Pakistan Observer


The money game!

Money is the buzzword these days. People who have it in truck-loads are hankering for more; those that do not spend the better part of their day cribbing about it; the ones out of either category while away their time wondering whether they are coming or going. Be that as it may, it is money that remains the centre of everybody’s universe! The money game is fast taking the place of the rat race.

Money cannot buy happiness, goes the well-worn cliché. The fact remains, though, that most people continue to believe that money does buy a hell of a lot of things that, in the troubled world of today, help keep sadness at bay. The aforementioned may not make a lot of sense to the uninitiated, but, then, how many things in our ken do (make sense, that is)? Look at it in any way you like, the fact remains that in today’s crazed world whoever underestimates the importance of money does so at his, or her, own peril.

Take one case in recent history, if you will. The ill-starred Saddam Hussein, nabbed long ago by the Americans in what was graphically described by the American media as a “hole”, reportedly had a bundle of cash to keep him company. What he intended to do with the three-quarters of a million US dollars that the American press claimed he had on his person was never made clear. For all one knows, it may well be the mere proximity of hard cash that provides a cert ...
Monday, March 30, 2015 Read Article

Yemen civil war: A bigger picture

In the backdrop of Yemen civil war, there is an ongoing controversy in Pakistan, whether to provide military support to Saudi Arabia or otherwise. The debate started once Saudi Kingdom asked for Pakistani military assistance in its actions against the Houthi fighters, who now controlled bulk of Yemen. Yemeni President, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, fled the country and after Arab League’s meeting in Sharm el Sheikh, he went to Saudi Arabia. In Pakistan the ongoing debate is whether to be part of the Saudi led Arab coalition, which is fighting against the Houthis or stay away from it. The dithering Federal Government initially through a hasty move decided to support Saudi Kingdom and even prepared a team of ministers and top officials to visit Riyadh to analyze the needs of Kingdom for a military assistance. However, the decision was delayed, over the reservations by some political circle, civil society and even religious groups.

Although Saudi Arabia has long border, 1770 kms with Yemen, but, there is no direct attack on the Kingdom, nor the Houthis so strong to invade Saudi Arabia. The infighting in Yemen is between the Shia Houthis and Government forces. Even now, many military units have also become part of the Houthi offensive against President Hadi. More so, it is said that, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was dethrone after Arab uprisings in 2011, is also supp ...
Monday, March 30, 2015 Read Article

Legitimising Pakistani legislatures

The good news is that there is no news — Save the same age-old historical ruts and grooves — because we learn no lessons from our tragic-traumatic history! ‘Election rigging’ and ‘horse trading’ are common cat calls in Pakistan ever after the death of its Founding Father, the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. By and large, not all of the allegations are misfounded. The notorious Doctrine of Necessity has been misused — even abused — by Pakistan’s Superior Judiciary to legitimise Praetorianism and military interventions in Pakistani Politics. Is there no ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ to legitimise legislative Interventions in the Pak political system? The cry hoarse slogan of the supremacy of the legislature has wearied people not just to indifference, but also anomie and even alienation. Thus, it is a totally unconvincing, and counterproductive non-starter cliché.

Then, how can we help to legitimise the legislature as an essential – nay critical — organ, instrument and agent of the Pakistani polity? Because all legislatures the world over, are symbols of the spirit of law and justice. And of Federalism and national integration.

To my mind, the sole justification of and for an authentic Legislature lies in genuine merit. Is there true merit in our Pakistani legislative assemblies, both federal and provincial? How do we define merit? What are it core criteria? Th ...
Monday, March 30, 2015 Read Article

Healing Karachi

Last September, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Nawaz Sharif paid a visit to Karachi to observe ground situation in the financial hub of Pakistan. In consultation with the law-enforcement agencies, he approved required strategy to curb violence. It was then decided to start a broad-spectrum operation against all those who are involved in any kind of criminal activity.

It was also decided during his visit that the operation against the criminals would be without any discrimination and no political or religious group would be allowed to operate. The targeted operation in Karachi is going on rapidly with a lot of success and achievements.

The security agencies have recently prepared a report on previous five month’s results regarding the operation. The report says, around 601 suspects were arrested out of which 213 were wanted; 153 were arrested in target killing cases and 71 were arrested in kidnapping for ransom cases. The report revealed that incidents of target killing reduced by 56% while murders and street crimes came down by 30% since the operation began. The sole aim of this operation is to make Pakistan a peacefully prosperous country.

Today we don’t have even a single Islamic country which could be called a terrorism-free state. Every Islamic country is fighting against some militant organisation and all such organisations claim of struggling ...
Monday, March 30, 2015 Read Article

Another civil war in Yemen

The last American troops left Yemen and the US State Department spokesman put the best possible face on it saying, “due to the deteriorating security situation in Yemen, the US government has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen.” He even said that the US continued to support the “political transition” in Yemen. But there is no “political transition.” There is a four-sided civil war. Why would anybody be surprised? There has been no 25-year period since the seventh century when there was not a civil war of one sort or another in Yemen. But this time it’s frightening the neighbours.

Yemen’s current turmoil started in 2011, when the dictator who had ruled the country for 33 years, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, was forced out by non-violent democratic protesters (and some tribal militias who backed them). Saleh’s deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, took over and even won an election in 2012, but he never managed to establish his authority over the divided country. Hadi had the backing of the United States and most of the Arab Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, because he was willing to fight the Islamist extremists who had seized much of southern and eastern Yemen.

But his main preoccupation was actually the Houthis, a tribal militia based in the largely Shiite north of Yemen. Angry at the status that the north was being offered in a proposed new ...
Monday, March 30, 2015 Read Article