and on political level, whether civil or military rule is better for our nation. These social and political issues are inter twined and create a passionate discourse in the forums. The entire history of Pakistan, since its inception comes under attack and the follies, shortcomings and failures are regurgitated endlessly.

Read the rest at http://www.viewpointonline.net/our-deep-rooted-frustrations.html
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Curious Case Of Suo Moto Notice Of Ms. Odho's Wine Bottles

Any reasonable person will not disagree, that if Ms. Odho was violating any law by carrying two wine bottles in her luggage, from Islamabad to Karachi on a PIA flight, she is answerable. If there is a law that requires her to declare the spirits she is carrying, with her on a domestic flight, then it should be enforced.

There is no question that Ms. Odho is a frequent traveler and more than likely familiar with the laws of carrying the spirits on an aircraft. If media reports are true and she has resigned from the post of the Vice President of APML, then there is some truth to the matter.
Those who are being critical of her carrying bottles of wine in an "Islami country", ought to get a life. Agreed that her conduct does not sit well with her political persona. Especially when former President Musharraf's party's manifesto was based on Holy Quran. There is a clear injunction in Holy Quran about drinking and there is no doubt about it.
As a scribe in a very popular daily, her writings mostly have a patriotic fervor. This scribe remembers one of her write ups, where she emphasized on her reason to move back to Pakistan, was due to the family values of East. Certainly, even if the bottles were a gift for a friend, it just puts a lot of question marks towards her conduct as a public figure.
The most striking issue of this whole episode is the prompt suo moto notice of our Supreme Court. It just makes you wonder, that the apex court has all the time in the world to focus on what would ordinarily be considered as "non issue." Is it really that important is the key question.
One would at least assume that even if a law was broken or a statute of safety was violated, there may be lower courts to handle such incidences. Does it really beg the time of a three member bench to take an immediate notice?
There are many pressing issues ahead of the apex court. So much has transpired in Pakistan, ever since May 02, 2011 and the list is so long, that regurgitating the list would not do justice to so many items worthy of some prompt justice.
If anything it taints the credibility of the highest echelon of the justice system. Ms. Odho being Vice President (now former) of APML, was perhaps being viewed a bit closely. The reason for bad blood between the SC and Mr. Musharraf is common knowledge. This scribe's personal opinion about Mr. Musharraf and his party are fairly well known at this forum. However, as a common man, I feel that it is perhaps not the most effective use of the valuable time of the apex court. This is a very respectful plea and hope that your Lordship (stealing the title from a very senior, and one of my favorite scribe, Ayaz Amir), would consider it.
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

1 down, 3 more to go

Original Article on LUBP dated June 04, 2011

Last week if you recall, this scribe wrote a post about US Secretary of State Clinton's visit and the four names, that were on her list. Re capping those 4 names were, Zawahiri, Siraj Haqqani, Ilyas Kashmiri and Atiya Abdel Rahman.

Major news outlets like ET and Dawn have confirmed of another drone strike taking down 1 out of 4. Ilyas Kashmiri is gone, the latest victim of the "evil drones", according to one of our heavily charged former sportsman.

I can hear someone in the State Department saying, "Well Done Boys, 1 down, 3 more to go." If the reports and preliminary investigations into the killing of slain journalist, Syed Saleem Shahzad are true, then IK and his gang had some connection. At least to the extent that PNS Mehran attack was carried out by IK's people and SSS tried to expose the connection of the infiltration of the IK boys in Pak Navy. The rest is common knowledge.

Now objectively thinking, even if one is vehemently against the drones, one has to agree with these pesky "ababeels" for something: their precision in most cases and their effectiveness. A ground offensive in the region has so many odds. But these things fly in, get the job done and within an hour, the world gets to hear about their accomplishment.

Our gung ho commentators, who consider this as a major violation of the sovereignty ought to consider this rather convincing one liner, "Its a dirty job and some one's got to do it." If anything, we should be thankful, that it saves our precious men in Khakhis from a deadly combat.

From all the signs that are so apparent, it is becoming extremely obvious. The heat will be on in the coming months. Chances are that remaining high value targets will be hunted down as well. Some of our misguided anchors, who think this is all about the re election bid of President Obama, are perhaps clueless about American politics. Things are mostly a cliffhanger till November 3rd, even a day prior to our polling. Whether President Obama gets to retain the Oval Office or not, the "War on Terror", will be continuous and ongoing. It is as clear as day to a lot of people around the globe.
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Insanityville! Are We There Yet

Appeared on Daily Times June 04, 2011

Those of us who are proud parents can relate to when our children are going through their "terrible twos." Any thing we ask from our children, their instantaneous reply is always, "No." It almost seems like a good number of our countrymen are still going through their terrible twos. In their case, shall we add "extremely" to their sorry situation. No matter what plethora of evidence is presented and regardless of any rhyme, reason or logic, they are unable to embrace the bitter reality.

The presence of our "security analysts" and their "pot shot" analysis is becoming far more amusing than the best sit com in any language on any TV channel. The stories of the strategic grandeur of our country and its geopolitical significance to the rest of the world has become a laughing matter.

As taught in school, the "analysis paralysis" often mars the ability to think straight. PNS Mehran turned out to be yet another "conspiracy" hatched by our "worst enemies." (That's according to the narrative being churned by some of our analysts)

From the day of creation of Pakistan to PNS Mehran, the list of conspiracies is never ending. Heck let's even roll back the tape to East India Company and the conspiracies of British in the United India. I can go on and on. So the Brits, who were supposed to be true evils to the core (our text book version), came to India to steal "our Kohinoor" and dismantle the "Muslim Rule."

Sit back and think, the Mughals had their good hundred plus year of rule. Granted in any monarchy, there are power hungry people, who either conspire or kill to ascend to the throne. But isn't this the primary reason why good intelligence is critical to thwart such plots. No one is completely denying or dismissing, that those rulers had their foes. But to strictly blame others for conspiring against them is denying reality. They share the blame as well for poor intelligence gathering, lack of planning, governing and proper execution of their vision.

Any time there is a weakness somewhere it gets exploited. Ask any coach of any sport, and they will tell you the same thing. It is a perfect example of accessing the adversary, devising a strategy to exploit their weakness. Then applying an offensive strategy where it becomes absolutely essential and all this while never foregoing the defense. Then and only then chances are that you can emerge as victorious.

Same goes for the national security paradigm. By simply blaming others for their devious intent cannot absolve us from the lack of our responsibilities. If one were to add the amount of conspiracies churned by our most loathed rivals, the remanence of Pakistan, on the map of this world, is nothing short of a divine miracle. One of the analyst giving his commentary on the Mehran fiasco, gave credit to the superior training of the terrorists. Makes you wonder why would our valiant brass not factor that into the equation, when they prepare for counter terrorism.

Then the most repeated and overplayed line of the world after our "nuclear assets", just makes you bang your head in the wall. Supposedly, our most famous foes, such as US, Israel and neighboring India are all nuclear powers themselves. It is not so unique of a capability that those countries are not able to replicate. Perhaps other countries may have such ability as well, but those countries refrain to carry it as a medal of honor.

One of my fellow scribe put it very aptly on "Yaum e Takbeer", by sending me a message. It is a day that we celebrate to flaunt in front of the world. Although this bomb was supposed to be a deterrent, but in essence now we are protecting it, even though it was supposed to be doing vice versa. I couldn't disagree with him one bit.

Looking back 13 years, if we would have opted for diplomacy at that juncture, we may have been in a different place perhaps. Even though we have this great asset, but are we any safer? That's the key question. Those of us who think that our neighbors would annihilate us with their bomb, ought to think again. The trigger from that end would translate into a destruction of unimaginable proportion.

Its not the bombs and missiles that this entire region needs. This region has been through epic destruction and deprivation for decades. Our common enemy is illiteracy, poverty and lack of development. So those of us who remain in fools paradise by flaunting this bomb, should ask themselves. Can any bomb feed an empty stomach or better the lives of countless generations who are surviving in sub human conditions.

But the expected response would be a blatant denial from those quarters with the usual conspiracy mantra. To that steady journey that we are headed towards very sadly, I say, "Insanityville, are we there yet?"
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Saleem Shahzad's Passing: And The Score Is Despair 3, Hope 0

Initially appeared On Pak Tea House On May 31, 2011. Then at Chowk.com.


Nothing can be more disheartening, than news of someone's brutal murder. This year started out with a tragic and insane murder of Governor Salman Taseer in Islamabad. That killer who was supposed to be the "bodyguard", Mumtaz Qadri surrendered on the spot. Or else we would still be looking for Taseer's assassin. The indifferent attitude of many was appalling. Their callous and cruel display towards his point of view was to say the least, beyond shameful.

It was followed by the equally gruesome murder of the Minorities Minister, Shahbaz Bhatti. He was gunned down and till date his killers are perhaps roaming. Of course his life was not such a precious thing to many, perhaps because of his belief.

In both of these cases, the cold and crazy attitude of many was despicable. The idea of dissent to survive was murdered by these unfortunate killings. The nation so engulfed with a daily dose of killings is perhaps numb. No amount of mayhem can move it from deep down. We are withering from the inside, without a doubt.

One was still recovering from all the horrific dust of PNS Mehran incident, when the news of Saleem Shahzad's missing appeared on the Twitter zone and then a flurry of emails followed. The horrific news of his death has sent more shock waves. It is of course worthy of the strongest condemnation. A journalist who is expressing his freedom to speak and inform, is put to sleep, in such a barbaric fashion. It just leaves you speechless.

Of course some news bites will pop up here and there for a couple of days. Some promises will be made, some condemnation from different quarters and a usual investigation probe. After a few weeks, it will be the usual, "ALLAH ALLAH, Khair SALLAH."

Then suddenly, another one will be taken away from us and we will do the usual. Express our outrage, show our sympathies and then the game will go on. No one is denying the reality of life. It is a blessing that so many are praying for him and may his soul finds the best places up there. Ameen. What a pity, a person who was the source of information and an objective point of view, turns into a news ticker himself.

But just investigative probes, commissions and committees will not yield much. Looking back at our tragic past, one has to be awfully pessimistic or as one would say, really realistic. Those who think that this is yet another conspiracy to malign the name of the truly and perhaps the only "Muslim" nation on the map of "their world", think again. Whoever is responsible, deserves an exemplary punishment.

Very sadly, with his death the score for despair is now 3, and hope is 0. But who cares and who is keeping the count. I wish in this battle we are able to reverse the course. Hope gets to prevail. Only a very simple wish, isn't it.



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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

US In Pursuit Of 4 Big Ones

First Published on LUBP

Secretary of State Clinton's visit to Pakistan left us pretty much where we were. Although the visit was supposed to be a "fence mender", but it seems like it is the usual diplomatic stuff. Yes we all are aware that, Pakistan has to step up its efforts to combat the poisonous monsters. On the other hand, the US has to respect its sovereignty and stop or at least slow down the pesky drones. 

The million dollar question is, has someone gotten the message or is it business as usual. Of course based on media reports, the Secretary looked a bit frustrated. The same media reported that US gave four names to Pakistan of their most wanted men after Osama. Those four names are Zawahiri, Siraj Haqqani, Ilyas Kashmiri and Atiya Abdel Rahman. Amzingly, Mulla Omar's name did not pop on that list. This sort of gives the impression, that either he is no more, as some rumors were suggesting, or there is some other reason, that we are not privy to.

Back to the issue of the meeting, of course at the end there was a notification pretty much restating the same old diplomatic riff raff. From what can be read between the lines is of course there is immense frustration on the US side.  The policy makers in Washington are looking for swift actions. Of course their patience is running thin. On the surface we are being told that, all is well and good, and the relationship with CIA is back on track. In reality is it so?

The post Osama events are pointing to one very conclusive thing. This war is far from over. Each day there is a bomb going off and people dropping like flies. 157 no more just in KP area, after the great Osama's demise. Even if miraculously the four names listed above are caught or killed, the hateful ideology will not be killed. That's where US and other allies need to focus heavily. Its the despair, which feeds into the rotten mind set. The mind set that fore goes any logic, rhyme or reason.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

No Foreign Aid For Punjab, Ok Janab

So we have no dearth of laughable news at the expense of our political leaders. Latest came from the "Khadim e Aala", Janab Wazeer e Aaala, Shahbaz Sharif. Mr. Sharif made some quick headlines, by saying no to "faarun aid in Punjab."

I know after the Abbottabad operation, our honor, that was in deep slumber has woken up. As I said in one of my previous posts on another forum, any time it involves a "gora", we suddenly wake up. Our pains of the past and the narratives fed by our "muashrati uloom", textbooks give us the sudden surge of honor. We perceive the "Caucasians" as our villain number one, thanks to our media, Lollywood movies and the "half baked truths."

I posed the same question, when Raymond Davis saga happened. I will repeat the same question by altering the scenario a little bit. Suppose a couple of weeks back in Abbottabad, these were not American choppers, and if these were just Saudi choppers, coming in and getting rid of their former citizen. Will our "Ghairat Brigade", be out chest thumping and crying foul on a "faarun incursion." Truth is that we would have done the job for them ourselves. But even if push comes to shove, we would have dismissed everything by saying, "our brotherly nation has the right to seek justice from someone who is a fugitive."

So as the spin doctors are busy trying to rally up bunch of hypocritical honor again "faarun Umreeka", they would be working the entire opposite, in case of "faarun" yet "brotherly Saudi Arabia." In the wake of all this, of course, for the sake of rhetoric, "faarun dictation" and "faarun aid" are a no no. But one has to ask the honorable Chief Minister, what about "faarun ilaaj." Why go for a check up, treatment and surgeries to these "faarun countries." Sir, how about the "faarun exiles" and above all "faarun cars" that we love so much in our beloved country.

Shun everything "faarun", as it reminds us of the "faarun East India company walas", who came in for trade and did a "Raymond Davis" on us. Our so "righteous and honest", forefathers were fooled by these guys and the rest is all so crystal clear in our books. No narrative about our shortcomings and lack of control. Conspiracies of "evil angrez" is what you would typically find in our books, add more that we churn every day on our own and now you know, what our biggest crop is. If some one said wheat or cotton, they ought to quickly replace it with "conspiracies."

It is even more bemusing to read our Urdu headlines, where headlines say, "Shahbaz Sharif says no to kushkol." Hmm. Last I heard, the province of Punjab was still part of the federation. The federation has a Foreign Minister and a Finance Minister. The aid given to the country of course is for the entire country for a certain purpose. Technically, it is not a charity. It has certain objectives, or conditions attached to it.

In a broader perspective, it is a plan of development. The critics and cynics who view the aid as a "begging bowl", should really re examine their stance. It is a temporary help, to put us back on our feet. The idea is to have our folks chart out the course, so we no longer need these crutches. It is not the fault of donor nations, that we are unable to come up with a tangible and realistic plan, which would take us to complete recovery.

When the aid trickles in, it is on a national level. Of course one would hope that, there is some mechanism of appropriation between the provinces. If the provincial government, decides to pass on the aid, it must have a sound economic plan to replace it with domestic resources. The sound bites seem catchy and interesting, make good headlines, but in reality don't mean much.

Honorable Chief Minister Sahib, did touch on a couple of items, like creating jobs and investments. Sounds good and promising, but how do you attract long term business and investment from all over the world? Even a novice of a person like me knows that you want the domestic and foreign investments increased exponentially, to get the desired returns.

What it boils down to is conducive economic environment. How do you create that, when political instability and terrorism are the major barriers, preventing the people from the outside to increase their stakes in our motherland. Mian Sahib Junior, is an astute politician and a seasoned businessman himself. He knows that in order to boost the economic activities, these impediments have to be tackled head on.

The so called, "America's war" is actually the war to put our country back to prosperity and ever lasting peace. A progressive, prosperous and developed Pakistan will be in the interest of the entire world. When tourism would replace the infamous terrorism. Self dependence is well and good, but it cannot happen in a self created imaginary world. We live in a global village and its high time that we become inclusive and create our positive niche within this shrinking world.
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Caught Between Emotions And Rhetoric

Those of us who have seen Punjabi flicks growing up, will tell you, those are such a fun to watch. Absurdity and stupidity unlimited. Yet there is nothing like it, that brings the amount of hearty laughter out so spontaneously. If you were to compare our current political situation, it almost feels like you are watching a Punjabi action "fillum. " There is plenty of verbal exchange, loud and deafening between the adversaries, then there is a "faight" and finally the film may end with a predictable ending.

After Osama's episode, one would conclude, that we would get our act together and put ourselves on the right path. But it seems like the entire chain of command, political or otherwise, has been an ardent fan of Punjabi movies. While the deranged lot, is busy with its lame conspiracy theories as usual, every spokes hole is giving the usual "barak" to the Americans. Of course knowing full well, that they are not able to take the "phats" from the Yankee "Jatts."

Let's take a quick look, shall we. So according to many, this was a drama to malign Pakistan and its mighty security establishment. So where did the wives and children of Late Bin Laden come from? Hollywood I guess. Gosh those choppers brought an armada of actors with them. Every one and their mother in law around the globe is willing to buy, that this was Bin Laden who perished, except a lot of our "ghairat mands." They are sort of hung in the middle, cannot swallow or spit this one. Almost gagging and with each passing day, exacerbating the whole situation.

The blood, DNA, physical evidence, videos do not mean anything to them. They are dismissing all of that as CIA job to avenge the Davis let down. Hmm.. Do they really think that a President would be able to pull this hoax, with ease. When the nay sayers can easily put a supposedly live Bin Laden to discredit Obama in minutes. Then there are those who swear up and down, he died long time ago. Well someone must have buried him, perfect opportunity to stick this one to the "Imperialists" by unearthing the remains and showing the world. Tough one I guess.

The ever mighty security establishment has accepted, the inept government has nodded, the militants with their ilk have offered their prayers in absentia, but the ones with over supply of ghairat are unwilling to yield. One has to ask them, what did Osama do for them or for Pakistan or Muslims? Did he donate his personal wealth to the poor Muslim nations? But nothing really matters to this crazy lot. It is called the infantile Islamic superiority (read stupidity) complex. No Muslim can ever do any wrong and the whole world is out to get Muslims, is their deduction. Go figure.

Even the children know this golden rule, when they play. If you have the ability to face off, then and only then instigate and invite trouble. Otherwise the opponent will pound you with full force. Remember our tall claims that we had pummeled the Indians in 1971 and in Kargil, the reality was to the contrary. How about the Gulf war (s), so much noise from Saddam. At the end of first one he retreated from Kuwait. What happened after the second one, brought a tight noose around his neck. The pretext to initiate the Second Gulf war in Iraq, may be wrong. But let me ask a simple question, wasn't Saddam given a fair warning? Only if he had the best interest of his people in mind, he would be sitting pretty somewhere in the world today in exile, sipping some hot coffee. How about our "strategic liabilities" across the border in Afghanistan. The rest is all history.

Here at home, when the Americans did what they promised they would, we are still playing the usual games. We are still trying to fool ourselves, knowing the Americans are not going to buy our double talk. Those of us who use to take great offense to the demands of "more" by the Americans, are busy doing "more of the same." Spin total Pakistani style.

At first it was the PM Sahib, who blamed the entire world for the faulty intelligence. Hmm..did some one ask him how in the world is the entire world responsible for the intelligence within Pakistan? Then the mighty security czars just brushed it off as an oversight, yet giving the usual "barak" to India. The so bright politicians traded barbs with each other on the floor of the wrestling arena (oops I meant the National Assembly) and tried to link one another to Osama. Although they were trying so hard to disassociate themselves from him in front of the world outside.

No we never did learn from the mistakes of the past. This recent episode is a testimony that we never will. Only a fool would think, that Americans will seek consent prior to taking down any additional high value targets within Pakistan. The sovereignty debate is so hollow that it is not even bemusing. Its the strategic depth gone wrong, which has become our strategic ditch. One would have thought that this time around, we would grab the bull by the horns. The way it looks like, not happening in my lifetime. Seems to me we are getting ourselves ready for a rather predictable end, much like our Punjabi flicks.

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Queuing Up With Q

The battle for "Takht e Lahore" as one of our illustrious leader calls it, is on. PPP with its recent move, to woo the Q Leaguers has proven that it is time to bury the hatchet with, what they once called "Qatil League", themselves.

Q League the brain child of the all mighty establishment, has now finally gotten some muscle, in this PPP versus PML-N game. The way things are going for PPP, it is the question for its survival. Even if it means, embracing the former adversaries to secure its waning grip, it has no choice, other than biting the bullet.

Who can forget the fiery claims of the Junior Chaudhry of Q, who had once categorically dismissed any reconciliation with PPP. His hard line stance was based on the assertion, that "reconciling with a party responsible for the break up of the nation, was out of question."

If Junior Chaudhry was really sincere, he would have raised the same question in front of his former Godfather. It is not PPP or ZAB that led to the inevitable separation of East Pakistan. It was not ZAB, who ordered the fellow Khakhis of former General, Yahya Khan to crush the so called "rebellion." The handwriting of decades worth of injustice and ruthless inequity was on the wall. But the million dollar question is, will any one ever hold the people who are truly responsible for this shameful episode? Many including the Junior Chaudhry would plead sheer ignorance, right! PPP should introduce another reference in SC and get this "historical wrong", right forever by getting their former Chairman absolved from this allegation as well.

Politics is a strange game, where no enmity is eternal and no difference is permanent. The PPP started its journey with a good momentum, after the 2008 election. Especially, the Murree Declaration was a great move. The nation finally came to some ease, with this historic patch up of PPP and PML-N. Finally, the two adversaries were ideologically aligned to keep the "military out for good."

What transpired from there on is common knowledge. The thorny issue of restoration of judiciary, was the prime reason for the rift. From there on it has been a downhill flight for both of them.

To many it almost seems like, if the alliance would have persisted, it would have been a turning point in Pakistan's political history. The two parties pretty much cover the major territory of the country. Both would have had their stint almost every five years. But to some, this rather predictable scenario, was too boring. So behind the scene forces, were busy in doing, what these forces or interests if you will, are famous for. You guessed it, creating a divide.

Slowly and gradually, PML-N parted ways. Then it was followed by JUI-F and MQM did its usual of "in and out and full round about" on a few occasions. At every such juncture, there were the usual rumor mills busy, trumpeting either "Martial Law" or "Mid Term Polls." Heck, even some TV anchors made some rather bold predictions of pack up for the PPP. Somehow, it weathered these storms and still made it through, which is nothing short of a miracle.

The same elements are busy spinning a web of another such bizarre scenario. One of our very senior politician, who should seriously take astrology for a profession, has predicted again, that this government will not last till its full term.

In the meantime, Mr. Sharif's absence from the scene, has not been very conducive for his party either. PPP's move to cozy up with Q League and taking them on board, may be a short term move. But in the longer run, this alliance may not last either.

The reason is fairly simple. Both parties are ideologically poles apart. Q League, with all due respect, was a party of N League deserters. It was carved out by former President Musharraf to divide PML-N and to get an endorsement for his Presidency. It is no secret either, that such opportunistic politicians are available in Pakistan, a dime a dozen.

They always tow the line with either the establishment or whoever is in power, for that matter. Yes Punjab has its significance and along with a sizable majority PPP can not only sustain till 2013, but perhaps beyond as well. Needless to say, the demands for ministries by Q Leaguers to sign up for the nuptials carry the telltale signs.

The PPP really needs to focus on revamping its political priorities. It used to be equally popular in Punjab in the past. Maybe its time for induction of some fresh blood in the ranks for Punjab to re ignite the spark. The time tested "turn coats" are not going to be able to pay dividends, in the long run.

This marriage of convenience may turn out to be a very bitter and costly pill. If anything, it is high time for both PPP and PML-N to sit back on the table and revisit their Murree Declaration. The nation would be in much better shape, if the two major players are in sync with one another. It will keep the small irritants and the typical opportunist characters at bay.
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Obama Speaks: "I Was Born In the USA"

Even though he did not sing the unofficial anthem, but what President Obama said loud and clear, by releasing his detailed Birth Certificate, "I was born in the USA." Told you so. Of course its not adequate for the detractors, especially Donald Trump and company. Mr. Trump is all "fired" up, with this issue. Even with this, Mr. Trump, still sounded skeptical and wanted to see the Certificate, himself. It is high time that Mr. Trump focuses on, how to make us all richer much like him, or before you know it, the RNC, may be telling him, what he is famous for, you guessed it, "You're fired."

Yes Mr. Obama may have not been so successful of a President, but as this scribe has previously stated, any one even Senator McCain, would be facing the similar issues. Borrowing another phrase from another famous former President, " After all, Its the economy stupid."

On one of the Saturday radio addresses, the GOP spokesperson, was advocating and emphasizing on the "J" word, you guessed it, the "jobs." The well meaning politician was stressing on the need to create more jobs by giving small businesses, supply and access to credit. OK understood, well and good. But I wanted to ask the gentlemen, 8 years and two wars (one at least one was based on faulty intelligence and the other has no end in sight), what else did you expect?

The gentleman was emphasizing on "fiscal discipline", and I agree with him. But the control was the responsibility of the man in charge of the White House for 8 long years. You don't pick up a fight and drive your home to this situation. Have the monetary resources to engage in the conflict, if not then come up with another plan. Being penny wise always pays off.

Of course the proponents argue, well it has made America a lot safer. I beg to differ on that one, as we have this constant fear looming over our shoulders, no matter what. Even if we were to open war theaters all over the world to contain this menace, the fundamental question remains the same, "Shouldn't our first priority be our homeland?"

But like many other countries, our conservatives tend to put the blame on the other side very conveniently, and dodge their goofs with some lame excuse. The conservatives in my country of birth act rather similarly to their ideological partners in the US. They tend to waste valuable time on origin, religion and other unimportant stuff, which has no bearing on the long term viability and stability of the nation.

I picked up a blog, where some are criticizing the appearance of the President on Oprah. I read something on the cover of National Enquirer, where it was alleging that Mr. Obama was begging Oprah to save her from Trump. I laughed as it was comical. In politics, certain moves are " completely political." The aides in dark Armani suits, get paid to churn out these ideas.
I am sure if the Republican guy was in a similar political pickle, he would have reached out to someone with affinity, like Hannity. It is all Politics after all. Isn't it. For God's sake, let's focus on what we really should, making this country safer from the inside and bringing prosperity back. Rest is all talking points as usual.
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No Sir You Can't Have It Both Ways

Its a free country and yes every one has a say. Everyone has a right to have their voices heard. That's what democracy is all about. Stifling any dissenting viewpoint, goes against the basic tenets of the will of people.

Having said that, one has to give it to the so ever charged and emotional crowd, chanting and defending the sanctity of our "Armed Forces." The most ludicrous angle of this whole thing is that it is perceived a sacred cow and no one has the right to question its performance. Not even the public who almost gives their 50 paisas on every Rupee they earn to their Jawans. It is ironic that supposedly the defenders of the public, consider it "unpatriotic" to respond to those, who they have promised to protect and serve.

Let's dice this argument of sovereignty for a moment. So the Americans flew in to Abbottabad, got their job done. They were undetected by the radars, supposedly based on their technological superiority. But let's dig a bit further. What were they in Abbottabad for? What did they accomplish and what did they part with?

If the Americans would have done something fishy to begin with, such as caused havoc in the capital or disarmed the "priceless nuclear assets", all the hue and cry was warranted. If anything, we should be thankful to them for getting a despicable character off the world. The same person who gave two hoots to the lives of many including our own brethren.

Going a bit further, what did Mr. Bin Laden do for Pakistan in the first place? Did Mr. Bin Laden build schools, hospitals, mosques, pharmacies, colleges, universities or flood control canals? No Sir, no such thing. The devoted lot of Mr. Bin Laden did one thing for sure. Took their personal vendetta towards the US, on center stage of this world by causing 09/11 and the rest is all history.

From there on what unfolded in Pakistan is common knowledge. We must be the most naïve nation in he entire world. The entire Arabian Peninsula is perhaps taking a sigh of relief, after his passing. However on our end we are mourning him like he was the best thing that ever happened to our gifted nation. The lawyers at Lahore High Court, who showered petals at a murderer, Mumtaz Qadri were going a step further by saying Bin Laden's prayers in absentia. Some deluded channels were glorifying him as the greatest martyr. The infamous Jamat ud Dawa with thousands of protesters were singing his praises.

So this great martyr and his followers have put thousands to sleep, in and around Pakistan. Many suicide bombs have shattered families and created a living hell for our countrymen. All because the martyr and his followers were not happy with this Pakistan and its forces siding with the "Imperial America."

The same martyr had openly declared a war against our forces, ever since Musharraf made the tough choice. Now our uniformed forces are speechless, as the same man was found in our backyard and was killed by the Americans. So the protest and solidarity with our forces is in a way an admission that, "yes you screwed up, yes you were asleep when Americans came in, yes five plus years the special guest was here and yes the entire world is staring at us with disgust, but we still love you."

To take a step further, the same people who are singing praises of our Khakhi's epic failure are also diminishing the villainy of the infamous martyr by singing his praises as well.

This is the most perplexing angle of this entire episode. This is what the rest of the world is questioning. How could you glorify a mass murderer who has killed thousands of people around the world, including Pakistan and then absolve your armed forces for their blunder, of keeping a special guest with a unique notoriety. By raising the hollow sovereignty slogan, all these demented "so called patriots" are saying, Americans had no right to come in, our forces are capable of taking such characters down. So please make up your mind, was this a martyr or a villain, who our valiant soldiers would have targeted in no time. No Sir, you can't have it both ways.

The biggest blunder is not that our heroes were unable to detect the American choppers. It is their inability to protect their own citizens from the enemies within. The enemies who strike ruthlessly at any place with rather impunity. If a citizen feels unsafe in its own country, then what are the "armed forces" for in the first place?

The dilemma is, now the whole world is unwilling to buy our excuses and honor laced sob stories. The war on terror is not a "war in error." It is for Pakistan and for every Pakistani's survival. Even our parliamentary hearings were a major disappointment. Where the same old drum was beaten and over beaten about faith in our forces. It is about time that elected officials and the forces listen to their people and protect them. As it is part of their duty and a sacred covenant of their oath.


About The Author:

D. Asghar is a Pakistani American. A Mortgage Banker by profession who loves to write as well. He blogs frequently at popular South Asian websites. A repository of some of his scribbles is http://dasgharspoliticalprism.blogspot.com/. He can be reached at dasghar@aol.com.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

SMQ: New Rebel With An Old Cause

Qureshi Sahib is sounding more and more like some one with the "sour grapes" syndrome. Undoubtedly, as a Foreign Minister he had a considerable clout. He was seen with world leaders and made his efforts to portray the Pakistani image abroad, to the best of his ability. To some extent, he was seen as being successful.

But with the portfolio gone, he is sounding more and more like a typically traditional politician at home. In a recent address, where he has claimed that PPP has an in internal split, over forming an alliance with PML-Q, is perhaps a new move to create fissures within the party. This scribe has touched on the nuptials of PPP and Q, in a daily newspaper's online edition.

Of course the marriage of conveniences very rarely get to live in the everlasting bliss and very rarely, get to "live happily ever after." The trade of the usual "give and take" fails in the longer run. Especially, when the agendas of two parties are totally opposite.

SMQ and Ms. Wahab, both got axed for the Davis issue. Both spoke their minds, although with differing opinions. But many turned this into the fissures within the party. Both got reprimanded rather heavily.

The spin masters made their fate as the President and also the party Co-Chairperson's wrath for going against the party discipline. The reality is that political leadership in Islamabad was following the queues of the real leadership in Rawalpindi. Very rarely you see, people focusing their ire, where it rightfully belongs.

A true party loyalist, even at odds within the party, tries to stick to the party line, at least in public. Of course, if and when he decides to leave the party, then open criticism is fair game and the right of a political leader.

As a participant in this forum has rightly pointed, that over propping of Imran Khan sounds more like the modern day rehashing of the old IJI formula. IK is perhaps being made the new Nawaz Sharif. SMQ's newly critical viewpoint of PPP, the scenarios of a "national government" by some, may be part of the same end game. Who plays those behind the scene games, is well known. Very rarely, you get to see public anger towards those players.

The recent verdict of SC on Mukhtaran Mai rape case, where "lack of evidence" was the major issue, the spin masters are putting its blame back on the government. The reason given is that government's law enforcement agencies are the main culprits, according to those spinners. Well very few are focusing on, under whose term and watch, these agencies did a pathetic job. Very rarely we get to focus on the real culprits. Right. It is under the same watch, where physical and crucial evidence of Benazir's murder was washed, within hours.

SMQ may be also be the new rebel with the old cause. The days ahead will demonstrate, where all of this is headed. The telltale signs are rather apparent.

Source: http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/25/ppp-has-split-into-two-groups-qureshi.html

Sharing The Pie With King's Men

Four years ago, a man who had been languishing in Landhi jail for too long, living under the shadows of his illustrious wife, perceived as a political liability of the largest party of the country, would emerge as its savior and would become the President of Pakistan, was totally unbelievable. Yes life is all about surprises, and it turned out to be a rather rude surprise for many of his die hard haters and detractors.

Benazir's untimely and ill fated demise in Rawalpindi left the baton in the hands of highly loathed, despised and criticized Zardari. Who took the shattered party with the slogans of "Pakistan Khappey", and ousted a rather cornered and paralyzed former General. The timing perhaps was on his side. Or was it a gift of fate for years worth of incarceration for unsubstantiated charges. After almost 10 years of dictatorial regime, it was a strange coincidence, that a man once remembered and scorned with the digit of 10, took the oath of the highest office of the land.

Yes democracy turned out to be the sweetest revenge for him. Plagued, chastised and demoralized endlessly by the detractors, he remained determined to rewrite a new chapter. Pragmatism replaced the usual victimization of the rivals and dialogue not dislodge took the center stage. The long and stained history of political enmity was buried and bitter rival, Nawaz Sharif was invited to join hands.

The Murree Declaration was signed by both which was a follow up to the Charter of Democracy, envisaged by late Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. All was going well. However for a nation full of tragic and beleaguered political history, these festivities were fairly short lived. The thorny issues such as restoration of the Chief Justice and other partisan bickering became the reason for their divorce.

The unseen yet the most powerful forces of the nation, were delighted with this break up. If this union would have survived, it could have potentially dismantled the myth of their dominance for good. In the end, it was the good old game and the forces in the shadows, beaming with pleasure.

Asif Zaradari and his list of political blemishes (real or perceived) may be long, but he deserves credit for taking Pakistan back to the path of democracy.
Even a fragile democracy is a million times better than a dictatorial rule. In a fragile democracy, parties of common interests form a coalition to govern. Often the parties may be poles apart on ideological frontiers, but circumstances bring them closer to form a rather weird alliance. Differences are hashed out and common grounds are negotiated and achieved through dialogue.

Left in lurch without the coalition partners, Zardari made some tough choices. It was more of a do or die. A big gamble in the political casino by joining the former rivals and bitter adversaries, created and crafted by the former General. Once termed as "Kings Party" and "Kings Men", the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, who were once considered bitter rivals, brought on board to save the withering coalition. Survival is the end game and swallowing of this bitter pill was necessary to remain alive. At the cost of constant ridicule, he embraced the same Chaudhrys, who were once accused by him, for being somewhat behind, the murder of his wife.

The deal was sealed with the usual give and take. Q Leaguers wanted ministries and a role of a Deputy Prime Minister. As the saying goes, everything was accepted and thrown in along with the kitchen sink to bring the Q Leaguers on board. What was termed as the "deal to strengthen democracy", got a bit shunned by much bigger news, that consumed the masses around the globe about Pakistan, around that time about a mansion in Abottabad.

The political pundits have written off this alliance as a non starter. The PML-Q camp that signed the dotted line, has a history of opportunistic politics. They have deserted their former parties to go along with the pied pipers of the moment. This reality was perhaps factored into the equation, when PPP decided to yield to this supposedly political low.

For those who have been watching all of these developments from the sidelines, it appears a very well and thought out plan. PPP, despite its waning popularity has the real players in its bag. On one hand it has MQM in Karachi and urban Sindh and the other they have the crutches of Q Leaguers in Punjab. Not to mention the ANP in KP and in its own presence in rather volatile Balochistan. It seems like the landscape around the nation has been covered.

All this corners PML-N and reality of the matter is that it leads Sharif with no other option, but to rally his former ideological partners of religious right. Despite their constant and never ending rhetoric, the religious parties do not have a winning vote bank. With all the upheavels caused by the "honorable", historically they have been dismissed as a real political entity, come election day.

This leaves Mr. Sharif with the emerging blue eyed boy of the establishment, Mr. Imran Khan. If truth be told, Mr. Sharif will probably have to partner with Mr. Khan to gain some mileage. Needless to say the remaining Q Leaguers, who did not go along with this deal, will have to make a choice to jump in bed with Mr. Sharif as well. Giving heed to his recent statements, Mr. Sharif is playing safe on all frontiers. On one day he criticizes the establishment for Abbotabad security lapse and the other, he chimes with the message of Mr. Khan, giving some anti US statements pertaining to its affairs in Pakistan.

The million dollar question, which remains unanswered at this point is, where will all this leads for another leader to return from his self imposed exile. Yes Mr. Musharraf has made some announcements to make his comeback prior to March 23, 2012. Only some one with a really accurate crystall ball can predict, which side will he end up with. It will be an interesting 2012 and if one can read between the lines, the maneuvering has begun.

Post Osama: Time To Get Our Act Together

Some learn from their mistakes, others only learn to deny their mistakes. We tend to belong in the latter category. When the neighbors used to point fingers at us and accuse us for harboring terrorist, we used to rebut, deny and refute. Our simple comeback was, "good old malicious Bharti propaganda."

We released many hard core and well known terrorists, due to "lack of evidence." Our political leaders and security establishment categorically denied any information on any "high value" and most wanted targets at many occasions. Amazingly, some very well known names in the global terrorist networks, such as Libbi, Zubaida, and Khalid Sheikh Muhammad were found within our territories.

Was that a coincidence or was that a strange set of circumstances, that we were able to attract such characters in the land of Jinnah. Any time the obvious was pointed at us, we twisted the story the other way around. We called others liars and blamed them with a nefarious agenda. Their sole aim and objective was to disarm the nukes of the only Muslim nation with such unique capability.

When OBL was killed in Abbottabad, a few days back, we were totally shocked, surprised and embarrassed. Immediately we went into the spin and denial mode. Refusing and rebutting. The whole world on one side and Pakistan on the other. Within a day, when the obvious began apparent, then some of us began glorifying the one who had openly declared a war against our people and warned us of dire consequences.

We tried very foolishly to shift the blame on the entire world by calling it the failure of the intelligence community of the entire world. The fact is that land from Karachi to Khyber is ours. The whole world is not responsible for it. We may brush this one. We may warn others, to not plan any future misadventures. But it will not change the perception. Let's face it there is a trust deficit now. It is world vs Pakistan.

Until or unless we intend to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, we have to live by the rules of the world. Fact is that we have been on many misadventures and expeditions at the cost of our land, our people and their prosperity. It is high time, that we accept our mistakes and chart our course for the future.

Yes our first priority should be how to redeem ourselves. How to let the world know that we are the Pakistan where unity of all Pakistanis is our faith and we are disciplined to follow the path of our founding fathers. Its high time to get our act together. The world is not against us, its us against the world now. It is now or never that we will be able to get our act together. The first step is swallowing our false pride and tendering an apology to the world. The rest will follow on its own.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Absurd Mix Of Religion And Cricket

If anything the recent 29 run loss at Mohali, of our Cricket team must serve as a sign for many in our hyper religious society. Some of our own, shamelessly run any and everything in this "religious blender" to play with the emotions of our naïve masses.

The SMS's on mobile phones were being circulated requesting the recipients to recite a certain "Ayat e Kareema" for Pakistan's win, is just a tip of the iceberg. The religious leaders suggesting a "tasbeeh" and "duaey haajat" for a potential win. The country coming to a total stand still and special prayers being held for our team's win, some how beg some collective thinking.

This scribe by the grace of Almighty is a Muslim. However the scribe is of the opinion, that religion and sports are two different things and need not to be mixed with one other. Because one thing is for sure, religion is not a game. But some in our so called religious circles, were hell bent upon making the religion a game. It always suits their agenda. Keep the masses under the opium of religiosity, and take their ability to think independently away forever, is their goal.

We were reminded of the major armageddon being played at Mohali, between "Haqq" and "Baattil." We were assured that "Haqq" always triumphs over "Baatil", no matter what. We were reminded of our major battles of the past, where we were supposedly bruised and battered, yet we were able to emerge as victors, only because of our faith. The irony is that these emotions are peddled on a constant basis, at every juncture of our lives, Cricket or otherwise.

The entire country came to a stand still, including our local governments declaring it a holiday. The channels were flooded with experts from all over, the columns were filled with commentaries and the sentiments were running on full throttle. Heck even our "Independent Judiciary", took time off to indulge in some fun. There is nothing wrong with the frenzy, but when it gets to go over the sense and sensibilities, it becomes an issue.

Either our prayers were lacking the requisite purity or we were totally blind sided by our emotions. It appears that our passionate and often senseless emotions impacted our rational thinking. The people who totally mortgaged their brains and fell for such antics, must not doubt their faith or deity. It is not their faith, that was on the pitch of Mohali, but the skill set of their players was on the line.

Cricket much like any other sport is a game of skills and strategy. Undoubtedly, the Indian team had set a significant target of 260 runs. Having the home turf advantage and playing with better skills, tact and strategy, they were able to bring Pakistan down.
Why is it such a big deal, to accept and give credit to the Indian team, where it rightfully deserves. Our egos tend to get in our way. We tend to bring our faith, and our reasons from parting from India, in the game as well. Whatever transpired in 1947 is history, the more important aspect is to determine, how history will be written from 2011 onwards.

Indian PM Manmohan Singh's invitation to his counterpart, PM Gilani to watch the match live, was a welcome gesture. Of course it sparked a whole new discussion of the infamous, "Cricket Diplomacy", if it means anything. Looking back at the track record of Zia and Musharraf, one could disregard it with absolute ease. The PM took his entourage to cash in on the "Mohali Mania", to restart the stalled dialogue with the neighbors. As anticipated, it was a good opportunity for the photos, some hand shakes and news blips. Who in their right mind thought, that 63 plus years of grievances and issues, could potentially be resolved with a significant break through in 90 minutes of discussion.

Pakistan played with full coordinated effort and did put up a great fight, which of course is highly commendable. The squad under Afridi with such a herculean lead was able to perform with tact and effort. The low run rate per over, is what really became the reason for our defeat.

So did Bhagwan get to triumph over the Almighty ALLAH? Perhaps not, it is the better sportsmen who got to win. Winning and losing is all part of the game. In the end, its all a game. If that's the case then Bhagwan must have been on a major high, when India trounced Lanka in the final by merely 3 runs. Again, it was not a match of ALLAH, Jesus or Bhagwan. India deserved to win, based on their performance and that's about it.

The take away from this episode for general public is to focus on the strategy, skills and tact in the future. Next time when we are in a showdown of similar nature, we need to sit back and relax and chant this to refresh our brains, "the best team gets to win, no matter what." And yes regardless of what their faith or nationality.

Friends "In Deed"

If anything British PM, David Cameron has proven one thing for sure with his recent visit to Islamabad, he is an astute politician. He has shown very brilliantly how to keep both "Raam and Raheem" happy, when visiting their respective domains. A few months back, he had ruffled many feathers here, by singing the anti Pakistan tune from New Dehli with special emphasis on the "T" word. The "T" word of course stands for very sadly, what Pakistan has been associated with lately, you guessed it "Terrorism. "

Reversing course in Islamabad and what is labeled as "succumbing to galleries", back in UK, Mr. Cameron, eluded to certain wrongs, committed by the Great Britain in the past. Needless to say, it did not bode well with his countrymen back home.

The uproar in the UK was focused on why revisit the past and apologize for something that’s history. There are plenty of wrongs committed by everyone including the "British Raj." The world should move on, much like the Brits have. To some extent, the Brits may be right, but those who were offended by Cameron’s comments conveniently forgot that a career Politician never misses a chance to secure an applause. They thrive on it, whether they are at home or abroad.

The Brits really had an opportunity to fix a lot of their wrongs in Sub Continent, at least at the time, when they finally decided to leave India and granted independence to India and Pakistan. The concept of partition was well and good in theory, but in practice without proper monitoring it turned out to be the one of the worst blood baths in the history of mankind. The process of migration of people from both sides, should have been monitored with certain conditions. The sheer haste, that Brits demonstrated to leave India and subsequent chaos, which ensued in the aftermath is shameful. The inequitable division which led to the formation of two very hostile neighbors, is no secret.

Cameron’s U turn in Pakistan is based upon the harsh realization that how significant Pakistan is, in terms of Global War on Terror. Pakistan has taken a huge toll internally and externally by becoming the foot soldier for its Western allies. The fact is, with or without the wrongfully dubbed, “America’s War”, Pakistan is fully involved in Afghanistan, to maintain its infamous “strategic depth.” The show of such depth is integral for Pakistan’s survival, in order to counter any major move of its arch rival in neighboring Afghanistan. Even if US were to leave the Afghanistan tomorrow, the net effect on Pakistan will probably remain the same. Those who think by reversing the course and readopting the Talibans would be the best strategy for Pakistan, are really mistaken.

When Mr. Cameron was busy “pleasing the galleries” here in Pakistan, there was a congressional panel in Washington, recommending President Obama to abandon Pakistan and embrace India. According to some of the panelist, Pakistan is on “life support”, so to speak. It would be prudent for the US to align itself with the emerging and somewhat rightly labeled, “Shining India.”

The strategy of abandoning Pakistan in the midst of all this, will perhaps back fire, much like it did for US back in the early 80’s, when it left Afghanistan in shambles, upon Soviet retreat. The world witnessed its horrible repercussions and still trying to struggle with the aftermath of such ill conceived strategy.

There are certain conflicts where force is not the most effective solution. At least not in a uniquely placed country like Afghanistan, where conflict is the other name for survival. The country has a long history of such conflicts and survival of the “strongest” seems to be the over arching principle. In this scenario, the best course of action is to play a constructive role in bringing an ideological paradigm shift both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The US, UK and other Western allies should concentrate on the end game in Afghanistan. All military conflicts have to come to an eventual end. This particular one has been quite taxing on the economies of their respective countries. If anything, the conclusion of this game depends on political maturity in both countries along with a vigilant security, which prevents any questionable threat to materialize.

The "cut and run theory" did not work in the past for Brits and for the Americans in their respective venues. The real change is witnessed by all, when their is a stable government, thriving economy, freedom of religion and opportunities. If US, UK and other western allies, really want to see a good return on their investment, so to speak, then they should be focusing on these initiatives. If they are our true friends indeed then, they have to demonstrate such measures. The empty stomachs and lack of hope is what gives people reasons to deviate. The Af-Pak region has seen too much of a downhill flight for too long, its time to alter its trajectory.

Obama's U Turn On G Bay

Undoubtedly the recent U turn of President Obama on the trial of the 09/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and a few others will stir a new controversy. Initially, the plans were to try KSM in New York, where the horrific day of 09/11, not only brought down the twin towers, but in essence altered the world we live in for ever.

It seems like based on the advise of his security experts, he has weighed in on the pros and cons of such a trial in New York and opted for a military trial at Guantanamo Bay. The much hyped closure of Guantanamo Bay, was on his agenda, when he was eyeing for the White House, back in 2008. Apparently, not all promises are meant to be fulfilled.

Interestingly, the announcement came on the same day, when he officially launched his re election bid on BarackObama.com, for 2012. Many would call this another failure and add it to his long list of such. Simply said, it is not easy being in the shoes of Barack Obama. What he inherited from his predecessor, fixing that by all means, is not even a ten year gig, let alone four. Obama received a monumental recession as a "signing in bonus", at his job. It was a foregone conclusion, that he will face some insurmountable challenges.

Reviving that nearly dead economy is a herculean task, he has tried everything in his sleeve along with Bernanke to switch the course. To illustrate his efforts and the real outcome , one may have to draw a parallel with lighting a candle in a major twister. Yes the Wall Street wants us to believe that we are heading in the right direction. But the world events are not in the hands of the Fund Managers of the Wall Street. On the other hand, there is red ink all over, as far as the US Government is concerned. The holes in the Titanic are way too many, so to speak.

Obama may need more than the social media to galvanize his core base of young voters this time around. Many are disheartened by the sluggish pace of the economy, despite the tall claims and positive Wall Street spin. He will needs lots of luck for 2012. Going by the reelection infomercial on his website, Obama has delineated the job of re igniting his previous passion and momentum to his core base. Many political pundits had termed him a "single term President", and perhaps they had a fairly accurate crystal ball on their hands.

Any time a politician has to go about face on his campaign promise, there has to be some real good rhyme or reason. The repercussions of any such move are enormous and cost can be fatally high, when an opponent can exploit it as a major political weakness. Holding the KSM trial at Guantanamo Bay, must not have been an easy decision.

Although the Attorney General, Eric Holder has outlined the reasons for holding such a trial at Guantamo Bay for these characters, but spin zone will still be in action. Calling it a gross violation of policy, justice and so on and so forth. The opponents of such move, of course are rightfully arguing about civil liberties.

Spin and emotions aside, like many other people, I would want this trial to be open and fair as well. But bringing these characters to New York City, would literally be inviting the madness to reign for that period of time. The life in the crowded city will become a major challenge and overly perilous at the same time. Revisiting the same issue for the New Yorkers would perhaps be equally traumatic.

Looking at another recent shameful incident where Pastor Jones and Sapp burned a Holy Quran and its reaction in Afghanistan where UN workers were murdered, supposedly as a response, one has to really tread with caution.

Besides, rationally thinking, what difference would a jury trial in the heart of city would make? Do you think any one in his or her right mind would not convict KSM who has admitted not only being the mastermind of the infamous day, but also beheading Daniel Pearl with his "blessed" right hand?

Lastly, besides the media frenzy the security of the city would be a major nightmare. Especially the wanna bees who glorify KSM's would perhaps try to go the usual way to vent. So all in all, even though I disagree with the move, but I understand why it may be necessary.

After all this is said and done, I hope Mr. Obama would stick to his words and close the G Bay for good. Only if he gets to stay in White House is the key question here. If the Reds win the White House back as many are expecting, G Bay may remain open forever.

We Are The Cannibals!

Like many I was disgusted and shocked, when cannibals among us were discovered. These were two villagers in Punjab, who indulged in this inhumane and abhorrent act. The public disdain towards this madness was very natural. The electronic and print media rightfully reported and condemned such deplorable and pathetic act.

Of course mental illness can be the only rational explanation for such a demonic act. What kind of sadistic pleasure, can one derive by killing and consuming their own?

But somehow, our condemnation only stops right there. We rarely demonstrate similar objections, when it comes to our own behavior, similar to those demented individuals. For those of you, who may be confused a bit by my statement, ought to observe and examine our personal behavior on a daily basis.

Holy Prophet (PBUH) has warned us against backbiting and trying to dig into the private lives of others. He termed it being equivalent to eating the flesh of your brother. Again, I am the first one to admit, that I have committed this sin almost every day, perhaps without even giving it much of a thought.

In one of the forums, when someone dug some juicy dirt of someone's decade old blemish, it really got me thinking. When I repeatedly objected to this, I got a whole sleuth of responses. It was "public's right to know", about some one who is considered a celebrity in media. I was told that, when you are supposedly a well known person, nothing is off limits.

My contention was and will remain the same. The public's right to know is limited to the on screen persona of the individual. In private life, whatever one does, is his or her personal business. The public's right to know does not apply to what faith one practices or otherwise. If one claims to be practicing a certain belief system, but in real life chooses another one, it should not be my business. Yes, he or she may be a hypocrite, but who has given me the right to judge their morality?

The professional or ideological shortcomings of an individual should be solely what public really needs to know. The blemishes surrounding, one's opinion, which can be misplaced or erroneous, need to be debated and analyzed. The reason is plain and simple, the repercussions may be quite fatal, in some cases.

Strangely at the same forum, some people were awfully concerned with French Burqa ban. (Sorry Raza Raja Bhai, not trying to steal your thunder here). Some had strong opinion about, why women had to be covered, based on our faith and so on and so forth.

So covering a lady takes precedent over uncovering someone's private life. We are quite shallow and hollow. I had a faint idea, but the behavior of many at that forum really endorsed it. I expressed my opinion on this issue in the forum and on Raza Raja Bhai's write up as well, so I will refrain from repeating that.

We often tend to conveniently disregard, the commandment of GOD towards women to be modest is equally applicable to men as well. Because the men are supposed to limit their gaze and not repeatedly stare at other women. How many including myself follow that one?

The Telephonic Revolution Mantra From London

Like every political party in Pakistan, MQM is in search of new avenues and trying to embark into new territories. In a democracy, every political party has a right to tap into a new voter base and bank.

In our beleaguered nation, we are a divided lot, based on ethnic and linguistic lines. The usual bickering about Punjab being the most populous and being the real "center of power", goes around the country. No one can really deny that, yes Punjab plays a very vital role in the formation of any government and being most populous province, can naturally be advantageous to the potential candidates.

General Zia Ul Haq in his tenure, created his political descendant, called Mian Nawaz Sharif, who formed a faction of Pakistan Muslim League, to divide the PPP strength in Punjab. Over the years, PML-N was able to develop and gain its terrain in the province. People still remember the infamous slogans of, "Jaag Punjabi Jaag", which were once raised by N League to awaken the souls of Punjabis in deep slumber. (At least from N League's view)

Often denied but rightly attributed is another act of the infamous General, the facilitation of the formation of the MQM. The motive was to further divide the PPP strength in Karachi and urban Sindh, by creating a party of"Urdu Speaking" majority. There is no denying that MQM has come a long way, with its trials and tribulations in Karachi and urban Sindh to establish its base. How it gained its footing there is common knowledge and many long term Karachites have many stories to share about this metamorphosis.

After making a significant advancement in Karachi and in urban Sindh, MQM is eyeing for the real power center of Punjab. The recent rally of MQM in Lahore is another attempt to make room for itself in the stronghold of the N League. One may laud their tenacious effort, but realistically speaking it is an uphill battle for MQM.

The only problem is that Altaf Bhai is hung up on this idea of a magical revolution. He tends to repeat the same mantra over and over again. Of course the country needs good, stable and lasting political and economic process, more than any revolution. A strong and stable government with emphasis on law and order, the rule and respect of law is revolutionary in itself.

There is a lot of rhetoric and emotional gibberish that emanates from the fiery speeches of the Supremo. There is very little detail provided, how the 18 or for that matter any points will be accomplished by the "party of the educated ghareeb awam."

Last thing that Pakistan needs is any kind of unrest. Unlike many Middle Eastern countries, as fragile and flawed it may be, it has a democratic set up. MQM should play its role in strengthening the process and make a clear pitch of how it plans on accomplishing its goals. As rightfully said, "devil is always in the details." It should define its clear strategy to sell to the public. The sloganeering has a very short life cycle, as reality tends to catch up with it rather expeditiously.