Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Facebook: Why beheadings ... and not breasts?

Facebook's decision to allow the uploading and sharing of extreme/graphic content -- including beheadings -- makes no sense in a conventional media setting.
Most western media outlets operate under regulatory codes that make the screening or publishing of such material unthinkable -- not least because their audience might include children. Inevitably the "protection of children" argument will be rehearsed in response to Facebook's decision, which seems almost designed to court negative commentary. Read more: Facebook lifts ban on beheading videos The decision will also naturally re-open the usual -- somewhat tired -- debates about the (im)possibility of regulating internet content. Internet content is of course regulated and controlled but not very effectively so. The decision may also offer the genuinely weird and definitively 21st century prospect of UK and U.S. security services using Facebook to track global viewing patterns of beheading videos. More seriously perhaps, we all need to question what it means that so pivotal a social media platform is re-defining social precedents and norms -- with little external reference.
Horrific video shows beheading in Syria Man says on Facebook that he killed wife Social media fights back against trolls Zuckerberg aims to put the world online What should Facebook users take from the site's decision that it is OK to screen and view the brutal beheading of a woman in Mexico -- provided that the commentary clearly doesn't glorify the act and that any unsuitable comments are moderated/blocked? Is it only that brutal violence is part of life and we have the right to make the obvious comments about that fact. As Facebook's statement says: "Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences, particularly when they're connected to controversial events on the ground, such as human rights abuses, acts of terrorism and other violent events. "People share videos of these events on Facebook to condemn them. If they were being celebrated, or the actions in them encouraged, our approach would be different." Apart from an increased volume of utterly banal denunciations of the act (only the "right" kinds of statements will be allowed) what could the screening of such events lead to? People who feel that violence is wrong will say so, people who make risqué or bad-taste jokes will make them, and so the chatter will go on. In 2003, the U.S. military clamped-down on active service personnel's trading of explicit smart-phone images of the aftermath of suicide bombings in Iraq. So, the potential cultural power of such images can be recognised by liberals, conservatives, and bodies such as the Family Online Safety Institute alike -- even if they fundamentally disagree about what that power is. Equally, it's not safe to accept the treatment of such footage as a set of taboo "magic objects," which can never be seen because they are inherently so dangerous in their ability to corrupt the majority and the minors. Such anxieties are frequently directed at unspecified (ie: less educated than "us" -- less middle-class) mass audiences and are another means of closing down challenge or debate. What is at stake here does seem to be a realignment of sadly well-known patterns. These are simply thrown into sharp relief by the specifics of the examples that are being spoken about today. Facebook kills search privacy setting 'Laughably inconsistent' Facebook sees it as a legitimate service to allow its audience to see a woman being brutally killed and then host discussion of that content, but will not allow its users to see exposed breasts -- for fear of causing offense. Is it possible for Facebook to argue that there is nothing to debate in the representation of women's bodies? Or that they are not part of people's experience?
This is -- at best -- laughably inconsistent.
One of the primary reasons for carrying out beheadings in public or for perpetrators to video a violent act is to send the clear message to its audience: this is what our "law" or "power", or violence can do to you. So, the re-showing of such footage on Facebook is actively collusive with those actions. It disseminates the fear and intimidation intended in the act. Asserting that Facebook users can respond to footage of a woman's brutal murder by decrying it, sidesteps that issue. Users could just as well decry violence against women without seeing this act. But fewer of them may do so. If Facebook really was interested in public debate, it would have established a real and carefully constructed, open forum in which this decision could be debated -- as well as other issues about its policies, operation and inconsistent stances. What Facebook is interested in, is generating more traffic through its platform and it is doing so from within a pretty inconsistent, narrowly male and conservative image of the world and of what should be discussed within it. How different is that from many traditional media organizations of the 19th and 20th centuries?

A Pakistani Christian Nurse is in Danger.... I Do not want to Marry Muslim

Ghulam Muhammad, an influential and feared Muslim businessman in Sanghar District, has threatened to abduct Nazia Masih and disfigured her with acid because she has refused to marry him. The man is known to police because of several complaints against him of kidnappings and rapes. Yet he lives with impunity. Now Nazia’s whole family is in danger. “We are Christians and poor,” she said. “In Pakistan, our honour and property are not safe.” For a Catholic priest in Karachi, “This is shameful”. The authorities “need to do something to protect them.” Pakistan’s small Catholic community has been shaken again by another case of violence. An influential Muslim businessman in the district of Sanghar has repeatedly threatened a Catholic nurse who has refused to marry him, filing a case against her when she became engaged to another man. Despite the threats, the situation seems under control for now. Police, which so far aided and abetted the Muslim man, has been forced to provide protection to the Catholic woman thanks to pressure from Christian groups and moderate Muslims. It all began when Ghulam Muhammad decided he wanted to marry Nazia Masih (pictured), a Catholic nurse from Padri-Jo-Goth, Sanghar District, who works at Cheniot Hospital. Muhammad approached her with a proposal to marry him and convert to Islam. After she turned him down, he threatened to abduct her and disfigure her with acid. Regrettably, Muhammad has a certain reputation in the district as someone who has already abducted, raped and forcibly converted local Hindu women to Islam. Those who dared sue him for rape were in fact unable to obtain justice. On her way home on 10 May, Nazia Masih was approached by four armed men who warned her to accept Muhammad’s proposal or else. After harassing her, they drove away. Frightened, she sought help at work but hospital authorities refused. The girl’s parents decided then to anticipate her engagement to Ejaz Joseph, a local Christian, on 26 May. However, Ghulam Muhammad interrupted the ceremony accompanied by several police officers who, without evidence of any crime, tried to arrest the couple. Luckily, after the involvement of village elders, police took her father and brother away, but released them a few hours later. Eventually, Nazia’s persecutor decided to change tactic and tried to pressure Joseph with dire consequences if he do not leave the nurse. The girl’s family decided again to ask the authorities for help and filed a complaint at the police station in Sanghar. Once more, Muhammad’s influence thwarted an investigation into the matter. In fact, police told Nazia that her tormentor now claimed that she was his wife, and that a family court would have to sort things out. This in turn caused an uproar in the Christian community and among moderate Muslims. The court eventually decided not to intervene in the case of false marriage. Still, Ghulam Muhammad did not give up and began threatening not only Nazia’s relatives but also Sister Maria Khurshid, the head nun at Saint Teresa Hospital in Mir Purkhas and a close friend of Nazia. The nun called on the authorities to provide the nurse with protection, but failed even to get them to issue a warning against the Muslim man. The situation is now at an impasse. On Saturday, Muhammad filed another complaint to get police to force Nazia to marry him. “I feel unsafe and face many problems and threats,” Nazia Masih told AsiaNews. “I am also angry because my family is in danger as a result of that person’s behavior. We are Christians and poor. That is why these things always happen to us. In Pakistan, our honour and property are not safe.” “This is shameful,” said Fr John James, from the diocese of Karachi. “Such incidents should be strongly condemned by society. Countless Hindu girls are abducted every month from the interior of Sindh, and the authorities are silent about it. They need to do something to protect them. We call on the authorities to provide protection to Nazia Masih and her family.”
- See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/i-do-not-want-to-marry-muslim-a-pakistani-christian-nurse-is-in-danger/#sthash.QOAaYcwl.PmhBXjNE.dpuf

Ahmed Rushdie: Ko Ko Korina - May Ray Khayalon Pay Chaey Hai

Veena Malik Not Interested In Salman-Shahrukh Movies

Veena Malik, who is basking in the success of her first regional movie Dirty Picture: Silk Sakkath Maga has said that when it comes to picking the movies she will not consider any big names, but she is particular on getting meaty and significant roles. The actress has struck the gold in her first attempt in Kannada film. Model and actress Veena, who made her Sandalwood debut with Dirty Picture: Silk Sakath Maga has said that she is not interested in the big names of the film industry, but she will be very particular with her roles in her upcoming movies. "Big budget films, starring the superstars like Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan doesn't matter to me, if I have nothing worthwhile to do in it," Veena quoted. Veena has also said that she will not do any item number in the superstar's movies, and said that sharing screen space with them in such a script is a dream. The actress had impressed the mass audience with her bold avatars in Dirty Picture: Silk Sakkath Maga. The Pakistan lass has done such intimate scenes, which were not seen much by Kannada moviegoers in the recent history.
Read more at: http://entertainment.oneindia.in/kannada/news/2013/veena-malik-not-interested-in-salman-khan-shahrukh-khan-movies-123055.html

VIDEO: Who is Malala Yousafzai?

CNN's Christiane Amanpour profiles Malala Yousafzai.

Message of Bilawal Bhutto On 2nd death anniversary of Madir-e-Jamhoriyat Begum Nusrat Bhutto

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Patron-In-Chief of Pakistan People’s Party has paid glowing tributes to Begum Nusrat Bhutto on her second death anniversary and termed her as Mother of Democracy who fought valiantly for the nation against the dictatorship. In his message on the occasion, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Begum Nusrat Bhutto lost her husband Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, two sons Shaheed Mir Murtaza Bhutto, Shaheed Shahnawaz Bhutto and a daughter Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in the struggle of nation for restoration of democracy and people’s rights.
“Despite the martyrdom of almost entire family, she continued to play motherly role for all the Party workers. Several workers used to call her Amaan (mother) out of affection and her brave fight against the tin-pot dictator General Zia after judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he said. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said as a loving grand-mother she lives on in his memories and a corner of his heart.The PPP chief further said that his party will continue the legacy of Bhutto family and struggle for the restoration and strengthening of complete democracy where rights of each and every citizen are protected with equal opportunity to working class, labour, students, peasants and all the toiling souls across the country.

Bilawal, moulding the future politics of Pakistan

By a curious exercise of logic some disgruntled man of yesterday used to have the temerity to question us that how a 19 years old Bilawal Bhutto Zardari may become the chairman? How a boy who lived his most of life in Dubai & United Kingdom may lead a party whose most of the workers are from the downtrodden class of Pakistan? How a Bilawal Bhutto Zardari may claim to be representative of the masses as he lacks command over speaking Urdu & neither he knows about the customs, traditions & taboos of a Pakistani society? These have been the question I and many of my other office bearers of the party had to answer when we used to interact with our political opponent who mostly are right wing activist or somehow have their inclination towards the vote bank known to us as Anti-Bhutto vote bank. Finally on the last Friday our leader & our 25 years young Bilawal Bhutto Zardari he himself gave them a sound reply when he was interacting to his workers for the very first time at any public place in Karachi & it was at the monument constructed in the memory of our young brave workers who back on 18th October 2007 sacrificed their lives to save their mother & sister safe from the savage attack by Tehreek-e-Taliban. For every generation of PPP there has been a Karbala where we fought, we have been fighting & we will continue fighting against the tyranny & oppressors & 18th October has been the Karbala of my generation where PPP lost its 200 young workers and around 500 plus were injured in twin blasts took place at Karsaaz on Shaheed Benazeer Bhutto’s reception. To pay tribute to the martyrs of Karsaaz tragedy chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari choose his first ever public place speech in Karachi at the monument of martyrs of Karsaaz tragedy where he was being accompanied by most nearest trustees of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto including Mian Razza Rabbani, Syed Qaim Ali Shah & Sherry Rehman but such things usually go in waste when the opponents of PPP criticize PPP that it’s not the one which was there when Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was alive. Chairman Bilawal’s ten minute speech at the monument of Karsaz tragedy reflected the true image of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s personality from his clothes to his gestures during his speech everything was common between him & his grandfather Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto not only this but also as his mother & grandfather both had never bothered about their security and they used to breach their own security citadel to meet their workers , same was witnessed at Karsaz where Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who has been facing threats to his life but didn’t bother about his security & getting out of his vehicle he was lost somewhere in workers & his security staff was seen saying to workers ” Bhai Humein choro hum Chairman ke security mein hein ” Let us get in & near Chairman we are part of chairman’s official security. A peoples leader never compromises with prevailing conditions & speaks his ideology & what masses want to hear from him & young Bilawal absolutely did it in his speech at Karsaaz where he knew that neither the workers of Karachi nor an ordinary citizen of Karachi is happy with those claim to be king & kite of Karachi, he didn’t spare them for a second those have been part of various conspiracies against PPP & democracy including MQM, PTI & those religious lunatics who claim to be saviors of Islam but in clarity they sell their name using Islam as their brand. The way he roared against Tehreek-e-Taliban & terrorists It made clear about the future politics of Pakistan Peoples Party and that it has no plans to make entire nation surrender in front of a handful of terrorists who do not believe in Pakistan’s constitution but in the supremacy of suicide bombings. His speech also charged the workers of Karachi with a new soul when he pledged that they would cut the ‘kite flying through telephone from London and this was what his workers wanted to listen for last many years but only only workers this statement truly was a representation of masses living in Karachi & want an everlasting peace & freedom from united kingdom because Karachites are independent in name but not independent in mind, karachites have been too long under British tutelage and what young Bilawal stated no one ever had the courage to say even want to make readers remember Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s 25th December gathering in Karachi where Imran Khan kept bad mouthing against the then President of Pakistan & against Nawaz Sharif but couldn’t utter a word against our respected Altaf Bhai even though he was standing in a crowd of thousands. In short Bilawal’s 18th October speech was a ten minute speech but it was a statesman’s speech which not only has molded the future politics of Pakistan but has also shed light on the fact that Bhutto’s are the essence of their workers neither the Taliban nor Pakistan’s establishment can keep this essence away from workers that’s why despite threats to his life he reached among his workers who lost their loved ones in Karsaaz tragedy. Young Bilawal Bhutto Zardari knows about the political difficulties for him but he feel, he is convinced that he receives the blessings of the downtrodden class of Pakistan specially his workers of his party & this is the great satisfaction for him, the way he ensured his workers that he can’t live without them, he is from them & he belongs to them was nothing less than the words uttered by Shaheed Zulffiqar Ali Bhutto addressing to his workers in Karachi – June 1972. The historic struggle started on 30th November 1967 went through various stages where it faced persecutions, gallows, character assassination, exiles & humiliations but the fact is struggle has been continued & will remain continue. Young Bilawal’s address has enlightened the fact that the destination for socialist revolution is now not so far in which the labors, lawyers. Students, teachers & peasants have been struggling since PPP’s date of inception. Karsaaz speech is merely the beginning of an arduous journey this is the first step and not the end of historic struggle. We shall not rejoice too much even if we feel satisfied. The road ahead is very difficult but neither the young Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will leave workers nor the workers will leave him because we both have been partners in each other’s pain & privilege. Tomorrow is our & not theirs.

Pakistan: Experts see no future of Govt-Taliban peace talks’

Defence and security analysts, who are closely monitoring Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the United States (US), see a major shift in his tone and tenor vis-à-vis the dialogue process with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) while en route to Washington. They say the peace process may remain a "non starter" due to the changes taking shape in and across the region. In a detailed conversation with Pakistan Today on Monday, eminent journalist and security expert Salim Safi, and noted defence analysts Lt General (r) Talat Masood and Brig (r) Mahmood Shah were of the view that the dialogue may remain a dream as all the major players involved in the talks – including the TTP and the ruling parties in the Centre and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) – were politicising the issue just to grab attention and win political mileage rather than making a real effort to sit together and resolving the issues with sincerity. Since the conclusion of the all parties conference (APC) in last week of September during which all political forces of the country had resolved to hold dialogue with the TTP, the PML-N government has taken no practical steps in this regard so far. Sources in the government claim that the dialogue process had been derailed by the Taliban soon after the APC when two top military officers, including the Malakand general officer commanding (GoC), had been assassinated by Taliban. On the other hand, the experts say the Taliban have also increased attacks against the KP government and the military including the assassination of KP law minister Israrullah Gandapur, who was killed on Eidul Azha. Safi said the dialogue process had not begun so far despite the passage of a month since the APC. He said he did not see any breakthrough as the government looked confused and its leadership lacked clarity in this regard. "I can safely state that I don't see any breakthrough in the dialogue process and this will remain a non-starter," he asserted. During the discourse, Masood said the prime minister's remarks made in London reflected his attempt to give a message to the world that Pakistan wanted to hold unconditional talks with the Taliban but the response from the Taliban was in negative. "Despite the government's talks offer, the Taliban carried on attacking the military and civilians and did not help create conducive environment for the talks. Now in the wake of Nawaz Sharif’s US trip, I don’t expect that talks with militants will succeed. Talking alone won’t be fruitful and policy of carrot and stick may work. The Taliban would carry on attacks on military and civilians and the government's response finally would be in the same manner," he added. Asked if this meant that the onus of the failure of the dialogue process lay with the Taliban, General Masood said the responsibility of failure of dialogue process would rest with the Taliban and not the government. "The Taliban are hampering the government’s efforts to raise the social sector and the life of the common public. All they are interested is to impose their writ and expand it further," he said. He said the army was now in a transitional phase. "As far as the appointment of the new army chief is concerned, no individual appointment will matter and any officer given the duty would handle any operation or talks process," he said. "If the army does not cleanse the TTP leadership by year 2014, the Taliban will turn into a very potent force and they will cultivate more and more strength in league with the other likeminded factions". Eminent defence strategist Shah said the PML-N government looked cautious and its leadership was confused and threatened while dealing with the subject. "Probably, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif knows that the government will finally have to take action against the TTP and that is why he is buying time as he is afraid that any action will have a reaction in Punjab where his own party's government will be attacked. Anyway, the Sharifs will have to adopt a clear stance under a clear headed approach". He said the TTP leadership was not serious in talks and the unabated attacks against the army and the KP government functionaries reflected that they wanted to fight. “The PTI and other pro-talks parties are politicising the issue. There is a race between the PML-N, the JUI-F and the PTI for taking stronger pro-Taliban stance. But they can't appease the Taliban who will target each and every party or local elder who has capacity to organise the locals. In past they were attacking the ANP and the PPP and now they are attacking the PTI," he said. He said PTI Chairman Imran Khan had sabotaged the APC, saying that only talks could resolve the matter. "I wonder how the federal and the KP governments will pass through their five-year tenures with such a policy," he said.
- See more at: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/10/22/news/national/experts-see-no-future-of-govt-ttp-peace-talks/#sthash.tclQ9erg.dpuf

Pakistan: Nawaz administration Soft on the Taliban

WHITHER the much-talked-about talks with the Pakistani Taliban? There is no sign yet of them taking off. But even if the talks happen it would be more like talks between the victor and the vanquished. While the national leadership pleads for mercy, the militants dictate the modalities of the surrender to the state. With no will to fight, the Sharif administration has already conceded too much ground to the Taliban with extremely dangerous consequences for national security, and it may not be easy to retrieve the situation. The latest escalation in violence, including the killing of a senior Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister, makes the intention of the militants even clearer — talks but only on their terms. It was frightening to watch Hakeemullah Mehsud on BBC recently, arrogantly justifying the killing of those who do not subscribe to the Taliban’s retrogressive worldview. “We have targeted those who are with the infidels, America, and we will continue to target them,” the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief declared. For him, whoever is not with them is an infidel and deserves to be killed. His triumphant tenor and newfound confidence was shocking. Just a few months ago, the TTP chief was afraid for his own safety. The group was dealt a serious blow after the death of Waliur Rehman, the deputy commander of the TTP, in a drone strike. Surely, the inaction of the government has given a new lifeline to his supporters. In a more recent interview, the TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said that they would never engage in talks under the Pakistani Constitution since it enshrines democracy, which according to him is a secular and un-Islamic system. He also wants the Sharia’s enforcement in the country. Are these preconditions acceptable to the state? They will be tantamount to legitimising a Taliban dictatorship. Emboldened by the government’s dithering and the defeatist approach of political leaders such as Imran Khan, the TTP is now threatening to eliminate journalists and intellectuals who are challenging its tyranny. What is most appalling is the complete silence of the political leaders over these death threats. But it must not surprise us since these leaders did the same when the militants targeted the activists of the Awami National Party during the May 11 elections, virtually pushing it out of the poll race. In fact, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to some extent owes its electoral success in KP to the compromise it had made with the Taliban. It is also fear that drives the PTI’s current pro-TTP policy. But what Imran Khan and his supporters do not understand is that appeasement may not protect them for long. The message was clear when the militants murdered provincial law minister Israrullah Gandapur in a suicide attack on Eid day. He was the third provincial assembly member to be killed by the militants in the past few months. It is now several weeks since the all-party conference mandated the government to initiate the so-called peace talks with the militants. But there is still no clear strategy for negotiations. There is huge ambiguity over whom the administration intends to talk to. The TTP is a loose group of more than 30 factions and each one has its own views on the negotiations. Moreover they are not bound by the decisions taken by Hakeemullah Mehsud. Most TTP groups have publicly rejected the government’s peace offer. It is not surprising that different factions accepted responsibility for the recent terrorist attacks in KP. For instance, the Peshawar church attack was carried out by the TTP’s Mohmand branch which is totally opposed to any peace talks with the Pakistani state. Imran Khan has come out with a bizarre demand of allowing the outlawed militant network to open its office in Pakistan to clear the way for dialogue. The sheer ridiculousness of the suggestion aside, it is not clear whether the PTI chief wants offices for all the TTP factions. Then, there are also numerous splinter factions of outlawed Pakistani militant groups operating from North Waziristan. Known as the Punjabi Taliban, they may be cooperating with the TTP in carrying out terrorist attacks, but they have their own specific agendas too. One of the most powerful Punjabi Taliban leaders, Asmatullah Muawiya, is, perhaps, the only one who has publicly supported the government’s peace offer. This positive response apparently came only after the prime minister suspended the execution of two members of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi convicted on several murder charges. Muawiya had threatened to target the members of the Sharif family and to unleash terrorist attacks in Punjab. There cannot be long-term peace with the government buckling under terrorist threats. I recently watched a speech of Muawiya on video, on the killing of Osama bin Laden. In a most vitriolic diatribe against the Pakistani security forces, the militant leader vowed to carry out the mission of the late Al Qaeda chief. Does the Sharif government understand the ramifications of dealing with Al Qaeda affiliates and those responsible for sectarian killings? Not only would peace deals with such groups clear the way for the Talibanisation of Pakistan, they would also be dangerous for regional security. More importantly, the move would reinforce the suspicion of the international community about Pakistan’s unwillingness to fight against violent extremism. Indeed, there is very little hope of achieving peace through dialogue with the militants. But more worrisome is whether the administration has an alternative plan to deal with the worsening security situation. The choice is not between dialogue and a military operation. The state must use all options to enforce the rule of law. No state can allow its writ to be challenged by armed groups, or a parallel system to operate. What is needed are measures to strengthen the civilian law-enforcement and intelligence networks to deal with the menace of militant violence. The government has to act more firmly if it wants to eliminate terrorism in Pakistan. The threat cannot wither away by romancing the enemy.

Pakistan: Use of toxic chemicals in suicide bombs new worry

The Taliban are now using more toxic chemicals in their explosive devices to inflict lethal injuries on the survivors of their bomb and suicide attacks, according to officials. Quoting the relevant doctors, they said that the people who sustained injuries in Taliban attacks developed complications due to presence of toxins in the explosives. Survivors of the Taliban’s bombs suffer from chronic wounds that leave scars on skin and don’t respond to antibiotics with proven efficacy in other surgical infections. Officials said that the explosives used by the Taliban left lasting effects on the injured people. “Taliban have now mastered the science of manufacturing bombs that cause more than the intended casualties as they are imparted training regarding use of potassium, nitrogen, sugar, urea and glycerine etc in the bombs,” they said. The officials said that terrorists used phosphorus in explosives that destroyed human cells. The Taliban-made bombs produced carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, which damaged the oxygen-binding capacity of the survivors.
“The survivors may go into coma and end up dying due to stoppage of the oxygen-carrying process of victims when smoke caused by the explosives penetrates their bodies,” they added.
The officials said that the explosives used by the Taliban in all attacks were pale, white or yellowish in colour, which meant that their source was the same.
“Not only healing of wounds caused by the Taliban bombs is hard but the survivors often develop contractures and other physical deformities due to injuries,” they added.
The forensic experts at health and police departments said that even deep wounds caused by gunshots or knives were treatable but the people injured in Taliban attacks had to live with lifelong deformities after recovery. “The use of toxins in bombs worsens injuries that are not curable,” they said. Experts said that easy availability of raw materials for bombs like magnesium, potassium and sodium made the task of the Taliban easy. Even the survivors of bomb attacks with 10 per cent injuries die ultimately because the wounds become septic. Officials said that the Taliban manufactured bombs locally. “The Taliban don’t manufacture bomb and explosives in North and South Waziristan agencies where they are based. They have the capability to manufacture bombs close to the area where these can be used. Transportation of explosives through long routes can make the Taliban vulnerable to being arrested by police,” they said. The official said that the Taliban’s main source of making explosives was fertilisers in the market. “They have circulated booklets in Pashto, Urdu and Persian about bomb making,” they added. One of the manuals listed the equipment needed to build a bomb factory, they said. Officials said that the Taliban had been attacking government forces besides targeting marketplaces, CD and music shops and internet cafes and schools using their own explosives. The health experts said that the only chance to reduce the quantum of physical injuries to the victims was to rush them immediately to hospitals to clean their wounds. “These bombs and explosives weren’t as deadly eight years ago when all this began, as these are today,” they said.

اوریا مْقبول جان کا ملالہ فوبیا

Baloch Hal
تحریر: خاپیرئ یوسفزئ
سنا تھا گرنے کی اک حد ہوتی ہے لیکن نظروں سے گرنے کی کوئی حد مقرر نہیں ہے، اور شکر ہے کہ یہ حد مقرر نہیں ورنہ اک حد تک جاکہ ان جھوٹ پرستوں کو رکنا پڑتا۔ اخباری دنیا میں مذہب کے نام پر لوگوں کو ورغلانے میں اوریا مقبول جان کا نام کافی جانا پہچانا ہے۔ موصوف آج کل ملالہ یوسف زئی کے خلاف ’’ جہاد‘‘ میں مصروف ِ عمل ہیں ۔ جو کام طالبان بندوق کی زور سے نا کرسکے وہ اب اوریا مقبول جان اپنی قلم سے سرانجام دینے کی ناکام کوشش میں لگے ہوئے ہیں۔ انھوں نے لاہور سے نکلنے والے ایک روزنامہ میں ملالہ کی کتاب پرجس طرح کا ناقص اور گمراہ کن تبصرہ لکھا ہے اس سے ان کی بوکھلاہٹ توصاف ظاہر ہوتی ہی ہے لیکن اس کے ساتھ ساتھ ہمیں ان کی انگریزی پڑھنے کی صلاحیت پر بھی شک ہونے لگا ہے۔ دلچسپ بات یہ ہے کہ سولہ سال کی ایک بچی نےقدامت پسند سوچ رکھنے والے اس تنگ نظر شخص کی فکر کو للکارا ہے ۔ ایسے حضرات جنھوں نے اپنی پوری زندگی اسلام کے نام پر رائے عامہ کو گمراہ کیا ہے اس بات سےخوفزدہ ہیں کہ اب ایک تعلیم یافتہ نوجوان پشتون لڑکی اقوام متحدہ میں کھڑی ہوکر اپنے حقوق کی بات کرنے کی اہل بن گئی ہے۔ مقبول جان اپنےمضمون کا آغاز پشتونوں کی دل آزاری والے لطیفے سنا کے اپنے حامیوں کو خوش کرنے کی کوشش کرتے ہیں ۔ وہ لکھتے ہیں کہ ملالہ اپنی کتاب میں سب سے پہلے سلمان رشدی کے بارے میں لکھتی ہے۔ یہ درست نہیں ہے۔ بلکہ سچ تو یہ ہے کہ کتاب کا آغاز ان کے والد ضیاالدین کی زندگی سے شروع ہوتی ہے اور سلمان رشدی کا تذکرہ اسکی تعریف میں نہیں کیا گیا ہے بلکہ ضیالدین کی جھانزیب کالج کے وقت میں ان مظا ہروں کا ذکر کیا گیا ہے، جب کالج میں سلمان رشدی کے خلاف مظاہرے اور تھوڑ پھوڑ شروع ہوگئے تھے تو ضیالدین نے سب کو جمع کر کے کہا کہ سلمان رشدی کی کتاب پڑھ کے اسکو منطقی جواب دیا جائے۔اگر ہمارا ایمان ہے کہ قرآن پاک کے سب سے پہلے نازل ہونے والی آیت میں اقرا کہہ کر انسانیت کو پڑھنے کی دعوت دی گئی ہے تو پھر یہ کہنے میں کیا حرج ہے کہ اسلام کے خلاف شائع ہونے والی کتاب کا جواب کتاب ہی سے دیا جائے ؟ اوریا مقبول جان جیسے لوگوں کی خواہش ہے کہ مذہب کے نام پر ہر طرف پرتشدد مظاہرے ہوں، لوگ مذہب کے نام پر ایک دوسرے کی گردنیں کاٹیں اور سرکاری و نجی املاک کو نذر آتش کریں۔ ان کے برعکس ملالہ اور ان کے والد اس سوچ کے قائل نہیں ہیں بلکہ ان کا کہنا ہے کہ جو لوگ اپنے مذہب سے واقفیت رکھتے ہیں وہ کسی صورت میں بھی ایک کتاب سے خوفزدہ نہیں ہوں گے۔ جن لوگوں کو ایمان کمزور ہے اور وہ اپنے ہی مذہب کا دلیل سے دفاع نہیں کرسکتے وہی لوگ عوام کو تشدد پر اکساتے ہیں۔ کتاب میں ملالہ کے والد کا کہنا تھا کہ کتاب کا جواب کتاب سے دیا جائے۔ اب اوریا مقبول جان کی جھوٹی کہانی کا اگر جائزہ لیا جاے تو صاف ظاہر ہوتا ہے کہ وہ مسلمانوں کے جذبات کے ساتھ کھیل کہ اس بچی پہ خدانخواستہ توہین رسالت کا الزام لگا نا چاہتے ہیں۔ یہ فسادی قلم کاروں کا وطیرا رہا ہے کہ جب کسی سے عقل و دلیل کے ذریعے نہیں جیتے تو ان پر اسلام دشمنی کا فتویٰ داغ دیتے ہیں۔ وہ مزیدلکھتے ہیں کہ تاریخ کا یہ بدترین جھوٹ اسکے منہ میں کس نے ڈالا ؟ مقبول جان صاحب، یہ جو آپ لکھ رہے ہوتے ہیں یہ کون آپ کے منہ میں ڈال رہا ہوتا ہے؟آ خر کوئی ذی شعور شخص اس قدر اپنے قلم کے ذریعے معاشرے میں نفرتیں تو نہیں پھیلاتا۔ آپ جو جھوٹ لکھ رہے ہوتے ہیں کیا وہ ایجنسیاںلکھ رہی ہیں یا لکھوارہی ہیں ؟ مقبول جان لکھتا ہے کہ ملالہ کے منہ میں میرے دین اور پاکستان کے خلاف ذلت آمیز لفظ کس نے ڈالے۔ بھئ کونسے ذلت آمیز الفاظ؟ کیا اسلام اور پاکستان کا ٹھیکہ آپ نے اٹھا رکھا ہے اور اب ملک اور مذہب کے بارے میں ہمیں آپ سے درس سیکھنا پڑے گا؟ ملالہ پاکستان کی شہری ہے۔ اور اک شہری ہونے کے ناطے اسکا اس ملک کے نظام ، حکومت اور فوج یا سیکورٹی اداروں پہ تنقید کا حق ہے اور یہ حق اس سے پنجاب کا کوئی بیور کریٹ دانشور نہیں چھین سکتا۔ شاید مقبول جان کی کو ئی بیٹی نہیں ہے ورنہ اسطرح کی باتیں اک باپ کسی اور کی بیٹی کے بارے میں ہرگر نہیں کر سکتا۔ قدامت پسند مردوں کا ہمیشہ سے یہ شیوا رہا ہے کہ جس عورت کا وہ عقل و دانش سے مقابلہ نہیں کرسکتے تو اس کی کردار کشی پر اترآتے ہیں۔ ان جیسے نام نہاد دانشور اکیسویں صدی میں بھی عورت ذات کو بھیڑ بکریوں کی طرح رکھنا چاہتے ہیں۔ وہ سمجھتے ہیں کہ کوئی عورت آزادی سے سوچ نہیں سکتی اور نہ ہی اس کا حق بنتا ہے کہ اپنے ہی ملک کے نظام اور حکمرانوں کی پالیسیوں پر تنقید کرے۔ یہ مرد اپنے حصے سے زیادہ اوروں کی ترجمانی کے لئے بے تاب بیٹھے ہوتے ہیں۔ ایسے دانشور ہمارے لئے انتہائی مہلک ہیں۔ یہ علم و حکمت کے دشمن ہیں۔ یہ جدیددور میں بھی غلامی کے فلسفے پر یقین رکھنے والے لوگ ہیں۔ یہ عورت کو ترقی کرتے ہوئے نہیں دیکھ سکتے اور جو عورت شہرت کی بلندیوں پر پہنچتی ہے یہ لوگ اس کے پر کاٹنے کے لئے اپنی باری کا انتظار کر رہے ہوتے ہیں اور یوں ان لوگوں کی پوری زندگی اسی طرح گزر جاتی ہے۔ دنیا بھر میں دانشوروں کا کام اپنی قوم کی رہنمائی کرنا ہوتا ہے لیکن پاکستان میں جس طرح کے طالبان طبعیت کالم نویسوں سے ہمارا واسطہ پڑا ہے وہ ہمیں جہالت اور تاریکی میں ڈبو کر ہی رئیں گے۔ جس معاشرے میں ایک سفید ریش صاحب ایک سولہ سال کی بچی سے الجھ جائے تو آپ اطمینان سے یہ فیصلہ کرسکتے ہیں کہ وہ معاشرہ اخلاقی پستی کی انتہا کو پہنچ گیا ہے۔ پھر ایسے حالات میں لازم ہوجاتا ہے کہ ایک معاشرہ ایسے افراد سے چھٹکارا حاصل کرنے کے لئے کھڑا ہو اور واشگاف الفاظ میں کہے کہ مذہب کے نام پر آپ نے جتنی دکان داری چمکانی تھی چمکا چکے اور معصوم لوگوں کے جذبات سے کھیلنا تھا کھیل چکے۔ اوریا مقبول جان اپنی تحریر میں اس بات پر برہمی کا اظہار کرتے ہیں کہ ملالہ نے ملا عمر کو ایک آنکھ والا کہا ہے۔ تاہم انھیں ۵۰ ہزار بیگناہ انسانوں کے جسم کے پرخچے اڑاے جانا انسان اور خدا کی پاک ذات کا تمسخر اڑانا نہیں لگتا۔ لیکن اس بندے کو ملا عمر کو اندھا کہنا مسلمانیت پہ ہنسنے کے مترادف لگتا ہے۔ مقبول جان نے جس طرح سے ملالہ کی کتاب کو اپنے زہرہلے دماغ سےپڑھا ہے مجھے لگا کہ جناب نے پڑھتے وقت اک پنسل ساتھ رکھا تھا اور ان ساری جگہوں پہ ، جہاںموصوف کو لگا اپنی تخیل کی دنیا میں جھوٹ اور فریب کے پہاڑ بنادے مْقبول جان صاحب نے آخر میں یہ بھی لکھا ہے کہ ” منہ پہ کالک ملنے والی بچی قابل عزت ہے، آپکو تو ابھی تک یہ بھی پتا نہیں چل سکا کہ اپ نے پورے پاکستان کے منہ پر کالک ملنے کی ناکام کوشش کی ہے۔ اللہ آپ سے جلد ہی اسکا جواب لے گا۔ خدا سب انسانوں کو اور پاکستانیوں کو آپ جیسے سرکاری کالم نویسوں کے شر سے بچائے۔ پڑھنے والوں سے درخواست ہے کہ ہمارے معاشرے میں نفرت اور انتشار پھیلانے والے ایسے کالم نویسوں کا بائیکاٹ کریں اور ان کی من گھڑت کہانیوں پر اعتبار کرنے کے بجائے خود ملالہ کی کتاب سمیت دیگر مواد کا خودمطالعہ کریں تاکہ انھیں حقیقت کا بخوبی پتہ چل سکے۔ جس معاشرے میں پڑھنے لکھنے کا رواج نہ ہو وہاں ایسے سرکش دانشوار سر اٹھا کر چلتے ہیں اور لوگوں کو گمراہ کرتےہیں

Balochistan: Jihadis in The Time of Earthquake

The Baloch Hal
A number of religious organizations, including those known for their intrinsic connections with the jihadist groups, have infested Awaran, a district that was devastated by two powerful earthquakes in September. Apparently, these organizations are out there to carry out relief operations and assist the victims of the earthquake. But their presence has raised eyebrows given that the federal government is restricting credible, non-religious international humanitarian groups. The government does not specifically state why these groups have received official consent to operate in Awaran while their non-religious counterparts, both local and international, have been outright denied non-objection certificates (NOC) from the Ministry of Interior Affairs. At a time when sufficient assistance is not reaching the earthquake victims because of the mistrust that exists between security forces and the Baloch insurgents, religious groups are the only ones taking advantage of the situation. Their presence may temporarily help the local population but it will have long-term negative repercussions for the secular Baloch society. Jihadist groups take such occasions as an opportunity to exploit people’s plight. They use aid to win the hearts and minds of local communities. Dr. Hafeez-ur-Rehman , the president of Al-Khidmat Foundation, which is connected with the Jammat-e-Islami, confirmed with the local media that at least 300 workers of his organization were currently busy in assisting earthquake survivors. The B.B.C. Urdu also recently reported about the activities of religious groups known for their ties with jihadi organizations. Prominent among these organizations are Falah-e-Insaniat, Al-Rehmat Trust and Al-Khair Trust. While the Falah-e-Insaniat is closely associated with Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the welfare wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba, B.B.C. also reported that some of the banners prominently displayed the name of Maulana Masood Azhar, the founder of Jaish-e-Mohammad, an Islamic extremist group that operates in Indian-administered Kashmir. The increasing presence of religious groups in Awaran also contradicts the official claims of security threats posed by Baloch insurgents. If the nationalists have even tolerated these religious groups to assist the masses despite clear ideological differences, there is no reason why they would attack international groups. Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Malik Baloch has said at least three times that his province needs international assistance to grapple with the aftermath of the earthquake. It is sad that the analysis of the provincial chief executive holds less weight and importance than some army officers and bureaucrats in Islamabad who are doing whatever it takes to keep the international community away from Balochistan. When an earthquake of lesser intensity hit Pakistan-administered Kashmir in 2005, the federal government immediately called for international help and engaged American helicopters for rescue operations. In Balochstan’s case, on the other hand, there is deafening silence. It is unfortunate how the country’s security establishment converts natural calamities into opportunities to patronize religious organizations. This time, the government is endeavoring to manipulate the people’s vulnerable situation. The long-term goal is to counter the Baloch nationalists with radical Islamists. Surprisingly, there has been too little opposition from the Baloch nationalists to the religious groups and their activities in Awaran. However, the nationalists have spoken more vocally against a fresh military operation in Awaran district. Even before the earthquake, the security forces conducted a massive operation in the area; whisked away several people to unknown locations and burnt people’s homes. In the latest operation, the forces besieged the house of Dr. Manan Baloch, secretary general of the Baloch National Movement (B.N.M.). According to a report published in Daily Intekhab, the forces also arrested Dr. Baloch’s ten-year old son and many relatives in Gajjar locality in Awaran District. Mohammad Ejaz shahid, the Inspector General of the Frontier Corps (F.C.), congratulated his forces over the “successful operation against anti-state elements” and ordered them to take “indiscriminate action” against them wherever the forces found them. Yet, the Pakistan army, on October 20th, issued a statement through its media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (I.S.P.R.), saying that the army was not carrying out any military operations in Awaran and Mushke. The statement acknowledged the presence of forces in the district but insisted that they were there “only for relief operations”. The army says 6 of its soldiers have been killed and 12 injured while carrying out relief operations. The army, according to the I.S.P.R. statement, “has exercised utmost restraint…despite repeated attacks by miscreants on troops busy in relief work.” The statement further added, “there is no Military Operation in Awaran and Mushke as being propagated by miscreants. DG [Director General] ISPR also appealed to the general public, to beware of miscreant’s propaganda.” In some parts of the world, natural disasters provide an opportunity for rival groups to temporarily give up their differences and work with each other in the greater interest of the people in need. This newspaper had previously called for an immediate ceasefire between the government and the insurgents. We wish the earthquake in Balochistan were not used to further deepen and complicate the already existing crisis. Populating Awaran with jihadists and conducting anew military operations will only multiply the challenges Balochistan already faces. It is futile to expect the government or the army to monitor the activities of the Jihadi groups operating in Balochistan since the state itself is in bed with these elements. The religious groups are responsible for causing more pain to our society than mitigating people’s suffering.

Slump in Peshawar markets

The September 29 car bomb attack in Peshawar’s Qissa Khwani bazaar crippled the city’s markets, with businessmen suffering from enormous direct and indirect financial losses. The blast, which left 42 dead and a score of others injured, also shattered the confidence of shopkeepers, traders and buyers alike. The traders now fear for their lives; just as the families of their workers don’t feel comfortable in letting them continue their jobs. The carnage has slowed down business activities, as the market has recorded a decrease in the number of buyers. “Business picked up by more than 50 per cent after the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) formed the new provincial government, but the momentum proved to be short-lived,” said Waqar Ahmed, a Qissa Khwani bazaar businessman. He said business confidence had been returning after Peshawar did not experience a bomb blast for the first three months of the new government. “There were no instances of major bomb blasts or militant attacks in the city until the recent attacks,” said Ahmed, before adding that the situation had now been reverted back to where it was during the days of the previous provincial government. His wholesale business outlet is at a few metres from the ruined Qazi Plaza, the scene of the recent attack. “A sense of uncertainty grips the whole bazaar; businesses do not flourish under such circumstances,” he said. Yar Jan, another shopkeeper, agrees. Jan sells washing machines in Khyber Bazaar, which is next to the Qissa Khwani market. “My business had started picking up after the new government took over, but the bomb blast scared away buyers from the market,” he said. Sheikh Abdul Razaq, senior vice president of the Anjuman-e-Tajraan Qissa Khawani Bazaar, said the September 29 blast had caused an estimated loss of Rs100 million to over two dozen directly affected wholesalers, retailers, garment outlet owners, and small venders. A hotel in the Qazi Plaza would require major reconstruction, as the building it was housed in was ruined due a massive fire that started after the explosion. The actual losses, he added, were higher than the estimated loss caused by the burning of inventories of several wholesalers and the damage done to properties. “How would you calculate our losses as a result of the business that is lost in the aftermath of the blast,” asked Mr Razaq. According to Yaseen Kashif, a wholesaler, the Qissa Khwani market remained closed for three days after the incident. And while it has reopened, buyers are not turning up. He added that retailers from rural areas had also not started coming back to the bazaar. Apart from fulfilling the consumption requirements of the middle and lower class Peshawarites, the Qissa Khwani bazaar, being a major trading hub of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), also supplies a wide range of items to rural markets around Peshawar. Kashif’s Sarhad Stationary, a wholesale business venture, went out of business. “I lost Rs3.5 million after my entire stock was destroyed by the raging fire,” he said gloomily. He added that three of his competitors also suffered massive losses. “Their losses are much higher in proportion to mine, as their stocks got destroyed as well.” He sees no hope for the future, as he says the government could not compensate 100 per cent of their losses. Mr Razaq said that the traders’ association had started collecting details of the financial losses suffered by the affected businessmen, and would forward them to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI). “The KPCCI has assured us it would take up the matter with the provincial government,” he said. Razaq, however, does not appear to be very optimistic about the PTI-led provincial government. “The PTI is not any different either.” Kashif, too, is not happy with the interest shown by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and his cabinet members. “He [the CM] visited the explosion site after more than 24 hours of the incident, and since it was raining at that time, he chose to inspect the ruined Qazi Plaza from a safe distance.” Shopkeepers said business activities were not likely to improve for quite a while. “An atmosphere of fear and terror grips the market,” said Arbab Muhammad Jameel, who owns two falooda eateries in the Qissa Khwani bazaar. He said the area police had asked the shopkeepers to keep a close watch on vehicular traffic passing through the market. “Police have informed us that there are reports that a white Toyota car loaded with explosives might be used to target Qissa Khwani again,” said the hazel-eyed Jameel, who lost a food server at his eatery, Habib-ur-Rehman, in the recent bomb blast. He said he had not yet recovered from the trauma of losing Rehman. “Frankly speaking, there is no security. We fear for ourselves, and the consumers would also be taking a risk to visit Qissa Khwani.” Traders’ leader Razaq said shoe and garment sellers, cloth merchants and owners of eateries are all likely to record a substantial drop in their sales during this Eidul Azha shopping season.

Pakistan: Economic Terrorism

As if there were not already excruciating misery for the working classes in Pakistan, the massive rise in electricity tariffs and the prices of petroleum products will wreak havoc on an already impoverished populace of this tragic country.As if there were not already excruciating misery for the working classes in Pakistan, the massive rise in electricity tariffs and the prices of petroleum products will wreak havoc on an already impoverished populace of this tragic country.This tyrannous attack lays bare the callous and brutal character of the ruling classes and the current Sharif government. The victims of the natural disasters, from the havoc of the floods to the catastrophic earthquake in Baluchistan in which almost a thousand perished, belong to the oppressed classes. The scourge of fundamentalist terrorism also devastates predominantly the poor and the deprived. The victims of state repression and those convicted by the law are also those who cannot afford to buy justice and don’t have a social status that provides connections with the bureaucracy, unlike those from the moneyed classes who end up getting off scot free for some of the most heinous crimes due to their capacity to buy off state officials. This unending list of the miseries and agonies for ordinary folk does not end here. Their repression and exploitation is being intensified by every new regime with a remorseless avalanche of social and economic attacks. The recent exorbitant and vicious price rises are a continuation of the brutal acts of economic terrorism practiced in this country for generations. This terrorism was already pulverising the lives of the sorrowful inhabitants of the land long before fundamentalist terror and the turmoil of mafia warfare came into the limelight. After sixty six years of so -called independence the conditions of the people of Pakistan have continuously worsened. But in the last few decades the dim flame of hope for a better future amongst the masses has flickered and been extinguished. The social and economic conditions of the masses are harrowing. Eighty two per cent of the population has to resort to non-scientific medication. Forty four per cent of the children being born have stunted growth. Almost half a million mothers die every year due to obstetric complications and a lack of health facilities. More than half the children, mostly girls, do not get to go to school. The oppression of women and their social harassment and suffocation is at its worst. The oppressed nationalities are being subjected to state terrorism. The poor peasants are in chains and the odious bonded labour is in practice in blatant defiance of the laws and regulations. Unemployment is rising by more than a million annually. And if these statistics were not enough, the latest UN report on care for the elderly places Pakistan last in the world. The incumbent regime of the Muslim League came into power not as a ray of hope but due to the despair of the masses and the extreme disillusionment with the previous PPP led coalition regime. The PML on the other hand is the traditional party of the Pakistani ruling classes. Hence, it is no surprise it is a regime of the rich for the rich and by the rich. The same is true for the bourgeois democracy as this is a useful tool to continue to inflict economic disasters upon the masses. None other than Allama Sir Mohammed Iqbal highlighted the fact that the Muslim league represented the interests of the reactionary elite. Probably in his last letter to Mohammad Ali Jinnah almost a year before his death, Iqbal astutely pointed out the real class character of the Muslim league. In this letter dated 28th of May 1937 he wrote, “The (Muslim) League will have to finally decide whether it will remain a body of representing the upper classes of Indian Muslims or the Muslim masses, who so far, with good reason, have taken no interest in it. Personally, I believe that a political organisation, which gives no promise of improving the lot of the ordinary Muslims, cannot attract our masses. Under the new constitution the higher posts go to the sons of the upper classes; the smaller ones go to the friends or relatives of the Ministers. Our political institutions have never thought of improving the lot of the Muslims generally.” Ever sine the inception of Pakistan, Iqbal’s analysis has become ever more true. Even the military dictators adorned the Muslim League Shirwani to attain a civilian garb for their despotic regimes. The present regime and its predecessors are inflicting these tyrannous measures not because they are sadistic (which is true) but are compelled by the necessities of the system that they represent and benefit from. The ruling classes have miserably failed to build a modern industrialised Pakistan. Rather the uneven and combined patterns of development have led to an overall deterioration in the situation and this crisis is woven into the rotting social fabric of this country. They, the ruling classes, cannot survive financially and politically if they don’t evade taxes, steal electricity and plunder the state. Their very existence has deep roots in the morass of corruption. The shutdown of the US government, the lingering slump in Europe and Japan and the crash of the growth rates of Brazil, India, China and the other so- called emerging economies, expose the organic and acute crisis of capitalism on a world scale. Pakistani capitalism has never had any healthy growth in its history. It is a story of the obstinate deterioration and decay of society. A malaise has set in and the intensification of this crisis gives rise to chauvinism, bigotry, religious terror and fanaticism and other evils that are eroding human existence in this society. The masses are being chastised to perpetuate the rule of a system that has become historically obsolete and economically redundant. But the buck is not going to stop here. The only prospects are of a further aggravation of this crisis and that means more attacks and the pillaging of the oppressed classes as they will be burdened more and more with spiralling domestic and external debts, a rapidly depreciating currency and colossal deficits. The question is for how long and to what extent the masses are going to tolerate and endure this rancorous coercion. Leaders soaked in parasitic capitalism dominate the present political arena. The ex-lefts capitulated decades ago. Does this mean that this society is destined to the fate of barbarism, the elements of which are already dangerously obtrusive and palpable? The only resistance against such an Armageddon will have to come from the working classes however atomised these may be at the present moment in time. Once the proletariat enters the arena of history, it will also then be able to carve out the party and the leadership necessary to transform society.

When it comes to India, Pakistan prefers to hold on to delusions

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Unfortunately, this applies the best to Pakistan. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was thought by some to represent a new vision of India-Pakistan relations. So far, evidence for this is hard to find. The Line of Control (LoC) has become more violent and terrorist activity in Kashmir has again reared its head. Mr Sharif has called for the United States to intervene to resolve the Kashmir dispute again, a hoary line that India has heard almost since the time of Independence. Presumably Mr Sharif will also tell this US President Barack Obama when they meet on the former’s State visit to the US. The problem is not that all Pakistani leaders make a similar sort of noise about India. The problem is that the basis for which these original policy positions were formulated by Islamabad-cum-Rawalpindi have disappeared. But the policies remain. The US responded that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. Similarly, fomenting violence along the LoC or inside the Valley will not change the ground realities as far as Kashmir’s sovereign future is concerned or shift India’s own policy. India declined to shift in that regard in the 1980s when the violence in Kashmir was far greater and India’s economic and military resources were far smaller. It makes little sense for Pakistan to presume that India would be more susceptible to coercion today than it was in the past. Islamabad, in other words, has continued with an India policy that derived from a different international and regional context — and continues to apply it even when both these backdrops have changed and turned against Pakistan. The argument will be made, and with reason, that there have been instances when Pakistan showed a willingness to move away from this straight, narrow and delusional path. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto after the 1971 military defeat agreed to the Shimla Pact. Pervez Musharraf, fearful after the loss of Taliban Afghanistan and the rapid growth of India’s economy, concluded he had to come to a settlement largely on New Delhi’s terms. What was common to both was a Pakistani recognition, however fleeting that it was no match for India on its own and that it had no international partner to redress the imbalance. Today, with India’s economy in the doldrums and China emerging as Pakistan’s new saviour, the sense is Pakistan’s leadership prefers to hold on to the delusions that have made it such a long-standing opponent of India.

Malala: I’m more scared of ghosts than of Taliban

Pakistan's teenaged human rights activist, Malala Yousafzai, is more afraid of ghosts than she is of the Taliban, whose gunmen shot her in the head and neck last year for speaking out in favour of girl's education in the Swat Valley.
"Well, if I speak truly, I am a little bit scared of ghosts. We people call it pidiaan... I am afraid of them when it gets dark," said the 16-year-old, who was in the race for this year's Nobel peace prize for standing up to the Taliban. In an interview with NDTV's group editor Barkha Dutt in Britain, where she was brought for treatment after the attack and has been staying since, Malala said she was "not at all" scared of the Taliban. Asked why the Taliban were opposed to girls' education, Malala said, "They are afraid of us. They are afraid of women. A woman is powerful but when she gets education she becomes more powerful. They do not want women to take part in society, in the development of a society. They think that the only job of women is to cook food, to serve the family, to give birth to children, to feed them." Malala reiterated that her ambition was to lead her country. "Yes, I want to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. And I will work on education and health and for the prosperity of the country. And I will also work on good relations with India," she said. The activist said after spending nine days in a Birmingham hospital receiving treatment, she asked her father to bring her a physics book "because numericals and mathematical questions are really tough". "At that time I was not worried. I was thinking that I am going back to Pakistan, I am going back to Swat. And I was not even thinking that they can shoot me again," she said. Malala has enrolled in a school in Birmingham. Despite the global attention, Malala said she was still an "ordinary girl". "I am the same Malala... speaking about women's rights and girls' education is my duty."