Saturday, August 31, 2013


Lata Mangeshkar Solo Superhit Songs

Pashto Song: Rasha dilbara zaliman me jarawe

Karachi: A 'targeted' operation

As to what ails Karachi the diagnostic report was available all these months and years. That most of the lawlessness in the megapolis is the criminals' handiwork, who enjoy political protection being members of parties' 'militant wings', is a fact which was never in doubt. As to who are these criminals, their identities are on record with the local police and other agencies tasked with law enforcement in Karachi. No wonder the city of Karachi is now a safe haven for target killers, street raiders, extortionists, kidnappers and religious extremists. So the issue is no more who the culprits and whose protection they live under; the issue is how to treat this cancer which is eating into the peace and tranquility of twenty million residents of Karachi. The MQM that enjoys the local citizenry's overwhelming political support believes the only antidote that can work is that the city should be handed over to the army, a remedy fully endorsed by the constitution under Article-245. But its political opponents see 'some conspiracy' behind an out-of-power MQM that's tossing like a fish out of water. The harsh realities on ground in the mega city, however, transcend these contending postures - the city is in an ever-tightening grip of violence and the residents tend to lose their hope of things getting better anytime soon. So if for nothing else the MQM's call has at least succeeded in shaking the federal government out of its slumber of nonchalance over this colossal governance failure of a provincial government under the pretext that law and order is essentially and constitutionally a provincial matter. Constitution is replete with dictates that the federal government is inherently tasked to act as the defender of citizens' basic rights to life and liberty in general and to intervene for the purpose of "preventing any grave menace to the peace or tranquility or economic life of Pakistan or any part [read Karachi] thereof". If Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has finally decided to cross his wrongly conceived 'Rubican' and called for what he calls a targeted operation in Karachi let it be so. But only as the last chance - for time is no more on the side of wishful thinking that short of a drastic action it's possible to uproot and destroy the deeply-entrenched criminal gangs and mafias. Also at the moment we would desist from debating whether or not the involvement of army to check and eradicate violence and lawlessness in Karachi that has acquired the dimensions of an existential threat to our national independence is democratic. But we do know that the interior minister has set for himself a huge challenge by undertaking the responsibility to prepare ground for a 'targeted' operation in Karachi. Nisar's plan for a 'targeted' operation that is expected to be approved by the Federal Cabinet next week, envisages three major thrusts: that the chief minister Sindh will act as 'captain' of the team tasked to conduct the operation; the police and Rangers would be given free hand to go after criminals and all consensus of all the stakeholders to political power in Karachi would be clinched on the point that none of them would seek exemptions from arrest of their 'affiliates'. One would wish best of luck to this rather ambitious scheme, given that all of it more or less has been tried before and failed. Some two years back the Supreme Court had given its verdict on the Karachi situation and recommended remedial measures which were ignored contemptuously by the government, a failure that made the Chief Justice to observe during a hearing on Wednesday that had court's verdict been implemented 'different demands' - an apparent reference to the MQM call - 'would not have been made'. And two years on the situation in Karachi is even worse. Violence continues to bedevil the public life in Karachi. For a change, let there be a political miracle, in that all concerned parties and groups across the board join the interior minister on the table and agree on a joint action to restore peace and tranquillity in Karachi. But mind you, time is the essence - not a day passes without a dozen or so innocent citizens falling to the bullets of target killers.

Pakistan: 4 killed in North Waziristan drone strike

The Express Tribune News
A drone attack in Northern Waziristan killed four people on Saturday, Express News reported. The drone fired 2 missiles at a house in the Mir Ali area.
On Friday, the adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz announced that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will raise the issue of drone attacks with the US on his maiden visit to Washington. Meanwhile, Pakistan will also seek commendable support from international leaders at bilateral summits during the UN General Assembly Session in September. Earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry hinted towards an end of the CIA-operated drone campaign in the tribal areas of Pakistan, as he said on August 1 that the signature strikes could end “very soon”. This was the first time that a senior US official has indicated that there could be a definitive end to the programme, which the CIA has in the past called an effective counter-terrorism weapon. A total of approximately 565 militants had been killed in around 400 drone strikes in Pakistan, alongside 2,324 non-combatants including 646 children and women.

Founding an open Malala school system

The best tribute to Malala’s mission would be to promote the passion and the portals for which she stood, suffered and then vowed to struggle through the rest of her new life
The Tipperary and Children International Peace awards have brought a new luster to Malala Yousafzai’s name, the girl exemplar to have defied the harrowing terrorist assault to destroy the dream, drive and the avenues for female education in Pakistan. She has in a way shamed our governments and security shoguns, which despite having lost about 50,000 of their compatriots have stuck to mere sermons and statements but avoided any effective action to neutralise even a few thousand terrorists. Even Malala’s parents were forced to seek shelter overseas, demonstrating that no safety on this soil can be guaranteed to any one marked for opposition to the obscurantist terrorist agenda. The world, at large, however, poured praise and accolades over her including an address at the United Nations and a nomination for the Nobel peace laurel. For the activists of female equality, education and empowerment Malala has become a living incarnate of the idealistic feat that Faiz Ahmed Faiz summed up as Ghoom phir ke koocha-e-qautil se ho aaye hain (We have walked through the assassins’ lanes and lairs). The resounding global applause and recognition swayed even the government of Pakistan to confer an award on her. Yet in real terms, the government flubbed miserably the quintessence of tribute to her courage and sacrifice that evidently demanded to crush the forces that thwart the dream of education for millions of our Malalas and remove the obstacles that impede their path and progress. The best tribute to Malala’s mission thus would be to promote the passion and the portals for which she stood, suffered and then vowed to struggle through the rest of her new life. Crusading for the preeminence of the ‘power of pen and the book’ is now her dream and devotion. Her very life that the western medical expertise so miraculously wrested from the mutilation wrought by her assailants has become a living testament to the power of knowledge. Her mission thus can be best attained by extending education and ensuring an equal and unrestricted access to it not only to every male and female child but also to the grown up enthusiasts who somehow missed this opportunity at their earlier age. Building an adequate string of schools and facilities for this evidently would not be possible in our country where an overtly militaristic mindset has persistently squandered and would definitely keep squandering most of our resources in the security and armament sectors. Still, in this age of innovative information technologies a virtual school support system to spread knowledge and education to all and sundry can be structured at a relatively far lesser cost and investment. The virtual, open or air school system, as some planners may contend, certainly cannot be a substitute for the actual brick, concrete or mud and straw built schools and the guidance and grooming afforded through the personal care, affection and involvement of the teachers. Nevertheless, the virtual version can be a supplementary support to the students, not been endowed with the physical infrastructure, and serve as the sole source of learning for those left out of it. The system, in some ways, of course, can be certainly made even more interesting and effective as the lessons can be designed through the collaborative insight and contribution of highly qualified and visionary teachers and experts including the child education psychologists. The modern techniques of learning through games, hobbies, recreation, routine activities, observations and experience can also be easily incorporated. Such wealth of shared wisdom and expertise cannot be evidently afforded at the actual customary school premises. Some rare additional stimuli can come in the lessons demanding equipment, laboratories, displays and the demonstrations that are generally deficient or non-existent in most of our schools. This strategy could even cut through the constraints of veil and the worries of travel odds and exposure to reach the normal schools as children can learn in their own homes relishing the love and warmth of their own kin and folk or in the company of their friends. The system can of course also be tuned to impart a proper feel and ambience of the actual classroom, sports and school environment by plugging in periodic gatherings and workshops for the learners at various appropriate and conveniently accessible sites. The curricular and co-curricular material similarly can also be provided on radio transmissions, streamed on mobile screens and rendered on audio and video discs. The militant Maulana FM in Swat vitiated the minds of the masses through his jihadi jabber making it incumbent on the forces of peace, tolerance and accommodation to use the same waves as a vehicle to groom the new generations for knowledge to nudge curiosity, creativity, skill building, tolerance and cross cultural harmony and happiness. The virtual or open education systems have already become quite well established at the university level even in countries like Pakistan, which spurred by the prescience and realisation by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, interestingly, was the second nation on earth to have pioneered the institution in May 1974. The world’s first Open University was founded in the UK in 1969, by Harold Wilson, the two-time premier and one of the most illustrious Labour leaders who heralded some really far-reaching socioeconomic reforms. Bhutto became the first world leader to emulate and implement the concept. Enrollment in new virtual instructions or the so-called distant learning now has gradually grown not only in Europe and other continents but also in the world-renowned Ivy League institutions like the Yale and Harvard. Open and virtual universities similarly, notwithstanding various snags and snafus, have been quite satisfactorily functioning in Pakistan. Their mode, mechanics and experiences thus can be also be carefully calibrated to evolve their school stage version. Scores of distant learning schools are actually now operating not only in Canada, several African and South American countries but even in India. The resources required for this system if not provided by the public exchequer can be generated from seed money from the Malala Foundation, NGOs, and some further global courtesy and cooperation. Gordon Brown, a former British Premier (2007-10) and a successor to the Harold Wilson’s mantle, for instance, has often elicited a keen interest in the advancement of education in Pakistan. The USAID that has been already sponsoring several programmes to promote education, training and research, perhaps could also be solicited for appropriate help. The programme once initiated can certainly be made to sustain mostly through advertisement revenues like our TV channels. The system, notwithstanding its mode and management must maintain the real spirit, legacy and efflorescence of the Malala mission as an ever flowing fountain of free and unrestricted access to an absorbing, unbiased and quality based education to all, transcending barriers of faith, sect, creed, caste or ethnic dispensations.