Wednesday, May 27, 2015

#ThankYouZABhutto - Jeay Jeay Bhutto

Z A Bhutto's Footprints on Nuclear Pakistan

By Farhatullah Babar

Bhutto was the real architect of Pakistan's nuclear program. In this respect his role may be likened to that of Nehru in India. Idealist Nehru was driven by a dream; to wipe off centuries of past humiliation and had grasped the significance of atomic energy for this purpose. Soon after independence he set up the Indian Atomic Energy Commission, placed it under his charge and presided over its first meeting that was convened within a week of independence.

Bhutto also had a dream and understood the role of atomic energy but could translate his dream into reality only after 1970 when he had acquired real political power.

But even before that and as Minister of Minerals and Natural Resources, Bhutto laid the foundation stone of PINSTECH in Islamabad in 1963. The plaque was removed during his political winter after 1967. Much later it was recovered from junk in the basement of the building and reinstalled in 1985, as it was impossible to erase his memory.

As a minister Bhutto also tried to persuade President General Ayub Khan to acquire advanced nuclear technologies. In December 1965 Ayub was on an official visit to the UK. Bhutto planned a meeting of some nuclear experts with him and persuaded Ayub Khan to meet late Munir Ahmed Khan former Chairman of the PAEC who at the time was working in the IAEA.
Late Munir Khan had recalled that when he was told that these technologies could eventually place in the hands of Pakistan a nuclear option, the General simply smiled and said that if needed, Pakistan could get it from China.
Munir Khan had also recalled that Bhutto was pacing up and down in the lobby waiting as he was meeting Ayub. When Munir came out Bhutto asked him what had happened. "The President did not agree" Munir told him. "Do not worry -- our turn will come", Bhutto had said, according to Munir Khan.

Bhutto has been associated with the nuclear programme from 1958 as minister to 1979 when he was sent to the gallows.

"When I took charge of Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission, it was no more than a sign board of an office. It was only in name. Assiduously and with granite determination, I put my entire vitality behind the task of acquiring nuclear capability for my country", recalls Bhutto in his book If I am Assassinated.

Bhutto commissioned Edward Stone for designing PINSTECH the foundation stone of which was also laid by him. He negotiated the agreement for the 5-WM research reactor at PINSTECH. Bhutto himself has recalled that in the face of stiff opposition from Finance Minister Shoaib and the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission he negotiated with success the 137 MM KANUPP plant from Canada and performed its opening ceremony on November 28, 1972. In 1976 he approved the setting up of the Chashma nuclear power plant and also negotiated and concluded the nuclear reprocessing plant agreement with France.

Bhutto approved the construction of a research laboratory for uranium enrichment near Chaklala airport. And when the PAEC selected the Kahuta site for the uranium enrichment plant in early 1976, Bhutto promptly approved it and ordered immediate construction of civil works.

In August 1976, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met Bhutto at Governor House Lahore to dissuade him from the reprocessing plant deal with France. Kissinger said that it was offensive to US intelligence when Bhutto insisted that Pakistan needed the reprocessing plant for its energy needs; but Bhutto demanded that the US should also not insist that Pakistan give up the reprocessing plant.

After Bhutto's ouster, no one heard of the reprocessing plant until General Zia disclosed in a press conference in Rawalpindi on August 23,1978 that he had received a "very polite" letter from the French President suggesting modification in the reprocessing plant contract. As a matter of fact, France had refused to follow with the military government the agreement it had concluded with a constitutional, civilian government.

Bhutto pursued the nuclear program even from jail. An indelibly larger than life footprint of his is the letter addressed by him from the death cell to the French President. The letter was released by the French President's office after Bhutto's execution. While in jail he also sent several messages to late Munir Khan enquiring about how various projects were progressing.

Late Munir Khan confided to the present writer who was then working in the PAEC some of these messages. In one such message Bhutto suggested that the reprocessing plant be completed through indigenous efforts even if the French refused. He expressed his determination to step up the project once he came out of jail. I hope Thera Khan, Munir Khan's caring and assiduous wife, has preserved the private letters.

After India's nuclear explosion, Germany reneged on its contract for a heavy water plant and Canada stopped supply of fuel heavy water and spare parts for KANUPP. Bhutto asked the commission to continue with its program through indigenous efforts and instructed the finance ministry to make available all monies asked for. He abolished the inter-ministerial committee dealing with atomic energy and took direct charge of the program.

In his book The Myth of Independence, he said in 1969 "If Pakistan restricts or suspends her nuclear program, it would not only enable India to blackmail Pakistan with her nuclear advantage, but would impose a crippling limitation on the development of Pakistan's science and technology… our problem in its essence, is how to obtain such a weapon in time before the crisis begins." No one individual in Pakistan has left such huge footprints on the country's nuclear program as Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. But as one watches the foot prints with awe there is a nagging question: does the shame of the nuclear black-market that our unrepresentative rulers have presided over, lie at the root of denying Pakistan strategic nuclear parity in the region, and thereby turning sour Bhutto's dream?

#ThankYouZABhutto - Kitne Maqbool Hain Bhutto

#ThankYouZABhutto - Kal Bhi Bhutto Zinda Tha

#ThankYouZABhutto - Dila Teer Bija

#ThankYouZABhutto - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto–founder of Pakistan’s nuclear program

#ThankYouZABhutto - ZAB Adress To Nation After Indian Nuclear Tests

Video - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's nuclrear policy statement

Afghanistan’s first lady breaks taboos

Afghanistan’s first lady has broken numerous conventions in a society that traditionally sequesters women behind closed doors — speaking out on issues such as violence against women, the rule of law and the power of
religion. But perhaps Rula Ghani’s biggest taboo breaker is simply being the country’s first presidential spouse in decades to be seen and heard in public.
When her husband, President Ashraf Ghani, took the helm of the nation eight months ago, he did something unprecedented — he introduced his wife in his inaugural speech.
From that moment on, Rula Ghani has done what first ladies often do in democracies, attending public events alongside her husband and speaking before audiences on current issues. But her words have always been soft-spoken, measured and delivered away from the center stage of the Afghan political scene.
“I don’t do politics,” she said. What she does do, she says, is listen.
Since September, hundreds of people have streamed through her cool, wood-paneled meeting room to share their problems and seek the first lady’s advice. She says she sees herself as “a counselor ... a listening post” — someone fulfilling a need for a feminine presence close to the heart of the Afghan government.
The last time Afghanistan had a first lady with such a public profile was almost a century ago, but few today remember Queen Soraya, who was forced into exile in 1929 after King Amanullah abdicated. Soraya’s modern approach to women’s issues and her refusal to wear a veil shocked many Afghans, and history texts hold her partly to blame for the demise of the monarchy.
Zinat Quraishi Karzai, the wife of President Ghani’s predecessor, Hamid Karzai, was called the “invisible first lady” and in one of her rare interviews, she said Afghanistan wasn’t ready to see a first lady at her husband’s side.
Rula Ghani begs to differ and insists that Afghanistan is going through profound change. “I seem to have answered a need that was there. I think previous first ladies were not accessible,” she says. “And I am accessible.”
She is Afghan, as well as American and also Lebanese by birth — a heritage that has given her fluency in English, French, Arabic and Dari.
Born in 1948, she was brought up in a Christian family and met her future husband at the university in Beirut. After they were married, the couple moved to the United States, where they lived for 30 years. She studied journalism at Colombia Universityand had two children — daughter Mariam, who is an artist in Brooklyn, and son Tarek, an economist who also lives in the U.S.
The Ghanis returned to Kabul 12 years ago.

The Narco-Republic of Afghanistan


Every country on the globe would like to distinguish itself by some description of its societal achievements, natural beauty, education or other attributes. While Afghanistan can stand out with its beautiful landscapes and certain historical events such as defeating the invading USSR, for some time now it has had the dubious distinction of being by far the world's largest producer of opium, the raw material of heroin. The United Nations estimated that last year's opium harvest amounted to about 6400 tons, constituting 90% of the entire world's production, hence the 'Narco-Republic of Afghanistan.' The devastating consequences of this distinction are felt from the country of origin to Europe and even in the sleepy towns of rural America where heroin is more plentiful and cheaper than ever. In Afghanistan the number of "podaries" (users of powder) as they are called colloquially has been on the rise. According to reports by the US Department of State and the Afghan government 11% of Afghans use opium in various forms. This could be one of the highest number of addicts in the world. Teenagers and even children under the age of 10 have been afflicted by the problem. Surprisingly the percentage of Afghans using drugs in the rural areas is higher than that in the large cities. In a country which lacks any kind of social net, education or health care the problem is even more acute. Podaries are shunned by the rest of the society. The Kabul River, which bifurcates the city, runs mostly dry in the summer providing temporary shelter for the users. I have seen many podaries in Kabul taking refuge under the Kabul River bridges waiting to die. 
The poppy planting season in Afghanistan begins in October and runs until the end of November depending on the region. The opium resin is harvested in late spring to early summer commensurately. So now is the high season of harvest and what kind of a bumper crop this year will yield remains to be seen. Poppy flowers are mesmerizingly beautiful, and decorate the countryside with assorted colors before the harvest season begins. The largest poppy fields are in the Helmand province in southern Afghanistan bordering Kandahar province, another fertile poppy producer. Due to the large scale of operation, the typical poppy farmer does not have enough manpower to harvest the opium. So many people such as school kids and teachers otherwise engaged in other activities pitch in. At times migrant workers from the neighboring provinces are brought in to help in the slow and laborious harvesting process. When the flower is gone and the bulb is ripe, it is time to extract the milky substance within. An incision is made on the bulb's skin similar to the tapping of a maple tree. This takes place in the evening. The thick milky sap (raw opium) begins to flow very slowly, becoming thicker and accumulating on the bulb. The harvester returns early in the next morning and scrapes off the stuff with a blade. They go from one bush to the other collecting the raw opium in tins or similar containers.
The farmer sells his harvest to a wholesaler and thus the complicated journey begins. There are many layers involved, including the Taliban who collect hefty taxes which is one lucrative way to finance the insurgency. The opium is eventually processed into heroin in labs located in lawless areas of Pakistan's Baluchistan region and elsewhere, then trafficked to the rest of the world.
Looking back at history, there is no indication that Afghanistan had been a drug exporting country prior to 1978 and the beginning of its descent into chaos. While poppy had been cultivated in the highlands for millennia, it was mostly for local use on a very small scale. Some argue that the current insurgency and instability is the result of the drug proliferation. I argue that the primary cause is insecurity which has resulted from the existence of ineffectual and corrupt Afghan governments since 2002. Many former warlords who perpetuate the culture of impunity have been directly or indirectly part of the government. Many of these warlords are also directly involved in the proliferation of poppy, especially in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Nimroz.

It is possible for Afghanistan to rid itself of the dubious distinction of the world's largest producer of opium. But, for that to happen, there will be a need for fundamental changes in the composition of the government and the marginalization of the war/drug lords who have had much sway. The Taliban banned poppy cultivation in 2000 when they were still in charge of Afghanistan. The yield fell to 180 tons in 2001 from around 3000 tons in the year 2000. If the Taliban could do it, a competent, legitimate central Afghan government could do it too.

Pakistan - All Modern Successful States Are Secular: Intellectual

All the modern successful states are secular, said intellectual and political activist Rahat Malik, on Monday.
Rahat Malik was speaking at Talk Show held by Pak-US Alumni Network (PUAN) in Quetta Press Club (QPC) as a part of PUAN Pakistan Peace Week.
Mr. Malik further added that insecurity among citizens due to economic, social and cultural reasons result in inter-faith violence.
Other guests at the talk show included Hakeem Baloch former bureaucrat, Atta-ur-Rehman a religious scholar and Shahzada Zulfiqar President of QPC.
Hakeem Baloch said that, “When state forcefully imposes religious beliefs then religious intolerance becomes a norm.” He lamented, “Former dictator General Zia-ul-Haq is responsible for all the faith based violence in Pakistan.”
Atta-ur-Rehman radically opposed the views of earlier speakers and termed nationalism and statehood the bone of contention and cause of violence in the world. He said, “Peace can’t be achieved on the world until all nation-states are abolished.”
Shahzada Zulfiqar criticized corporate media of Pakistan for ignoring Balochistan. According to Mr. Zulfiqar, lack of interest of media in Balochistan has compounded the problems.
President of PUAN Quetta Chapter, Gul Khan Naseer Baloch, described the nature of PUAN. He stated that all the students who have studied on any U.S State department program are members of PUAN. He further added that there are 12 chapters of PUAN in Pakistan and 2 in Balochistan, Gwadar being the other.
General Secretary of PUAN Quetta Chapter, Shazia Langove, informed the participants of the meetings about the purpose of the Peace Week and importance of inter-faith harmony in society.
Jiand Sajidi, director Youth Group PUAN Quetta chapter and Behram Baloch a member also attended the program.


Trade and business activities in the city remained suspended partially on Tuesday in response to a protest and strike call given by Majlis-e-Wehdatul Muslimeen (MWM) Quetta and others local Shia groups in protest the killing of three Shiite Hazara Muslims killed by Saudi-Indian funded terrorists of AhleSunnat Wal Jamaat in two separate incidents of Shia target killing the previous day.
Trade and shopping centres on the Jinnah road, Shahrah-i-Iqbal, Liaquat Bazaar, Mission Road, Prince Road, Alamdar Road, Marriabad, Kirani Road, and Hazara Town remained closed.

Meanwhile , Majlis-e-Wehdatul Muslimeen (MWM) Quetta on Tuesday evening took out a protest rally from Nechari Imam Bargah to Chief Minister House but the Frontier Constabulary (FC) and Police blocked the road and stop the marchers to move towards chief minister house Balochistan in protest against the Shia Hazara target killings in Quetta. The rally was led by MWM legislator in Balochistan Assembly Agha Raza, Maualana Hashim Moosavi, Mualana Wilayat, MWM Quetta leaders Agha Abbas, and others.
Thousands of enraged protestors attended the protest rally demanding of the Army operation in Quetta like Waziristan, the chanting the Labaik Ya Hussain (as) and Down with Terrorism of Taliban and ASWJ slogans in the rally.
Addressing the participants of the protest rally MWM MPA Agha Raza demanded of the government to initiate the Army operation in Quetta against extremist elements of Taliban and other banned outfits which involved in the killing of peaceful Shiite Hazara Muslims. They criticized the Police and Frontier Constabulary (FC) failure to protect the common people from extremist elements. These terrorists group openly issued the threats to opponents but the law enforcement agencies had not taken any action against them.

Pakistan - “Textbooks That Incite Hatred Should Be Reviewed”

Many textbooks used in schools in the province of Punjab have been reviewed by National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church of Pakistan. This has been done in order to stop religious extremism and eliminate biases. Promotion of peace amongst individuals should start at school.
A chapter on United Nations in a social studies book for fifth grade students reads, “Non-Muslims have always opposed Muslims and often cooperated with each other to harm them.”
Other textbooks are full of similar references to hatred. The NCJP has called for the removal of all such text.
This step was arrived at after a major survey of the text books was conducted by the Catholic Church. The findings were then presented at a conference on 19 May. The conference was called, Uprooting Religious Intolerance through Formal Educational System in Pakistan.
Another book chapter reads, “Capitalist and democratic countries like Europe and USA have based their educational objectives on a concept of person getting attuned with society, capable of self-earning. Their teachings are favorable to capitalism and the philosophy of western democracy”.
Nevertheless, “The curriculum needs to be reviewed. The authorities should supervise private publishers and punish those that publish books that contain hatred”.
- See more at:

Pakistan - Unruly lawyers

Violent protests erupted in several cities of Punjab after a clash between the police and lawyers that resulted in the killing of two lawyers in Sialkot’s Daska Tehsil. Daska Bar Association President Rana Khalid Abbas and lawyer Irfan Chauhan succumbed to injuries caused by the firing of Daska SHO Shehzad Warraich while two others were critically wounded. Mystery shrouds the actual reason for the initial scuffle between lawyers and the police. There are three different versions related to the incident. First, it was an anti-encroachment drive launched by the Town Municipal Administrator (TMA) with the help of police that was resisted by local residents and lawyers, who were seeking more time from the authorities. Second, according to the government, it was a land dispute between two parties. Third, two lawyers had come to the TMA’s office for the verification of a marriage certificate and non-cooperation of the officials led to this tragedy. Whatever the reason maybe, the subsequent incidents that followed were more worrisome.

Soon after the incident, lawyers resorted to violent agitation. Pitched battles were held between the police and lawyers in different cities of Punjab including Multan, Sialkot, Faisalabad and Lahore. In Lahore, lawyers blocked the traffic on The Mall and raised slogans against the government. They tried to barge into the Punjab Assembly building and set ablaze a shade at the entrance. Some other unfortunate incidents also occurred despite the government’s efforts to pacify the agitating lawyers. Incidents of violence were reported from other cities also. Furious lawyers vandalised government offices and damaged police vans. They resorted to attacks on police personnel and vehicles. Due to the political affiliation of murdered Rana Khalid Abbas with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), its chairman Imran Khan jumped into the controversy and took the government to task. The Pakistan Awami Tehreek compared this incident with the one that happened in Model Town, Lahore. In both incidents, the situation went out of control due to poor handling by the police. On its part, the Punjab government has taken a number of steps to ease tension. The Town Municipal Officer Daska has been suspended and the Assistant Commissioner Daska has been made OSD while the accused SHO has been arrested. Taking notice of the incident, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident.

No protest justifies straight shooting by the police. This was the failure of the law enforcement officials led by an SHO who did not enjoy a good reputation. The police should have shown some restraint. On the other hand, the reaction shown by the lawyers is not justifiable either. Despite being custodians of the law, they did not behave within the parameters of applicable law. They have adopted an impatient approach and are demanding instant justice. Instead of setting examples for others, the lawyers themselves resorted to violence and ransacked public property. They have demanded of the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court to take suo motu notice of this case, which is unnecessary because all the necessary modalities are already being followed and the culprit is behind bars. The case is clear and there is no need for a judicial inquiry as announced by the Chief Minister. Such incidents are bound to happen unless the government brings reforms in the police department. This is just another example of blatant disregard for the laws of the land by the police. Our guardians of the law are still inept in handling such situations that cause bigger tragedies. The lawyers are also not above the law. Since 2007, there has been a change in the attitude of lawyers and there are many instances where lawyers took the law into their own hands. Lawyers need to understand that there is a course of action and the accused must be punished as per law. Smashing police vans, beating up policemen and vandalising government offices do not portray a good image of lawyers. No doubt, the incident was very tragic and the police action cannot be justified. The lawyers should abandon violence and wait for justice to take its course. No law gives the right to the lawyers to cause damage and spread violence when the accused is behind bars.

Pakistan - Remembering The IDPs

In political discourse the comments on operation Zarb-e-Azb typically feature praise for the armed forces; who are thanked for their services and lauded for their professionalism. While they deserve surely credit for their endeavours the commentary usually neglects the sacrifices of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) – except to use their plight to chide politicians for focusing on other topics. Events such as the intervention in Yemen have pushed the IDPs further down in the national public priority. Perhaps it is forgotten that notwithstanding a militant reprisal campaign, the IDPs remain the most immediate and wide-ranging fallout of the military operation, one that needs to be catered too lest it spill over into the kind of disorder that accompanied the refugees of the Afghan war. The numbers of IDPs has surged to an estimated 1.9 million; accounting for 46% of the people displaced by conflict and violence in South Asia in 2014. Yet it seems that away from the limelight and the attended sensationalism the process of rehabilitation and repatriation is going a steady pace. However, official reports only measure progress in terms of the number of IDPs repatriated to their homelands; not in terms of the quality of the rehabilitative services provided or the feasibility of a sustainable lifestyle on their return; providing no indication whether the people left behind all worldly possessions at the instruction of the state were given proper recompense, or were they bundled up into transports and sent back - letting them fend for themselves.
The government has displayed a measure of prudence when dealing with the IDPs. The National Database and Registration Authority have registered most of the displaced families – totalling at 103,508. The returnees have been asked to undertake security responsibilities and have been made part of the local decision-making set-up; making them more involved in statecraft. As of now only North Waziristan lags behind, repatriation in South Waziristan and Khyber Agency has been remarkably quick, with almost 20,000 families being repatriated to the latter. Yet these reports are also interspersed with reports that claim rampant corruption in the compensation and food ration schemes. On May 24, the North Waziristan IDP Qaumi Committee demanded the government release the monthly financial assistance promised to the displaced people before Ramazan starts, amongst other demands to end exploitation. In the same month, officials at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) National Accountability Bureau (NAB) uncovered fraud worth Rs500 million in the IDP compensation scheme of 2008 operation in Khyber. The state is more interested in ‘holding’ the tribal areas peacefully rather than truly re-compensating the IDPs; their security decisions are implemented immediately, while economic aid languishes n distant warehouses.