Saturday, October 20, 2012

Malala Moment: Profiles in Courage...Not!

Ordinary Pakistanis have responded to the barbaric attack on  courageous 14-year-old Swat schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai and her classmates by expressing outrage and demanding action against the perpetrators. They have poured out into the streets for prayers for Malala's speedy recovery.


 The cowardly attack on a teenage schoolgirl is shocking. But it should not be surprising. The Taliban have a long track record  in both Afghanistan and Pakistan of attacking anyone, regardless of age and gender, who disagrees with their goals or tactics. They have a record of using extreme violence to silence those who dare to criticize them. The Taliban have repeatedly said that do not believe in constitutional democracy, political processes and elections.


With the exception of some ANP,  MQM and PPP leaders, the rest of the political leadership in Pakistan has failed to rise to the occasion. Here are some recent cowardly statements on the subject of Taliban militancy by PTI and PML(N) leaders:

“Who will save my party workers if I sit here and give big statements against the Taliban.”  PTI Chief Imran Khan

"I will support military operation (against the Taliban) if you can guarantee peace after it."  PTI Chief Imran Khan

“Gen. Musharraf planned a bloodbath of innocent Muslims at the behest of others only to prolong his rule, but we in the PML-N opposed his policies and rejected dictation from abroad. If the Taliban are also fighting for the same cause then they should not carry out acts of terror in Punjab.”  PML (N) Leader Shahbaz Sharif

 Pakistan's coward politicians need to draw some inspiration from brave little Malala Yousufzai. The nation desperately needs courageous leaders at this moment in history. Pakistan's leaders, particularly those in the Opposition, are failing the basic test of leadership. They are paralyzed by the fear of the militants. They are begging the Taliban to spare them. They are unwilling to take any risks and demanding impossible guarantees of peace that no one can provide. This is a recipe for inaction in the face of the Taliban onslaught on innocent civilians.

Some, especially those in the politico-religious leadership, are promoting confusion to distract the people from the real threat Pakistan faces today. Samia Qazi, the daughter of Jamate-Islami leader Qazi Husain Ahmed, is orchestrating a social media and email campaign against 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai to tarnish her image by attacking the victim to deflect attention from the TTP's crimes. Qazi and her supporters are being deliberately disingenuous by claiming sympathy for Malala while at the same time they engage in a smear campaign against her to paint her as an American agent.

In a picture first tweeted by Samia Qazi and posted on social media sites, she claims that Malala is meeting American generals. In fact, there is no American general in it. It is actually a still frame from a documentary made by the New York Times, which specifies the footage is from a simple meeting with late Richard Holbrook, US diplomatic representative to the region in 2009, during which Malala asked the US for help in girls’ education in Pakistan. Samia Qazi should remember that, by her logic,  her brother, Asif Luqman Qazi, can also be found guilty by association because he must have met many Americans while attending Boston University in the United States.

Those who refuse to speak out against the Taliban out of fear or sympathy must remember this: If the Taliban succeed in acquiring power in Pakistan, they will not spare them because none of them will measure up to Taliban's expectations of a "good" Muslim.

Samia Qazi will be targeted by the Taliban because they will find her too well-educated and too outspoken for a woman. Asif Qazi will be considered by them as guilty of associating with Americans while in Boston. Imran Khan will face the Taliban's wrath for his past transgressions of engaging in alleged pre-marital sex and for marrying a Jewish woman.  The Sharif brothers will be unacceptable to them because they have no beards. Those in the media will be targeted for exercising their right to criticize them.

The Taliban will implement draconian laws in the guise of their extreme version of Sharia and enforce such laws with brutal religious police.  They will force all men to grow long beards and force burqa on all women. They will ban women's education and shut girls' schools. They will ban television as they did in Afghanistan when they ruled it. In short, the Taliban will find reasons to persecute all non-Taliban just as they did in Afghanistan in 1990s before the post-911 US invasion of Afghanistan.

Let there be no mistake: The phenomenon of Taliban is a Fitna not unlike the 11th century Isma'ili shia Hashasheen (Assassins) whom Marco Polo depicted as trained killers responsible for the systematic elimination of fellow Muslims, mostly Sunnis, who disagreed with them.

Na haq kai liye uththe to shamshir bhi fitna hai
Shamsheer hi kiya nara-e-takbeer bhi fitna hai


To prevent the Taliban from achieving their goals of dominance in Pakistan, the country needs a comprehensive strategy with both political and military components. Such a strategy must be regional to deal with the possibility of the Taliban crossing the Durand line for safe havens as part of their defense. It must begin with building broad popular support, if not consensus, to defeat the Taliban. It must include an effective education campaign led by the politicians and civil society as well as the mass media to end all confusion about the serious threat posed in Pakistan by all factions of  the Taliban who all share similar goals of taking control of the country to impose their dark vision in the name of Islam.  It must also include a decisive force component to militarily defeat the hard core leadership of the Taliban.

Here's a recent video discussion on the subject:



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pak Taliban Killing Spree Continues  

Appeasement in Swat

Pakistan's Growing Insurgency

Rising Intolerance in Pakistan
 
Fighting Agents of Intolerance in Pakistan

Muslim Scholars Must Fight Hate in Pakistan

South Asian Christians Celebrate Christmas in Fear

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Vision

Pakistan Must Defeat Agents of Intolerance 

Celebrating Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah's Birthday

62 comments:

Ali P. said...

Yes if BBC writes their transcripts, interviews & reports and the whole PAK media is to cover them unconditionally and the CIA backs them and Mrs. Tin Tin & Mr Kangroo give press interviews every polition will be courages. Stop being nieve you are a occupied countary.

Riaz Haq said...

Ali P: "Yes if BBC writes their transcripts, interviews & reports and the whole PAK media is to cover them unconditionally and the CIA backs them and Mrs. Tin Tin & Mr Kangroo give press interviews every polition will be courages. Stop being nieve you are a occupied countary."

Let's assume for a moment that I am naive and you are correct in blaming it all on foreigners. Please reflect on the following questions:

Do you agree that the Taliban are a violent creed and have been using violence against civilians to impose their will since well before the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001?

How would you deal with the problem of violence that is real and has resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of innocent Pakistanis by the Taliban?

Should Pakistanis allow the Taliban to continue to slaughter innocent civilians until all foreign intervention stops?

Is it ever possible for any country in the world to completely stop all foreign influences?

Is it possible to completely isolate ourselves from the world and survive?

Is inaction the answer?

Shams said...

From Taliban and other religious activists, regardless of who is funding them - Saudi Arabia or the USA or Israel or India - more than 5,000 Shias have been target killed and more than 20,000 Urdu speaking people have been killed. In KP, over 20,000 have been killed in suicide bombings. 12,000 have been killed in drone attacks and other such US attacks.

And now Malala is going to wake up the political conscience? F--- that.

This must be a ploy - I have two theories. First is that it is an attack orchestrated by the US and it was publicized by US money through the Pakistani media and US paid politicians, so the army could go after N/S Waziristan. The army did not and perhaps it will not. The second is that the army did it, in the hope of the same scenario, but then it backed out after its internal Taliban factions refused to participate.

Malala is out of Pakistan. Out of sight, out of mind. Pakistani conscience as to Malala is now well asleep, since the SC has ruled that the 1990 election was rigged.

Ali P. said...

the Taliban are not only a creation of Pakistan but are very much supported by large elements in and out of office the slogan " Kafi Kafir Shia Kafir" was started way down in 84/85 the Jhangvi group was financed and supported by agencies like other unlawful political groups, we are a uneducated vulnerable people the country has a 5% literary rate what do you expect. it is to the foreigner to blame is is we Muslims who have no piety to blame. Riaz it is an long and painful path we by Allah are ordered to try and that we will like minded people should assemble and make sacrifices and take positions, I can continue think of what I am trying to tell you my dear brother I saw iths in our very Collage, I have to go now but am willing to discuss further with facts.

Riaz Haq said...

Ali P: "the Taliban are not only a creation of Pakistan but are very much supported by large elements in and out of office the slogan " Kafi Kafir Shia Kafir" was started way down in 84/85 the Jhangvi group was financed and supported by agencies like other unlawful political groups..."

Your response is very confusing.

Are you saying that the past mistakes by Pakistanis, both military and civilians, should now not be rectified? Do you believe that Pakistan should continue to stay on the current course? Do you think average Pakistanis should continue to pay the price of past sins?

Please help me understand by clarifying what you believe Pakistanis should do going forward.

iqbal singh said...

The true enemy is NOT India, the US or the Western Media that you so often blame yet consistently use stats and news that are put forth by the same generic media.

The problem is the Pakistani government is basically catering to the will of it's people. It's been the norm to get people riled up about India or the US and the politicians will gladly keep playing that card.

In one form or the other, since inception, Pakistan Military, the Government when Military was not in power, the fundamentalist Mullahs and the citizens at large have always ignored the growing 'cancer' within or chose to blame others. This will continue.

In fact, this cancer that has now become entrenched was not too long ago a welcome development because someday, it was thought, it can wrestle Kashmir out of enemy numero uno - India and at the same time keep Afghanistan under tabs.

Sir, the TRUE enemy has always been within Pakistan but the resources, the intellect and the preoccupation has been focused on the other enemy India. This will continue as well!

Riaz Haq said...

Iqbal Singh: "The true enemy is NOT India"

How else do you describe a country that has invaded Pakistan and split it two?

Saadat said...

Thank you for such a learned article.
There is an English saying "what goes around - comes around"
You are absolutely right. We in Pakistan never stand up for injustice if it is happening to someone else. We forget that if one does not stand up for injustice for others, pretty soon that injustice will happen to them.
We started by killing Qadianis, Shias and now little girls, and kept quiet. I maybe wrong, but most of the demonstrations that I saw on US TV there were many more girls and women than men

If we blame foreigners - then we do not have to do anything. It is a very good excuse for inaction, we are paying the price for it and will continue to pay greater and greater price.

Riaz Haq said...

Saadat: "We started by killing Qadianis, Shias and now little girls, and kept quiet."

I wrote a piece recently on the rising tide of intolerance in Pakistan and compared the situation in pre-WW II Nazi Germany. Here's an excerpt:

Here's how I express my fears about the current crisis of intolerance in Pakistan by paraphrasing what Niemöller said in 1930s:

First they came for Ahmedis, and I did not speak out
-- Because I was not an Ahmedi.

Then they came for the Christians, and I did not speak out
-- Because I was not a Christian.

Then they came for the Hindus, and I did not speak out
-- Because I was not a Hindu.

Then they came for the Shias, and I did not speak out
-- Because I was not a Shia.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

I urge all sane Pakistanis to speak out against all agents of intolerance and work diligently to defeat them before it's too late.


http://www.riazhaq.com/2012/09/rising-tide-of-intolerance-threatens.html

Imran said...

These politicians are perpetually in a 'High' state of mind and have no clue on what is happening on the ground. The sad part of this entire story is 'Kill'. Everything leads to killing, solution to every problem is to kill. To what extent this killing will continue. I know the answer, NEVER!!!! These politicians have taken a morphine injection and will sleep forever….

Please stop wasting time on them. Lets invest time in Healthcare, education, energy… these are the areas where the critical resources are lacking…

Imran Khan is coming next week – What is he going to do, nothing. Although he has a good track record of building Hospitals and schools but its not propagating to other officials in his party. If these guys cant build hospitals or school themselves, they can stop the crumbling of the infrastructure within their own locality. Mian Shabaz Sharif invested a lot of money on public infrastructure, so did MQM. One or two politicians get it but the general community of leaders are basically statement givers and completely hollow to the core..

Riaz Haq said...

Imran,

You say "please stop wasting time on them (politicians)".

In a democracy, politicians respond to people's pressure. We need to bring a lot of pressure on them, particularly Imran Khan and Sharif brothers, to stand up to the Taliban.

We should not let take the easy way out by blaming others, particular foreigners, to get them off the hook. Inaction is a recipe for disaster.

The Army will not act until there is popular consensus to go after the Talibs.

Iqbal singh said...

As I had said, the mindset of India being enemy number one will continue. It helps the military, the government to keep perpetuating that mindset because Pakistanis are not ready to accept anything else.

Naqvi said...

If civil society remains prisoner to the notion that anything done by the West is suspect at best and against the religion at worst, the sacrifices of all who have so far given their lives to safeguard the civil society from extremists would go to waste.

Riaz Haq said...

Naqvi: "If civil society remains prisoner to the notion that anything done by the West is suspect at best and against the religion at worst, the sacrifices of all who have so far given their lives to safeguard the civil society from extremists would go to waste."

Civil society and the population at large responded spontaneously and demanded action when the news pf attack on Malala first came out.

And then the Taliban sympathizers like Samia Qazi, daughter of JI's Qazi Husain Ahmed, started a smear campaign against her by tweeting pictures of Malala with American officials to spread confusion.

In a picture first tweeted by Samia Qazi and posted on social media sites, she claims that Malala is meeting American generals. In fact, there is no American general in it. It is actually a still frame from a documentary made by the New York Times, which specifies the footage is from a simple meeting with late Richard Holbrook, US diplomatic representative to the region in 2009, during which Malala asked the US for help in girls’ education in Pakistan. Samia Qazi should remember that, by her logic, her brother, Asif Luqman Qazi, can also be found guilty by association because he must have met many Americans while attending Boston University in the United States.

The fact is that Taliban have been attacking little girls for a lot longer than the American presence in the region. And it's the Taliban who have been doing most of the killing of the innocents in Pakistan.

We all need to end this confusion about the real goals of the Talibs.

Those who refuse to speak out against the Taliban out of fear or sympathy must remember this: If the Taliban succeed in acquiring power in Pakistan, they will not spare them because none of them will measure up to Taliban's expectations of a "good" Muslim.

Samia Qazi will be targeted by the Taliban because they will find her too well-educated and too outspoken for a woman. Asif Qazi will be considered by them as guilty of associating with Americans while in Boston. Imran Khan will face the Taliban's wrath for his past transgressions of engaging in alleged pre-marital sex and for marrying a Jewish woman. The Sharif brothers will be unacceptable to them because they have no beards. Those in the media will be targeted for exercising their right to criticize them.

Imran said...

I am still a supporter of negotiation, stopping the drones, collaborating with the locals for security etc. What Imran Khan is saying between the lines is very clear – You have another choice, lets try to work out the differences. Put in some deadlines to get things done. If Taliban wants Sharia, let them bring on Sharia, but the Sharia will not be what the Taliban want, it'll be what the Islam dictates. Tomorrow if a woman wants a Khula, she will be granted a Khula, she cant be forced into marrying someone etc…

Riaz Haq said...

Imran,

You talk about negotiating with the Talibs.

There's an example in Islamic history of a Taliban-like group called the Hashashin or Assassins from 11th to 13th century. They fought the Crusaders but they killed a lot more fellow Muslims than the Crusaders.

They would negotiate with no one and believed that they were right and everyone else who disagreed with them deserved to be killed.

Neither the Abbasids nor the Seljuk Turks could defeat the Hashshin. They were finally defeated by the Mongol king Halaku in the 13th century. But the Mongols also destroyed Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasids.

Riaz Haq said...

Zardari back away from acting against the TTP, reports UK's Telegraph newspaper:

President Asif Ali Zardari added his voice to those cautioning against action during a conference of the South Asian Free Media Association, saying there was no consensus among political parties in the country.

"We agree that we need to act against militants," he said.

"Before we launch any operation against the militants we will have to analyse our capability to deal with their retaliatory moves."

Last week, his PPP party dropped a parliamentary resolution promising "practical measures" against extremists after failing to bring the biggest opposition grouping on board.

His latest words will come as a blow to many who believed the attack on Malala could prove a turning point in Pakistan's ambiguous relationship with terrorist groups.



A spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban said it was responsible for shooting the prominent peace campaigner as she travelled home from school a fortnight ago.

She is being treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Briefings in the past fortnight suggested military commanders and political leaders were ready to use a groundswell of public opinion to move against militant havens in North Waziristan, close to the border with Afghanistan.

The standard line for the past three years has been that the Pakistan military is ready to move, but only when conditions are right.

Lberal commentators began talking of a "Malala moment", a brief window for Pakistan to harness outrage at the attack and turn its back on groups such as the Haqqani network, which has long been used as an unofficial arm of foreign policy.

However, the past week has also seen a whispering campaign against Malala, with claims that she was a US agent or that the shooting was carried out by the CIA as cover for an operation.

Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst in Lahore, said the attack had not provoked a unanimous reaction of condemnation.

While anti-Taliban groups had seized on the moment, pro-extremist groups have also become more vocal, he explained.

"Islamist groups have pushed back on this as they see the balance of public opinion shifting, which means that the government does not have anything like unanimous support for action," he said.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/9625290/Pakistan-president-backs-away-from-operation-against-militants-after-Malala-shooting.html

HopeWins Junior said...

Dr. Haq,

This article is not quite clear.

Which Taliban are you discussing here?

1) The Good Taliban, which operates in Afghanistan and takes refuge in Pakistan under the ISI umbrella?

OR

2) The Bad Taliban, which operates in Pakistan and takes refuge in Afghanistan under the KhAD umbrella?

Could you be more specific?

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Which Taliban are you discussing here?"

Both Afghan and Pakistani Taliban who attack innocent civilians.

Their current targets may be different, but they share a common ideology and it's becoming increasingly clear that they often collaborate.

The Taliban have a long track record in both Afghanistan and Pakistan of attacking anyone, regardless of age and gender, who disagrees with their goals or tactics. They have a record of using extreme violence to silence those who dare to criticize them. The Taliban have repeatedly said that do not believe in constitutional democracy, political processes and elections.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by Najam Sethi in Friday Times on current confusion spread by Imran Khan about the Taliban atrocities:

Imran Khan's populist "stance" on the Pakistani Taliban in which their origins, beliefs and motivation are all somehow linked to America's role in Pakistan since 9/11 has spawned much confusion and contradiction in society. Consequently Pakistan's ruling elites are bereft of any consensual political strategy to combat the most serious existential threat to the country since independence. Consider the facts and the relationship between cause and effect.

It is wrong to say that the Taliban are a product of US intervention in Afghanistan. The truth is the Taliban are a product of the civil war in Afghanistan in the 1990s in which Pakistan was the real puppeteer. When the Taliban seized Kabul in 1997, America was not even on the scene. Indeed, the Taliban provoked America to invade by sheltering Osama bin Laden after he claimed responsibility for attacking America on 9/11. The American/ISAF intervention in Afghanistan was backed up by UN Security Council resolution 1388 in December 2001.

It is wrong to say that the Taliban are a blowback consequence of American drone attacks. It is wrong to say that the drones exact huge civilian casualties. It is wrong to say that if Pakistan can somehow stop the drones the Taliban will stop waging war. The truth is that the Taliban appeared in 1995 and the drones in 2004. The truth is that the Taliban violated Pakistan's sovereignty first when they created safe havens in FATA in 2001. The truth is that the Pakistan's military approved of both safe havens for the Taliban and the American drone strikes against them. The truth is, as Major General Ghayur, a spokesman of the Pakistan Army, claimed in 2011, that the drones exact more military than civilian casualties. Indeed, Pakistan's main grouse is not that the Americans use drones indiscriminately or illegally but that they refuse to enable the Pakistani military to own and use the drones.

It is wrong to demand peace deals with the Taliban. The truth is that we have cobbled four major and nine minor peace deals with sections of the Pakistani Taliban since 2004. Each agreement was repudiated by them and left Pakistan weaker than before.
----------

It is wrong to say that the Malala incident is a conspiracy by the West to push Pakistan into military operations against the Taliban. For many years, the West has been urging Pakistan to do more and go after the Taliban. But Pakistan has consistently refused to do US bidding. That is why the US-Pak "strategic relationship" has ended.

Lack of factual knowledge and a blind belief in America as the root cause of all our problems are two reasons why the Malala incident is still not cause enough to become a "turning point" for Pakistan. The dynamics of general elections are also in play. Imran Khan's electoral strategy is geared to exploiting rampant anti-Americanism in Pakistan, especially among the young whose memory does not go beyond 9/11. Nawaz Sharif, who has most to lose from Khan's success, cannot be unmindful of this factor. And everyone is worried about the consequences of a military operation that provokes a violent backlash from the Taliban and creates a pretext for postponement of elections.


.


http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta3/tft/article.php?issue=20121019&page=1

Siraj said...

Can you imagine a 14 year old to write in the way Malala was reportedly writing her diaries. The kind of comments about who was her idol that she was made to express when she met different group of people is good enough evidence that there is more to her story than meets the eyes. This does not mean that I am ready to condone the barbaric attack on a young girl for whatever purpose she was being used.

Riaz Haq said...

Siraj: "Can you imagine a 14 year old to write in the way Malala was reportedly writing her diaries..."

By your logic, all child prodigies, including Arfa Karim and others like her, are all suspect...possibly US agents being used for nefarious purposes.

Khalid said...

See the Israeli children feeling good imagining killing Arabs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqP-yegfW7k&feature=youtu.be

Will the Najam Sethis of Pakistan ever write on this?

Riaz Haq said...

Khalid: "Will the Najam Sethis of Pakistan ever write on this?"

Here's the difference.

What the Taliban are doing is right inside Pakistan and they have been killing tens of thousands of fellow Muslim Pakistanis, including innocent women and children, in the name of Islam.

That makes the Taliban guilty of both mass murder and blasphemy.


Na Haq k liye Uthay tu Shamsheer bhi Fitna
Shamsheer hey kya Nara e Takbeer bhi Fitna

Khalid said...

Q: Will the Najam Sethis of Pakistan show outrage over Israeli children being taught to hate Arabs and seek joy in dreaming of murdering them?
A: No. They won't. These are not Taliban."

Good Answer.

Riaz Haq said...

Khalid:

Q: Will Taliban sympathizing JI continue to rationalize Muslim-on-Muslim violence in Pakistan by arguing that non-Muslims are also killing Muslims elsewhere in the world?

A: Absolutely!

Great answer!!!!

Khalid said...

The question was not whether or not you should condemn violence by Muslims on Muslims. I must ask if we always do. (Was the attack on Madrasa Hafsa not violence by Muslims on Muslims?)

The question is whether such flagrant propagation of hate as seen in that video will find an expression of outrage from those who have been champions of fighting extremism?

Did you watch this video? Can you imagine the uproar if the shoe was on the other foot? If the children in the video were Muslim (God forbid Madrasa students) and they were talking about, say, Jews?

Riaz Haq said...

Khalid: "The question was not whether or not you should condemn violence by Muslims on Muslims. I must ask if we always do. (Was the attack on Madrasa Hafsa not violence by Muslims on Muslims?)"

Let's not be so disingenuous.

The fact that these demands to condemn all non-Muslim violence against Muslims, be it in Israel or Myanmar or anywhere else, are predictably and loudly repeated in response to the continuing Taliban violence on their fellow Muslims in Pakistan has only one purpose:

To deflect attention from the misdeeds of the Taliban.

Let there be no doubt about it. Those who refuse to speak out against the Taliban out of fear or sympathy must remember this:

If the Taliban succeed in acquiring power in Pakistan, they will not spare them because none of them will measure up to Taliban's expectations of a "good" Muslim.

Samia Qazi will be targeted by the Taliban because they will find her too well-educated and too outspoken for a woman. Asif Qazi will be considered by them as guilty of associating with Americans while in Boston. Imran Khan will face the Taliban's wrath for his past transgressions of engaging in alleged pre-marital sex and for marrying a Jewish woman. The Sharif brothers will be unacceptable to them because they have no beards. Those in the media will be targeted for exercising their right to criticize them.

The Taliban will implement draconian laws in the guise of their extreme version of Sharia and enforce such laws with brutal religious police. They will force all men to grow long beards and force burqa on all women. They will ban women's education and shut girls' schools. They will ban television as they did in Afghanistan when they ruled it. In short, the Taliban will find reasons to persecute all non-Taliban just as they did in Afghanistan in 1990s before the post-911 US invasion of Afghanistan.

Let there be no mistake: The phenomenon of Taliban is a Fitna not unlike the 11th century Isma'ili shia Hashasheen (Assassins) whom Marco Polo depicted as trained killers responsible for the systematic elimination of fellow Muslims, mostly Sunnis, who disagreed with them.

Na haq kai liye uththe to shamshir bhi fitna
Shamsheer hi kiya nara-e-takbeer bhi fitna

Haseeb said...

The point of issue is that foreign agencies are the hand behind many of these killings. How are you going to fix the problem if you don’t know the real root cause???

The other issue is that we are very hard on picking on JI and Muslims but very scared to raise our voices when Israel teaches worst things to its children. That is all.

Riaz Haq said...

Haseeb: "The point of issue is that foreign agencies are the hand behind many of these killings...."

Blaming others for your problems is nothing but an excuse for inaction.

You have to take responsibility for rooting out the violent Taliban ideology.

Please understand the stark reality that people of no other religion---Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists--are killing their fellow co-religionists on a scale that we Pakistani Muslims are on a daily basis. And it's being done in the name of Islam.

Muslims have a fitna within themselves called the Taliban.

Let's not gloss over this fact.

Unless Muslims see this clear and present danger, they will continue to delude themselves by pointing fingers at others rather than accepting responsibility and doing something to stop it.

Let Muslims learn from history. When Muslims failed to curb the Hashashin, Mongols did the job and then proceeded to sack Baghdad, bringing the destruction of the Abbasid Caliphate.

PAKISTANIS NEED TO GET OWN HOUSE IN ORDER.

Roland said...

i am sure that you guys are extremely glad that you are not going to be here in pakistan when the taliban take over.

am also told that they will probably slaughter the shias and others who are not "true muslims", whatever that means.

perhaps its time i escaped from here, too?

Riaz Haq said...

Roland: " perhaps its time i escaped from here, too?"

Given the Talibs track record in Afghanistan and FATA and now Pakistan, their first-order of business will continue to be to kill fellow Muslims who they see as "bad" Muslims.

As to your status, it's more than likely that they'll make you wear a special sign or color to differentiate you as Christian, and charge you an additional tax as zimmi and spare your life.

But I'm hopeful that that Talibs will be defeated well before that happens. Probably by non-Muslims, just as the Mongols defeated the Hashashin (Assassins) in the 13th century, if the Muslims fail to defeat them.

HopeWins Junior said...

^^^^Here are some recent cowardly statements:

“Who will save my party workers if I sit here and give big statements against the Taliban.” PTI Chief Imran Khan

---------------------

Khan Sahib responds thus:

http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/eye-for-an-eye-will-not-solve-anything-1.1094629

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn OP Ed by Michael Krepon after his recent Pakistan visit:

THERE is no shortage of young talent with restless intellectual energy and entrepreneurial skills in Pakistan. Natural resources are untapped. Despite its economic travails, Pakistan has a middle class that can grow if markets grow.

A Pakistani diaspora in the West could come to the country’s aid. These positive notes within Pakistan cannot become music until governance improves and the writ of the state extends to its borders.

---

The deaths of innocent civilians from drone strikes represent a small fraction of this carnage. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) didn’t begin this reign of terror because of drone strikes, and they won’t end it if the drone strikes stop. The strongest linkage between these disparate phenomena is that some US drone strikes are directed at those who plan and direct this carnage on Pakistani soil. No one in authority in Pakistan appears willing to acknowledge this.

My advice, freely and repeatedly given, has been for the Obama administration to fundamentally reassess its policy on drone strikes, and to make them exceptional, rather than common occurrences in Pakistan. As was evident in the foreign policy debate between President Obama and Gov Mitt Romney, this is unlikely to happen. As long as US and Nato forces in Afghanistan are being targeted by Afghan Taliban fighters who take refuge on Pakistan’s soil, drone strikes will continue.

When US forces are mostly withdrawn from Afghanistan, and if the Afghan Taliban leadership move themselves as well as their operations across the Durand Line, drone strikes in Pakistan may be significantly reduced — but not until then.

In my view, a qualified suspension of drone strikes within Pakistan is still warranted, even in the aftermath of the attempt to kill Malala. What are the qualifications?

First, if Pakistani authorities privately request them and if the targets are legitimate. Second, if extremist groups continue to plan and carry out attacks on US and Nato forces, Washington would reserve the right to respond — not at lieutenants, but at their leaders, wherever they may be — a difficult standard for Washington and Islamabad to swallow. Third, if there is actionable intelligence about plans to carry out attacks on US or allied territory, the United States would reserve the right to disrupt them.

---
A secondary reason for this proposal is that it would clarify the wrongheaded conclusion that drone strikes make every one of Pakistan’s problems worse. I disagree.
---

Drone strikes had nothing to do with the attempt to kill Malala. Nor did drone strikes factor in the ill-fated deal between the Pakistani government and the TTP in Swat, or its predictable demise. Horrific Muslim-on-Muslim violence in Pakistan will continue as long as political leaders look the other way while seeking ‘consensus’, and as long as poor governance, economic stagnation, corruption, flimsy social services, and a deteriorating educational system hold sway.

Even if civilian casualties are kept to an absolute minimum, there are three primary reasons for a reassessment of US policy regarding drone strikes. First, they are unlikely to make a significant difference in Afghanistan’s future dispensation. Second, they can help Pakistan’s armed forces only marginally to reclaim their country’s periphery. Third, drone strikes ruin America’s standing in Pakistan, and decent US-Pakistani relations are one essential condition for a reversal of Pakistan’s fortunes.
---------
Afghanistan may remain unsettled for some time to come, blocking Pakistan’s economic growth via Central Asia. Increased trade with India is far more feasible. If leaders in both countries can keep increased trade on course, despite explosions intended to stop progress, radical elements can be marginalised and Pakistan can hope for a brighter future.


http://dawn.com/2012/10/25/guns-drones-and-butter/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Telegraph newspaper report on Pak politicians visiting Malala:

Critics at home fear her high profile has turned her into a political photo opportunity for politicians with an eye on elections next year, at a time when she needs rest and a chance to recover.

Malala arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham just over a fortnight ago after being shot in the head at close range and doctors are pleased with the progress she is making.

Last week, Islamabad's Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Farooq Sattar, visited the hospital. Since then visitors have included Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, the daughter of Benazir Bhutto, Mian Iftikhar Hussein, information minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Haider Ali, a politician from Swat, Malala's home area.

On Monday it was the turn of Rehman Malik, Pakistan's Interior Minister, who visited the hospital along with William Hague and a minister from the United Arab Emirates.

None was able to meet Malala but were briefed by medical staff and spent time with her family instead.



Sana Saleem, a well-known blogger and campaigner for women's rights, said the government of Pakistan had played its part in helping Malala but should now let her recover in peace.

"There's no need for ministers going to see her now," she said. "The government has supported her and taken her to Britain, but this is not going to help now."

Cyril Almeida, a columnist with the Dawn newspaper, said Pakistan had a culture of politicians sharing in public grief and they would be expected to be seen at the hospital.

But he added that it was poor substitute for helping protect Malala, tackling the Taliban or safeguarding girls' education.

"It's a great photo op which most of them can't resist - especially the second-tier politicians - but when it actually comes to doing something meaningful... let's see what happens," he said.

The 15-year-old has made an impressive recovery after being shot at close range three weeks ago by a Taliban gunman.

However, she still faces surgery to repair the damage done to her skull and a long road to recovery.

Her strong stance in standing up to the Pakistan Taliban - writing a blog about their brutality and later campaigning for girls education - has meant a flood of wellwishers, gifts and messages arriving at Queen Elizabeth Hospita.

A spokeswoman said only immediately family members were allowed to visit Malala for limited amounts of time and other requests were being refused.

"It's an easy thing to tell them because it's based on a medical facts and it's in the best interests of the patient," she said.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/9642745/Pakistani-politicians-told-they-cannot-visit-Malala.html

Riaz Haq said...

It takes no courage to blame everything on US and condemn America in Pakistan where anti-American sentiments are very strong...in fact, Imran is exploiting anti-Americanism in Pakistan to gain popularity.

The definition of real leadership includes the courage to stand up to killers at home who target innocent people, including women and children, in the name of Islam. ANP, PPP and MQM all fit that definition, because each one of them have paid the price in terms of the lives of their workers by standing up to the TTP thugs and killers.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a ET report on TTP threat issued today against MQM leaders:

PESHAWAR / KARACHI: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has announced its decision “to liberate Karachi” from the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), adding that “every step would be taken against them.”

In a statement issued on Friday, TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said that the decision has been taken to set the people of Karachi free from the clutches of “these persecutors”.

Furthermore, Ehsan called on the leaders of all nationalist parties, including the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and Sindh Liberation Army, to struggle for their rights in “an Islamic way”.

“Islam protects everyone’s right and you (nationalist parties) are passing through dark ages of oppression and this shackle of suppression has to be broken down,” the statement read.

Earlier, MQM had announced that it would hold a referendum throughout Pakistan, urging people to vote on whether they want to live in a Pakistan run by the Taliban, or the one envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam.

“We want a Pakistan that does not discriminate based on religion but one envisioned by the Quaid-e-Azam. The referendum will go ahead next week,” said MQM leader Faisal Subzwari. However, he declined to comment specifically on the TTP threat aimed at the party.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/460103/warning-taliban-threaten-action-against-mqm/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times story on Pakistan's Malala Day celebration marking the launch of Waseela-e-Taleem program for children's education:

ISLAMABAD: United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown on Saturday said Pakistan could achieve more progress during next three years than any other country as the whole nation has consensus for promoting education as basic right of every child.

“This is a breakthrough moment for Pakistan’s five million out-of-school children as result of Malala’s courage,” Brown said addressing a news conference after his two-day visit to Pakistan that also coincided with Malala Day observed worldwide. He believed that the silent majority is speaking and that there is now national consensus that the country can delay no longer in ensuring girls and boys have schools to go and teachers to teach them.”

“Country after country is adopting Malala as their symbol for a girls’ right to school,” Brown commented. Brown who also telephoned Malala’s two friends Kainat and Shazia, both injured in attack, said not only in Asia but Malala Day was being observed from Latin America and Europe to Africa and several cities in the United States. “Today, we can say with certainty that as long as there are girls out of school anywhere in the world, Malala will be their beacon of hope. Visiting Pakistan and everywhere I go, the message I have received is the same: we are all with Malala,” Brown said.

Brown also praised Pakistan’s creation of four new Malala schools, a Malala Centre for women’s studies and a Malala postgraduate institute. He also expressed pleasure over the plan to provide financial support to poor families for sending their children to schools.

Mentioning to his telephonic interaction with Malala’s friends, he said both were courageous young women and wanted to become doctors. During his meetings with ministers of education from every province, he said everyone expressed their commitment to delivering educational opportunities for girls and boys.

Particularly, he said all of them have emphasised that they would work ceaselessly to ensure that three million girls who are denied schooling are no longer discriminated against anywhere in the country,” he said.

Brown also quoted that education minister is committed to expand community schools including 900 in the Swat Valley and FATA that provide route into the schooling for children who have never gone to school.

He also referred to a plan launched by Benazir Income Support Programme to expand a conditional cash transfer to families choosing to send their children to school what he said aims to enrol three million children into school over the next four years.

“So action is already underway this week to move further and faster to meeting the Millennium Development Goal for education,” he commented, adding that one million people have now signed worldwide petitions.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\11\11\story_11-11-2012_pg7_12

HopeWins Junior said...

Preaching Extremism on the Rise in Chitral

By Zahoor Ul Haq Danish
Chitral, 31 Oct 012

It is not unusual for Mullahs to spread extremism when they have nothing sensible to deliver. Fortunately our youth are intelligent and mature enough to understand that Mullahs are xenophobic and mentally-retarded species that accidentally happened to evolve from human race, and that is the only genuine reason why their ‘preaching’ falls on ‘deaf ears’. I don’t usually pay heed to their voodoos, like all other youth, but when it comes to large public gatherings like Eid congregations their conceited rashness hurts me painfully. They preach all the nonsense that is unequivocally against the spirit of Islam, like prejudice, hatred, intolerance, sectarianism, fatalism, dogmatism and so on and on. They have messed up, as they themselves are, the right and the wrong and leave no stone unturned promoting sectarian prejudice and intolerance.

On this Eid I happened to attend a Mullah’s ‘Eid Sermon’ in a local Masjid of Chitral town. He had nothing to deliver to the jam-packed audience about the philosophy of Sacrifice or Hajj; rather he tried his best to instigate anti-Ismaili sentiments, labeling Ismailis as non-muslims. (The poor xenophobe didn’t know the difference between ‘religion’ and ‘sect’). To incite the conservative audience he said, ‘Allah insistently inhibits us to have family relations or friendly terms with ‘non-Muslims’.’ To support his point he quoted Quranic verses completely out of context. He further spewed that now the “blue-print of establishing an Aga Khan State is complete, and Gilgit-Baltistan has been granted autonomy exclusively on this line. If we don’t act on time ‘these people’ will overcome us, and ‘Fahaashi’ (obscenity) and ‘Uryaani’ (vulgarity) will be a common practice.” He also termed everything about NGOs, especially AKDN, as ‘haraam’ and said ‘those who are employees of NGOs do nothing but fill their abdomens with fire.’ The sermon was not confined to the gathering only, the whole surrounding echoed the spews of the mullah on loud speaker.

This is just one example. Every Friday they hit one or the other sect of Islam and label them ‘Non-Muslims’, quoting Quranic verses and Hadith to support their ‘Fatwas’. They deem themselves to be ‘Full-time Contractors of Islam’ and think that ‘to excommunicate’ is the only duty that they had been sent for. I have a question to ask: Isn’t misinterpreting Quranic verses or Hadith, or quoting them out of context to justify exactly the opposite of what Islam stands for, or to ‘legalize’ an un-Islamic or even inhuman action, blasphemy in itself? Should we wait for ‘blasphemy’ to be committed through ‘sketches of the Prophet-caricatures’, ‘blasphemous movies’ and ‘desecration of Quranic pages by Rimsha Maseehs’ only? In my view mullahs are the fastest growing blasphemous creatures today. They should be hanged in every street and square of the world if capital punishment is necessarily the fate of blasphemy.

Why don’t we learn from whatever happened in Swat, where the brainwashing was done through such extremist preaching in Masjids and on FM radio prior to the Taliban outburst? It is only when the mass sentiments were exploited and tide turned to their favour that the Taliban erupted, challenging the writ of the government, imposing their own ‘Shariah’, shooting and slaughtering ' criminals’ to the horror and terror of onlookers; simply doing all inhuman things that led to mass expulsion and months-long military operation. I would say that a similar kind of extremist preaching is underway in Chitral and is a threat to the centuries-long peaceful co-existence and harmony that Chitral is known for worldwide.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Globe and Mail story on support for drone attacks in Pakistan:

..do they make Pakistan safer?

The markets of Lahore were thronged with people in the days before Eid al-Adha last month, with families buying clothes for the children and knickknacks for their homes. In Islamabad, there are new cafés and boutiques in every neighbourhood; red-velvet cupcakes are trendy.

Two years ago, when the Taliban were sending suicide bombers into crowded public places in these cities every week or two, the markets and the coffee shops were deserted and people were afraid even to go to mosques.

That terror campaign has been checked – either because the Taliban have changed tactics or, as many analysts here suggest, because the intensified drone campaign has weakened them.

---

Lieutenant-General Talat Masood, who is retired from a top position in the army, has a kinder interpretation. In an interview in his cozy Islamabad living room, he says it is simply unrealistic to think that the Pakistani military, equipped as it is, can fight a fleet-footed insurgency in some of the world’s harshest terrain.
-----------
Given that, the drones do not look so bad: That is the politically incorrect sentiment one hears in private conversations across the political and socio-economic spectrum, in marked contrast to the anti-drone arguments that fill the editorial pages.

Drones are also, some argue, preferable to having the United States deploy soldiers in Pakistan – which the U.S. government would be unlikely to do in any case.

Drones are also better than risking the lives of even more Pakistani soldiers to the near-constant Taliban attacks in the tribal areas, this argument runs.

“A lot of high-profile targets are eliminated, and who would do this job if Americans boots are not on the ground and the Pakistan army won’t?” says Arif Nizami, editor-in-chief of the daily Pakistan Today.

---

“Drones are a very hard choice for a pacifist to make,” says Pervez Hoodbhoy, a nuclear scientist turned peace activist who is the best-known advocate for non-violence in Pakistan.

Is it better to kill Islamists than to have them killing people? That’s the debate, he says, burying his face in his hands at the thought of the moral quandary his country faces.

---
Many Pakistanis believe the military actively feeds the drone program intelligence about insurgent activity even today, because it, too, perceives the campaign as more effective than other options, Mr. Nizami says.

The army spokesman’s office declined repeated requests for an interview.

The last person who would ever give up the fight against drones is an erudite lawyer named Shahzad Akbar, who runs an organization called the Foundation for Fundamental Rights in a leafy neighbourhood in the capital, where he works to make heard the voices of victims from the tribal areas.

While he understands that the killings may make someone sitting in Islamabad feel safer, he says, he finds it ethically abhorrent to conclude that drones are a boon to the country.

“The whole burden of proof has been reversed by the U.S. in the public narrative: You are killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan, so you are a militant until you come out of your coffin and say otherwise,” Mr. Akbar says. “We have to have rule of law to have a civilized society. We have to agree that illegal killing is illegal killing – whether the Taliban or the Pakistan army or the U.S. army is doing it.”

He also noted that the drone campaign has been under way since 2004, with no overall decline in attacks.
---
Yet Mr. Nizami says he believes that there is considerable support for the drones in many parts of the Taliban-plagued northern region of Khyber Pakthunkwha.


http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/a-taboo-thought-in-pakistan-what-if-us-drones-work/article5378628/?service=mobile

HopeWins Junior said...


ANOTHER MASSACRE IN RAWALPINDI
Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pakistan Taliban suicide bomber kills 23 in attack on Shia procession.

"The Pakistani-Taliban spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan, said the group was responsible for the attacks in Rawalpindi and Karachi. "We have a war of belief with Shiites," Ahsan said. "They are blasphemers. We will continue attacking them."

http://alturl.com/smfnm

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "ANOTHER MASSACRE IN RAWALPINDI
Thursday, November 22, 2012"

While it's tragic and must stop, I applaud major Pak media for covering this and other atrocities...the kind of atrocities that get no space in mainstream Indian media when committed by Indians on fellow Indians. Here's an example from Tehelka:

THE AFTERMATH of the caste violence in Dharmapuri district of northern Tamil Nadu has rendered thousands of Dalits homeless and living in constant fear of another possible attack. On 7 November, a mob of 2,500 backward-caste Vanniyars had burnt and looted around 500 houses of Dalits, claiming to avenge the death of a Vanniyar who committed suicide after his daughter married a Dalit. Adding to the fear is a statement by Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) MLA Kaduvetti Guru, who heads the Vanniyar Sangam, forbidding inter-caste marriages. Locals and even the police officials posted in the area say the attack was premeditated and done with the connivance of pro-Vanniyar sections of the police and cadres of the PMK....

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main54.asp?filename=Ne011212DALIT.asp

HopeWins Junior said...

RH: "While it's tragic and must stop, I applaud major Pak media for covering this and other atrocities...the kind of atrocities that get no space in mainstream Indian media when committed by Indians on fellow Indians....."

-----

I agree with you 100% that the caste-ridden Indian society is really a mess. I also agree with you that their media only covers "India Shining" stories and glosses over the deep depravity that is the common experience of the masses in India.

On these issues concerning India, you and I are in perfect and complete agreement.

However, we are not discussing their problems. Why should we? Their problems do not affect us. We are discussing our problems. Our problems affect the future of our country and our people.

If our country were to descend into a sectarian blood-bath, how much consolation woul there be to know that India also has a casteist blood-bath going on?

Here watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBhUajJG5M4

Do you understand Arabic? If not, get somebody to translate the ballad for you.

After you have thoroughly understood the ballad being sung, NEXT read this:

"The Pakistani-Taliban spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan, said the group was responsible for the attacks in Rawalpindi and Karachi. "We have a war of belief with Shiites," Ahsan said. "They are blasphemers. We will continue attacking them."

http://alturl.com/smfnm

Do you NOW see the GRAVE DANGER that our country faces? Or are you too busy counting the number of code-coolies who might be open-defecating by their railroad tracks to even bother to understand the implications of what is happening in our country right now?

We are running out of time. We don't have the luxury of digressing into incidents of communal violence in Burma or elsewhere. We have a VERY serious problem right now. We must face it head-on and avoid tap-dancing all over the place.

I hope you will remain focused on the issues being discussed.

Faraz said...

I went to Shia mosque yesterday to attend Muharram programs.... There was no security, no checkpoints, no fear of attack.... None of this is possible in Muslim countries, certainly not in Pakistan.... This was the dream of founding fathers of America which is now a reality... Great job America for building such a tolerant society

Riaz Haq said...

Faraz: "I went to Shia mosque yesterday to attend Muharram programs.... There was no security, no checkpoints, no fear of attack.... None of this is possible in Muslim countries, certainly not in Pakistan.... This was the dream of founding fathers of America which is now a reality... Great job America for building such a tolerant society"

Minorities like Mormons and Quakers were widely persecuted in America, and Blacks were publicly lynched. It's taken a very long time and lots of efforts and sacrifices by many for the US to put it behind them. Pakistanis will have to fight for the rights of all minorities, religious and ethnic, to achieve peace and prosperity for all.

HopeWins Junior said...

^^^RH: "Minorities like Mormons and Quakers were widely persecuted in America, and Blacks were publicly lynched. It's taken a very long time and lots of efforts and sacrifices by many for the US to put it behind them. Pakistanis will have to fight for the rights of all minorities, religious and ethnic, to achieve peace and prosperity for all."

-----

Dr. Haq,

I am sorry to say you have once again made a flawed analogy.

The Blacks, Coloreds, Mormons et cetera were discriminated, persecuted and, sometimes, killed, right from the BEGINNING.

As time passed and educational & living-standards rose, people began to move beyond their petty hatreds.

This is NOT what is happening in our country.

Literacy rates in 1950 were 15%, living standard were 20% of today's standard-- and there was NO VIOLENCE OR HATRED against fellow Muslim Shias in 1950.

Today, even with a 65% literacy rate and a 5 times higher living standard than in 1950, sectarian harted and killings are at an all time high.

America moved forward with rising literacy and living-standard. We are, I am sorry to say, moving backwards. Pakistan was a lot more tolerant and inclusive society in 1950, at least as far as Muslim-sects were concerned.

Pakistan today is headed towards the explosive EVIL of massive sectarian violence.

Do you disagree? Please comment.

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's LA Times on TTP claiming responsibility for attempt to bomb Hamid Mir:

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility Tuesday for a failed attempt to bomb the car of television anchor Hamid Mir, whom the militant group had earlier threatened because of his reporting on the shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.

A Taliban spokesman told reporters that Mir had been following a secular agenda and warned the group would target others like him. Police had defused a bomb found under Mir's car Monday in Islamabad after a neighbor reportedly spotted the device.
Mir, a veteran journalist who anchors a political talk show on Geo Television, had received threats for several months, he told the Pakistani newspaper Dawn. Over the years, his reporting has put him at odds with a laundry list of government officials and extremist groups. When the bomb was found under his car, he told the Associated Press he wasn’t ready to blame the Taliban, since others had also threatened him.

“I was banned by the military regime of General Pervez Musharraf from appearing on television because of my pro-democracy talk shows. I was even kidnapped in war zones by the Afghan Taliban and the Hezbollah,” Mir wrote last month on his website. “But I am lucky enough to have ducked all such dangers successfully, so far. For me, journalism is not a profession but a passion.”

Mir had recently devoted attention to the plight of Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old activist who survived an attempted assassination by the Taliban last month after speaking out for girls’ education. The girl's shooting outraged Pakistanis and captivated the world.
-----------
This fall, the country won praise from Reporters Without Borders for speedy safety measures after another round of Taliban threats against journalists. But two local groups argued the attempted bombing Monday, though unsuccessful, reflected a government failure to protect Mir.

“Mir has been reporting receiving threats time and again. But placing of a bag with explosives under his car means no serious measures have been taken to ensure his security,” leaders from the South Asian Free Media Assn. and Media Commission-Pakistan said in a joint statement reported by the News International.

Pakistani police told reporters they are investigating the attempted attack. An award of roughly $500,000 is being offered for information about the bomb, according to news reports.


http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-pakistan-taliban-bomb-tv-anchor-20121127,0,382598.story

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Bloomberg report on Pakistan's new wire-tappig law:

Pakistan’s National Assembly approved a bill allowing use of electronic evidence from wire- tapping and communication intercepts against terror suspects after a large number of acquittals by anti-terrorism courts for lack of proof.

“It is an accepted fact that terrorists are not getting convicted and are not brought to justice because of lack of relevant rules and laws,” Law Minister Farooq H. Naek said while presenting the bill in the National Assembly, or the lower house, in Islamabad today.

The U.S. “Country Reports on Terrorism 2011,” released in July, put the acquittal rate for terrorist cases to as high as 85 percent in Pakistan, which is seen as a hub of global terrorism. Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was found and killed in a Pakistani town by U.S. Navy SEALs in May 2011.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan is an ally of the U.S. and has lost more than 40,000 people to bombings by the Taliban since joining the U.S. in the war on terror after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The bill, which was unanimously passed by the National Assembly, now goes to the Senate, Pakistan’s upper house.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-20/pakistan-backs-wire-tap-evidence-to-bolster-anti-terrorism-law.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report on clerics protest call against polio worker killings by the Taliban:

An alliance of Pakistani clerics will hold demonstrations across the country against the killings of polio eradication campaign workers, leaders said on Thursday, as the death toll from attacks this week rose to nine.

Tahir Ashrafi, who heads the moderate Pakistan Ulema Council, said that 24,000 mosques associated with his organization would preach against the killings of health workers during Friday prayers.

"Neither Pakistani customs nor Islam would allow or endorse this. Far from doing something wrong, these girls are martyrs for Islam because they were doing a service to humanity and Islam," he said.

Ashrafi's words are a clear signal that some of Pakistan's powerful clergy are willing to challenge violent militants.

Gunmen on motorbikes have killed nine anti-polio campaign workers this week, including a man who died of his wounds on Thursday. Some of the dead were teenage girls.

Following the violence, the United Nations pulled back all staff involved in the vaccination campaign and Pakistani officials suspended it in some parts of the country.

"The killers of these girls are not worthy of being called Muslims or human beings," said Maulana Asadullah Farooq, of the Jamia Manzur Islamia, one of the biggest madrassas, or religious schools, in the city of Lahore.

"We have held special prayers for the martyrs at our mosque and will hold more prayers after Friday prayers tomorrow. We also ask other mosques to come forward and pray for the souls of these brave martyrs."

It is not clear who is behind the killings.

Pakistani Taliban militants have repeatedly threatened anti-polio workers, saying the vaccination drive is a Muslim plot to sterilize Muslims or spy on them. But they have denied responsibility for this week's shootings.

"ESSENTIAL GOODNESS"

Suspicion of the campaign surged last year after revelations that the CIA had used the cover of a fake vaccination campaign to try to gather intelligence on Osama bin Laden before he was killed in his hideout in a Pakistani town.

But many of Pakistan's most important clerics have issued fatwas, or decrees, in support of the polio campaign. Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia encourage vaccinations against polio, which can kill or paralyze within hours of infection.

The disagreement between some clerics and militants may be indicative of a wider drop in support for militancy in Pakistan, said Mansur Khan Mahsud, director of research at the Islamabad-based think-tank the FATA Research Center.

Opinion polls the centre carried out in ethnic Pashtun lands on the Afghan border, known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), showed support for the Taliban dropping from 50 percent 2010 to about 20 percent in May 2012.

Mahsud said many people had welcomed the Taliban because they believed Islamic law would help address corruption and injustice. But as the Taliban began executing and kidnapping people, some turned against them.

In a widely publicized incident in October, Taliban gunman shot a 15-year-old schoolgirl campaigner for girls' education in the head and wounded two of her classmates.

Schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai survived and the wave of condemnation that followed the attack prompted the Taliban to release statements justifying their action.

The killings of the health workers struck a similar nerve, Ashrafi said. The girls got a small stipend for their work but were motivated to try to help children, he said.

"You think they went out to administer the drops despite the threats and risked their lives for 200 rupees ($2) a day? They were there because of their essential goodness," he said.

"Imagine what the families are going through."


http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE8BJ08F20121220

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times report on growing Taliban presence in Karachi:

KARACHI, Pakistan — This seaside metropolis is no stranger to gangland violence, driven for years by a motley collection of armed groups who battle over money, turf and votes.

But there is a new gang in town. Hundreds of miles from their homeland in the mountainous northwest, Pakistani Taliban fighters have started to flex their muscles more forcefully in parts of this vast city, and they are openly taking ground.

Taliban gunmen have mounted guerrilla assaults on police stations, killing scores of officers. They have stepped up extortion rackets that target rich businessmen and traders, and shot dead public health workers engaged in polio vaccination efforts. In some neighborhoods, Taliban clerics have started to mediate disputes through a parallel judicial system.

The grab for influence and power in Karachi shows that the Taliban have been able to extend their reach across Pakistan, even here in the country’s most populous city, with about 20 million inhabitants. No longer can they be written off as endemic only to the country’s frontier regions.

In joining Karachi’s street wars, the Taliban are upending a long-established network of competing criminal, ethnic and political armed groups in this combustible city. The difference is that the Taliban’s agenda is more expansive — it seeks to overthrow the Pakistani state — and their operations are run by remote control from the tribal belt along the Afghan border.
----------
Until recently, the militants saw Karachi as a kind of rear base, using the city to lie low or seek medical treatment, and limiting their armed activities to criminal fund-raising, like kidnapping and bank robberies.

But for at least six months now, there have been signs that their timidity is disappearing. The Taliban have become a force on the street, aggressively exerting their influence in the ethnic Pashtun quarters of the city.

Taliban tactics are most evident in Manghopir, an impoverished neighborhood of rough, cinder-block houses clustered around marble quarries on the northern edge of the city, where illegal housing settlements spill into the surrounding desert.
--------
The security forces, shaken out of complacency, have begun a number of major anti-Taliban operations. The latest of those occurred on March 23 when hundreds of paramilitary Rangers raided a residential area in Manghopir, near the crocodile shrine, confiscating a cache of more than 50 weapons and rounding up 200 people, 16 of whom were later identified as militants and detained.

“I don’t think the Taliban would like to set Karachi aflame, because they fear the reaction against them,” said Ikram Seghal, a security consultant in Karachi. “The police and intelligence agencies have very good information about them.”

Other factors limit the Pakistani Taliban’s ingress into Karachi. One of the more provocative ones is that allied militants — particularly the Afghan Taliban — might not like the added publicity. The Afghan wing has long used the city as place to rest and resupply. There are longstanding rumors that the movement’s leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, is taking shelter here, and that his leadership council, known as the Quetta Shura, has met in Karachi.

In such a vast and turbulent city, the Taliban may become just another turf-driven gang. But without a determined response from the security forces, experts say, they could also seek to become much more.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/world/asia/taliban-extending-reach-across-pakistan.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story about Pakistan accusing Afghanistan of aiding Pakistani Taliban:

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday expressed concern over continued presence of safe havens of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Kunar and Nooristan areas of Afghanistan.



Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary in his weekly briefing here at Foreign Office said these elements are carrying out

undesirable activities against Pakistan.



The spokesman said Pakistan has taken up the matter many a times with Afghanistan at all levels and hoped that these safe havens of TTP would be eliminated.

He said presence of safe havens is a serious matter but Pakistan would continue to remain in cooperative mode with Afghanistan as this is best way to defeat the evil forces.



When his attention was drawn towards accusatory statements of Afghan President and Foreign Minister, the spokesman said both sides

have concerns and Pakistan believed that the best way to remove concerns and misunderstandings is to keep all channels of

communication open.



The spokesman said Pakistan is following a policy of goodwill towards Afghanistan and wanted its reflection in Afghan policy as well.

Referring to Afghan decision not to send military delegation for a training course in Quetta, he said training activities are meant to build trust and confidence between the two countries.



"We should not miss this opportunity as it promoted bilateral relations and build trust," he added.



As for the excuse presented by Afghanistan for not sending delegation for training, the spokesman said, "There was some intrusion from Afghan side and our troops only responded and that too in a disciplined and responsible manner.There was no artillery shelling as alleged by the Afghan side."



The spokesman emphasized that Pakistan and Afghanistan have to

work together in harmony to promote peace not only in Afghanistan

but also in the whole region.



Replying a question, the spokesman said so far only European

Union has approached for sending election observers to Pakistan.

He said all foreign observers will have to sign on the code of

conduct already finalised and issued by the Election Commission in

this regard.

The spokesman said Ministry of Interior will give advisory and guidance on security aspects to the foreign observers and they had

to inform about their programmes to the Ministry of Interior.


http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-94261-Pakistan-expresses-concern-over-TTP-safe-havens-in-Afghanistan

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Beast Op Ed by former British PM Gordon Brown on TTP attacks against schoolgirls and teacher in Pakistan:

As pupils gathered early on Saturday to receive exam results, grenades were hurled into the Baldia town school in Karachi, causing carnage. Principal Abdur Rasheed died on the spot. The perpetrators are thought to be from TPP, a Taliban terrorist sect, as their campaign of violence against girls education moves from the tribal areas into Pakistan's largest city.

The latest attack follows the murder earlier this week in the Khyber tribal district of Shahnaz Nazli, a 41-year-old teacher gunned down in front of one of her children only 200 meters from the all-girls school where she taught. But this time the wave of terror attacks – orchestrated by opponents of girls' education – is provoking a domestic and international response, a groundswell of public revulsion similar to that which followed the attempted assassination of Malala Yousefvai, who was also shot simply for wanting girls to go to school.

Today, on top of a a petition now circulating on www.educationenvoy.org calling for a cessation of violence against teachers who are defending the right of girls to go to school, a scholarship fund in honor of the slain Shahnaz Nazli is being announced. Education International, the world teachers organization with 30 million members, has said that the scholarship memorial to Shahnaz will support Pakistan teachers and students victimized simply because of their support for girls' schooling.

The petition and the memorial signal a fight back against attempts to ban girls’ education, and come in the wake of the intervention of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who, in a special communique, has spoken out against the shooting of Shahnaz and given his personal support to teachers persecuted for their advocacy of girls’ education.

This week's attacks are, however, a stark reminder to the world of the persistence of threats, intimidation, shootings, arson attacks and sometimes even murder that are the Taliban’s weapons in a war against girls’ opportunity.

Last October, shocked by the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai and pressured by a petition signed by three million people, the Pakistani government agreed for the first time to legislate compulsory free education and provided stipends for three million children.

Now authorities in Pakistan are under international pressure to deploy their security services to ensure the safety and protection of teachers and girls trying to go to school.

Last October’s demonstrations were a spontaneous response from girls who identified with Malala’s cause as she fought for her life in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Now these girls are being joined by a high-profile campaign by teachers themselves, determined, despite the threat to their lives, to stand up for girls' education and to take their campaign even to the most dangerous of places
--------

But as the forthcoming teachers’ initiative and the the UN Secretary General’s vocal support both demonstrate, the voices in favor of these basic rights for girls cannot any longer be silenced. And because this is a movement that is now being forged at the grassroots by girls demanding their human rights and by teachers organizing in support of them, 2013, which has started with so many violent attacks on girls schools, can still become the year when the cause of universal girls education becomes unstoppable.


http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/30/principal-murdered-in-pakistan-latest-assault-on-girls-schooling.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report on growing Taliban violence in Karachi:

For years there have been fears that the Taliban were gaining ground in Pakistan's commercial capital, the port city of Karachi. There is now evidence that the militants' influence in the city has hit alarming new levels, reports the BBC's Ahmed Wali Mujeeb.

More than 20 people are gathered outside a ramshackle house in a suburb of Karachi - Pakistan's largest city.

They say a plot of land, which was the property of a local businessman, was forcibly occupied by a local mafia last September, and they are here to complain.

The difference now - and a source of much alarm to those in the know - is that this group of Karachi residents are choosing to bring their complaint to the Taliban.

After a two-hour session, the Taliban judge adjourns the hearing to another date and venue which he says will be disclosed shortly before the hearing.

This mobile Taliban court does not limit its interests to this one shanty town on the outskirts of Karachi. It has been arbitrating disputes across many suburbs in the metropolis.

The Taliban largely emerged in poor areas on the fringes of the city, run-down places with little or no infrastructure for health, education and civic amenities.

Their mobile courts have been hearing complaints for quite some time, but in recent months they have also started administering punishments - a sign of their growing clout.

In January, they publicly administered lashes to an alleged thief after recovering stolen goods from him. The goods were returned to the owner who had reported the theft.
Suburban Taliban

But the picture is complicated.

There is a tussle under way between mafia groups (becoming more prolific and powerful in Karachi) who seek to seize land and militant groups who are also grabbing land. This includes the Taliban, for all their willingness to arbitrate in these disputes.

It is clear that they want to tighten their grip in Pakistan's biggest city, its commercial centre. And they appear to have great influence in those suburbs dominated by the Pashtun ethnic group.

These include many of the districts on the edge of the highways and roads leading to neighbouring Balochistan province.

-----------
And when they think their authority is being encroached on, they act with deadly force: The MQM lawmaker Syed Manzar Imam was killed by Taliban gunmen in January in Orangi town, which borders a Pashtun area.

One former leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) - a party of the ethnic Pashtun nationalists - recently left Karachi and said more than 25 of his party offices had been forced to close because of threats from the Taliban.

A senior police officer who does not wish to be named told me simply: "Taliban are swiftly extending their influence.

"There needs to be a strategy to stem the Taliban's rise, otherwise the city will lose other important and central parts to them," he says.
Taliban 'gangs'

Muhammad Usman is a 26-year-old Taliban commander from the Swat valley. He came to Karachi after the Pakistani army started an operation in Swat in 2009.

He says he was first part of a group of Swati Taliban in Karachi and was offered shelter and safety by them.

After some time, he gradually got involved in what...
----------
Karachi's network of violence

Intelligence sources say that there is one Taliban chief for the city, and heads of groups operating in different areas answer to him.

"Though the government has expressed its resolve to eradicate militancy, other state institutions are not co-operating," analyst Professor Tauseed Ahmed Khan says.

He argues that the security forces are losing morale when it comes to the battle against the militant groups and adds that this is not improved when rebels find it easy to get released on bail by the courts.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21343397

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a Brookings opinion piece titled "Quiet Progress for Education in Pakistan":

The engagement of policymakers as well as citizens is essential to the success of any large scale public sector education reform. While the Punjab Education Reform Roadmap is involving high-level officials and community leaders, Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan is doing its part to include citizens in the dialogue. Every year, 9,000 volunteers from across Pakistan work to collect ASER data that is then shared with the government, civil society organizations, media, bilateral and multilateral agencies and other stakeholders working in the education sector. This process supports the Right to Education (RTE) campaign that has collected almost 2 million signatures from in-school and out-of-school children in an effort to pressure the Pakistani government to implement free and compulsory education for all children aged five to sixteen. United Nations special envoy for Global Education and former prime minster, Gordon Brown, presented 1 million signatures from the RTE campaign to the president of Pakistan on Malala Day, November 10th, 2012, which lead to the ratification of the first RTE bill in Pakistan. Following the death of Shahnaz Nazli, Malala started a new petition in honor of the slain teacher, which continues to put pressure on the Pakistani government to end the killings and violence that deny children their right to an education–especially for girls.

These advances are important for the people of Pakistan and the 5.1 million children out of school throughout the country. But these efforts also offer lessons for the international community. The Punjab Education Reform Roadmap as well as the work of ASER Pakistan and courageous individuals like Malala and Shahnaz Nazli show that even in the face of daunting challenges and an uncertain future, ambitious goal setting, collaboration and the effective use of evidence can deliver impressive results in a relatively short amount of time. Governments and partners working to improve education systems everywhere should take note.


http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2013/04/08-pakistan-education-winthrop

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Time mag article on Malala Day in Pakistan:

Last Friday, Malala Yousafzai took to the podium at the United Nations. It was her 16th birthday, and her first major public appearance since the Taliban’s attempt to assassinate the Pakistani schoolgirl last October for her efforts to promote girls’ education. Traces of the near-fatal attack were still visible, as the disfiguring on the left side of her face showed. But as she demonstrated in a powerful and moving speech, her resolve had not dimmed.

Yousafzai issued a simple plea: she wanted the world’s leaders to offer children free and compulsory education. She said that she wanted to wage a war against illiteracy and terrorism, but had no use for the tools of violence. “Let us pick up our books and our pens,” Yousafzai urged. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” The audience, both inside the U.N. hall where she spoke and among the many who saw the speech live on television around the world, responded with tearful applause. Former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed Yousafzai as “the most courageous girl in the world.”

(MORE: Saving Malala)

Back home in Pakistan, however, the reaction was depressingly mixed. Yousafzai’s supporters were thrilled to see her defy the Taliban militants who tried to silence her. They were impressed by her message of forgiveness, saying that she did not “even hate the Talib who shot me.” Some of the country’s main television channels showed her speech live; most did not. There were a few politicians like former cricket legend Imran Khan who tweeted tributes to her bravery. But even as the world was marking “Malala Day,” as the UN had named it, the Pakistani government didn’t bother to register the occasion.

The most troubling were the many voices that denounced Yousafzai and her speech as “a drama” – a colloquial expression commonly used to describe “a stunt” or “a hoax.” When Yousafzai was shot nine months ago, there was widespread sympathy. On television, messages of solidarity were broadcast. Children in mosques, churches, and temples were shown holding candlelight vigils. But since then, the mood has turned dark, and Yousafzai has become the object of widespread and lurid conspiracy theories.....


http://world.time.com/2013/07/15/pakistans-malala-problem-teen-activists-global-celebrity-not-matched-at-home/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Time mag article on Malala Day in Pakistan:

Last Friday, Malala Yousafzai took to the podium at the United Nations. It was her 16th birthday, and her first major public appearance since the Taliban’s attempt to assassinate the Pakistani schoolgirl last October for her efforts to promote girls’ education. Traces of the near-fatal attack were still visible, as the disfiguring on the left side of her face showed. But as she demonstrated in a powerful and moving speech, her resolve had not dimmed.

Yousafzai issued a simple plea: she wanted the world’s leaders to offer children free and compulsory education. She said that she wanted to wage a war against illiteracy and terrorism, but had no use for the tools of violence. “Let us pick up our books and our pens,” Yousafzai urged. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” The audience, both inside the U.N. hall where she spoke and among the many who saw the speech live on television around the world, responded with tearful applause. Former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed Yousafzai as “the most courageous girl in the world.”

Back home in Pakistan, however, the reaction was depressingly mixed. Yousafzai’s supporters were thrilled to see her defy the Taliban militants who tried to silence her. They were impressed by her message of forgiveness, saying that she did not “even hate the Talib who shot me.” Some of the country’s main television channels showed her speech live; most did not. There were a few politicians like former cricket legend Imran Khan who tweeted tributes to her bravery. But even as the world was marking “Malala Day,” as the UN had named it, the Pakistani government didn’t bother to register the occasion.

The most troubling were the many voices that denounced Yousafzai and her speech as “a drama” – a colloquial expression commonly used to describe “a stunt” or “a hoax.” When Yousafzai was shot nine months ago, there was widespread sympathy. On television, messages of solidarity were broadcast. Children in mosques, churches, and temples were shown holding candlelight vigils. But since then, the mood has turned dark, and Yousafzai has become the object of widespread and lurid conspiracy theories.....
-------
It becomes more comforting to cast blame on “outside actors.” Incidents like the appearance of Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor who shot two men in Lahore in 2011, do end up lending some substance to these claims. It is perhaps inevitable that Pakistanis wonder how many other foreign intelligence agents lurk in the streets and bazaars. Enduring drone attacks, seen to kill many innocent civilians, have seen sharp rise in anti-American feeling. It is part of the reason why some spurned Yousafzai as a local hero. Her acceptance by the West led to her being rejected at home.

But a deepening sense of denial makes it difficult for Pakistan to confront its enemies at home. The new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said that it would like to negotiate with the Pakistani Taliban to end domestic terrorism. But the militants don’t appear willing to talk. In the few weeks Sharif has been in office, a reported 32 terrorist attacks have claimed some 250 lives. For that trend to stop, more Pakistanis will have to see past the conspiracy theories. It is impossible to take on a threat you refuse to see.


http://world.time.com/2013/07/15/pakistans-malala-problem-teen-activists-global-celebrity-not-matched-at-home/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting Op Ed by a Pakistani published in Washington Post:

SIALKOT, Pakistan — To the rest of the world, Malala Yousafzai is a hero, but to many if not most of our fellow Pakistanis, she is the West’s poster child, and someone who is getting far too much attention.
You’d think that being shot by the Taliban for speaking out for the right of all girls to go to school would make her as celebrated here as in New York, where on her 16th birthday last week, she spoke at the U.N. Youth Assembly. “Malala Day,” they called it.
But there are no such days here, and it is so disheartening to see this girl who has so much passion for Pakistan being treated so harshly in the country she loves. Over and over, we hear speeches that begin, “I support Malala and the right to education for all, but…”
This but disgusts me.
Nearly 66 years after independence from the British, we still haven’t managed to decolonize ourselves, and so still have an angry, defensive attitude toward the West. Which is why, the moment the West applauded Malala, we forgot all she’d done for us and focused only on the West’s hypocrisy.
Yes, it is hypocritical of the West, especially the United States, to celebrate one girl when they are directly responsible for depriving millions of girls of basic human rights in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan.
How so? Much of the American public sees civilian victims of drone strikes and other military intervention as collateral damage. And yes, there is something of the white savior’s complex in the way the Western media have reported Malala’s story; by glorifying her, they also use her as an excuse to justify drone strikes and aggression against Taliban.
Still, there are two major problems with this whole defensive approach. First, it puts the entire blame for the Taliban’s hostility on the West. It is very convenient to say that they are a product of U.S. policies in the 1980s, but the fact is that although the funding was mostly American, the Taliban were supported by Saudi Arabia and trained by the Pakistani army.
----------
They question why Malala’s friends, Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, who were shot along with Malala, are not celebrated in the same way. What we forget is that Malala’s achievement was not being shot, or even for surviving the attack. She is celebrated for her passion for education — a cause she has been advocating since the age of eleven.
She is rightly celebrated for daring to stand up for her rights and unyieldingly doing so even after an assassination attempt. Malala is not merely the West’s tool, whose aim is to promote drone strikes. She has her own independent identity as a young, fearless, indigenous activist whom we ourselves thwart when we focus too much on her shooting and not enough on the reason behind it.
This summer, on break from the college I attend in the United States, I’m back in Pakistan and working in an underserved public high school for girls. The passion and eagerness to learn that shines in their eyes has convinced me that they are all Malalas, who don’t need to be saved by anyone.
The eagerness to serve them, and Pakistan, is what Malala and I have in common. When people belittle her, they undermine every girl who aspires to a quality education. Yes, we are all Malala — and we are sick of whining victimhood.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/07/16/in-pakistan-malala-is-wrongly-derided-as-an-overexposed-poster-child-of-the-west/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report of a planned documentary on Malala Yousufzai:

Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head and neck by the Taliban last year for demanding education for girls, will be the subject of a documentary film, its producers said on Tuesday.

Davis Guggenheim, who won an Oscar for the 2006 environmental documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," starring former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, will direct the yet-to-be-titled documentary that is slated to be released in late 2014.

The film will follow Yousafzai as she campaigns for the right of children to education, said producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, who also produced the 2007 Afghan drama, "The Kite Runner."

Yousafzai was targeted for killing by the Islamist Taliban in October last year because of her campaign against the group's efforts to deny women education.

She not only survived the attack, but recovered to the extent that she celebrated her 16th birthday last week with a passionate speech at the United Nations in New York.

"There are few stories Laurie and I have ever come across that are as compelling, urgent or important as the real-life struggle of Malala and her father Ziauddin on behalf of universal education for children," Parkes said in a statement.

The teenager was treated in Pakistan before the United Arab Emirates provided an air ambulance to fly her to Britain, where doctors mended parts of her skull with a titanium plate.

Unable to return safely to Pakistan, Yousafzai enrolled in a school in Birmingham, England in March.

"Let us pick up our books and pens," she said in her U.N. speech. "They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution."

The film will be funded by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of government-owned Abu Dhabi Media, which is based in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/16/entertainment-us-malala-idUSBRE96F16N20130716

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' story suggesting Sharif taking tough-line against militants under pressure from Pak military:

Sharif's tougher line signals that Pakistan's powerful military still has the upper hand in policy-making, despite hopes that the government would have a larger say after he came to power in the country's first transition between civilian administrations.

"Of course we want to try talks but they are a far off possibility," said a government official, who has knowledge of discussions between civilian and military leaders on how to tackle the Taliban.

"There is so much ground work that needs to be done. And when you are dealing with a group as diverse and internally divided as the Pakistani Taliban, then you can never be sure that every sub-group would honor talks."

--------

"Today it would be incorrect to say that the army has full control over policy making," said one retired senior army officer. "It is just fashionable to say the army doesn't let civilians work. Question is, do they want to work?"

But for now, when it comes to the Taliban, there is more confusion than clarity.

"On the ground there is no policy as such," said one senior police officer posted in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region on the Afghan border. "Should I fight them or talk to them?"


http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/23/us-pakistan-security-idUSBRE96M12Z20130723

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of William Dalrymple's Op Ed on Malala in NY Times:

Malala’s extraordinary bravery and commitment to peace and the education of women is indeed inspiring. But there is something disturbing about the outpouring of praise: the implication that Malala is a lone voice, almost a freak event in Pashtun society, which spans the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan and is usually perceived as ultraconservative and super-patriarchal.

Few understand the degree to which the stereotypes that bedevil the region — images of terrorist hide-outs and tribal blood feuds, religious fanatics and the oppression of women — are, if not wholly misleading, then at least only one side of a complex society that was, for many years, a center of Gandhian nonviolent resistance against British rule, and remains home to ancient traditions of mystic poetry, Sufi music and strong female leaders.

While writing a history of the first Western colonial intrusion into the region, I heard many stories about the woman Malala Yousafzai is named after: Malalai of Maiwand. For most Pashtuns, the name conjures up not a brave teenage supporter of education, but an equally brave teenage heroine who turned the tide of a crucial battle during the second Anglo-Afghan war.

Malalai does not appear in any British account of the Battle of Maiwand, but if Afghan sources are accurate, her actions led to the British Empire’s greatest defeat in a pitched battle in the course of the 19th century.

According to Pashtun oral tradition, when, on July 27, 1880, a British force was surprised by a much larger Pashtun levy, the British initially made use of their superior artillery and drove back the Afghans. It was only when Malalai took to the battlefield that things changed. Seeing her fiancé cowed by a volley of British cannon fire, she grabbed a fallen flag — or in some versions her veil — and recited the verse: “My lover, if you are martyred in the Battle of Maiwand, I will make a coffin for you from the tresses of my hair.” In the end, it was Malalai who was martyred, and her grave became a place of pilgrimage.

Malalai was not alone. The more I read the Pashtun sources for the Anglo-Afghan wars, rather than the British ones, the more I saw that prominent women were in the story.

The Afghan monarch at the turn of the 19th century, Shah Shuja ul-Mulk — a direct tribal forebear of President Hamid Karzai — was married to a Pashtun woman, Wafa Begum, who most contemporaries judged to be the real power behind the monarchy. (The British praised her for her “coolness and intrepidity.”) When the shah was overthrown and imprisoned in Kashmir, his wife negotiated his release in return for his most valuable possession, the Koh-i-Noor diamond, the largest in the world.

She then played a crucial role in freeing him from a second captivity in Lahore. She helped organize an elaborate escape plan involving a tunnel, a sewer, a boat and a succession of horses. Wafa Begum later charmed the British into giving her asylum, thus providing members of her dynasty with the base from which they would eventually return to their throne in Kabul. She died in 1838, just before the British put her husband back on the Afghan throne. Many have attributed the ultimate failure of that enterprise to the absence of her strategic good sense.
------------
We owe it to Malala and many others who share her ideals to refuse to allow the radicals to win the battle of perceptions. It is, and has always been, possible to be a Muslim Pashtun and to embrace nonviolence and a prominent role for women in public affairs. Indeed the greatest weapon we have in the war on terrorism in that region is the courage and the decency of the vast proportion of the people who live there.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/26/opinion/international/malalas-brave-namesake.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report on TTP infighting:

The head of the Pakistani Taliban is making a last-ditch bid to stamp his authority on the increasingly divided insurgency by ordering a top commander sacked, Taliban sources said Saturday.

Taliban head Maulana Fazlullah moved against Khan "Sajna" Said on Friday after weeks of bloody infighting in the powerful Mehsud tribe that supplies the bulk of the Pakistani Taliban fighters, they said. Scores of men have been killed.

The risk for Fazlullah is that Said might ignore him and battle on. Said is trying to wrest control of the Mehsud tribe - with its many weapons and lucrative smuggling routes and extortion business - from rival Shehryar Mehsud.

The factional fighting has complicated attempts by the Pakistani government to end the insurgency through peace talks it proposed in February. Some commanders are in favor of talks but others vowed to continue their insurgency.

"It's a test case for Maulana Fazlullah and his shura," a Taliban commander said, referring to the movement's leadership council. "It will determine their future."

"If Sajna is convinced and he stops fighting, it conveys a good message to rest of the Taliban factions," he said. "Otherwise it will be a setback for Fazlullah if Sajna refuses to obey his command."

Fazlullah has repeatedly appealed in vain to the two Mehsud rivals to stop fighting. An earlier peace deal brokered by the powerful Haqqani network of fighters fell through, undercutting the militants' ability to mount attacks against security forces.

CHALLENGED AUTHORITY

Notorious for ordering the attempted killing of schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai, Fazlullah is the first non-Mehsud leader of the Pakistani Taliban and has struggled to impose his authority on the powerful tribe.

He faced many challengers to become chief of the Pakistani Taliban last year after the death of the previous head in a drone strike. He has been hiding in Afghanistan since then.

But the time has come to exert his authority, a senior member of the Taliban said.

"Senior members of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had tired of appealing (to the two rivals) to stop their clashes," he said.

The Taliban sources said Fazlullah turned to an influential hardline commander, Khalid Omar Khorasani, to appoint a new commander in place of Said, who wants to join the peace talks.

Khorasani, who opposes the talks, ordered the decapitation of 23 hostages from a government paramilitary force shortly after Islamabad announced its peace initiative.

Taliban commanders said Khorasani had been chosen to appoint a successor not just because of his hardline reputation, but because of his ability to unite various factions.

"All militant leaders respect him for his sacrifices in organizing all the militant factions and that's why Fazlullah gave him this difficult task," a Taliban commander said.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/10/us-pakistan-taliban-fighting-idUSBREA4904U20140510

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's teenager Malala Yousufzai wins Nobel Peace Prize shared with Indian children rights activist Kailash Satyarthi:

Reaching across gulfs of age, gender, faith, nationality and even international celebrity, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2014 peace prize on Friday to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India. The award joined a teenage Pakistani known around the world with an Indian veteran of campaigns to end child labor and free children from trafficking.

Ms. Yousafzai, 17, is the youngest recipient of the prize since it was created in 1901. Mr. Satyarthi is 60. The $1.1 million prize is to be divided equally between them.

The award was announced in Oslo by Thorbjorn Jagland, the committee’s chairman, who said: “The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.”

“Children must go to school and not be financially exploited,” Mr. Jagland said. “It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected. In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/11/world/europe/kailash-satyarthi-and-malala-yousafzai-are-awarded-nobel-peace-prize.html