Pakistani PoV, understanding how Pak intelligentsia sees the world and itself.

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by Vinod2070, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Guys, I am starting this thread to capture the viewpoints by Pakistani writers. As we know there are several excellent Pakistani writers, very sober and very realistic in their views and then there is the majority. Vitriolic, deep in conspiracy theories, shrill and vituperative.

    I will start with some articles by a writer of the second kind.
     
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  3. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_detail.asp?id=171334
     
  4. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_detail.asp?id=170132
     
  5. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_detail.asp?id=168980
     
  6. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_detail.asp?id=165517
     
  7. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_detail.asp?id=164407
     
  8. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=172291
     
  9. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=172290

    A letter by an Indian army man to Kayani to show some spine! :)
     
  10. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\04\10\story_10-4-2009_pg3_1
     
  11. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    We need to get some Irfan Hussain articles. He is one of the saner minds among Pakistani journalists. I will do time permitted.

    Also we need to get some Ahmed Quereshi articles which reflects the mind of PA.
     
  12. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Thanks and Regards for you for starting such a thread timely, needed:

    Vinodji , I find two articles posted by you, advocating the facts, first the open letter written by respected Col(r) Harish Puri of Indian Army which can be the eye opener for Head of Pak Army, but sadly if the Gen Kayani only pays heed to it, but the things going like the appeal in open letter by respected Col(r) Puri is going unnoticed by intentionally. If somebody tries to dig his/her own grave, then I believe Divine human suggestions are of no importance, to him/her. Second, the editorial in daily times , Pakistan is a rude shocking truth in eyeopener to the readers in that nation written by the media of that country, and alas may be in future the article may be branded as 'hostile to Pak interest' and draw sharp criticism,by thus ignoring the truth born by the article. The others are nothing but mess, Shireen M Mazari started but later lost all , messed every thing in later in articles and went to play the crap old broken records played by Pak Administrations accusing us in Terror attacks there making her article her crap, while, I could not figure out why Anjum Niaz mentioned Zaid Hamid, she avoids commenting, it is not clear wheather she supports clown like Zaid or oppose him. She seems to me confused herself. She could not show the way the Pakistan like to move to eradicate terrorism by themselves.


    A very good thread , Vinodji, please continue,

    Regards
     
  13. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    The high cost of surrender

    The high cost of surrender

    By Irfan Husain

    Saturday, 11 Apr, 2009 | 06:56 AM PST |


    IMAGINE that a neighbouring country had killed a leading Pakistani politician, blown up a popular hotel in the middle of Islamabad and killed thousands of security personnel and innocent civilians in a series of bombing raids.

    Imagine too that the enemy’s stated goal is nothing short of the capture of state power. Surely these acts would have constituted a declaration of war.

    In this scenario, all political parties would have united to face this aggression. The media would have been full of patriotic songs and messages to urge the nation to support the government and the military in defending Pakistan. And above all, the armed forces would not have hesitated in playing their role.

    Anybody suggesting a dialogue with the invader, or justifying the attack, would be denounced as a traitor and a defeatist.

    So my question is why isn’t all this happening now? True, the aggressors are mostly home-grown terrorists, but the damage they have been inflicting is just as lethal as any bombs dropped from the skies. Their acts must, under any definition, count as an open declaration of civil war. And yet, wide sections of public opinion and the media are sitting on the fence. Many leading politicians have yet to publicly denounce the Taliban as enemies of the state. And the army has yet to demonstrate that it is serious about fighting this war.

    Talking about the situation in Lahore last week, Aitzaz Ahsan came up with a unique solution. He cited an incident from Mughal history where the emperor had his elephant tethered to the ground to send out a signal to his forces that he would not retreat. His wavering army rallied to protect him and won the day.

    According to Aitzaz, this is what the president should do: instead of staying in his bunker in Islamabad, he should set up his office in Fata, as these are federally administered territories, and he is the symbol of the federation. Simultaneously, the chief minister of the NWFP should shift his office to Swat.

    According to Aitzaz, the army would then be forced to protect them and move forces to the battle zone.

    Aitzaz is an old friend, and I respect his intellect and his integrity. However, I pointed out a fatal flaw in his proposal: it presupposes that the army would want to take the fight to the Taliban and protect political leaders. Thus far, our armed forces have not shown that they take the extremist threat seriously. According to a recent article in Der Spiegel, the respected German daily:

    ‘The (Pakistan) military avoids serious confrontation with the extremists. Many officers still do not see the Taliban as their enemy. Pakistan’s true enemy, in their view, is India… Quite a few officers say that the fight against terrorism in the north-western part of the country is being forced upon them by the Americans and that they are fighting the wrong war…. A Pakistani two-star general candidly explained the mindset of his fellow military commanders … noting that although the army is fighting the Taliban at the instructions of politicians, it also supports the militants….’

    Given this ambiguity and duplicity, the success of Baitullah Mehsud and his fellow terrorists should come as no surprise. In fact, this military mindset mirrors what we see in the media, and reflects the confusion that has characterised and dogged our efforts to combat the extremist threat. In this, Aitzaz Ahsan is right: our security forces have a bunker mentality that has them cowering in their barracks while the jihadis mount a series of attacks. If we are to save Pakistan, the army will have to take the fight to the Taliban, and not simply wait for the next attack.

    So far, with the exception of the PPP and the MQM, most political parties have avoided taking a clear position. While they may occasionally condemn individual atrocities, they fall short of openly identifying the enemy. One senior journalist in Islamabad told me that when reporters seek an interview with Nawaz Sharif, they must first agree not to ask any direct questions about the Taliban. If this is true, it shows that the PML-N leader does not want to either condemn or support the jihadis openly. Being a canny politician, he does not wish to alienate his core support among reactionary elements. Nor does he want to upset Washington. But wars are not won through such tactical hedging.

    While this jockeying for advantage goes on among politicians, millions of Pakistanis are paying the price for this procrastination. Thousands have died in terrorist attacks because the state has failed in its duty to protect its citizens. If somebody wants to know the cost of defeat, he has only to view the video of the 17-year old girl being flogged in Swat. Many have questioned the timing of the video’s release, claiming that it is an attempt to sabotage the ‘peace deal’ between the NWFP government and the Taliban. If it is, I would be happy to see this disgraceful instrument of surrender torn up.

    One positive outcome of this atrocity coming to public knowledge is that it has opened many eyes to the reality of the Taliban, and what they represent. The flogging has ignited protests across the country. I participated in one in Lahore last week. I was glad to see that apart from many old friends, a large number of young people and students also took part in the march. One popular slogan was: ‘Pakistan kay do shaitan: fauj aur uskay Taliban’ (‘Pakistan’s two demons: the army and its Taliban’). My favourite banner at the rally asked: ‘$12 billion in aid to fight terrorism. Where is it?’ Where indeed?

    During Richard Holbrooke’s recent visit to Pakistan, our government responded to the new Obama plan to fight the Taliban with an ill-concealed resentment.

    Clearly, the establishment is not enjoying having its reluctance to fight held up under a spotlight. As in the past, it wants the promised flow of dollars to remain unimpeded by any serious questions about its will to carry the fight to the Taliban. Our television warriors echo this sentiment, and demand that the country should not follow ‘American dictates’.

    But as we are about to discover, there really is no such thing as a free lunch.

    [email protected]

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect...nists/irfan-husain-the-high-cost-of-surrender
     
  14. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune'

    ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune'

    By Irfan Husain

    Wednesday, 01 Apr, 2009 | 06:28 AM PST |


    Hardly had the implications of Obama’s new approach to the war in Afghanistan sunk in that the carping began in Pakistan. The words that most stuck in the establishment’s craw were those that warned our generals that they could no longer expect a blank cheque from the Americans. Thus far, the Pentagon has been underwriting our less-than-robust attempts in the frontier region to the tune of around 80 million dollars a month.

    From the American perspective, they aren’t getting enough bang for their buck. Our armchair generals think we are already doing too much. Now, the choice is going to be stark: if the army wants its shiny new toys and its perks, it will have to re-think its posture, and do some serious fighting. This is not to deny the bravery of the soldiers who have laid down their lives thus far. But the fact is that the Frontier Corps is too ill-equipped and too poorly trained to take on Baitullah Mehsud and his Taliban. What are needed are the army’s crack troops currently in barracks along our eastern border. These are the soldiers the Americans want for the heavy fighting on our Afghan frontier.

    The truth is that the Taliban currently have the upper hand on both sides of the Durand Line. But whereas the Americans recognise this, and are sending in more troops to Afghanistan, our government is still in denial. As our army’s defeat in Swat showed, it is facing a tough, ruthless foe who is highly motivated and well armed. To pretend that the Taliban can be beaten by the police or the militia is to shirk the state’s primary responsibility of protecting its citizens.

    The world is appalled by the ease with which the Taliban and various Islamist terrorists operate within our country. Attacks in Lahore like the ones at the police training centre and against the Sri Lankan cricket team leave foreigners shaking their heads in amazement and despair. And yet the Punjab police and sundry intelligence agencies are galvanised into action to crush any legitimate opposition. Actually, this is what they are trained to do. Thus, they are really no match for jihadis who are just as happy if they are killed.

    While we Pakistanis are hardened to the daily mayhem in our midst, the West values its soldiers in Afghanistan more highly than we do our citizens who fall victim to the Taliban. So when we cannot control the madness within our borders, and as a direct result, NATO and American soldiers die in Afghanistan, the pressure on our government and our forces to ‘do more’ is bound to increase. At NATO’s 60th anniversary’s summit in Strasbourg this week, there will be calls to press Pakistan to commit more forces. Already, the chorus of criticism directed at the ISI for its alleged role in supporting the Taliban is swelling.

    How will our military establishment cope with this pressure that is going to grow in coming weeks? While they are happy to ignore the voices of ordinary Pakistanis who just want to live in peace, they will find it harder to reject the demands made by the Americans, especially when they are shelling out $1.5 billion a year. Although there are many Pakistanis (several of whom seem to live in TV studios) who are shrill in their denunciations of American pressure, none of them have any suggestions of where the financial assistance we need so urgently is to come from. The Saudis and the Chinese have clearly indicated that they are not willing to help. This leaves just Washington, and as the old saying goes, “he who pays the piper calls the tune”.

    Most foreigners cannot grasp our army’s preoccupation with India. For them, our neighbour is a large, powerful state that is playing an increasingly global role. By comparison, Pakistan is seen as an insignificant and troublesome player. The recent BBC/Gallup survey placing Pakistan among the bottom five of the most popular countries in the world should put things in perspective. Of the 13,500 people polled in 21 countries, only 20 per cent had a favourable view of our country. In the rankings, we were only one place above Afghanistan. India, on the other hand, was favourably viewed by 64 per cent of those surveyed.While such views are painful, they should shake us out of our state of denial. Instead of analysing why the world perceives us as it does, and trying to change this view, we seem determined to stick our collective head firmly in the sand. Indeed, these opinions only serve to strengthen our paranoia, and confirm that the whole world is against us. Most of the talking heads on our many TV channels attribute our negative image to ‘Indian propaganda’, and gloss over the frightful state of our nation.

    In the ongoing civil war – and make no mistake, this is what it is – far too many powerful opinion-makers continue to sit on the fence. Some even indirectly support the enemy by dividing public opinion. While we should be forging a consensus, many politicians and journalists continue to question the fact that we are fighting the Taliban at all. By labelling the conflict as ‘America’s war’, they are diverting attention from the fact that it is Pakistan that is first at risk should the Taliban prevail.

    Outsiders cannot comprehend this duplicity. In many countries, ‘aiding and abetting the enemy’ is a crime. Surely every patriotic Pakistani should condemn the various attacks that are taking place around us almost every day. After all, the victims are Pakistanis, not Americans. When drone attacks kill (mostly foreign) militants in their hideouts in the tribal areas, there is an orgy of denunciation. But when the Taliban (or their various partners in crime) slaughter our people, there is little condemnation. For instance, when over 70 people were killed in a suicide attack at a mosque last week, I heard very few politicians fulminating against those behind the attack.

    We are now in the unhappy position of being prodded into action. A combination of inertia and ideology prevents our army from launching a concerted campaign against the Taliban. But very soon now, it will be forced to choose between a more robust military posture and being completely sidelined. As Obama implied, if our forces won’t do the job, the Americans will, one way or another.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect...lumnists/he+who+pays+the+piper+calls+the+tune
     
  15. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Zia’s revenge I

    Zia’s revenge

    By Irfan Husain

    Saturday, 28 Mar, 2009 | 01:53 AM PST |


    ON my all-too-brief visit back to Pakistan, I have been flipping local channels to catch up on events. I have found new ones to watch, although not necessarily for any length of time, given the generally low quality of the fare on offer.

    The other evening, I caught a panel discussion featuring a gentleman who used to be in the foreign service, together with a couple of other talking heads. The discussion was about last November’s lethal terrorist attacks in Mumbai. When I switched on my TV, the gentleman was confidently asserting that the knowledge of downtown Mumbai the terrorists seemed to possess made it clear that they could not have been Pakistanis. From this shaky theory, he leaped to the conclusion that they must have been Indians who had been trained in their country, and then brought to Pakistan before being put on a boat that took them to Mumbai.

    I had scarcely managed to digest this brilliant argument before another panellist, a senior lawyer, chipped in with his stunning contribution. According to him, the killers could not possibly have been Pakistanis because had they been, they would not have attacked Mumbai, but would have gone for Delhi’s Red Fort. 'Why would young Muslims from Pakistan be interested in Mumbai?' he demanded. 'They don’t know the language there, and surely they would not have gone there to ogle Bollywood actresses.' Both expressed their outrage that our government had accepted that the attacks had been launched from Pakistan.

    In one discussion on minorities, a Pakistani Sikh guest told the audience how he had once been forbidden by a local maulvi from dangling his feet in a stream as Muslims downstream might use the water to perform their ablutions before they prayed. He also complained that he was not served tea at roadside dhabas because other customers might object to drinking from cups that had been used by a non-Muslim. An angry maulvi on the panel tried to reassure the poor Sikh that Islam enjoined its followers to treat minorities well.

    On another evening, I caught a bit of a solo discourse by a gent who thundered: 'Allah’s curse be on those who criticise Pakistan! I want to tell all Pakistanis that before long, their current trials will be over, and we will soon re-conquer India!'

    During such surreal discussions, many anchors fail to challenge the outlandish views being expressed by their guests, or ask them to produce evidence for their assertions. On the contrary, they are invited to explore their bizarre notions at length.

    I have begun to realise the extent to which our media has become an active player in Pakistani politics and society. During the recent movement to restore the chief justice, millions of viewers across the country were mesmerised by the sight of the black-coated lawyers poised to take on the power of the state.

    The problem with this kind of in-your-face TV journalism is that moving the camera into the action makes the crowds seem much bigger than they are. Also, in a competitive, pressured environment, there is little time to reflect on events and what they mean: the audience wants to know what’s happening every minute of every day. And to offer opinions, there are armies of pundits waiting to get invited to TV studios to hold forth. Most of them are retired diplomats, generals, judges and civil servants who are happy to leave the tedium of their lives for the glare of publicity. Unpaid, and with no professional reputation to protect, many can (and do) get away with the most absurd views.

    In most cases, we do not really know who is behind which channel. Judging from the extreme views being pushed on many of them, the source of funding takes on a slightly sinister overtone. For years, question marks have hung over several journalists, and whispers have done the rounds tying them to our ubiquitous intelligence agencies. Given the role of these organisations in Pakistani politics over the years, I would not be surprised to learn that they are financing some of the channels that have proliferated recently.

    Another problem is to do with the qualifications of the anchors and hosts of the many talk shows on offer. Selected for their looks and fluency rather than for their knowledge and education, they are ill-equipped to challenge their loud and self-confident panellists. When somebody voices an opinion as a fact, the anchors let him get away with it because they just do not know any better.

    My personal theory is that their lack of a grounding in politics, economics and current affairs is a direct result of the poor education they have received. Without wishing to be lofty or patronising, I can safely point to the poisonous brainwashing an entire generation has been subjected to during the Zia era. Already reeling from Bhutto’s nationalisation of education, millions of Pakistani children then had years of religious studies rammed down their throats by Zia. This was supplemented by reactionary propaganda aired by state television and radio. In those days, there were no private channels to break this monopoly of the airwaves.

    The current generation of Pakistanis reaching positions of authority and influence is the product of this brainwashing. Of course many have escaped its worst effects, but unquestionably, public discourse in Pakistan has moved to the right, and we now wear religion on our sleeves to a greater extent than ever before. Secularism is now a label few are willing to accept, even though many privately agree that it’s the only way Pakistan can rejoin the rest of the world.

    When private channels first began operating in Pakistan’s stultified environment, I had hoped it would be a liberating force, opening a window to the world for millions of Pakistanis. In reality, it has worked to serve the opposite end by reinforcing existing prejudices, rather than challenging them. Owners of channels have their own concealed agendas, and poorly educated producers and hosts do little to separate opinions from facts.

    [email protected]
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/zias-revenge
     
  16. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Great article, great find by daredevil my thanks and regards for that, at least the silver lining is that there is hope persists for when at least a single voice that came out with the fact rather than ride the usual stream of rhetoric against us.
     
  17. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Irfan Hussain portrays the true psyche of a Pakistani and where the common Pakistanis stand on the Talibanisation of Pakistan. At least from his articles, it is clear for me what ails Pakistan in their fight against Taliban, it is the ambiguity in fighting Taliban as they treat them as one of their own.
     
  18. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Pintu, the hope is only that of a glimmering one. How many actually listen to his words?. It is the people like Zahid Hamid that are popular with the common Pakistani not the people like Irfan Hussain.
     
  19. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect...seek-joint-operations-in-trilateral-talks--bi
     
  20. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    DD,
    irfan hussian seems to be giving some straight talk in his article these days, but I thought earlier he used to sing the same tune like rest of the pakistanis: 'india is the enemy, RAW is the harbinger of all probs', isnt it? or was he always like this?
     
  21. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    He has always been logical in his arguments. I never seen any articles blaming RAW or India in any of the attacks on Pakistan.
     

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