Monday, May 25, 2015

Kalash Girls of Pakistan

Many Pakistanis of Chitral, Hunza, Gilgit and Nagir have long claimed descent from the Greek and the Macedonian invaders who were led into India by Alexander in 327 B.C. Among them are the Kalash people who live in Chitral, Pakistan.

Kalash Genes:

Kalash Girls in Chitral Valley
Last year, a genetic study reported in The New York Times found that the Kalash people's DNA seems to indicate that they had an infusion of European blood during a "mixing event" at roughly the time of Alexander's conquests in 4th century B.C. This isolated people are thus most likely the direct descendants of the ancient Greek-Macedonian armies who came to this region 2,300 years ago.

The study was published in February 2014 in the journal Science by a team led by Simon Myers of Oxford University, Garrett Hellenthal of University College London and Daniel Falush of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

 A 2013 Harvard study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics has found that vast majority of Indians today have descended from a mixture of two genetically divergent populations--Ancestral North Indians (ANIs) who migrated from Central Asia, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Europe,  and Ancestral South Indians (ASI), who are not closely related to groups outside the subcontinent.

Pakistan is a racially diverse country with a range of of skin colors and facial features. There are people of European descent in its northern areas like the Kalash along with the Sheedi or Makrani people of African descent in parts of the south along the Arabian Sea coastal line.

Sheedis of Sindh and Balochistan:

Sheedis are thought to be the descendants of African slaves brought to the shores of Pakistan at the height of the international slave trade that started in the 7th century and continued into the 18th century.

Sheedi Makrani in Karachi 
Also known as Siddis in other parts of South Asia, they are believed to have arrived in India in 628 AD at the Bharuch port. Several others followed with the first Arab invasions of Sindh in 712 AD. The latter group are believed to have been soldiers with Muhammad bin Qasim's Arab army, and were called Zanjis. Siddis are related to the Bantu peoples of Southeast Africa. They were brought to the Indian subcontinent as slaves by the Portuguese.

The Sheedis of Pakistan, also known as Makranis, live primarily along the Makran Coast in Balochistan, and southern part of Sindh. In Karachi, they are mainly concentrated in Lyari. Pir Mangho is revered by Sheedis as their patron saint. Sheedis have an annual celebration in Manghopir area around the shrine of their patron saint.

Chitral Valley:

A 10,000 ft high mountain pass and big glaciers separate the scenic Chitral valley, the home of the Kalash, from the Swat Valley that was hit by the Taliban insurgency in 2009.  It has so far served to insulate these pagan people from the rising tide of intolerance and religious militancy in the Islamic Republic.

Young Kalash

A CNN story calling the Kalsh "the happiest people in Pakistan" succinctly captured their lives in the following sentence:  "Year round, the Kalasha dance their way through a stream of festivals and rituals, and socially and culturally, theirs appears to be a joyful existence".

Hunza's Greek and Macedonian Connections:

A few years ago, the neighboring Hunza people,who also claim descent from Alexander's men, found themselves in the middle of a tussle between the governments of Greece and Macedonia. Below is a post I wrote back in 2008 on this subject:

"I am honored to be in my country Macedonia", said Prince Ghazanfar Ali Khan of Hunza, as he arrived in Skopje, the capital of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia in July this year, according to Financial Times.

So what is the Wali of Hunza doing in Macedonia? It is hard to believe but true that Pakistan and Pakistanis figure prominently in the ongoing struggle for the inheritance of the legacy of Alexander, the Great, and with it, Macedonia as a moniker. Both Greece and the country of Macedonia, officially called the "Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia" by UN and other international bodies, claim Alexander's legacy.

The prince, his wife Princess Rani Atiqa and their entourage claim descent from Alexander the Great’s conquering army, which reached their Hunza tribal homeland in northern Pakistan 23 centuries ago.

Hunza Valley
The princely state of the Hunza is currently in northern Pakistan, former part of Persia, and the place of their residence is, according to historic data, the most eastern point of the kingdom of Alexander of Macedonia.

Hunza folklore gave a shot in the arm to the ex-Yugoslav country of 2m – still embroiled, 18 years after independence, in a frustrating “name dispute” with Greece, whose northern province is also called Macedonia. Greece has opposed the country of Macedonia calling itself Macedonia. To pacify Greeks, the world calls the nation of Macedonia F.Y.R. Macedonia, where F.Y.R. stands for the former Yugoslav republic.

As Greece and F.Y.R. Macedonia fight over their claim to the name of Macedonia and Alexander's heritage, they have both been courting the Kalash and Hunza people of Pakistan. While the FYR of Macedonia rolled out the red carpet for the prince of Hunza, the Greek government is funding the cultural activities of the Kalash people of northern Pakistan.


Aleksandar Dimiskovski, a business consultant in Skopje, told Financial Times: “The [Hunza] visit provides affirmation of our ties to the former Macedonia of Alexander the Great. Approval from these people confirms that the legacy of ancient Macedonia belongs to the Republic of Macedonia, not just to Greece.”

Hunza Girl
The fair-skinned, blue-eyed Hunza people, whose own accounts trace their descent to Alexander’s march-weary troops, are renowned for their longevity and their high literacy rate, says the Financial Times story on Hunza. In the 1930s, scientists in Nazi Germany also combed the Himalayas in search of lost Aryan cousins.

In addition to the Macedonian prime minister and his cabinet, the Hunza delegation also met Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, HH Stefan, and Skopje Mayor Trifun Kostovski, according to Turkish Weekly Journal.

The delegation visited sites and towns throughout Macedonia, and attended the renowned Galichnik Wedding. The Hunza visit was organized by Macedonian Institute for Strategic Research.

FYR Macedonia has been making efforts to seek the attention and support of the United States in its fight with Greece. As a part of this campaign, Macedonian officials attempted to ingratiate the US by trying to become an ally in the war on terror. Macedonian security officials planned and staged fake anti-terrorist raids in which six innocent Pakistanis and an Indian migrant were killed in cold blood in late 2001, two months after 911 attacks. The New York Times covered the details of this fake tale of terror in Macedonia in a May 2004 story. The Hunza prince's sponsored visit, and the warm welcome he received in Macedonia, seem to be a continuation of the same cynical campaign that started with the massacre of innocent Pakistanis in Macedonia.

Here's a video clip of Wali of Hunza's visit to Macedonia:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1BsUbnnJoI



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Greek and Macedonian Connection

Soccer Loving Sheedis of Lyari

Taliban Insurgency in Swat

Harvard Genetics Study Finds Most Indians Not Indigenous 

Rising Tide of Intolerance in Pakistan

Pakistani Cover Girls

Pakistan's Top Fashion Models

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Karachi Bus Attack Arrests; Axact Scandal; Zulfiqar Mirza Vs Zardari; RAW in Pakistan

Safoora Goth Al-Azhar Gardens Ismaili massacre masterminds arrested. Saad Aziz and others are well-educated young men. Fundamentalist terror has often been linked to poverty and illiteracy. Is that theory not valid? 


With Axact scandal of bogus universities, and certificates for sale, is Bol TV dead before its launch?
 What’s behind the Zulfiqar Mirza-Asif Ali Zardari feud? 

Is the Indian RAW really sponsoring terrorist activities in Pakistan? 

ViewPoint from Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these and other questions with panelists Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com) and Ali H Cemendtaur (www.Cemendtaur.net) in Silicon Valley, California, USA.

کراچی پولیس کا دعوی، صفورا گوٹھ سانحے کے ملزم گرفتار۔ سعد عزیز اور اس کے ساتھی اونچے تعلیمی اداروں سے فارغ التحصیل ہیں۔ کیا یہ خیال غلط ہے کہ غربت اور جہالت شدت پسندی کو جنم دیتی ہے؟ کیا اسی گروپ نے صبین محمود کو بھی قتل کیا؟ کیا یہی لوگ ڈیبرا لوبو پہ حملے کے بھی ذمہ دار ہیں؟ اگزیکٹ اسکینڈل بے نقاب، ایگزیکٹ پہ الزام کہ یہ پاکستانی کمپنی جعلی انٹرنیٹ یونیورسٹیاں چلاتی ہے اور لوگوں کو جعلی ڈگریاں بیچ کر رقم بناتی ہے۔ کیا اب بول ٹی وی شروع نہ ہوپائے گا؟ ذوالفقار مرزا آصف علی زرداری کے خلاف کیوں زہر اگل رہے ہیں؟ 
ویو پواءنٹ فرام اوورسیز کے میزبان فراز درویش کی ریاض حق اور علی حسن سمندطور سے گفتگو۔ 


https://vimeo.com/128757230



Safoora Goth killers, Axact scandal, Zulfiqar Mirza-Zardari feud, RAW involvement from WBT TV on Vimeo.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2rdau4_safoora-goth-killers-axact-scandal-zulfiqar-mirza-zardari-feud-raw-involvement_news



Safoora Goth killers, Axact scandal, Zulfiqar... by ViewpointFromOverseas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJpBhjqLKAQ




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

RAW in Pakistan

Pakistan Mediagate

Huqooq ul Ibad in Islam

Karachi's Gangster Politicians

Rising Tide of Intolerance in Pakistan

Viewpoint From Overseas Dailymotion Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Youtube Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Vimeo Channel

Jaswant Singh on Indian Foreign Policy's "Strategic Confinement"

"The principal purpose and objectives of our (India's) foreign policy have been trapped between four lines: the Durand Line,; the McMahon Line; the Line of Control (LoC) and the Line of Actual Control (LAC). To achieve autonomy, an absolute necessity in the conduct of our foreign policy, we have to first find an answer to this strategic confinement".   Former Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh of India.

Mr. Jaswant Singh's quote above captures the essence of the former Indian Foreign Minister's 2013 book titled "India At Risk: Mistakes, Misconceptions and Misadventures of Security Policy". The book covers nearly seven decades of India's policymakers' obsession with its two nuclear-armed neighbors.

The Partition:

The book covers a lot of ground starting from the departure of the British colonial rulers and the partition of the sub-continent to the current situation in South Asia. Like many of his fellow Indians, it appears that  Mr. Singh has still not reconciled with the reality of partition and the creation of Pakistan as a sovereign and independent state. In the very first chapter of "India At Risk", Mr. Singh writes:

"By doing so (agreeing to partition), we then effectively forsook, rather destroyed, the essential security of a united Indian sub-continent, bound by the Himalayas in the north and the east, and the Indian Ocean as a shield to peninsular India. We failed to maintain as physically inviolable our natural geographical boundaries. In consequence, we created great subsequent national security challenges. It is self-evident that because of this one act, this artificial and rather irrational vivisection, we created for ourselves, such fundamental problems as challenge us till today."

India's Wars:

Mr. Singh offers the standard Indian narrative of events ranging from the 1962 war with China (which he blames on Nehru), the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan (for which he holds Pakistan responsible), , Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests in 1998, Kargil conflict in 1999 and   the usual narrative of "Pakistan-sponsored terrorism" for precipitating the 2002 India-Pakistan stand-off (and his heroics in averting a war).

PNS Ghazi: 

Among all of these narrations of events by Mr. Singh, there's one real revelation for me: the PNS Ghazi, the Pakistani submarine lost in 1971, was not sunk by the Indian Navy as was claimed at the time; it actually sank as a result of an accidental explosion while it was laying mines to block the Visakhapatnam Harbor in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Durand Line:

Mr. Singh mentions Durand Line twice in his book; at the beginning and the end. It's the line that divides Pakistan and Afghanistan. While he writes at length about McMahon Line (along Tibetan section of China-India border) as well as Line of Actual Control (LAC between India and China outside the McMahon Line) and Line of Control (LOC in Kashmir between India and Pakistan), he does not elaborate on Durand Line at all. This begs the following questions:

Why does the Durand Line concern Indian policymakers?

Why is the Durand Line brought up by the author but not discussed?

Was Mr. Singh told  by Indian intelligence agencies  remove any discussion of it for fear of exposing their shenanigans along Durand Line?

What is India up to in border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan? Is it using Afghanistan as a "second front against Pakistan" as described by former US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel?

Why is the self-styled Baloch government in exile (whose leaders travel with Indian passports) so vehemently opposed to the Durand Line?

Summary:

Mr. Jasawnt Singh has covered a lot of ground and pointed out the failings of Indian policymakers in looking beyond India's immediate neighborhood, particularly their obsession with Pakistan and China. It also appears that he  been to forced by the Indian government to abstain from any discussion of India's proxy war against Pakistan via the Afghan territory.

Related Links:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Are Pakistan's allegations against RAW mere conspiracy theories? Are all of Pakistan's problems today entirely of its own making?  Is RAW just a dis-interested spectator of the grisly drama being played out in Pakistan?  



Let's try and answer these questions by looking at the history of the Indian spy agency and its successes claimed by  retired Indian intelligence officer RK Yadav in his 2014 book "Mission R&AW".  Although the book cites some of RAW's actions in China (Tibet), Sikkim (annexation) and Sri Lanka (creation and support of LTTE), most of it is devoted to Indian agents' accomplishments in destabilizing and disintegrating Pakistan. 

Yadav's Book:

Here are some of the key Pakistan-related excerpts from Yadav's book:

On Pakhtunistan Page 21:

" Wali Khan (son of Abdul Ghaffar Khan aka Bacha Khan) wanted moral, political and other support from Mrs. Indira Gandhi. R.N. Kao sent hs deputy Sankaran Nair to negotiate as the Indian representative. Since Pakistan embassy was keeping watch on the movements of Wali Khan, the rendezvous was shifted to Sweden where Nair and another R&AW man of Indian mission I.S. Hassanwalia met Wali Khan. Subsequently all sorts of support was given to Wali Khan by the Indian Government till 1977 when Indira Gandhi lost election". 

On Agartala Conspiracy Page 197:

"In view of the disclosures of S.K. Nair, it is evidently true that Mujib was implicated in the Agartala Conspiracy case at the instance of Pakistan Government. However, it is also true that other accused in this case were certainly agents of Intelligence Bureau (IB) in India"

On Fokker Hijacking in Srinagar Page 227:

There was an agent of R&AW-Hashim Qureshi in Srinagar.......R&AW persuaded Hashim Qureshi to work for them.....After the plan was given final shape, on January 30, 1971, Hashim Qureshi along with another operative Ashraf Qureshi, his relative, was allowed to hijack a Fokker Friendship plane Ganga of Indian Airlines with 26 passengers on board, to take the plane to Lahore airport. R&AW allowed him to carry a grenade and a toy pistol inside the plane. Pakisani authorities at Lahore airport allowed the plane to land when they were informed that it had been hijacked by National Liberation Front activist militants of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. All India Radio soon made broadcast of this hijacking and the whole world was informed that the Pakistan Government was behind this hijacking...The incident overtly gave India the right opportunity which was planned by R.N. Kao, to cancel the flights of Pakistan over its territory which hampered the plans of Yahya Khan to send its troops by air to curb the political movement of Mujib in East Pakistan. 

On Mukti Bahini Page 231: 

Since the Indian Army was not prepared and well-equipped for an immediate army action at that point (March 1971), it was planned to raise and train a guerrilla outfit of the Bengali refugees of East Pakistan by R&AW which would harass the Pakistan Army till the Indian Army would be ready for the final assault to the liberation of East Pakistan. She (Indira Gandhi) then asked R.N. Kao, Chief of R&AW, to prepare all possible grounds for the army for its final assault when the clearance from General Maneckshaw was received for its readiness for the war. 

On 3 RAW created Forces (Mujeeb Bahini, Special Frontier Force (SFF) and Kader Bahini Page 242:

"..He (Kader Siddiqui aka Tiger Siddiqui) was the main operative of R&AW in the most vital areas of strategic operation around Dacca... Kader Bahini played havoc with the communication system of the army (Pakistani), ambushed enemy columns, blew up supply and ammunition dumps and assaulted a number of enemy convoys.....all these three guerrilla outfits created by R&AW with the help of BSF and the (Indian) army proved a vital force .. " 

Obviously, the author is silent on India's current activities against Pakistan, particularly its covert war being waged from Afghanistan through its agents who have infiltrated Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). 

Ajit Doval Speech:

For clues as to what Indian spooks are up to now, let's watch the video of a 2013 speech by Ajit Doval delivered before he was appointed by Indian Prime Minister Modi as his National Security Advisor (NSA). Here are a few snippets from Doval's lecture at Sastra University in Tamil Nadu: 

"How do we tackle Pakistan? .. You make it difficult for them (Pakistan) to manage their internal security... Pakistan's vulnerability is many many times higher than India's....Taliban have beheaded 23 of their (Pakistani) soldiers...funding can be countered by giving more funds...more than one-and-a-half times the funding they have available and they'll be yours..the Taliban are mercenaries...go for more of a covert thing" 

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2cq6ov_how-to-tackle-pakistan-by-ajit-doval-india-national-security-adviser-2014_webcam




Pakistan's Narrative: 

Is India responsible for all that is wrong with Pakistan today? Obviously not; however, its spies are promoting and exploiting the ethnic, regional, religious and sectarian fault lines that exist in Pakistan. RAW is instigating and thriving on the chaos gripping the Islamic Republic. 

Pakistan's response to its problems of growing violence has to be comprehensive; it needs to deal with both internal and external causes. 

It has to develop and promote a powerful counter narrative to appeal to misguided young men who are drawn to the militants making references to the Quran and the Hadith as part of their call to violence. The counter narrative has to explain the basics; it has to be based on the Quranic verses proclaiming Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as Rehmat ul lil Alameen (Blessing to the worlds); it has to explain Misaq e Madina, the constitution of the first real Islamic State established by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Madina. 

"This is a document from Muhammad the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), governing relations between the Believers i.e. Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib and those who followed them and worked hard with them. They form one nation -- Ummah."

It clearly says that all citizens of "Yathrib" (ancient name of Madina), regardless of  their tribe or religion, are part of one nation--"Ummah". So the word "Ummah" here does not exclude non-Muslims.

Further into the "Misaq" document, it says: "No Jew will be wronged for being a Jew. The enemies of the Jews who follow us will not be helped. If anyone attacks anyone who is a party to this Pact the other must come to his help."

The Misaq assures equal protection to all citizens of Madina, including non-Muslim tribes which agreed to it. The contents of Misaq-e-Madina, Islam's first constitution approved by Prophet Mohammad 1400 years ago, appear to have inspired Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah vision of Pakistan where people of all religions and nationalities live in harmony with equal rights and protections under the law.

Counter-Intelligence Ops, Afghanistan:

Internal efforts alone will not succeed; Pakistan also has to mount a serious counter-intelligence challenge to blunt RAW's efforts to destabilize and disintegrate Pakistan. Pakistan has to try and stabilize Afghanistan to deny India what former US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described as "India's second front against Pakistan"

Advice to India:

The best and most sane advice that can be offered India now is to think of the consequences of its actions in destabilizing its neighbor; particularly the fact that it s a large nuclear-armed country with a population approaching 200 million. India may find some short-term satisfaction by inflicting huge damage to its neighbor. But what if it leads to Pakistan becoming a REALLY failed state triggering a massive refugee problem along India's long border?  What if the India-funded groups like TTP and BLA actually succeed in defeating the Pakistani military? What would that do to India? What if it triggers an unintended devastating nuclear war? I hope saner minds will prevail in New Delhi to prevent a major human catastrophe in South Asia. 

Related Links:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jibran Nasir in Silicon Valley

Young Pakistani activist Mohammad Jibran Nasir was a big draw at a Silicon Valley lunch organized Saturday May 16 by iKolachi Policy Research Institute under Talk4Pak banner. 


Riaz Haq Introducing iKolachi



The event began with Pakistani-American children lighting candles and performing "Bara Dushman Bana Phirta Hai Jo Bachon Se Darta Hai", a popular song produced after the terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar that claimed 140 lives, most of them children.


Jibran Nasir Speaking in Silicon Valley

It was followed by Riaz Haq introducing silicon valley-based Talk4Pak Pakistani-American think tank, specifically its focus on the use of social media to counter the false narrative of the religious fanatics and terrorists who are also using  the same media to justify their campaign of murder and mayhem of innocent people.  

Jibran's presentation began with a documentary showing the origins of his "reclaim your mosque" movement with a historic demonstration at Islamabad's Lal Masjid demanding the arrest and prosecution of the radical cleric Maulana Abul Aziz. It was the first-time ever in Pakistan's history that a significant number of young Muslims gathered spontaneously to make such a demand in front of a mosque. 


Jibran shared with the audience the details of the duplicity of the leaders of all major political parties. He showed pictures of PMLN, PPP, PTI and MQM politicians posing with the sectarian leaders of supposedly banned organizations who are known to be responsible for large scale terrorist attacks against Shias and various minority groups in the country. 



Jibran described his organization Never Forget Pakistan and several of its media campaigns in some detail. Here is the "Citizens' Charter of Demands" agreed by the organization: 

The Charter is part of a global movement of concerned Pakistanis opposed to violent extremism in the name of religion. We stand by the victims of such violence and aim to provide them with moral and other forms of support to alleviate their suffering. We envision a Pakistan free of hatred and oppression, where all Pakistanis can coexist peacefully and where diversity in religious thought and belief is accepted and respected. We present the following demands for the Government of Pakistan (“Government”):


  1. We stand for human rights and demand the Government to ensure equal citizenship rights for all Pakistanis.
  2. We oppose Takfir (declaring anyone a non-Muslim/Kafir) and subjecting anyone to persecution on that basis. We demand the Government that takfir be treated and tried as hate- speech.
  3. We demand that the Government take immediate action against all forms of hate speech which may be defined as words, spoken or written, that incite violence and hatred against any community based on their religious affiliations.
  4. We demand that the Government act against any extra-judicial killings or violence in the name of religion and false accusations of “blasphemy”. We demand the reform of Pakistan’s blasphemy law in order to prevent its misuse.
  5. We support the rule of law and due process. We demand that the Government enhance the capacity oflaw enforcing agencies to deal with crime and violence at the local level. Such crimes feed violent extremist groups at other levels.
  6. We demand that educational curriculum at all levels should include teachings that promote compassion,tolerance and respect for human rights. Text books should be revised to expunge any material that incites or preaches hatred and/or violence against any community or section of society
  7. We demand that the Government act against banned outfits and individuals operating in the name of religion. The Government must also publicize the list of banned outfits engaged in sectarian and religious violence and proceed legally against them.
  8. We demand that Pakistani electronic media cease giving airtime to any individual or organization whichengages in hate speech, inciting violence in the name of religion and/or has been declared banned by theGovernment.
  9. We demand that the Government immediately freeze assets of banned outfits and of those who are associated with them and take all measures to permanently cut off their sources of domestic andinternational financing. The Government should impose sanctions, including travel restrictions, on such outfits and individuals.


Among the generally positive reviews of Jibran's speech that have come in so far, the following feedback from Dr. Safwan Shah, a prominent Pakistani-American entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, particularly stands out:

"For an hour I was transported to a place where every new minute inspired me to fall in love with Pakistan again. Who could have imagined, a twenty something young man would have so much charisma, chutzpah and calmness. All that while conveying the most gory and disgusting details of how people of our beautiful motherland kill each other.

Dear Cemendtaur, Thank you for inviting me to listen to Jibran Nasir's talk. He is a gift we must cherish and protect. He is attempting to fuse together the million tiny pieces of our nations shattered self. He is trying to put humpty dumpty together again, hopefully much better than before. He needs people power not prayer to produce the mass movement which will help heal Pakistan's soul by overcoming the demons that terrorism unleashes.

As I processed his words, flowing so sincerely and purely I recalled the 80's. Which we all believe is when the detritus began. That was the time when we gave up on Pakistan. That is when I decided that this battle was too far gone and my best recourse is to turn away from the gleaming, bloodshot eyes of the religious right, hunting for blood.

Seeing and hearing Jibran, I had profound guilt for turning our back and letting these demons flourish and spawn into millions of ideological killers. Seeing Jibran today gave me hope, far more than a glimmer, a gleam, a sustained lightning that kept thundering - my entire body exclaimed, we have people like him too. Thank you.

So, first I want to thank him. Second, I want to say sorry, we gave him a million broken pieces because we could not stop the hammer that had just started to systematically break our society while we just watched and then we turned away.

Please thank Faraz Darvesh for making the effort required to pull all this together". 


Here's a Viewpoint From Overseas interview with Jibran Nasir with Jibran responding to attacks on him: What is Jibran Nasir’s hidden agenda? Who is behind Jibran Nasir? What does Jibran Nasir want to achieve? Is Jibran Nasir maligning Pakistan? Is Jibran Nasir maliciously airing Pakistan’s dirty laundry? Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these and other questions with this week’s special guest Jibran Nasir and co-host Misbah Azam in Silicon Valley, California, USA. 

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2qip4w_jibran-nasir-under-attack_news


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Is Modi's Honeymoon Over?

Things are not looking so rosy at home for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he continues his world tour with the latest stop in Beijing, China.


Is Modi government's honeymoon already over on its first anniversary at the helm? Has the Indian economy really turned around? Is it really growing faster than China? Are Indian businesses doing better under the new government? Are investors more excited about India's prospects? Has Indian currency recovered to levels before its collapse in 2013? Is India any cleaner than it was last year? To answer these questions, let's look at some data:

1. Revision of GDP methodology by India's Central Statistical Office (CSO) to show it is growing faster than China has drawn serious skepticism, even derision by serious economists around the world. While India's boosters in the West are not only buying but applauding the new figures, Indian policy professionals at the nation's Central Bank and the Finance ministry are having a very hard time believing the new and improved GDP brought to the world by Indian government. Dissenters include Morgan Stanley's Ruchir Sharma, an Indian-American, who has called the new numbers a "bad joke" aimed at a "wholesale rewriting of history".

2. India's exports are continuing to drop. The trade data shows a sharper slowdown (21%) in exports than in imports (13%,  due to lower oil prices) for March, 2015.  Exports are down another 13.96% in April 2015. There is an overall decline in both for the year too, according to Seeking Alpha.

3. Large scale manufacturing in India continues to disappoint. Growth slowed in April 2015, according to HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) data. At 51.3 in April, down from 52.1 in March, the headline PMI points to slowing demand.

4. Mumbai stocks are among the worst performing in emerging markets. FII (foreign institutional investments) net outflows gave been of the order of Indian Rs 125 billion (about US$ 2 billion) over the past month. The stock market index has seen the biggest correction of 10 per cent in a short time, according to India's First Post.

5. In spite of Prime Minister Modi's high-profile campaign to improve hygiene,  India has been ranked near the bottom on access to clean water and sanitation. India has ranked 92 on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene  (WASH) Index developed by The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health in the US, far below Pakistan which ranked near the top in 5th position.

India's Economic Times has recently reported results of a survey of top CEOs.  Majority of them say that demand is depressed. "The bonhomie and cheer that greeted the arrival of the Modi government is replaced by a sombre mood and a grim acknowledgement of the realities of doing business in India," reports ET, as it captures the sentiment of the CEOs. The largest engineering conglomerate L and T has said some of its plants are idle as demand for capital goods is very weak. The Aditya Birla Group had deferred its revenue target of $65 billion by 3 years, to 2018.

A recent piece titled "Why India is Not A Buy in Current Environment" published by Seeking Alpha summarizes the current Indian situation as follows:

"While there are some who consider India to be the best emerging market and recommend it as such, my own assessment is different. Whether it's relatively high valuations, weak fundamentals with persistent deficits, government bonds under pressure, weakening currency, rebounding oil prices, declining confidence in the government and so on, India is facing a ton of headwinds going forward. Far too many to be a number one pick among emerging markets."

Modi government has to turn some of its election promises into action. Mr. Modi cannot rely on the benefit of the doubt because his honeymoon period is now over. He will be judged on what he is able to accomplish.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Can India Survive Without Western Money Inflows?

Modi's Pakistan Policy

India's Soaring Twin Deficits

Xi Jinping's Pakistan Visit

How Strategic Are China-Pakistan Ties?

India Pakistan Economic Comparison in 2014

Pakistan's KSE-100 Outperforms India's Sensex

India's IT Exports Highly Exaggerated

Is India Fudging GDP to Show Faster Growth Than China?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Malaysia's Ex-PM Mahathir Stirs Up Hadith Controversy

Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, the ex-prime minister of Malaysia who is credited with transforming his country into an Asian Tiger economy,  recently made a controversial speech about the Hadith, the sayings of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).


Here are a few excerpts of what Dr. Mahathir is reported by Malaysia's FMT news to have said last week at a conference in Putrajaya:

1. “We seem to have rejected the Quran in favor of the Hadith"

2. “The teachings, or the performance, or the traditions of the Prophet come after he had been given the message of Allah, which is recorded in the Quran.”

3. “Between the two (Quran and Hadith),  it is obviously the Quran that is superior.”

4. “Allah is merciful and compassionate. One who is merciful and compassionate would not enjoy stoning people to death.”

To put the above quotes in perspective, let's consider the following:

1.  The words of the Holy Quran were meticulously recorded and preserved in writing by the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during his lifetime in the 7th century AD. However, the Hadith collections were compiled two centuries later by Persian scholars who lived and died in Khorasan (now Uzbekistan) and Persian (now Iran).

2. Many scientific studies have shown that honest people routinely make mistakes in recalling what they have directly seen and heard in person. Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari were compiled in 9th century by people who were distant from the source in both time and space. They relied entirely on long and complex chains of narrations for their work.

As we ponder over the above, let's deal with the suggestion to leave such matters to the "religious scholars". Should we really? Haven't we been doing it for centuries?

Leaving it to the "religious experts" has clearly not helped the Muslim ummah. It is widely believed among watchers of Islam and Muslims that taqlid is responsible for the end of the Golden Age of the Islamic Civilization (800-1100AD) and continuing decline since then, particularly in terms of the sciences and the arts.

The Holy Quran tells its readers repeatedly to seek knowledge, think, reason and reflect on our own. Afala Ta'qilun, Afala Yatadabbarun, Afala Tatafakkarun, Afala Tubsirun and similar verses appear over 700 times in the Holy Book of Muslims, far more often than exhortation to salat (prayer), zakat (charity) and saum (fasting).

To rise again, let us Muslims do what Allah commands us to do in The Holy Quran: Learn, think, reason and reflect on our own to draw our own conclusions.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization

The Prophet I Know

Muslims Have Few Nobel Prizes

Riaz Haq's Ramadan Sermon

Ibn Khaldun: The Father of Modern Social Sciences

Quaid-e-Azam Vision of Pakistan Inspired by Misaq-e-Madina

Obama Speaks to the Muslim World

Lost Discoveries by Dick Teresi

Physics of Christianity by Frank Tipler

What is Not Taught in School

How Islamic Inventors Changed the World

Jinnah's Pakistan Booms Amidst Doom and Gloom

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pakistan 2.0: Technology Driving Productivity

Introduction of green revolution technologies drove Pakistan's rapid GDP growth in 1960s and 1970s when it was essentially an agricultural economy. The decade of 1980s saw livestock revolution that helped increase farm productivity. Will rapid absorption of information and communication technology (ICT) do the same in coming decades?

Abundance of historical data on educational attainment shows that young Pakistanis are more literate and better educated than their parents and grandparents. And recent data confirms that they are rapidly embracing new technologies. Technology, particularly ICT, is increasingly visible among consumers, industries and public sector.  As a result, Pakistan today stands at the threshold of soaring productivity and rising standards of living over the next several decades. The basic requirements for it to materialize are maintenance of peace and security and  increasing investments in education, health care, energy and infrastructure.

3G, 4G Mobile Broadband Rollout:

The launch of 3G and 4G networks has accelerated the growth of Internet users in Pakistan. More than a million subscribers are signing up every month since the 3G and 4G rollout in the country last year. These new users are generating more and more data traffic requiring rapid increases in available bandwidth.



Pakistan ended March 2015 with over 12.07 million 3G/4G subscribers, up from 10.34 million in February, according to data from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). Telenor led the 3G/4G market with over 3.53 million subscribers, followed by CMPak (2.95 million 3G/4G subscribers), Mobilink (2.86 million 3G subscribers), and Ufone (2.66 million 3G subscribers). Warid had 66,140 LTE network subscribers at 31 March.

Thousands of kilometers long fiber network is currently in place to deal with the growing domestic bandwidth demand. Several projects are underway to grow this network further.

Consumer Applications:

Young entrepreneurs are developing and launching mobile apps for everything from sports and entertainment to education, ride-sharing and e-commerce.

Pepper.pk has topped BlackBerry’s Appworld with their game Ninja Fruit Bash, TenPearls won Nokia and ATT Innovators 2011 contest through their game Animal 101, start-ups such as PiLabs also made their mark with mobile games such as ‘Field Garfield’ which is an official Garfield game.

A ride-sharing app called savaree, photo-sharing app Groopic and custom shoes app Markhor have been making news lately in Pakistan and overseas.

E-commerce is taking off in Pakistan with companies such as Home shopping, Shophive, daraz.pk and Symbios are becoming popular for online shopping.

Spurred by a favorable regulatory and technology environment, Pakistan is witnessing dramatic growth in mobile banking.  Four out of five cellular mobile companies currently operating in Pakistan have launched m-money systems in partnership with financial institutions. The m-money market volume reached 153 million annual transactions worth US$ 6.2 billion as of 2013.

Industrial Applications:

Information and communications technology is being deployed in Pakistan's energy sector.

In addition to automatic reading of smart meters at the customer premises, smart meters have been installed with the support of USAID on incoming and outgoing feeders at all nine government-owned electric utilities. These will help move the system toward building of a smart national grid to better manage power generation, transmission and distribution in the country.

A captive power plant owned by Sapphire Group textile mill in Muridke Lahore is using hundreds of embedded sensors and other digital instruments in power turbines, analyzing the data they collect, and using the information to improve the plant’s performance, optimize production and reduce unplanned downtime. US-based General Electric is paying for the sensors and the software. The company will be paid by splitting all benefits with Sapphire under a win-win scenario, according to GE Reports website.

Public Sector Applications:

IT projects ranging from automated meter reading and computerized land records management to online education and mobile banking are now at various stages of implementation across Pakistan.  In a report released last year, the World Bank called these projects "unprecedented in the public sector in developing countries". The objective of these efforts is to reduce corruption, increase productivity and improve service delivery in both private and public sectors.

The Punjab government is deploying smartphone applications to crack down on absentee mobile government workers and their corrupt practices. As part of this project, the government employee must send his or her picture and a report of interaction with citizens along with GPS coordinates. For example, a agricultural pest control official required to visit farmers must file reports of his findings and actions in real time via a smartphone app.

An SMS soliciting feedback from citizens is sent out after each such visit or interaction. Responses from users are logged into a central database, and the data then analyzed and mapped. Call centers have also been trained to contact those who do not respond or are unable to read the text due to illiteracy. More than three million users of public services have so far been contacted since the summer of 2012, with both positive and negative feedback, according to the World Bank report. “Sir, we went to the hospital yesterday. They asked for 1500 rupees [in bribes]. We didn’t have the money so we left,” reads one of the reports about a hospital in Lahore, the provincial capital. The feedback is actively monitored by the office the Chief Secretary – the top civil servant in the province – to manage the performance of officials.

Summary:

Pakistan today stands at the threshold of soaring productivity and rising standards of living over the next several decades. The basic requirements for it to materialize are maintenance of peace and security and  increasing investments in education, health care, energy and infrastructure.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

High-Speed Fiber Optic Connectivity in Pakistan

E-Commerce in Pakistan

Public Sector Apps in Pakistan

History of Educational Attainment in Pakistan

Online Education in Pakistan

Value Added Agriculture in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan


Sunday, May 10, 2015

NADRA NA-122 Report; RAW in Pakistan; Future of PPP; Indian Media in Nepal

Were NA-122 and NA-125 elections rigged? Does NADRA report raise serious doubts about the credibility of PML's win in Pakistan's 2013 general electionsIs it PTI’s victory? Should the Nawaz Sharif government be worried?



What proof does the Pakistan Army have on RAW’s involvement in terrorist activities taking place in Pakistan? 

What has turned Zulfiqar Mirza against Asif Ali Zaradari? Is Pakistan People's Party going to split? 

What are the GCC countries doing at Camp David? Has the Saudi Arabia led coalition failed to get desired results in Yemen? 

Alif Ailaan report on education in Pakistan, and what does the report tell us? 

After the recent earthquake, is the Indian media truly despised in Nepal?

ViewPoint from Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these and other questions with panelists Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com), Misbah Azam(www.politicsinpakistan.com), and Ali H Cemendtaur (www.Cemendtaur.net) in Silicon Valley, California, USA. 

https://vimeo.com/127407131


VPOS 050915-ipad from WBT TV on Vimeo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NYVa8Tx-m4

 Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Covert War in Pakistan?

Pakistan's 2013 General Elections

Pakistan's People's Party's Feudal Leadership

Indian Media's Nepal Coverage

Saudi Arabia's Yemen Campaign

Viewpoint From Overseas Youtube Channel

Viewpoint From Overseas Vimeo Channel