Pakistan Observer

Articles

When myths are taken as facts

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is far and away the most important power in the Middle East, not merely because of its oil wealth and its size, but because of the fact that the two holiest sites of Islam are within its boundaries. This geographical reality has given Riyadh a “soft power” completely out of proportion to its size. Given the tapestry of the Muslim world, where many different schools of thought exist, some having millions of followers, in hindsight it may have been preferable for the regime in Saudi Arabia to be more neutral in its approach towards these different strands of a faith that is the fastest-growing in the world.

However, almost from the start of their ascent to power two centuries back, the ruling Al Saud family (after whom the Kingdom is named) have formed a bond with the followers of Abdul Wahhab, with the two families closely linked through marriage. As a consequence, the teachings of the theologian have been accepted as the only true version of a faith which has more than a billion adherents worldwide, and in brief decades will overtake Christianity as the faith having the largest number of followers worldwide. Mosques other than those approved by this interpretation of the faith are disallowed from construction, while the houses of worship of any other faith is banned under law.

At a time when change is the only constant, and when hund ...
Friday, April 24, 2015 Read Article

NPT conference: Prospects & challenges

NOT with standing various instruments, one of the predominant challenges in the contemporary security environment to world peace and security is the spread of nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), since its ratification is broadly accepted as world’s most triumphant international arms control accord, which has been adhered by all states except North Korea, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Sudan. Conversely, the proliferation record in few last decades shows that the international mechanism to combat nuclear proliferation is relatively proving inadequate to handle prevailing challenges as the suspected cases of nuclear proliferation i.e. India, Israel, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria, were not deterred or reversed. Consequently, various recent developments have drawn attention to indigenous imperfections and worth of NPT, as several proliferation issues remain unsettled, ineffectively addressed or purposely overlooked.

Since NPT entered into force, Review Conferences are held after every five years to evaluate the implementation of three pillars of NPT; nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In 2015, the NPT Review Conference will take place at UN Headquarters from 27 April to 22 May. The state-parties will gather to consider a number of key issues, including: “universality of the Treaty, n ...
Friday, April 24, 2015 Read Article

Islamic principles of democracy

Generally, Islamic philosophy contains two categories of ruling; i.e. Shariah, the Islamic system of law based on the Qur’an and Sunnah, beliefs, morals and worship those are characterized as fixed rules. Second one deals with customs, worldly matters and changing conditions by fewer detailed rulings. The foremost category has fixed rulings; however, second category is flexible in wording and means of execution. Therefore issue of state, governance, and politics comes in it. Moreover, it should be clear that flexibility does not mean to entail leniency in the obligation or application of these rulings. The general ruling should be strictly implemented and must be followed because they are supporting pillars of Islamic state, compromise of these may lead to collapse of entire building.

Furthermore, Islam gave fixed ruling in constant matters of people’s lives. However, it determines the principles, which is a sign of greatness of Islam, for those matters that are inherently variable, diverse and accepting from different interpretations. These can be modified as per situation of the time. So, it shows the perfection of Islam as it is flexible where it needs to be and have fix ruling where it feels fit to be strict and these matters are obviously non-variant with time.

Presently, justice is considered as a soul of civilized societies. Therefore, enforcing justice ...
Friday, April 24, 2015 Read Article

A disorderly conduct

RAGGING is originally a western concept. Ragging is supposed to have its creation in certain European Universities where seniors played practical jokes at the time of welcoming freshmen to the institutions. Gradually, the practice of ragging became popular throughout the world. However, with time, ragging assumed obnoxious and harmful connotations and was severely condemned.

Today, almost all countries of the world have enacted stern laws that ban ragging and it has been completely eradicated in countries such as Canada and Japan. But sadly, India, which inherited ragging as a legacy from the British Raj, has not been able to free itself from the clutches of this inhuman practice. It can be said, without any doubt, that the worst form of ragging is committed in India. Infact, according to a research, India and Sri Lanka are the only two countries in the world where ragging exists.

It is said that man’s imagination knows no bounds. Very true, but when it comes to ragging, it can be rightly said that man’s perverted imagination too knows no bounds! From what was intended to provide good humour and harmless fun to students, ragging today has assumed torturous, vulgar and inhuman forms that defy all norms of decency and morality. It is to be understood that ragging is not merely a socio-legal problem. It has a certain psychological basis too. Just as every crime h ...
Friday, April 24, 2015 Read Article

US, not Iran, threatens Mideast stability

The Obama administration’s decision to negotiate with Tehran triggered near hysteria among US politicians and pundits who advocate perpetual war in the Middle East. One complaint is that the talks failed to address Iran’s malign regional role. These critics denounced Tehran’s imperial ambitions. For instance, the ever-hawkish Foreign Policy Initiative insisted that “Iran’s drive to dominate the region has been years in the making.” The group warned of Sanaa, Yemen becoming “the fourth Arab capital to fall under the sway of Tehran.”

However, if Mideast domination is Iran’s long-term priority, Tehran has accomplished little. Most governments in the region oppose the Islamic regime and America has far more influence. In war-torn Syria the Assad regime’s, and thus Iran’s, reach barely extends to the Damascus suburbs. Tehran enjoys outsize but not overwhelming influence in small, divided Lebanon. In Yemen Tehran is loosely connected to a long-time disaffected rebel movement in a seemingly permanent civil war. Iran matters in Baghdad because US President George W. Bush removed Iraqi secularist Saddam Hussein, Iran’s great nemesis. Yet the Economist magazine warned that “Iran’s belligerent behaviour in the Middle East is an increasing menace.” More specifically, wrote columnist Jonah Goldberg: “A civilized Iranian regime would presumably stop supporting Hamas in Gaza, Hezboll ...
Friday, April 24, 2015 Read Article