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Pakistan Press (22 Jul 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Is Racial Discrimination An Issue In Pakistan?: New Age Islam's Selection, 22 July 2016

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

22 July 2016

Is Racial Discrimination An Issue In Pakistan?

By Peter Jacob

Darul Uloom Haqqania — When The Past Is Present

By Anjum Niaz

Agonies Of The Fatherland

By Ayaz Amir

Why We Failed

By Zubeida Mustafa

Situation Resolved

By Asha'ar Rehman

Educated Terrorists

By Muhammad Maisam Ali

The Travesty of Truth

By Malik Muhammad Ashraf

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau


Is Racial Discrimination An Issue In Pakistan?

By Peter Jacob

July 20, 2016

The extent to which Pakistan has complied with human rights standards set out in the International Convention of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), will be assessed by a United Nation’s expert committee in Geneva on August 16-17, this year. The committee will look at a report to be presented by the government of Pakistan, encapsulating three periodic reports — 21st, 22nd and 23rd. The previous two reports were not submitted on time, hence the assessment period of six years (2009 — 2015).

This convention is one of the core human rights treaties that the international community managed to achieve as early as 1965. Pakistan, considering itself a supporter of a world free of racial equality, became a party to the treaty without any reservations soon after it was offered voluntary ratification in 1966.

Through the Treaty Implementation committee, the federal ministries for law and justice and commerce have been leading the preparation of the Pakistan’s compliance reports since 2014 — a burden that previously rested on the foreign office.

Now that clarity has been achieved on the institutional responsibility of adherence to international commitments on human rights, the focus must be on improving the quality content of the reporting as well as achieving the recognition, protection and fulfilment of those human rights in Pakistan.

International reporting, representing Pakistan’s official narrative, has relied on denial of facts, citing normative assurances and a deflection of issues because officials and consultants preparing the reports were handicapped by the stalled progress on human rights and proper functioning of institutions. Unfortunately, the current report to the UN CERD committee hasn’t succeeded in overcoming these difficulties.

The report claims that racial discrimination is “non-existent” in Pakistan. This can be challenged on several accounts. For instance, the claim is challengeable in the consistent economic, social and political deprivation of Pakistanis of African origin (Sheedis), the diminishing rights of the Kalash people as a result of forced conversions and occupation of means of their subsistence, and the government’s inability to document nomads, gypsies and tribesmen. The report’s claim can also be challenged on account of the mass killings of minority sects.

The government’s comprehension of racism grossly ignores the pervasive ethnocentrism that creates extremely dangerous sense of ‘otherness — a cause behind interprovincial conflicts and different forms of violence. If ethnocentrism had not plagued politics and society, linguistic groups, including the Punjabis would not be complaining about their language being ignored by the state. Therefore, it is a convenient claim as long as we do not recognise racial discrimination.

Pakistan was not a signatory to the International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Family Members. The report stated that Pakistan was not a labour-receiving country, and hence not a party to this convention. Why then, is Pakistan a party to the convention on racial discrimination, as accession to it relies on the acknowledgement that problems do exist.

Seemingly, the reporting to international treaty bodies will have to get rid of the state’s narrative, crafted to defend dictatorships that relied on the techniques of denying facts and averting all chances of accountability. Our image in the outside world cannot be starkly different than our internal reality and our relation and place among the nations will depend on the quality of improvement of internal processes.

The world has come to realise that racism is a historical as well as contemporary phenomenon. No state or society is immune to it. Therefore, there is no way forward than admitting its existence, engaging in reforms and repairing the harm through social processes. Although the Constitution of Pakistan discourages discrimination in several forms, we do not have a proper law that defines and punishes discrimination.

Racial discrimination does exist in Pakistan in several subtle as well as manifest forms, and unfortunately, in state policies as well. We can choose to turn a blind eye, but the price will be social conflict, underdevelopment and political instability.

We have to choose between continuing to live in a society fragmented on the basis of caste, colour, descent, ethnicity and language, or make efforts to ensure equality, justice and accountability through internal and external scrutiny according to international standards of human rights. The earlier choice will leave us with the status quo the on the other hand, the latter can deliver rule of law and better governance. The choice rests with us.

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1145998/racial-discrimination-issue-pakistan/


Darul Uloom Haqqania — When the Past Is Present

By Anjum Niaz

July 17, 2016

The rising star in 1996 was Imran Khan. As a newbie in politics, he was a fresh face with fresh ideas and fresh hopes for Pakistan.

President Farooq Leghari had a revolving door: exit Benazir Bhutto; enter Imran Khan.

On a cold December afternoon in Islamabad, I found myself sitting next to the glamorous Khan as his Pajero headed for the airport. Like a Cheshire cat, IK’s distinctive mischievous grin told one that he had indeed received a hero’s welcome from Leghari earlier that day.

He already had the Western media swooning over him after the press had dumped, “the pretty girl who went to Harvard and Oxford”, said IK, adding, “As for Nawaz Sharif, they don’t know him!”

Gingerly testing the waters, I ventured with my first question: Your image of a playboy sticks. You still have boys’ night out when Jemima is away?

Before IK can answer, Tehreek-i-Insaaf stalwarts sitting at the back look mortified while their chief bursts into hearty laughter dismissing the gossip as “nonsense!”

My next few questions are about his father-in-law, the billionaire Jimmy Goldsmith. Without taking his name, IK brushes past my questions only to comment that neither the father nor the daughter (Jemima) are Jewish as “Benazir would have all believe … Jemima has converted to Islam”.

A place to live becomes the place to love. The Akora Khattak of the ’70s and the ’80s where I roamed free from fear, prejudice and discrimination may never return. Imran Khan thinks otherwise, convinced that Darul Uloom Haqqania will produce enlightened and peace-loving future citizens

Would marrying a foreigner and having two sets of lifestyles make him a split personality? I continue.

“You must understand”, looking me in the eye, “Jemima is not an issue for the masses; it’s an issue for the elite classes suffering from inferiority complex”. IK has more faith in the people than in the intellectuals.

Confident of sweeping the 1997 polls, he says: “Look at the two, Benazir and Nawaz Sharif and judge their track record, while not once do I think I am the best man to lead the country, I still feel I can do a much better job than these two. Almost definitely we will make a huge change”.

Fast Forward from 1996 To 2016

IK has wrought a “huge change” by handing over Rs300 million to Maulana Samiul Haq who controls Darul Uloom Haqqania at Akora Khattak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The generous gift has shocked most who say that the religious seminary was the alma mater of many prominent Afghan Taliban leaders, including the militant leader Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Thousands of innocent Pakistanis have perished at the hands of these terrorists who continue their rampage till today. But IK thinks, rightly or wrongly, that by giving money to the seminary, terrorism, militancy, radicalism will end.

Will it or will the beautiful landscape of Akora Khattak breed more jihadis?

A place to live becomes the place to love. The Akora Khattak of the ‘70s and the ‘80s where I roamed free from fear, prejudice and discrimination may never return.

In the quaint bazaar bordering the Darul Uloom Haqqania, I often drove down the busy sloping alley to shop for provisions, or park the car and walk to my tailor Noor Mohammad’s tiny shop.

Standing on the street, armed with sketches from Sears’s catalogues of the latest fashions that Noreen, my sister-in-law, regularly mailed from the US, I’d harass that gentle soul to reproduce the bell-bottom trousers and the sleeveless tops in vogue then.

Yes, we were ‘designing’ women always in step with the latest couture from the West, never mind if we lived in the hinterlands of Pakistan.

Modestly dressed that didn’t warrant a full covering of cloth from head to toe, my comfort level never flagged in the midst of locals who went about their business without throwing a single glare or stare my way.

Green fields on the banks of river Indus, pastoral and undulating landscape dotted with a bouquet of wild flowers with white, pink and cherry blossoms in spring, that’s the memory I live with of Akora Khattak and its environs.

Maulana Samiul Haq had not appeared on the scene at Darul Uloom Haqqania then. The seminary was run by his revered father Abdul Haq.

He founded it in 1947. I never met him, but I am told that every year he came across to the residential compound of the tobacco factory, [where I lived] to collect a donation for the seminary.

The factory manager and his officers would receive him extending a courteous welcome reserved for VIPs. “You don’t need to come over, we can come to you with the donation,” the manager would politely tell his exalted visitor, a thrice elected member of the National Assembly from Peshawar division.

In 1978, Abdul Haq was awarded an honorary PhD in Divinity from the University of Peshawar for services rendered in the cause of Islam. After his death in 1988, his son Samiul Haq became the chancellor of Darul Uloom Haqqania. It was during his tenure that the seminary was dubbed as ‘The University of Jihad’ due to the militant mindset it has nurtured.

Today, 20 years later, the words of Nisbat Chisti, a PTI leader sitting behind Imran Khan as we drove to Islamabad airport echo in my mind: “It is his [IK] unmistakable faith in God that amazes us.”

Perhaps it’s the same faith Imran has in Darul Uloom Haqqania that “amazes” us!

Source: dawn.com/news/1270780/darul-uloom-haqqania-when-the-past-is-present


Agonies of the Fatherland

By Ayaz Amir

July 22, 2016

The first bugle has sounded, a faint one but it comes as expected, the nation’s permanent agitator, Imran Khan, announcing the start of agitation on the Panama leaks from August 7. With Ramazan gone, the hiatus is over and the political temperature is set to soar.

But what kind of support will Imran’s PTI garner? How much of public enthusiasm can he whip up? We don’t know.

This much though is clear. The PTI is very much on its own. The PPP has other problems on its plate and the Jamaat-e-Islami is playing a pantomime, with its heart not in any anti-government agitation. Its chief, Sirajul Haq, talks in terms of sweeping generalities, a nation-wide crackdown on corruption and nostrums like that. But on specifics the Jamaat will not be pinned down. The PTI is on its own. Hence the key question, how much steam in Lahore can it generate on its own?

Our mercurial and uncertain cleric, Allama Tahirul Qadri, has the street power, most certainly in Lahore, where if his party, the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, so chooses it can field a force of several thousands to march in the direction of that unlikely fortress being strengthened at public expense, Jati Umra. (If instead of Jati Umra the walls of Bilawal House were being buttressed at public expense there would have been no end to the media outrage. I suppose different standards are applied to Punjab-centred excess.)

Will the Allama pitch in? We don’t know. He’s keeping his own counsel. A lot will depend on how much heat Imran is able to generate. When momentum builds and a caravan starts going recruits and fellow-travellers join in. Still, the pressure is telling on the ruling party. Is it a coincidence or something else that the usual brass band of the Daniyal Azizs and Talal Chaudhrys has gone relatively quiet? Is this on instruction or a sign of plummeting morale?

It’s not just the prime minister who’s been ill and whose ‘recuperation’ is taking forever. The entire government looks sick as if functioning on a life-support system. Who’s been running the show in Islamabad? One solitary, overweight bureaucrat and the PM’s daughter, and even they seem focused more on atmospherics and media management than anything substantive.

So no wonder if Islamabad gives the impression of marking time, waiting for deliverance, waiting for this crisis to somehow resolve itself. Wherever you go the one question asked is, what is going to happen? Questions many but very few answers.

Indeed, the political class and the commentariat are living not in the present but in the unfolding future, everyone’s favourite line being that something is bound to happen in August. Even astrologers have pitched in and their services are much in demand. According to them the configuration of the stars suggests that August is crucial. In an irrational environment, and when civilisations decline, numerology becomes the reigning science.

My guess and it’s just that is that even the army high command is not really clear about what it wants. Its dissatisfaction with the present arrangement is pretty clear. But what does it want? What is it gunning or playing for? Again, there are conjectures galore, theories being floated – adding to the uncertainty – but no clear answers.

The extension argument was seemingly clinched when the army chief declared in January that he was not interested in staying beyond his term. But even that seems not all that settled now. Such are the vagaries of the Pakistani situation where even seeming certainties soon fall apart.

For what one man’s opinion is worth, I personally think any kind of extension would be disastrous for Gen Raheel. Because of Fata, Karachi and other things he has won himself standing and reputation and all of it will go down the drain if, emulating Gen Kayani’s example, he settles for an extension. The N-League’s brass band will have a field day ridiculing him.

Let’s not forget, there must be generals mentally lining up to take his place. Such is the reality of power. Which death of a Mughal emperor was not followed by a war of succession? Sons revolting against their fathers, brothers pitted against brothers. Power brooks no rivals or competitors, and everyone is for himself. Gen Raheel stands tall today but come the end of August and the race for the succession – at least in the minds of the generals concerned – will have begun.

It’s an ugly scene whichever way we look at it and it doesn’t help that the Sharifs’ grip on power – even if on the civilian half of power – has weakened. Nawaz Sharif is sticking, and desperately at that, to the shadow of power. The substance of it – and we need not go into the reasons here – has slipped away from him. And the knives are out and the wheels of agitation are being oiled and no one knows – not even the astrologers if you question them closely – what is happening, or is likely to happen.

The constitution – that sorely-tested document – is there, the assemblies are in place, the courts are functioning but uncertainty fills what there is of the national mind. All because time, the remorseless march of time, is finally catching up with Nawaz Sharif, the longest survivor in Pakistani politics, and exposing his many inadequacies.

He was a product of a different era when the army needed a political face – an acceptable face from Punjab – against the Bhuttos. Those battles are long over. Now left on his own, the ‘establishment’ looking at him through suspicious eyes, Nawaz Sharif is suffering from the cruelty of exposure, his many inadequacies being revealed one by one. The Panama leaks have merely added to this basic predicament.

Most irrelevant of all in this evolving drama are the MNAs of the ruling party. Poor souls, are they told anything? Does anyone bother to consult them? They have no voice because groomed in the great school of political obedience they choose to have no voice. They strut about in their constituencies – and I should know for I was one of them – but in the corridors of Islamabad they count for less than shadows. Such is the truth of our parliamentary democracy.

I don’t think a coup is being planned. The army lacks the nerve – and a good thing that it does. I don’t think a Field Marshal el-Sisi initiative as in Egypt after Morsi’s overthrow is on the cards. The army lacks the political imagination for that – and again perhaps a good thing that this is so. But at least the army has something going for it…it has won laurels in the fight against terrorism and that’s not a small thing. The politicians are clueless and directionless. And the PML-N is a tired party, bereft of anything resembling fresh ideas.

Is there anyone in this motley crowd – civilian and military – who has a vision to sell, a compelling vision that appeals to the raw emotions of the Pakistani nation? That is the dispiriting thing…the Sahara desert of our imagination.

Yesterday in this paper there was this gem from the Khadim-e-Aala: “Standing there in the suffocating heat, I realised…that we had to refocus our health system on one single focal point: patient care.” This revelation strikes him after three decades in power. What were they previously focusing on, the stars? This is the intellectual baggage he carries and he is itching to succeed his visionary brother. The heavens preserve us.

Source: thenews.com.pk/print/136673-Agonies-of-the-Fatherland


Why We Failed

By Zubeida Mustafa

22 July 2016

QANDEEL Baloch’s horrific murder in the name of ‘honour’ is testimony to the failure of the women’s movement to overturn patriarchy in Pakistan. Against the backdrop of the spate of anti-women violence, comes a report by Dr Rubina Saigol written for the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a German foundation. Titled Feminism and the Women’s Movement in Pakistan: Actors, Debates and Strategies, this excellent document should provide much food for thought.

The author, an eminent sociologist, touches the heart of the issue — especially in cases like Qandeel’s — when she points out that there are “silences” (neglected subjects) that surround questions of family and sexuality, the mainstay of patriarchy and women’s subjugation. These have generally not been addressed by the women’s movement and she recommends that they should be.

But that is not all. More than these silences, the author points out, and feminists have failed to devise a successful strategy to empower women and create public spaces for them. That accounts for their inability to make a profound impact.

Feminists here never tried to be inclusive.

Dr Saigol observes that today there is “a deafening disquieting quiet in the women’s movement”. She quotes a number of well-known feminists who contend that Pakistan lacks an autonomous vigorous movement, notwithstanding the vocal female protests against the oppression of women.

She substantiates her argument by pointing to the absence of a “common collective vision of a better world, agreed upon strategies to create such a world, and shared understandings of the world in which we live and work”.

One would agree with the writer who traces the history of the women’s struggle in Pakistan to show how it evolved in response to internal politics and external events along with the globalisation that began in the post-cold war age.

But to formulate a unified stance has not been possible given the many serious constraints that exist, many of which are deeply rooted in our socio-cultural values, such as a general trend towards glorification of patriarchy that is reinforced by religion, the adversarial relationship between feminists and the state, and the depoliticisation of the women’s struggle. The impression conveyed is that the feminist movement has been a victim of circumstances — be they the induction of donor-driven NGOs or extremist religious ideologues in the country.

However, the women’s ‘movement’ in Pakistan has always been bifurcated by great schisms. At no stage was a common platform created where women of all views could gather on a minimal common agenda. The fact is that feminists of all shades never tried to be inclusive. Hence no group had the numerical strength to assert a claim to supremacy. WAF had the greatest potential for leadership due to its financial and political autonomy. Yet it never brought in its fold non-professional disadvantaged women who constitute the bulk of Pakistan’s female population. It focused on them only in nuanced consciousness-raising and, to its credit, condemned strongly individual cases of abuse of underprivileged women.

This activism didn’t go very far although it pushed the women’s issue on the national agenda. Some laws were changed but never implemented. The lives of the majority of women didn’t change. Though they support large families, as Qandeel did, they have to bow before patriarchy. They have no time to be mobilised to learn about their rights which they know would never be actualised.

However, the same women are willing to respond to a call which offers them services that to an extent facilitate them in fulfilling some of their basic needs. That is why various development NGOs working in the education and (reproductive) health sectors — even the donor-funded but honest ones — have been able to achieve more than the feminists in creating awareness of women’s rights.

Many of them have taken the indirect, but more effective, route to empower women and instil in them a vision of a better future. They understand the importance of female participation to create awareness in them. The next generation of women definitely show the promise of being more skilful in negotiating their way through rough patriarchal waters.

Had the advocacy groups tried to link up with the services groups they would have reinforced each others’ work. I remember the iconic development worker, Perween Rahman, lamenting the inability of the women’s movement to mobilise huge numbers to protest against injustices inflicted on women. She recognised the fact that women’s development was possible only if their rights were given full recognition. “But we are so busy attending to the basic needs of men and women that we have no time and resources to do advocacy. If the women’s rights movement were to join hands with us, we would definitely support them as that is what we also want.”

What needs to be recognised is that human development is an integrated and holistic process. To be effective, rights activists must address all areas and classes of human development simultaneously.

Source: dawn.com/news/1272344/why-we-failed


Situation Resolved

By Asha'ar Rehman

22 July 2016

MURDERED as she visited the family was one of the options available for ending the Qandeel Baloch episode. There were not too many ways one could think of through which the story that had unfolded at breakneck speed could have been resolved. In the days preceding there was a prevailing sense as if something was about to give. The lady did not have too many options after she had failed to take the known means to resettlement in society.

It is not at all difficult to address her as a lady or as a heroine when she is no more there to bring disrepute to those who address her with respect. For the duration of the time she was there on stage hogging attention one point of concern — for at least some of the people in the crowd — was about where and to what conclusions her daring flight was to ultimately take her.

Pakistan is a country of vulnerable, frequently straying people. There have been other women who had diverted far away from the ‘right’ path. Some of those had later chosen total oblivion as an escape from the wrath and lust and honour-inspired curses they had been subjected to. Others, particularly a few in recent times, had confessed they were lucky to have rediscovered themselves via the most likely route in the Pakistani circumstances: religion brought to them by a pious guide-rescuer.

Qandeel Baloch might have been under the impression that she could prolong the confrontation she had picked with a society fed on formula.

The most famous has been the case of the film actor who chose to challenge both moral standards and norms of patriotism. She was saved by the timely intervention of the sages and put back on the right path. She has since been thrust in the faces of the Pakistani ‘sinners’ as an example of rehabilitation without altogether giving up this world.

There are a host of other stories about other well-known and not-so-prominent people who have been made to realise the sheer futility of the life they had been living. They were made to feel guilty about the ways in which they had been leading their lives and made to repent.

Qandeel Baloch had her chance. It is obvious that she was not ready to wrap up, conclude or resolve her story, or this particular phase of it, in the most obvious manner — despite that there was someone present to steer her through the ‘mess’. She might have been under the impression that she could as yet prolong the fever-pitch confrontation that she had so boldly picked with a society fed on formula, a society which had a tendency to look badly at those who acted other than routine.

Maybe she had her own idea of how and when she wanted to resolve the situation she had created by and large by herself. But the one man who had offered her a hand in escorting her towards the usual exit was quick to point out that there were lessons for others in her violent end: the lessons that most certainly promised condemnation for those who refused the formula answer.

Mufti Qavi, who now sat reading into Qandeel’s story and who had not too long ago offered her redemption, was no ordinary maulvi himself. If the young woman surprised many in the gaping audience with a steady stream of incidents from her past — standard scenes to build hype around her rise as a popular media personality, the mufti from the laid-back Multan was at the origins of so many incredulous stories on his own.

She was a rebel energised by experience and ambition. In his role as an arbiter people often took their issues to, he was known as advising caution and compromise over more dire remedies available to the parties. He had the reputation in Multan of being a man who favoured amicable settlements of all kinds of issues with minimum damage. Indeed he was not categorised as a pro-violence cleric of whom we have so many these days, and yes, he was given to these flights of fancy in which he cast himself as some kind of a romantic wanderer seeking the company of beautiful women.

Both lead characters in the story were media savvy and the media had no reason to fear any of them. Even the cleric didn’t scare the channels and papers in this case because he had no known militia at his command and it was clear after the initial probing on screen that he was not the kind who would resort to abuse and threat to get out of a tough spot.

The best he could do was to issue denial, which is a little difficult to accept unless accompanied by sufficient amount of force. In his present single-tone, even a little intimidated avatar he appeared docile enough for some of those who are not usually inclined towards speaking harsh of the clerics — any clerics — to openly question his character, aiding Qandeel Baloch to win rounds after rounds against him.

Since Qandeel Baloch’s death, Mufti Qavi has been referred to in some accounts as a suspect who might have encouraged her brother to kill her. Legal proceedings are under way to establish who was to blame how much for the tragic departure of the young woman from the stage she had taken by storm.

According to a version which may be considered too sympathetic to Mufti Qavi considering the sentiment against him, he has already paid a big price for his association with Qandeel Baloch. He might get himself rehabilitated in the set-up but it will take effort and time.

He can in the meanwhile be used as a target by all those who have been angered by the punishment the individual violating the moral code has been meted out. But so long as a large number of people here believe that he offered her the (only) alternative to death he must not worry too much.

Asha'ar Rehman is Dawn’s resident editor in Lahore.

Source: dawn.com/news/1272345/situation-resolved


Educated Terrorists

By Muhammad Maisam Ali

July 22, 2016

It has been conventional to take poverty, unemployment, and other similar drawbacks to be the root causes of terrorism, though this view has been repeatedly contradicted. Ahmad Omar Said Sheikh, for instance, who orchestrated the abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, hailed from an affluent family, and studied at the renowned London School of Economics. Osama bin Laden, the founder of Al-Qaeda, who once topped the FBI list of Most Wanted Terrorists, also came from a prosperous family, and was a successful entrepreneur himself. Mohamed Atta, one of the ringleaders of the September 11 attacks, was a successful architect. But here one might ask why would an educated and well-settled person, with no evident motive to commit terrorist activities, choose to do so?

The West, and the USA in particular, has often been portrayed as a threat to the sovereignty and security of the Islamic world, stated a Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) official in an interview. Terrorist organisations have exploited this by declaring the USA an enemy of the Muslim community that the USA plans to debilitate all Islamic countries it sees as a hazard to its own interests. They insist that the 2003 Iraq conflict and the war in Afghanistan (both of which were conducted by US-led coalitions) resulted in the unjustified devastation of the economy and people of both states, calling upon all Muslims to rise against the USA. Many people, even highly educated persons like Ahmad Omar Sheikh, accept this propaganda, and join terrorist organisations who, like them, believe that violence is the only course of action.

One should not underestimate the extent to which this view is prevalent in Pakistan. An alarming number of people, including many highly educated individuals, are led to believe that a fabled campaign is being conducted against Islam, which aims to weaken the Muslim world. Many would deem it appropriate to join terrorist organisations in order to counter the oppression of the antagonists of Islam. Additionally, the youth, inclusive of the well educated of our country, lives in an atmosphere that does not promise a bright future, because given the current deteriorating economic situation, it may prove difficult for even a highly educated person to be employed to a satisfactory position, leading to frustration and a sense of low self-worth, contrary to the affirmation a terrorist organisation would make.

 A terrorist organisation may penetrate an educational institution, where those sympathetic to its beliefs may corrupt the minds of students and even staff members, as was seen when an IBA student was discovered to be the mastermind of the 2015 Safoora Goth bus shooting.

It is consequently key to conscription by terrorist groups that an anti-West propaganda is promoted, and they do so by making effective use of social media, especially contacting young, impressionable people, instructing them to take up arms against the West, convincing them that they are fighting for the cause of Islam, therefore raising their confidence and sense of power, thereby gaining new recruits.

However, because most of the terrorist attacks carried out are located in Muslim-majority nations, it follows that a resentment of the West cannot be the sole reason why an educated person would join a terrorist organisation. Indeed, many do so after being persuaded to believe that it is the only approach that will improve the current state of the Muslim world.

Many Muslims look back to the Muslim community of the earlier centuries, which they believe was more prosperous and reputable compared to that of today. They would then, of course, want to improve on their current situation, further explained the CTD official.

 A terrorist group would take advantage of this by encouraging Muslims, especially young, even well educated, people, to fight for the formation of a Khilafat, that is, a state governed by an Islamic steward, a leader of the entire Muslim community, therefore, as terrorist groups claim, uniting it, which would lead to prosperity and opulence of the Muslim community. Many Muslims are convinced that a Khilafat would lead to a return to the golden age of the Muslim world. Many affiliate with terrorist organisations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda who they see as fighters for the advancement of the Muslim world.

A terrorist organisation would be able to exploit the sense of frustration that many Muslims experience when they feel that the Muslim world is in decline. They would believe the government to have failed to perform its duties in providing even the basic necessities, for instance education and health services, or that it has allowed immorality and lawlessness to penetrate the society.

 They may agree with a terrorist organisation that violence is required, that it is a reasonable solution, even believe that a terrorist group would be more disciplined, would form a better government, as would be suggested by its propaganda, thus would be prepared to promote the validity of its aims. It is for this reason that many Muslims would reject and condemn the aims and actions of terrorist organisations such as the Taliban, which would be viewed as tribal groups, instead supporting other terrorist organisations, such as ISIS, which have a specific objective, believing them to be fighting for a cause that would benefit the Muslim community, in accordance with religious guidelines.

All terrorist attacks, current and recent, and all advancements made in technology by terrorist organisations are a result of recruitment of well educated people, who are vital to the prolongation of terrorism. While the military operation in progress in KP, FATA, and Karachi has been, undoubtedly, effective, this alone will remain inadequate in preventing the propagation of the ideology of terrorism, or discouraging young, well educated persons from terrorist acts.

On the contrary, it may even further strengthen their will to do so. It would also be necessary that the government draw up a counter-terrorism narrative, making effectual use of the media, i.e. television, radio broadcasts, newspapers, leaflets, and the Internet, especially social media, which is being employed as a method by radical Islamists for self-promotion and recruitment, in order to depict the undisguised barbarism of the ideology of terrorism. In addition to this, the government must also provide security for unprotected educational institutions, which are often important centres of recruitment, launching investigation into the suspicious activities of students and staff members, as deemed appropriate and taking action as necessary, in order to curb terrorism by educated individuals.

Source: nation.com.pk/columns/22-Jul-2016/educated-terrorists


The Travesty of Truth

By Malik Muhammad Ashraf

July 22, 2016

PPP Chairman Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, who is on an election campaign in Azad Kashmir, has been spewing scathing criticism of the PML-N government, particularly the person of the Prime Minister. For the opposition and its leaders, criticising the sitting government and its policies is quite understandable when supported by substantive facts. But when an issue like Kashmir is involved, they are expected to be more circumspect and responsible while taking umbrage at the government or the Prime Minister which descends into the realm of travesty of truth. In his public rallies referring to the current killings in Kashmir by the Indian forces, he has emphatically been saying that not Kashmir but friendship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was an important pillar of the foreign policy of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and that it was due to this friendship that he was silent on the Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir. What he has tried to say is that the Prime Minister was least concerned about Kashmir and the plight of its people.

At a time when the entire nation and the political leadership should have spoken with one voice to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir, this irresponsible, naïve and impulsive convulsion by him which is absolutely contrary to the facts, can hardly be condoned by anybody in his right mind. That reflects his political immaturity and incompetence of his advisors in keeping him abreast with the real facts about the issues. That fact is that the Prime Minister has condemned the Indian atrocities in the harshest possible words and convened a special meeting of the cabinet to deliberate on the issue. The government decided to observe 19 July as Black Day and also to raise the issue at the international forums. Our permanent ambassador Maleeha Lodhi addressing the UN General Assembly on 14 July not only sensitized the world body about what was going on in Kashmir but also urged upon it to fulfill its commitments to the people of Kashmir. The government has expressed its firm resolve to continue extending its diplomatic, moral and political support to the struggle of the people of Kashmir. It did everything short of military confrontation with India which in any case is not the feasible option as the grandfather of Bilawal who promised to fight India for thousands years, ultimately realised and signed the Shimla Agreement for resolving the Kashmir issue through peaceful means.

The irrefutable reality is that notwithstanding the efforts to build bonhomie with India through the revival of the stalled dialogue and the overtures to make a new beginning, the PML-N government has relentlessly pursued the Kashmir issue with an unswerving commitment at the international level as well as with India. During his visit to US last year, apart from the nuclear issue, the Prime Minister also agitated the Kashmir dispute in his interaction with President Obama, who emphasised the need for dialogue between India and Pakistan for the resolution of disputes between them, including the Kashmir issue. After his meeting with President Obama, while talking to media he stressed the need for a mediatory role by US in view of the bilateral arrangement having failed to deliver the desired results. US probably did not want to annoy India for the sake of its own strategic interests in the region. Nevertheless having extracted acknowledgement of Kashmir being an outstanding dispute from Obama, in itself was one of the pluses of the visit.

In his interaction with the members of the Senate foreign relations committee the Prime Minister emphasised that US was the proper third party for mediation between the two countries. Dilating on the regional security situation in the context of continued Indo-Pak tensions at the United State Institute of Peace (USIP) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged the international community to play a role in de-escalating the snow-balling Indo-Pak crisis by dissuading India from belligerent posture towards Pakistan. He reiterated that there was no alternative for India and Pakistan other than resuming a comprehensive dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

Prime Minister’s address to the UN General Assembly on 30th September, particularly the content pertaining to the regional issues was significant from a number of perspectives. For the first time a Pakistani Prime Minister so vehemently advocated Pakistan’s credentials as a front line state against terrorism and itself being a victim of the menace; sensitised the international community on Indian interference and sponsoring of terrorism in Pakistan, the evidence of which reportedly was handed over to the UN Secretary General; enumerated efforts that his government had made for promoting dialogue between the two countries to resolve the disputes between the two nations; dilated on Indian cold response and spurning of the peace initiatives; re-affirmed Pakistan’s abiding resolve to live in peace with India; informed the world community about persistent violations of the LOC and Working boundary; presented Pakistan’s case in regards to the Kashmir issue forcefully; defended consultations with Kashmiris whom he described as an integral part of the dispute and dared to castigate UN for its failure to have its resolutions on Kashmir implemented. More significantly he also gave a visionary four point formula to find a way forward in building bonhomie between the two countries. But regrettably, as expected, India readily rejected the formula.

 It is noteworthy that in all the interactions between the two countries at different levels, the issue of Kashmir has never been lost sight of and invariably formed part of the deliberations.

All the issues taken up by the Prime Minister in his address one way or the other were connected to the core issue of Kashmir which has bedeviled relations between the two countries. As far as I can recall his discourse on Kashmir was the best ever effort to highlight the issue in its true perspective during the last more than three decades. His four point formula under the prevailing ambience of tensions between the two countries provided a reasonable basis for moving forward and establishing peace in the region.

As is evident from the foregoing facts and contrary to the assertions made by Bilawal, the PML-N government has been the staunchest supporter of the cause of the people of Kashmir and it has not allowed India to put the issue on the back burner, invariably insisting that the comprehensive dialogue between the two countries must include the core issue of Kashmir. As far as personal relations between the two Prime Ministers are concerned, there is nothing wrong with it. Sometimes cordial relations between the heads of governments can also help in nudging the process of rapprochement.

Source: nation.com.pk/columns/22-Jul-2016/the-travesty-of-truth

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/is-racial-discrimination-an-issue-in-pakistan?--new-age-islam-s-selection,-22-july-2016/d/108037


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