Pakistan Observer


Rise of women power

Kerala, a relatively small state in the south of India, has a “quality of life” index as high as that in many parts of Europe, despite being significantly poorer. Life expectancy is past the mid-70s,while infant mortality rates are low and overall nutrition standards adequate, unlike for other parts of a country where nearly three hundred million citizens are desperately poor. At the core of such success is the education of women. During the period when much of the state was ruled by princely families, stress was given to educating women and enabling them to participate in the workforce, besides play a decisive role within civil society.

The consequence of such gender neutrality was a better family, with children better fed and educated, besides gaining the skills needed to get by in a competitive world. Because of the dominating role of the state in the economy - owing to the adoption of the Soviet model by Jawaharlal Nehru and followed by his predecessors till 1992 - jobs were scare within India, hence several million Malayalis (or Keralites, as the people of the state are termed) migrated to other shores, mostly to the GCC countries. Because of the eighteen hundred years of contact between the Arab countries and the Malabar coast, Keralites find working in the GCC countries to be less severe a transition than those from other states. As for the local populations with ...
Friday, May 22, 2015 Read Article

Hersh’s baseless diatribe

Seymour Myron Hersh, 1970 Pulitzer Prize winner for International Reporting, for his exposé of the My Lai Massacre and its cover up, has a penchant for breaking stories. Unfortunately, where he lacks genuine scoops, he conjures them from his very fertile imagination. In January 2005, Hersh alleged that the US was conducting covert operations in Iran to identify targets for possible strikes. Hersh also claimed that Pakistan and the United States had struck a “Khan–for–Iran” deal in which Washington would look the other way at Pakistan’s nuclear transgressions and not demand handing over of its infamous nuclear scientist Dr. A.Q. Khan, in return for Islamabad’s cooperation in neutralizing Iran’s nuclear plans. This allegation was vehemently refuted by both US and Pakistan government officials.

The latest accusation by Hersh appeared on May 10, 2015, in a 10,000 word article ?The Killing of Osama bin Laden?, which appeared in the “London Review of Books” (LRB). It is surprising that in this age of information, people are still gullible for conspiracy stories. Hersh’s baseless diatribe immediately went viral, crashing the LRB website. Hersh has quoted both named and unnamed sources, claiming that the background to how bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad came to be known to the US Government and the US Navy SEALs raid was in fact known to the Pakistanis and had ISI cooperati ...
Friday, May 22, 2015 Read Article

Belief and superstition

Welcome to the post-modern, post-enlightenment, neo-pagan civilization. Superstition is alive and well here in the US. In a big city like Los Angeles or New York, one can find thousands of palm-readers, tarot-card readers and astrologers who even have professional associations and certification programs. Daily horoscopes are an indispensable part of even the most prestigious newspapers. Every year as the year ends, big names in the prediction business make big headlines —and millions of dollars— telling the world what will happen in the coming year. Superstitions are as old as darkness itself. Fear of the unknown and inability to control or predict our own future have led people to all kinds of irrational acts and beliefs.

Such fancy rationalisation cannot hide the fact that belief in the irrational is a direct result of lack of belief in the All Knowledgeable, All-Powerful God who controls everything. He created this vast universe and it is running according to His plan. Not a leaf falls from a tree or a droplet of water falls from the sky except through His will. We do not know what will happen to us tomorrow, but He does. We put our trust in Him, seek His protection and help, and accept His will. The person lacking this awareness will endlessly take omens from cats, birds, and mice; sticks and greasy stone; sun and stars; or itching in one’s body.

The Arabs ...
Friday, May 22, 2015 Read Article

Ummah needs statesmanship

IN Bangladesh dissidents continue to be disparagingly discredited due to the vilification campaign of the authoritarian and peremptory rulers there. The death sentence passed against Jama’at-e-Islami ideologues and stalwarts in succession during the past two years makes us feel wary and skeptical about the future of Bangladesh – the country which, as East Pakistan, was a part of united Pakistan. Secular democracy of undivided Pakistan facilitated polarization between PPP and Awami League.

The political polarization between the two prominent organizations eventually culminated in the irreconcilable and irremediable state of confrontation between Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Paranoiac mistrust between two leaders inevitably precipitated a crisis of schism, scission and dissension. Cleavage was completed through army intervention. Indian imperialist hawks capitalized on the situation of chaos and confusion. Thus emergence of Bangladesh as a sovereign country became a reality on Dec. 16, 1971.

Why should Bangladesh rulers assuage the imperialistic and expansionistic sentiments of Indian chauvinists and fascists who insinuate, through anti-Pakistan tirade and outpourings, that Bangladesh is nothing but an appendage, protectorate and dependency of India? Muslim majority sovereign country is part and parcel of Muslim Ummah. So the rulers of Banglades ...
Friday, May 22, 2015 Read Article

Give up on Netanyahu, go to the UN

The greetings President Obama extended last week to Israel’s new government may have sounded conciliatory, but Mr. Obama no longer entertains any illusions about Israel’s leaders. In the wake of last month’s election, the long time peace activists and diplomats who have devoted much of their professional lives to achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are more depressed and demoralized than ever before.

Well before Mr. Netanyahu declared during the recent election campaign that Palestinians would remain under Israeli military occupation as long as he is Israel’s prime minister, Mr. Obama understood that the Israeli government’s enthusiasm for continued peace talks with the Palestinians served no purpose other than to provide cover for Israel’s continued expansion of Jewish settlements and to preclude the emergence of anything resembling a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

Faced with this grim reality, some observers naïvely rooted for the centre-left Zionist Union during the campaign. But the notion that a government led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni might have produced a two-state accord with the Palestinians was also a delusion. An agreement based on the 1967 lines never appeared in the Zionist Union’s platform or crossed Mr. Herzog’s lips. Indeed, it was clear to anyone familiar with the history of the Israeli-Palestinian confl ...
Friday, May 22, 2015 Read Article