Thursday, July 31, 2008
PUBLISHED ARTICLE OF NAVEED TAJAMMAL.YAA Evolving our own democracy Naveed TajammalFor democracy to succeed in Pakistan, we have to evolve our own form of democracy. That cannot be achieved by an imitation of the Westminster type of democracy. It must suit the social life and the national spirit of the Pakistani people. It must fit into its national structure. Otherwise, as has been seen during the last 60 years or so, it has brought more harm than good for the country. To create and make a Constitution one has to study the psychology and sociology of a nation. Our people are still in a slumber. The question arises can 'sleeping' people understand the value of freedom? People will wake up only when they are aware of their own aims and goals. So far, we have been led by a band of dynastic rulers. The present form of democracy, as being run in our country, is along the lines of the English system. Such democracy has always been supported by the crown. The strength of the British crown has been the navy and the land forces, the air force came later. The queen-empress or the king-emperor heads the forces. The aura added stability to this type of democracy. In our part of the world, on the other hand, the leaders for quite some time till now are progenies of the former collaborators, whom the British had made into nawabs, tumandars, and chiefs. They may not be in the front but the people's power from the rural areas is still with them. The then world power in which the sun never set, the rule of the union jack had created a new set of rulers for us after the fall of what is now called Sindh, Punjab, NWFP and the Northern Areas. Men who had provided 'services' to the crown were awarded titles and positions in our society that still linger on in one form or the other. The British had created them in wake of their forward policies but the British had left our land 60 years ago. Do we need them now? Why do we still adhere to them? Why no government of the past has touched them. This is a major factor. Men like Iskandar Mirza boasted of their links with Mir Jaffar of Bengal. None challenged him. What our nation desperately needs is an in-take of fresh blood in our political system. The condition of graduation as the minimum standard of education did put an end to the practice of illiterate people becoming MNAs and MPAs. They ensured their presence by throwing in their new breed of graduates. The only difference is that they now speak English in American accent. This, in a way, shows the state of our political bankruptcy. The elders still play the thana-katchehry politics. It is also a fact that those in power are bullied by those in the opposition, whose main target is to attain power by fair or foul means regardless of the harm they do to the national interest or cause. Sometimes the opposition succeeds in turning the tables on the rulers in power and the role is merely reversed when the opposition comes to power. Mudslinging continues and the benefit is reaped while the sun shines. They bask in its glory. Therefore, an insight in any level of leadership is a must. It is the duty of the state to be able to ensure that. Hardly any political party can claim a vote bank, except for the religious parties. But that is a different story. Our blood hounds sniff the air, the political air, before they join the fray. They maintain the legacy of their past masters to ensure that disharmony and a state of uncertainty should always prevail. Changing the bandwagons is a matter of a whim. Today we have the PPP, yesterday it was PML (Q). Before that, it was the ever-loyal PML (N). So, where is the vote bank? Remember, here the object is not a national cause. Here the true chameleon has to recoup his election costs, and the payment he made to the party funds for getting a ticket. Unfortunately, our writers make such a fuss of the leadership that they fail to see what the same lot has done in the past, maybe under the shadow of a different bandwagon. The solution is a one-time ticket awarded for a five-year term. The same holds good for the prime minister too. Let him prove his worth. If Sher Shah, with his resources available to him, could do what he did in five years, then the already developed infrastructure should be no hurdle for the new prime minister. He should come empty-handed and go empty-handed. After all, he wants to serve the country. I am sure even that despite all these constraints we, a population of 160 million, can locate a good person who takes our nation forward as one nation. We have been an egalitarian society in the past in our salt range and above. The system still exists. Feudalism was imposed on us. Even in the Mughal administrative set up, the job of mansabdar, jagirdar or faujdar and other officials was never given to a person because of his credentials of ancestry. One had to achieve it through hard work. Each man did his best till he lasted. It was a matter of intellect. A mansabdar was fined he would fail in his job. In our lands, the concept of the rule of five elders in our villages had existed from the dawn of our times. It still does in the rural areas. The same councils still decide the most complex matters. The town committees can handle the urban side. Barring the new settlers, the bulk of our city population is and still retains strong rural contacts. The thana-katchehry culture must end. It is a redundant practice. State officials must provide service at the door of the litigant. The writ of the state should ensure that. The original Gazette notification of 2000 was a good step forward in the local bodies elections if its clauses had been implemented. The law had then stated that no one with any political affiliation was allowed to contest. He had to be a tax payer. If such laws are implemented in true sense, this can be a giant leap forward. The 'old' politician will die his own death. No seat becomes a family seat. Politics is not a profession. Each person aspiring to be a worker for his people takes his time out. In a nutshell, this is what a revolution is all about. The five-year clause is the force that will ensure that the political process moves forward and the peoples' will prevails. With the present population of 160 million and a projected 300 million in three decades, it is about time we took the first step in the right direction by getting rid of the dynastic rulers. The writer has a 24-year experience in investigating the identity of the Indus-person in a historical context
Posted by YASMEEN ALI at 12:40 PM
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Inept, so inept, are we By Ardeshir Cowasjee TO repeat, and repeat ad nauseam, 61 years ago the founder and maker of the country that was Pakistan (half of it having fallen by the wayside within the space of a quarter of a century) firmly told the legislators of his constituent assembly that the first and foremost duty of a government, any government of any country, was to impose and maintain law and order so that the lives, properties and religious beliefs of the country's citizens would be protected and preserved. But he was lecturing to the deaf. We have never had, apart from brief periods during the early life of the country, the imposition of law and order. Right now, under this present dispensation to which governance is a totally foreign concept, we are more bereft of that vital factor than ever before. And we must remember always that hand in hand with law and order there must be an independent judiciary — the one without the other is incomplete. The leaders that have been imposed on the country since the elections of February, all unelected, a combine of the United States of America, President Gen Pervez Musharraf, Asif Ali Zardari, the man who would be amir-ul-momineen, Mian Nawaz Sharif, and the fugitive Pir of London Town, are all allergic, for reasons of expediency, to an independent judiciary. It is the last thing, at this given time, any one of them wish to establish. To repeat, and repeat, also ad nauseam, Jinnah once predicted, undoubtedly with sadness in his heart and a self-admittance that he had not got it all right, that each successive government of Pakistan would be worse than the preceding one. Now, one day Musharraf will have to go and when that day comes he will surely rue what he has left behind. He had ample time, a clear seven years (discounting the disastrous 2007) to establish a working political order and set up a successor system. He failed entirely in this. His judgment of men and manpower let him and the country down badly. He also ignored the fact, not being a politician, that friendship and politics and governance do not go together. He aligned himself with some of the most distasteful political characters that this country has ever produced — and that is putting it mildly. He relied on them to keep him in power and it all fell apart, due to his own foolishness and his reliance upon the worst advice he could be given. By now, almost isolated, he has hopefully acknowledged their worth and his own errors. His job should have been to seek out, rear and nurture young, fresh, unpolluted, able and honest men and women and establish them in politics as his successors. That is what, as a good dictator with unlimited powers, he should have done. It is all too late. The present is doomed. We need governance to survive, and without governance we will remain lawless and directionless.Come the inevitable elections and he offered the country all he had to offer, all that was available to him — relics of his own reign which were roundly rejected by the electorate, and relics of the totally unproductive and destructive 1990s. What the country got, via the ballot box, was stale bread. Now, Zardari and Sharif are quarrelling over various issues, both for entirely selfish reasons — Zardari because of the dishonest-to-the-core NRO, his commitment to the US and his desire to ensure that the judiciary remains as it was as of Nov 3, and Sharif because of his loathing for Musharraf. Zardari has reportedly suggested that Sharif accompany him to our capital city, Washington, where, hand in hand with the American mentors, they may try to sort out their differences. Nawaz is fearful. The Americans, with good reason, distrust him. He is prone to blundering, and his public posturing has neither been moderate nor reassuring, less so these days with the Taliban knocking on our gates. The combat with 'extremism', as is termed the Taliban phenomenon, is very much on, with a non-governing government and the Pakistan Army attempting to keep the threat at bay. This is proving to be no easy task. And surely there is no 'quick fix'. To cure the disease much time is needed. The country will not rid itself of its ills unless the majority of its citizens are educated in the profound sense of the word, so that they are able to differentiate between right and wrong, and apply to their thinking and lives a logic in tune with the 21st century. This is a long, slow process but at some stage in the country's life someone will have to set a start to it. To begin with, we must get our population figures right. We must accept that we are a nation of 170 million, largely illiterate, brainwashed by bigotry, and highly intolerant of each other. Population control played no part in the Musharraf regime, as it will play no part in the schemes of this present government unless it can bring itself to govern. A report in the national press last week made reference to recent studies made by the World Bank on the global state of education. According to its findings, primary education in Pakistan has declined by some three per cent over the past decade. Three out of five Pakistanis are illiterate. Of our 170 million, 70 million are below the age of 18 of which 20 million have no access to schools. These figures are growing by the day, as the population waxes by leaps and bounds. And side by side with illiteracy, hand in hand goes extremism.There are a few of us, far too few, who are extremely worried about the want of primary education, the foundation upon which educated nations are built. We worry about the legacy we will leave behind, whereas the educated of this planet are grappling with the development of 'brain power', accepting that 'societies unable to appreciate the challenges they face can be destroyed'. Finally, a word of advice to those who rely on polls — some treat them as entertainment, others who believe what they want to believe take them seriously. Josef Stalin who is blamed for some 80 million deaths 'in political purges and agricultural famines' has just been lionised by the Russian pollsters as being the second best ruler they have had, the first being Tsar Nicholas II.
Posted by YASMEEN ALI at 6:00 PM
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Political Grid: Pakistani Politics Made Easy Raja Irfan Nasr One is hearing a lot about it being a defining moment in Pakistan's history. Political parties and the civil society organizations are exhorting people to seize the moment, come out on the street and decide once for all how the country is to be run. Such calls and their general acceptance clearly demonstrate the sorry state Pakistan as a country finds itself in the 60th year of its existence. It is a common theme of political parties both in the government and in the opposition supported by the civil society organizations that popular will as expressed in a free and transparent general election should be the starting point for constructing a new social contract that will set forth the direction for our country. This simple solution however becomes a big task as our history does not have examples of general elections those were considered free and fair except for one held in 1970 and there too the popular will as expressed at the ballot box was not accepted by the ruling junta. One however hopes that both the rulers and the ruled have learnt lessons from history and there is a sincere wish now to take our country out of current mess and start a rebuilding process in which all will be the winners as citizens of Pakistan. Assuming that we are to have general election this year, the result of which will be acceptable to all, it becomes important that the political parties position themselves very clearly in front of the electorate to help them make informed decision rather than getting swayed by rhetoric of which we have had enough. The more these parties define themselves, the more it will help the citizens of Pakistan to seize this defining moment in our history. Political parties owe this to the people of Pakistan. Our current political landscape highlights two basic issues on which we the people have to take decisions that can have far reaching consequences. First is choice between Dictatorship and Democracy and the second is that between Liberalism and Militancy. Unfortunately we have reached a stage where we cannot decide on one and postpone the other. We have to decide on both within this year in the general election. In an effort to give these issues a framework for better understanding, a political grid is developed which highlights the choices available to the electorate. The terms used are defined as follows: Dictatorship: A leader with absolute power, usually by force Democracy: The free and equal right of every person to participate in a system of government, practiced by electing representatives of the people who then take steps in line with peoples' aspirations Liberalism: A belief in tolerance and gradual reform in moral, religious, or political matters Militancy: Aggression in the defence or support of a cause be it religious or nationalist, often to the point of extremism including use of force The political grid gives us four choices related to two big issues confronting us i.e. Liberal Democracy, Liberal Dictatorship, Militant Democracy and Militant Dictatorship. These systems of government are in use around the world and one can plot countries in this grid. That exercise if undertaken will make it easier to highlight the positives and negatives of the particular system as practiced to the people of that country. It is generally said that no system is good or bad but it is the way it is run. Going by that dictum, these are choices and whichever is preferred by the majority of people of Pakistan as expressed at the ballot box should be acceptable to all. It is also assumed that all political parties, whatever agenda and its implementation strategy they are pursuing, have general well being and development of people of Pakistan as their objective. It is pertinent to point out at this stage that the world at large will also have a view on whatever form of government we decide as no country whether big or small can hope to survive and prosper in isolation in today's world of both political and economic interdependence. An attempt has been made to plot main political parties in different boxes of the political grid based on their current postures. Liberal Democracy PPP clearly qualifies as a liberal democrat however the question mark on its democratic credentials is rumours regarding a deal with General Musharraf. MMA when it talks of supremacy of constitution and rule of law and belief in peoples' verdict in general elections comes out as a liberal democrat but when it supports religious militants who challenge state authority through illegal means it falls into the category of militant democracy. PML (N) fits in as a liberal democrat but creates confusion when it maintains silence on religious militancy or aligns itself with the MMA. Liberal Democracy as a form of government is adopted by most of the developed world. Francis Fukuyama in his landmark essay 'End of History' considers it a winner and an accepted norm universally. Liberal Dictatorship Current government set-up led by General Musharraf and supported by PML (Q) and MQM fits in here. However, appeasement policy of PML (Q) towards religious militants and MQM use of militant tactics in its strongholds negates its liberal posturing. Both PML (Q) and MQM state their belief in democracy. They can qualify for liberal democrat position if they demonstrate their democratic mind-set by facilitating holding of free and transparent general elections this year. Singapore is an example of a country achieving its economic miracle under liberal dictatorship and now gradually moving towards liberal democracy. Militant Democracy This is the most dangerous form of governance in the political grid as it can quickly turn into a militant dictatorship without a general acceptance from the electorate. Remember Hitler came into power in Germany through this route. MMA government in the NWFP when it encourages or remains quiet on acts of vigilantism in the province fits in here. Iran is an example of a country run under this form of government. Militant Dictatorship None of our political parties supports this form of government. Militant Dictatorship has never happened through the will of the electorate; it can be an outcome of spiraling down from militant democracy. North Korea as a country comes into this category. It is now for our political parties well aware of our history and having experienced both ups and downs of power and its use and abuse to place themselves honestly in the grid for people of Pakistan to make an informed choice. They owe it to us in this defining moment of our history. If they have self belief and honesty of purpose then they should not have any hesitation or shame in saying loud and clear what they stand for. Majority of the electorate may be illiterate but they are not ignorant, they will discern wobbliness and expediency and reject them. It becomes paramount responsibility of the Media in this election year to ensure that our political parties position themselves very clearly in front of the people on twin issues of Dictatorship vs. Democracy and Liberalism vs. Militancy. Use of political grid will help it in this venture.
Posted by Unknown at 5:32 AM
A New Dawn By RAJA IRFAN NASR Printed in The Nation dated Friday, May 23, 2008 We finally have a popular, democratically elected government. This is a wish that has come true after a long wait and struggle. We all yearned for it after experiencing the ups and downs of the military and civil governments over the last 60 years. We all felt that a democratic order despite its failings is a much lesser evil as compared to the dictatorial military rule. We were all very happy that our political leaders were acknowledging their mistakes and promising us a new beginning. We all believed that only a democratic government representing the will of the people could keep the country united and resolve the multifaceted problems facing us including those of extremism and terrorism. Our hopes showed signs of fulfilment when the coalition governments were sworn in at the federal and the provincial levels. We saw our political leaders showing sagacity and political maturity. We had our prime minister and the chief ministers in the provinces unanimously elected. The bitterness of the past was all forgotten and it was a march forward in line with the Charter of Democracy (a document which some of us even equated with the Magna Carta) signed earlier between our two main political parties. We all felt that this prevailing spirit of understanding and accommodation would help in establishing democracy on a firm footing in our country. We believed that a democratic order in which all the four federating units had a stake would help us in becoming a cohesive and strong Pakistani nation. It would be a government in which the people and their welfare would be a top priority and all the resources would be marshalled to that end. All these good feelings and hopes are still there but perhaps not in as pristine a condition as they originally were. Our faith that a democratic order - warts and all - is the best system of governance suited to our conditions remains unshaken. We know that long military rule interregnums have always left us worse off as a country and as a nation and nobody knows this better than our political leaders currently at the helms of the affairs. Our political leaders and our people remain aware that the so-called Establishment which has grown from strength to strength is not going to let go without putting up stiff resistance. We know that we can succeed only by remaining united and vigilant and have to be prepared to thwart attempts at creating disunity amongst us. Unfortunately, while the celebrations on having turned a corner and getting on course for a bright future are still fresh, the deposed judges' restoration and continuous stay of General Musharraf as the president have become issues that can, if exploited by the self-serving anti-democratic forces, put a stop to all hopes of a democratic revival and a New Dawn for our country. Both these issues are critical as anything less than the restoration of the deposed judges would amount to validating the illegal action taken on November 3 last year by the chief of army staff. And General Musharraf's election as the president while still in uniform was totally against the letter and spirit of the constitution. Our main political parties - PPP and PML-N - are united in the desire of having these judges restored to their just positions and calling General Musharraf an unconstitutional president. No political party having roots in the people can dare have any other position. The difference of opinion among them is on the modalities and timing of putting these wrongs right. Given time the leadership of both these parties has the vision and commitment to resolve these issues as their festering would be a political suicide for them. Ordinary people are happy that the elected governments at the federal and the provincial level are now finally in place and making the right noises regarding the issues of great concern for them. However segments of our intelligentsia are turning the judges' restoration and General Musharraf's impeachment into a do or die battle that has to be fought today and are not at all willing to give time to the democratic government to sort out the mess it has inherited in a thoughtful, calibrated manner. Differences of opinion among the coalition partners are being projected as a correct or "sell-out" stands. Attempts are being made to categorise political leaders as heroes or villains. This pressure is pushing the political leaders to harden their stance and they have started indulging in the game of political point scoring. Watching some of the talk shows on the electronic media, one gets the impression that our hopes of a Grand National government taking us forward towards a better tomorrow are doomed. Mudslinging among the political parties, as seen in the 1990s, is about to start and political leaders would again become a tool in the hands of the Establishment for playing games at which it is quite adept to the detriment of the people. It is paradoxical that while we suffer military dictatorships for years, our patience runs out in months when a democratic government takes over. We want all the sins of the dictatorial rule atoned for within days and anything less is taken as sheer incompetence, expediency or compromise with the status quo. A sociologist may have an explanation for this but this is an attitude that we should have learnt to curb by now. Our history is full off disasters we could have avoided had we shown patience and faith in a political system. It has always been our impatience and yearning for a messiah that has landed us into military rules time and again with its disastrous consequences. If we continue with the same attitude we are likely to have no different result. We have to understand that politics is all about taking everybody on board and leaving nobody out in the cold. It is all about negotiations, compromises, agreements and results. Even use of force, when undertaken, is considered a tool for short-term effect and as a part of ongoing negotiation to reach a settlement. All this takes time but the solutions thus arrived at are always for the long term and for greater stability. It is heartening to see that our political leaders despite provocations continue to show faith in working together and respecting the mandate given by the people. They are quite categorical in their pronouncements in this regard. They know that they can change the system, strengthen state institutions and let democracy take roots in Pakistan only by staying together. They are aware that there are strong forces looking for an opening to sabotage this process. It is the duty of the civil society, including the media that political leaders are supported in this endeavour and are allowed to work at their own pace. Democracy can only work when we develop the patience to give the elected government time for which it is elected to deliver on its promises. If it fails to meet peoples expectations then comes election time it will meet its Waterloo. At times two political parties can provide totally different solutions to the same issue. This does not mean that one is right and the other is wrong. It is their way of looking at the issue and in the end it is for the electorate to decide which party it would repose its confidence in. TV channels talk shows hosts who have gained well-deserved stature in a short time due to their ability and knowledge are advised to encourage unity among the coalition government partners, discourage attempts to turn differences of opinions into a make or break situation and avoid forcing the political leaders into tight corners in their enthusiasm to reduce everything to black and white, here and now. A new dawn is beckoning us from afar. Will we march towards it together or will our steps falter due to impatience, as has happened many times in our past?
Posted by Unknown at 5:26 AM
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The religion stressing peace :Major(R)Khalid Nasr Islam has been derived from salamti i.e peace. Perhaps it is the only religionhaving its origin in the concept of peace. For example, Muslims are under obligation to wish peace whenever they see each other during the day or at night. The conventional way of wishing in Islam is As-Salaam-o-Aleikum i.e may Allah bestow peace & his protection on you; which in turn is responded as Wa-Aleikum-us-Salaam ie. may you also live & prospper under divine protection. It is a simple & straight relifion emphasising the role of peace in human & animal life.It has been enjoined upon all Muslims not to render any physical/bodily harm to any human being; unless he/she has harmed others physically/bodily. This is strictly in accordance with the modern theory of deterrence from crime while dealing with the system of Crime & Punishment in a given Society. Recognising the freedom of conscience, Islam has given liberty to all human being living within the territorial limits of a Muslim State to adopt practise and follow the religion of their own choice without accepting any external pressure. Similarly Jihad is obligatory under circumstances of an armed aggression to life & property. The right of self-defence has all along been universally accepted, and Islam is no exception in this case either.All the Wars during the lifetime of Holy Prophet were defensive in nature without allowing aggression in any case. It has also been preached forcefully that one' belief in Islam is doubtful, unless his existence is acknowledged as unharmful to others----no discrimination between Muslims & non-Muslims has been made. We all know and Christian powers in Europe recognise that Muslim defenders were humane, whereas so many atrocities are attributed to crusaders who didn't spare their other christian brethren & sisters. One could easily allude to the notorious chastity belts for women when crusaders left for the so called crusades. One also knows that Renaissance started after the fall of Constantinople, when Muslim knowledge of Science & Technology was discovered by Europe through sheer accident. Islam was the fountain of knowledge, when Christians in Europe were walking on their fours. Today Islam is being blamed for terrorism, when Muslims are engaged in defending their own life & property against the Western aggression on false pretexts of terrorism whereas it is they who are committing unparallelled & unequalled atrocities even on Muslim Women & Children throughout the World (even in Chichniya in Europe despite the fact that chichniyans belong to their own white race). In addition to above, they would be well-advised to remember that that all human are fallible; and muslims are not an exception to this universally acknowledged human trait. Whereas Islam is a religion providing a code of conduct for Muslim, the latter are fallible human beings not essentially coming upto the islamic ideals. So the two are to ben seen separately; and failing of Muslims, if any, are not to be attributed to Islam as a religion. This is the message for today.
Posted by Unknown at 10:31 PM
Time to get tough Tuesday, July 15, 2008Ahmed Quraishi Russia and China have just done it. Turkey did it on the eve of Iraq invasion. Even a Pakistani battalion commander pulled it off last week. Pakistan too has a choice. It does not have to take US posturing lying down. This is the best time for Pakistanis to renegotiate their relationship with Washington. The Afghan resistance is strong and the occupation government is desperate. Hamid Karzai's puppet regime is staring defeat in the face. The world is not very impressed with the American performance in either Iraq or Afghanistan and is reluctant to help. If Pakistan cannot exploit this moment, it might as well surrender without firing a shot. We want the best of relations with the United States. Pakistani officials need not be apologetic. We have been loyal allies. We helped them win the Cold War. But we won't be a scapegoat. It's time to say no to a friend, especially one who has already bombed us several times since early this year and has gravely damaged our strategic interests in our own neighborhood. To those Pakistanis who think we can't say no to America, please get a heart. Don't be intimidated by its impressive scare campaign targeting Pakistan, synchronizing a warmongering US media with matching diplomatic and military movements. This is the Pentagon mimicking Hollywood. In the real world, Washington was snubbed on several fronts last week. Russia and China foiled the Anglo-American gang-up on Zimbabwe; an occupied Iraq asked Washington to leave; Syria made a big hole in its US-imposed diplomatic isolation, and Hezbollah became part of a new Lebanese government. But the best example came from a Pakistani battalion commander on the border with Afghanistan, who – for the first time – opened fire on American and Afghan soldiers violating the border on the night between July 10 and 11. The first thing that Washington needs to hear – publicly – from Islamabad is that, if this is a partnership, US interests cannot be secured alone in Afghanistan at the expense of Pakistan's regional interests. It has to be a win-win for both sides. Second, the intrigues and conspiracies against Pakistan from Afghanistan's soil have to stop forthwith. Failing this, Islamabad should be ready with a range of available punitive measures that only require political will. Pakistani officials have been sitting on a mountain of evidence that shows how Afghanistan is exporting terrorism, separatism and sectarianism to Pakistan in an organized way. And this is not about Taliban or Al Qaeda. This is the work of elements in the Afghan ministries of defence and interior and the intelligence service. Then there is the Indian role. Advisers and intelligence from India are actively helping Karzai's Kabul in infiltrating and destabilizing Pakistan's tribal region. In fact, the prime minister's adviser on interior on July 12 publicly accused Afghanistan of supporting Baitullah Mehsud. In addition to this, attacks on Chinese citizens in Pakistan have been proven to be planned in Afghanistan and Islamabad has evidence of Indian involvement in at least one case where three Chinese citizens were killed near Peshawar. The Chinese government is cognizant of this evidence. Money and weapons have been fed into the religious movements and Al Qaeda remnants in Pakistan's tribal areas to fight Pakistani government and military. The entire western region, from Gwadar to the Chinese border, has been destabilized in less than four years. The fact is that Washington has given India a generous space in Afghanistan and then did nothing to stop covert Indian attacks on Pakistan from the Afghan soil. In comparison, Pakistani offers for help in Afghan reconciliation were always sabotaged. This deliberate expansion of Indian influence should not be acceptable to Pakistan. The almost theatrical US hints about an impending invasion of Pakistan should be taken, in the light of the above evidence, as a serious threat to the integrity of Pakistan. Islamabad should start talking about punitive actions such as cutting off supplies to the coalition forces if the US continues to violate its territory. In the worst case scenario, we should revive our ties to Afghan Taliban. We need friends in Afghanistan. We already have enemies there.
Posted by YASMEEN ALI at 10:33 AM
Monday, July 14, 2008
Seven Arenas of Success:Major (R)Khalid Nasr "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." Theodore Roosevelt The Arenas of Success are:1.I Am - the Arena of Values 2.I Should – the Arena of Responsibility 3.I Could - the Arena of Possibility 4.I Would - the Arena of Negotiation 5.I Want To - the Arena of Vision 6.I Will - the Arena of Dedication 7.I Do - the Arena of Accomplishment The “Arenas” of Success are Values,Responsibility, Possibility, Negotiation, Vision, Dedication, and Accomplishment. The degree of our success is directly related to the degree in which we excel in and balance these arenas. As you go through each segment, think practically, because these are intended to be more than intellectual ideas. They are intended to help you solidify them into your life and turn your potential into performance: 1.I Am - The Arena of Values: Every person, organization and business has values. They may not know what they are, or they may not be able to articulate what they are, but they have them. The values of a business are what they believe in. What do they think is important? What do they hold as dear to the organization? Customer satisfaction is a simple value that a business may hold, for example. What a company values will affect the way the business runs and the employees act and work, so it is important to know what your business values are.The first step in a successful organization, or for your own life for that matter, is to determine your values. I would encourage you to spend some time on this if you haven’t already. And if you have, continue to make sure that everybody in the organization knows and believes in them. 2.I Should – The Arena of Responsibility: Those who would lead the way to accomplishment must also understand that they have responsibilities. And the man or woman of honor, integrity, and success, lives up to those responsibilities. So what are these responsibilities that we must live by? While I want to encourage you to think about them specifically for your own life and business, there are a few that I believe are for all of us. To be a person and company of high integrity. Ultimately, we are only a success to the degree that we are honorable people. This means that we are honest, hard working, and forthright. I don’t think it matters how much money one accumulates if the are not a person of integrity. To live by the “golden rule.” And the golden rule is that we will treat others as we want to and expect to be treated. 3.I Could – The Arena of Possibility: People have great ideas, dreams, and possibilities inside of them. They just need someone to stop the treadmill and ask the question, surrounded by an atmosphere of acceptance. Here are some areas to think about possibilities in: The office atmosphere Customer relations Customer satisfaction Increased sales Increased profit Community service projects 4.I Would – the Arena of Negotiation : After you have recognized your corporate values, understood your responsibilities and then had your staff possibilities session, there comes a time of reflection upon those possibilities. Every possibility has a cost associated with it. At this point an organization not only says “we could” but they also need to determine what the cost will be and whether or not the successful implementation of the possibility is worth the cost. This is the arena of negotiation. It isn’t negotiation in the traditional sense of the word, such as negotiating a price with a client or vendor, but is primarily an internal negotiation. These are all examples of negotiation questions. You are negotiating internally, with yourself or your staff. For example, you may find that your possibilities include substantially more profit for an extra five hours of your time per week. But your family life may be such that it wouldn’t be the overall best situation for you to increase your workload five more hours a week at this point in your life. 5.I Want To – The Arena of Vision: Those ideas that stir our passions for excellence become things that we can easily “see.” They can become our “vision.” Vision is a word that is used a lot in leadership development these days, and for a good reason. Great things come when we dream, when we gain a vision of a better tomorrow. Vision drives us to attempt things far beyond where we are right now. 6.I Will – The Arena of Dedication :The three most important things in work, especially during the start-up process, are “perseverance, perseverance, perseverance.” I have come to believe that much of what separates the successful from the unsuccessful is simply determination. The successful are not always the brightest, the best looking, or those with the most prestigious diplomas. Instead, they are the ones who say “I will do this!” and “Hardship will not deter me!” These people have entered into and continually live in the arena of dedication. Staying there long enough usually puts them on top. Dedication is a key to success. 7.I Do – The Arena of Accomplishment : It is important to remember that these phases are all constantly rotating through different areas of our lives. In some areas we will be in the values formulating arena, others the dedication arena. And of course we will at times be in the accomplishment arena. The greatest reward is, as the old saying goes, “the satisfaction of a job well done.” Not many people make it to the accomplishment arena very often. Enjoy the satisfaction!
Posted by Unknown at 11:30 PM
A LAYMAN'S VISION ON PAKISTAN :MAJOR(R)KHALID NASR In a democratic society, political parties are expected to play a significant role in articulating citizen's aspirations, but unfortunately, our political leaders have no personal vision or agenda to improve the condition of a common man and to face the challenges in the geo-political environment. An individual’s death takes place when his soul leaves his body; which is unavoidable whereas; a nation dies when there is a leadership crises and no effective leader is on board to take over. The history of Pakistan is full of incidents when our political leadership invited army to intervene in state affairs. Starting from Ghulam Mohammad to Musharraf, the opposition and common men of Pakistan always welcomed take over by the army. There is a general misconception in an Army general's mind that the civilian leadership is corrupt and incompetent. To some extent this conception is right also. We can take examples of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Now the people of Pakistan want a change towards a civilian led democracy. Pakistan has seen enough traumas in her life and needs a respite. Our Sohni Dharti is too precious to be left to opportunists and carpet braggers. Election campaign has already begun; however, the main crisis a common man faces is a regime that is not delivering what the people want: they want rule of law and improvement in the life of a common man, while preserving the citizens’ basic human rights. The country is chock full of political parties but not a single one of them has the vision and strategy to change the miserable condition of a common man, and to handle the issues that Pakistan is confronting. A deal between Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto runs afoul of the two basic fault lines that will determine the future of democracy in Pakistan. These require a balance between the: Civil -Military relations in governance of the country; and The moderate------- extremist division in the society. The next two to three months are very crucial for redesigning Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pakistan will have to take a firm stand regarding her relations with U.S.A. After the so called restoration of democracy in Pakistan, things would not be all that easy for Gen.Musharraf. As a civilian president, Gen.Musharraf will be having more power and public trust in certain areas; but would also be facing some pressures regarding the foreign policy issues. The relations with USA, China and Iran will take a positive turn from Pakistan’s perspective. US interference in Pakistan's internal affairs and the violation of international boundary laws on our Western border would be strictly dealt with. Let us hope that in the coming scenario the "Troika” comprising, the President , the Prime Minister and the Army Chief will work under mutual trust, respect and coordination to bring Pakistan out of its current crises and be able to face the global challenges. PAKISTAN HAD BEEN MANIPULATED BY THE OPPORTUNISTS & CARPET BRAGGERS.REPEATED TAKE OVERS BY ARMY WAS BASICALLY DUE TO FAULT-LINE IN MIND-SET OF OUR POLITICIANS. THEY HAD ALWAYS BEEN DEPENDENT ON ARMY FOR THE SOLUTION OF THEIR PROBLEMS. CONSIDERING THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF BHARAT ( I WOULD PREFER TO USE THE WORLD BHARAT RATHER THAN INDIA FOR OBVIOUS REASONS), WE FIND NOT A SINGLE OCCASION WHEN THE POLITICIANS LOOKED UPON THEIR ARMY FOR THE SOLUTION OF THEIR POLITICAL ISSUES. I PERSONALLY FEEL THE NEED OF A PARADIGM SHIFT IN THE MIND- SET OF OUR POLITICIANS. THEY SHOULD BE MORE FLEXIBLE IN THEIR THINKING,THEY SHOULD ALLOW MORE SPACE TO THEIR OPPONENTS .In fact the nature of this political malady is twofold in as much as Muslim Leadership (except for the Quaid) were not prepared for Independence; and quaid didn't make any bones out of this when he admitted' I find nothing but counterfeit coins when I search my right & left pockets'. He further went on to say,'I and my typewriter made Pakistan'. On the other hand, Mr Abdul Aziz Malwada warned in his letter addressed to the Quaid,'Muslims are backward financially, intellectually, economically, and socio-politically, whereas Indian National Congress has taken them to the position where they are standing with their back to the wall after LUCKNOW PACT. Under the circumstances, Muslims would be left with no other option, but to ask for a separate homeland. For running its day-to-day affairs, they would be finding themselves helpless in the absence of political institutions, but for Army wherein they are present in size able number. Hence the affairs of this country per force would be run by Army. It is also a fact, that Muslims were represented by Army Officers in the Boundary Commission & Muslim troops were awaited badly to save Muslims from the massacre in East Punjab etc. Whereas Quaid was given the lease of life just for one year (due to being in advanced stage of Tuberculosis)after partition, the political leadership was found wanting in intellectual acumen & moral fibre.Consequently the high-handedness of Ghulam Muhammad as Governor-General and the notorious Tamiz-ud-din case by Justice Munir laying down the law of necessity; which ultimately was to result in secession of East Pakistan. General Muhammad Ayub Khan (assuming the title of Field Marshal against internationally accepted standards for this rank)indulged in all kinds of irregularities including the ones for which Captain (Retired)Gauhar Ayub was well-known in the context of his connections with GANDHARA INDUSTRIES and his firing on Karachi mob,and the High-handedness shown against Miss Fatima Jinnah (sister of the Father of Nation)were by no means a credit to the country. Miss Jinnah's death in mysterious circumstances was also not a very happy reflection to the country. Thus started a trail of unfortunate events with Military Rule coupled with political incompetence of the Leadership, which was never allowed to grow. History is full of the names of Military Leaders like Ayub Khan,Zia-ul-Haq, and Yahya Khan who was held finally responsible along with Z. A. Bhutto (starting the legacy of the so called Martial Law Administrators) who was hanged by General Zia-ul-Haq for the murder of late Mr Qasuri. Hence Pakistan became a political arena for adventurers both from the Civil and the Army. Society being the same, both sides excelled each other in political adventurism & gravest possible irregularities at the cost of national interests. Ourproblems have been many fold, first we never took our ideology as the guidance source. Ideolgoy was flouted and made a political slogan toderive political mileage out of it. What we never understood is the difference between rule of law and rule of justice. Islam has always emphasised on establishing justice and not law. Man made laws are as corrupt as man himself hence the rule of law would take us no where. NRO is the latest example of a corrupt law but justice would never tolerate it. Henceforth, the legal fraternity and the civil society or the silent majority should demand establishment of Justice and not Law. If we don't do that, we shall keep witnessing one corrupt leader after the other with many waiting in the wings.
Posted by Unknown at 11:25 PM
Role of private institutions in the promotion of education:Major(R)Khalid Nasr Education plays a pivotal role in the development of our younger generation to lead a successful life in this world of global competition. There are many dimensions of education in the development of human personality. It gives us professional knowledge. It teaches us human skills. It puts our mind on creative thinking. It builds our confidence and self-esteem. Now the question is: are the private institutions playing their role for the promotion of education? We can see a mushroom of private schools and colleges in Lahore but the parents and students are still in a state of bewilderment which institution to join for quality education. First of all, the tuition fee and admission charges of leading institutions in private sector are very high. Secondly, there is no standard criteria for getting admission in these renowned institutions. Back door techniques are used to get admission where the merit is lacking for open competition. It is very difficult for a competent student from a middle class family to get admission in leading institutions on merit. Now, we see the condition in middle class educational institutions. There is no quality of education in the so-called average educational institutions. The teaching environment and the faculty is not upto the mark. The standard of graduate & postgraduate level is so poor that some institutions are even selling their transcripts & degrees. The government is taking action against these institutions in private sector. The University of the Punjab and Higher Education Commission have set a standard for the operation of these institutions and award affiliations & charters to only those private institutions who qualify the required criteria. Everyday, we see the sign boards of a school or college removed by the concerned authorities but again we see a new entrant in the education sector with a very poor standard of teaching environment and faculty. The tuition culture is also a black spot on our prevailing educational environment in private institutions. Many daytime colleges & schools are converted into tuition centers in the evening. There are some private institutions that have not been awarded charter by Higher Education Commission or affiliation with Punjab University but they are miss-leading or rather cheating the students by putting false statements on their signboards and brochures. The curriculum offered in most of the educational institutes does not fit in the requirements of the job. Due attention is not given to the professional programs to enable a student to face competitive & professional requirements of the job opportunities in the market. Education does not merely mean academic qualification. What we have to do is to mobilize our people and build up the character of our future generations. In this world of global competition, success of a business is dependent upon the quality of management, which comes through the quality of education. The basic role of the educational institutions in the private sector is to educate, train and develop the young generation for the successful leadership roles in the practical realms of life. It is not just the degree from a college, which ensures the highest standards of excellence & growth. The basic purpose of training programs should not be to transmit knowledge from books but to impart learning & training to effect changes in behaviours & skills. The point to note here is whether our educational institutions in private sector are providing an opportunity to explore human capabilities which are not addressed in main stream education and are they willing to modify their curriculums to meet the demands of global competition in the job market. Due to high merit and limited seats in government institutions, the majority of the students join private educational institutions. So the demand of the day is that private institutions should provide quality education at affordable price to fulfill their social responsibility. Disintegrated nations can be transformed into uncanny force by bringing revolutionary changes in their stagnant thinking. We want our younger generation to be flexible, creative and assertive enough to make out dreams true about a progressive, liberal and strong Pakistan. Education without purpose & direction is a mere waste of time & resources that results in unemployment & frustration. The educational institutions in the private sector should feel their responsibility to provide quality education at affordable price. All of us do not have equal talents, but all of use should have an equal opportunity to develop out talents to have a competitive edge in the global market. The government has its own role to play which includes monitoring the activities of the educational institutions in the private sector, encouraging those institutions which are playing a positive role in providing quality education at affordable price and taking action against those who are a black spot in the field of education.
Posted by Unknown at 11:19 PM
The Rule of Law in Pakistan :Major(R)Khalid Nasr The rule of law is the fundamental component of democratic society. Rule of Law is defined as the principle that all members of society are bound by a set of clearly defined & universally accepted laws. In a democracy, the rule of law is manifested in an independent judiciary a free press and a system of check & balance on leaders through free elections and separation of powers among the pillars of state. Three major components of Rule of Law are: 1.The government is bound by the law. 2. All people are treated equally under the law. 3. The law recognizes that in each person, there is a core of spirituality, dignity and humanity. When we see the ground reality in Pakistan, the people of Pakistan are struggling for the rule of law .The rule of law can be ensured by an independent judiciary. The independence of judiciary does not mean that the court can take what decisions it wants to take but what it should take .A common man is always running around the courts in search of justice .The police system in Pakistan is for the rich & powerful. It is very difficult for a common man to survive under the present lawlessness. Electing the political leaders tried & tested in their stupidity & greed is again a practicing stupidity. It is the fear in the minds of the voters which compel them to repeat the same mistake again & again. This fear comes from the non-existence of the rule of law .The rule of law can solve the prevailing issues but for that we should focus on the restoration of independent judiciary not the restoration of individual judges who after their restoration might again reinforce fear & greed in our society through their biased 7 political decisions.
Posted by Unknown at 11:10 PM