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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:
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

So The Terrorists Were Foreigners

Original Article:

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:
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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:
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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
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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.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Deep Rooted Frustrations

Original Article:

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
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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

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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