Saturday, January 25, 2014

Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is also, with keen hindsight, the most facetious movie of the year. It’s farcical nature is a decisive auteur’s move by Mr. Scorsese, and is as justified as the movie’s treatment of moralities, the chauvinistic man’s view of women, or the insistence that greed is god’s gift to mankind – of course, solely in the context of the movie Mr. Scorsese is fervent in making

A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
According to Jordan Belfort, a man’s best friend isn’t greed, sex or drugs: it’s cold, hard excessiveness.
For the longest time, make it all of the movie’s three hour running time, Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” mimics the people it is filming on the big-screen: it is as brash and inexorable as its characters, no matter how swaggeringly lopsided they come off as. A forewarning to the easily offended: “The Wolf of Wall Street” will rub you the wrong way – but only because it wants to. And boy, does it want to.
Mr. Scorsese’s snappy piece of excess is, quite surprisingly, a very deep movie about some very shallow people. Jordan Belfort – played to a hilt by Leonardo DiCaprio – is a young, uncomplicated, ambitious, newly married man from Bronx, who chose the wrong profession – stock brokering – but met the right guy on his first day of work (or vice versa). His boss, Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey, outrageous in his two scenes) is half-baked, but not necessarily harebrained, in his approach to make a profit: never let the investor roll-out with the money after a hit investment, instead keep him preoccupied with new sales, while the broker makes off with the commission.
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
Keeping people engaged in stock-hour’s rush hour traffic is mind-numbing work but Mark has a formula to deal with stress too – an insane abuse of sex and cocaine.
Belfort is sold to the advice, not for its practicality, but because the vice’s compulsion, and the inherent greed of money making, works quite harmoniously with a screwed up person’s view of the world where sexual gratification and drug abuse is the way of kings. And for a good while it is.
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
Belfort survives 1987’s Black Monday, coincidentally the first day of his promotion from an assistant to a broker, and finds his way trading penny-stocks and eventually building a small corporate empire with the most screwed-up losers in the business. (The movie, by the way, has an impressive supporting cast, including brief but deviously funny bits by Rob Reiner as Belfort’s dad and Jean Dujardin as his Swiss banker).
One of Belfort’s key men, by the way is a very aptly cast Jonah Hill, who plays Donnie Azoff, Belfort’s dumb-witted cohort in his empire – who by my own subjective view, is perhaps one of the most reprehensibly written characters written for the screen (and I mean that in a very good way).
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
Their eventual downfall, a staple in movies and real life, is less about an unexpected twist – bad people, of course, will go down, that is the law of the universe – and more about the thrill and joy of getting away with it. In that way, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is about petty criminals who make serious money by unregulated means. Mr. Scorsese, who masterminds an ambiance of relish in their triumphs, sidelines the creeping hand of the law (Kyle Chandler as Fed agent Patrick Denham), mostly because Belfort and co. couldn’t care less about the consequences.
Throughout “The Wolf of Wall Street” Mr. Scorsese’s direction, and the screenplay by Terence Winter, knows only four words: Live free, die hard!..or maybe, not die at all.
The exorbitance, especially the nudity and simulated sex that untenably springs up every five to fifteen minutes, is a fitting yet unwarranted component to the story, which by the way is adapted from the real Jordan Belfort’s autobiography.
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
Now and then Mr. Scorsese’s take is rough and dastardly. His camera, which by cognitive extension functions less like a camera and more as an external window, reframes, cranes and tracks over Belfort’s equally out-of-it staff and his key executives with so much zest that it appears almost as materialistic as the people it is capturing on negative. (The cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto, by the way, mixes a series of formats including digital and traditional film stock).
However, when there are moments Mr. Scorsese snaps out of the bedlam and stacks up a series of evenly spaces conversation pieces with mostly Mr. DiCaprio in the lead; as these keynote scenes are far-flung between a lot of self-proclaimed, self-congratulating roaring, they are at their most effective.
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
A scene from movie, "The Wolf of Wall Street". - Courtesy Photo
Sometimes Belfort turns and starts talking to us, as if he is simply too high on his success that he forgets the reality of the movie. The fourth wall hardly matters in any of these moments, because the feverish run Mr. Scorsese paces the narrative in, is mesmerizing without practical cinematic barricades. If Belfort talks to us (and we can discuss about whether we were part of a big-budget fictionalised Hollywood documentary afterwards), it’s only because he knows that rather than mere audiences, our experience is more akin to a cohort who secretly fancies Mr. DiCaprio’s and Mr. Scorsese’s rambunctious world.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” is also, with keen hindsight, the most facetious movie of the year. It’s farcical nature is a decisive auteur’s move by Mr. Scorsese, and is as justified as the movie’s treatment of moralities, the chauvinistic man’s view of women, or the insistence that greed is god’s gift to mankind – of course, solely in the context of the movie Mr. Scorsese is fervent in making.
Released by Paramount Pictures, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is rated A for way too much nudity, sexual situations and scenes of intense drama by people you may just have fun seeing burn.
Directed by Martin Scorsese; Produced by Mr. Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland and Emma Tillinger Koskoff; Written by Terence Winter (based on the book by Jordan Belfort); Cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto; Edited by Thelma Schoonmaker; amd Production design by Bob Shaw.
The movie stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Cristin Milioti and Jean Dujardin.
Mohammad Kamran Jawaid has been professionally critiquing movies for a while now – say more or less ten years, exclusively for Dawn. About 400 reviews and features later (he stopped counting a long time ago), not being as young as he was before, he still feels the urge to write for another couple of centuries.
Despite living movies 24/7 (his company ( helps filmmakers make movies), he is still truly, madly, deeply in love with cinema; the root cause of this anomaly requires further clinical trials. His twitter ( reveals very little about him, other than him being the Senior Film Critic for

Friday, January 24, 2014

Muzakirat, Operation and Haqqaiq by Talat Hussain

Dialogue, Operation and some Facts

Bangladesh Elections

Bangladesh elections 2014: Where democracy is a prisoner of history

It was an election of the ruling party, by the ruling party and for the ruling party. That is how one can describe the recent general elections in Bangladesh.
It was an election of the ruling party, by the ruling party and for the ruling party. That is how one can describe the recent general elections in Bangladesh. More than half of the candidates won the elections without even contesting and the remaining half, in a parliament of 300, romped home with a token fight between friendly parties.
The ruling Awami League, therefore, got a three fourth majority in the national assembly, which was an unprecedented victory. This is a parliament where the largest opposition in the country, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has no representation at all.
Political monopoly
No doubt, a House chosen without the participation of the main opposition alliances raises questions about the legitimacy of the government. And this question is being echoed within Bangladesh as well as outside. Concerns about the future of democracy in the youngest republic of South Asia are also under discussion.
This is not the first time that Bangladesh has seen a one sided election; in the middle of the 1990s, the BNP, then in power, held similar elections and won all the seats of the parliament, unopposed. But the government collapsed under the weight of its own majority and held another election within a few months, and the Awami League came back to power.
There is a huge and complicated history behind what is happening in the Bengali speaking country. And this history is a recurring theme in the nascent nation. It is a battle ground for political parties. The fights of the past have created deep distrust and animosity amongst the two main political organisations – the Awami League and the BNP.
But the first point of discussion is: why were the 2014 general elections non-inclusive and did not see the participation of the main opposition parties?
The BNP wanted the elections to be held under a caretaker government, run by a non political, neutral regime. The ruling party offered to set up a caretaker government, constituting all political parties, but the opposition rejected the offer and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before the elections were to be held.
The Awami League cited the constitutional provisions which did not support such an arrangement. In 2011, the parliament had annulled the provision of a caretaker regime, thereby doing away with a system which had become contentious ever since democracy was restored in Bangladesh in 1991. The main opposition was not in favour of this move, as it understood what this step would lead the country towards – and that prediction came true in the form of the 2014 elections.
The reality is that every election has, so far, been held under a caretaker regime. Awami League had a bitter experience in 2006 under the caretaker regime when that government, with support from the military, instead of holding instant elections, extended its term and tried to cleanse the Bengali politics of its two predominant parties. Sheikh Hasina had faced incarceration whereas the BNP leadership was also found in trouble at the time.
However, none of the political parties learnt any lesson from that episode.
Many rounds of talks were held and international players tried to broker a compromise between the two political rivals but no agreement could be reached between them.
As a result, the Awami League went ahead and held elections, whereas the BNP and its alliance partner – right wing Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami – tried to disrupt. It led to country wide protests costing more than 500 lives in a span of three months. Not only that, the whole nation reeled under constant shutdowns and strikes called by the opposition.
Various reports suggest that the fundamentalist Jamaat attacked the Hindu minority and other sections in different parts of the country, which were coming in to vote. This violence continued even after the elections.
A historical analysis
Bangladesh became an independent country in 1971, under the active leadership of the Awami League and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the current prime minister’s father. Bengali nationalism and linguistic identity were two defining reasons that led to a bloody separation between the then East and West Pakistan.
However, there were elements led by Jamaat-e-Islami who opposed the partition of Pakistan and these people actively helped the Pakistani army in suppressing the movement, which led to the deaths of more than a million people and the displacement of another 30 million.
Majority of Bangladeshis feel very strongly about the war and want justice for the deaths of so many innocent people.
Immediately after becoming an independent country, Dhaka banned the fundamentalist group, but after the death of Mujibur Rahman the ban was lifted and the Jamaat became one of the alliance partners of the BNP, under the presidency of Ziaur Rahman – an army dictator and the husband of Begum Khalida Zia, the leader of the present BNP.
The political legitimacy of the Jamaat, and some of its leaders involved in the movement, became a bone of contention between the two main political parties in the 70s and this difference still persists.
International crimes tribunal
In 2009, the Awami League government set up Bangladesh’s International crimes tribunal to try those who were responsible for killing people in the liberation war. As a result, some of Jamaat’s most prominent leaders faced trials. One of these prominent figures, Abdul Quader Mollah, became the first case of the tribunal and faced the gallows late last year for his criminal complicity in 1971.
His hanging stoked violence in several parts of the country. The BNP has been a loyal ally of the Islamic group and it patronised many of its radical leaders during its rule.
It is this history which is coming in the way of any kind of compromise and understanding between the Awami League and the BNP. The BNP and the Jamaat term the tribunal vindictive towards their leaders, illegal with respect to international law and want its disbandment. The ruling party sees it as cathartic and a must to provide justice to the thousands of victim families.
Democracy, a prisoner of history
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that modern democracy in Bangladesh is a prisoner of this history.
But one needs to ask, what is the way forward to the present impasse in the country?
I asked the same question to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on January 5, a day after the elections; in the media interaction, where she, very bluntly, replied back that it all depends upon the attitude of the opposition – if they want to talk then some way out can be found.
The only way out is a new election, which is inevitable, whether it happens in six months or a year.
The present regime suffers from the problem of legitimacy. The violence and continuous disruption of normal life has made people cynical about the elections and democracy. Talk to any common man on the street and his or her first reaction is always the restoration of peace and normal life. They don’t care who wins and loses.
Such cynicism does not strengthen democracy; rather it gives an opportunity to military intervention – which the 160 million people of this country are not immune to.
Democracy is of the people, by the people and for the people but this idea is served well only when it is participatory and includes all shades of political colours.
In a nutshell, the 2014 elections in Bangladesh lacked this democratic spirit.

Sleeper Cells by Nusrat Javed

Extremism hamari rooh k andar kahen per ghuss gya hai...

Shart e Awwal

Muzakirat ya Opertaion, o bhai kuch to karo...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

WikiLeaks: Nawaz Convinced Pak is Behind Mumbai Attacks

SUBJECT: NAWAZ SHARIF TELLS CODEL MCCAIN PAKISTANIS WERE INVOLVED IN MUMBAI CLASSIFIED BY: Clinton Taylor, Acting Principal Officer, Consulate Lahore, US DoS. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) ¶1. (C) Summary: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham December 6 he is convinced Pakistanis were involved in the Mumbai attacks and he would push for strict action against the responsible extremists. Sharif pointed out that he had concluded the Lahore Declaration in 1999 with Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee, and the PMLN has refrained from making India a political issue. McCain noted the enormous political pressures Indian leaders faced and urged Pakistan action against Mumbai attacker, Sharif said he recognized that Pakistan faced the same enemy and committed to work against the extremists. End Summary. - - - Nawaz Sharif Upset About U.S. Support for Musharraf - - - ¶2. (C) Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham December 6 that his party has acted responsibly with the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) to fight terrorism. He recounted that former President Pervez Musharraf had exiled both him and PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, and he was ""amazed when President Bush provided his support for a dictator."" His party had supported the PPP government until President Asif Zardari failed to honor his commitment to restore the judges dismissed by Musharraf, at which point the PMLN withdrew from the national government. ¶3. (C) Nawaz Sharif contrasted his approach to India, in which he had signed the Lahore Declaration with Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee to establish a peaceful path to normalization, to Musharraf's strategy, which brought on the confrontation at Kargil, ""the biggest blunder he committed,"" Sharif said. He boasted that his party has refrained from using India as a political tool. ""We strongly condemned what happened in India, and want the issue to come to an end,"" he stated. ""If there is any concrete evidence, we must take action."" - - - McCain Urges Pakistan to Respond Quickly - - - ¶4. (C) Senator John McCain underscored that the evidence from the Mumbai attacks indicates the perpetrators came out of Pakistan. ""These are facts,"" he stressed. He described his recent visit to New Delhi, in which he found public opinion ""never more aroused."" ""Unless some concrete steps besides condemning the attacks are taken, you will see concrete action from India,"" he warned. Specific action from Pakistan, such as dismantling the training camps, will allow the U.S. to help defuse the rapidly escalating tension between the two countries and relieve the pressure on India to respond militarily, he offered. ¶5. (C) Turning to Afghanistan, McCain noted that the U.S. has achieved ""some degree of success against these warring elements."" He worried about the viability of the government in Kabul and President Hamid Karzai's lack of popularity and acceptance throughout the country, and recognized that violence has increased because of the sustained presence of the Taliban. He urged Sharif to support Pakistan to work closely together with the U.S. to confront a ""common enemy."" - - - Sharif Says He Recognizes Terrorist Threat to Pakistan - - - ¶6. (C) Sharif recounted that during his stints as Prime Minister he offered Pakistan's support for the Gulf War and discussed in great detail with President Clinton how to deal with extremist forces in Afghanistan. ""Who could be more committed to fight against terrorism?"" he asked. The December 5 bomb in Peshawar and the blast at the Marriott Hotel proved that Pakistan also faced a threat. He was aggrieved over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and he himself had dodged bullets at election rallies. ""The people responsible for Bombay are also operating in Pakistan -- we face those forces here,"" he said. He underlined his commitment to help the government ""eradicate this menace."" ¶7. (C) Regarding India, Sharif acknowledged the country's anger, but criticized the Indian media for its ""indecent haste"" in blaming Pakistan. But he described how he had listened to the phone call made by one of the attackers and even though the individual claimed he was Indian, Sharif heard a Pakistani accent. ""The people involved were from this country -- I am convinced,"" he stated. ""We must take strictest action against those elements."" Once India produces concrete evidence, ""we should proceed whole hog,"" he declared. - - - McCain Urges Action - - - ¶8. (C) McCain reiterated that Pakistan must take ""specific steps to calm the situation."" He explained that because India's government answers to the people, it must respond to the voters' demand to take action. He pointed out that economic development and military assistance to Pakistan is essential to help the country fight terrorism. ""I do not want to see a movement in Congress to take measures to reduce assistance,"" he cautioned. - - - Graham Stresses Rule of Law - - - ¶9. (C) Senator Graham praised the lawyers movement, and said that he saw an ""opportunity for the rule of law to take center stage."" He offered that the international community would look favorably on Pakistan if it took decisive action against the terrorists. ""If India believes that its neighbor is a safe haven for the people who slaughtered its citizens, it cannot sit on the sidelines,"" he observed. Instead of working on the Kashmir issue through the Lashker-e-Taiba, he urged Pakistan to use legal measures to defeat the terrorists. Assimilating the tribal areas legally might also help eliminate a source of tension within Pakistan, he thought. On Afghanistan, he noted that President-elect Obama intended to win the war, and he emphasized that the U.S. considered Pakistan a long-term partner. - - - PMLN Party Members Question Evidence - - - ¶10. (C) Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudry Nasir Ali Khan recalled that by asserting Pakistan's sovereignty during the presidential campaign, McCain had reversed the impression in Pakistan that he would prolong President Bush's policies. Chaudry Nasir highlighted the need for the U.S. to sway public opinion and clarify its stance on the restoration of the judiciary. ""You must decide whether the U.S. wants to fight through cronies or genuine friends,"" he stated. The U.S. has compromised Pakistan's sovereignty and signed a nuclear treaty with India, which has turned sentiment in Pakistan away from the U.S. ""There is an across the board consensus on action, but not until proof is put forward,"" he said. Nasir emphasized that the government can't move without popular support. Senator McCain agreed that public opinion is key. - - - McCain Stresses Action - - - ¶11. (C) McCain said that he would urge the Indian government to turn over any evidence it has found. ""We are in a race against time,"" he pressed, and warned that military action would cause even greater loss of life. ""The purpose of those attacks was to cause armed conflict between India and Pakistan, and they could succeed,"" he counseled. ¶12. (C) Comment: Importantly, the Sharifs did not push back against Senator McCain's assertions that the Lashkar-eTaiba was responsible for the Mumbai attacks. The issue will be whether he can take the high road and support a government crackdown on LeT as he did in private. CLINT TAYLOR

Wikileaks on Musharraf's Indemnity

SUBJECT: IMMUNITY FOR MUSHARRAF LIKELY AFTER ZARDARI’S ELECTION AS PRESIDENT REF: (A) ISLAMABAD 2742 (B) ISLAMABAD 2741 Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, for reasons 1.4 (b)(d) ¶1. (C) Summary. In separate meetings with Asif Zardari, PM Gilani and Chief of Army Staff Kayani, Ambassador pressed for quick action on immunity for former President Musharraf. Zardari and Gilani said flatly that they were committed to providing immunity, but not until after the presidential election (now scheduled for September 6). Pushing immunity now, they believed, could jeopardize Zardari’s candidacy. Kayani expressed concern that if immunity becomes tied up with the ongoing debate over the judges’ future, it may never happen. Zardari plans to continue to slow roll action on the judges’ restoration but remains confident that Nawaz Sharif will not walk out of the coalition. Nawaz’s deadlines for action on the judges continue to pass unfulfilled; the next one is scheduled for August 27. The decision by the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) August 20 to back Zardari for President has strengthened Zardari’s hand against Nawaz. Nawaz is left with the option of walking out of the coalition but having little prospect of forcing a new general election in the short term. Zardari is walking tall these days, hopefully not too tall to forget his promise to Kayani and to us on an immunity deal. End Summary. ¶2. (C) Ambassador met with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Asif Zardari on August 23, with PM Gilani on August 21, and with COAS Kayani on August 20. ¶3. (C) Zardari told Ambassador August 23 that he was committed to indemnity for Musharraf. Ambassador stressed that only the promise of indemnity had persuaded Musharraf to step down as President. We believed, as we had often said, that Musharraf should have a dignified retirement and not be hounded out of the country. Zardari cited a British anecdote about the Spanish empire and said “tell the most powerful man in the world that there is no way that I would go back on what I have said.” Zardari noted that he already had firmly committed to the U.S., the UK, and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Kayani that indemnity for Musharraf would be forthcoming. Ambassador urged him to do it quickly. Zardari said flatly that to do it before he was elected President would lose him votes, but he would do both the legislation and a presidential pardon as soon as he was elected. Zardari revealed that former President Musharraf had approached Chief Justice Dogar about issuing a restraining order against the impeachment motion, but Dogar had refused. Zardari also alleged that Musharraf had planned to replace COAS Kayani if Dogar had blocked the impeachment. 4. (C) Zardari said he was trying to keep Nawaz in the coalition and was candid that he planned to tie up the judges issue for a long time. He said the parliament would debate the restoration of the judges; Chief Justice Dogar would then submit some rulings on the restoration of the judges; all this could take months. In the meantime, he was trying to persuade former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to become Governor of Balochistan. (Note: In a move clearly orchestrated by Zardari, the Governor Magsi of Balochistan resigned on August 20, making it possible to offer the position to Chaudhry.) ¶5. (C) Zardari said he did not think Nawaz would leave the coalition, but he admitted the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had become increasingly testy. He said that he had already agreed with Nawaz to curtail the powers of the President and then allow Nawaz to be eligible for a third term as Prime Minister; both measures would require constitutional amendments. Zardari revealed that he also had leverage over Shahbaz Sharif, who through paperwork snafus, had been technically elected illegally for a third term as Chief Minister. This, too, would have to be resolved in parliament, Zardari said. “So I can give them something they want,” noted Zardari, “that’s what politics is all about.” Kayani Worried -------------- ¶6. (C) After an August 20 meeting with visiting S/CT Coordinator Dell Dailey, Kayani asked Ambassador to stay behind and discuss his concerns that Zardari was delaying ISLAMABAD 00002802 002 OF 003 Musharraf,s immunity bill. Kayani had heard the large meeting of coalition partners (chaired August 19 by the newly returned Bilawal Bhutto) had discussed mostly the judges. Then they decided to take a 72-hour “break” to consult party members. ¶7. (C) As post earlier reported (Reftels), Kayani said he took Zardari,s commitments to now ex-President Musharraf as the most important argument in persuading him to resign. Zardari made very specific commitments to Kayani. Now, for Zardari to delay, it makes him (Kayani) look bad within his own institution “and I have to bring the Army along with me.” Kayani also noted that the delay does nothing for Zardari,s reputation for trustworthiness. If this issue gets conflated with the judges and with Zardari,s own desires to be President, it will become too complicated to pass, Kayani said. Gilani on Immunity, Bajaur, Subsidies ------------------------------------- ¶8. (C) Ambassador met with PM Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik for thirty minutes August 21, after a graduation ceremony for U.S. trained members of his protective detail. He had been briefed about PDAS Camp’s discussion with Ambassador Haqqani. ¶9. (C) Gilani said the PPP was going to provide immunity for ex-President Musharraf, but timing was important. They were afraid that putting forward immunity legislation would lose them votes for Asif Zardari,s presidential campaign. Ambassador pressed on this issue, saying that Musharraf would never have agreed to resign without the promise of immunity. He assured Ambassador that he and the party did not want vengeance. Regarding immunity, Gilani said “many will say that we have done a deal with America, but still I understand that we have to do it.” ¶10. (C) Regarding the ongoing military operation on Bajaur (in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas), Gilani assured Ambassador that it will continue “to its conclusion,” i.e., until all the militants were driven out. Gilani said the next step would be to go after Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. Gilani wanted President Bush to know that over 500 militants had been killed in the operation and that the GOP had reached out to NATO (during General Kayani’s recent visit to Afghanistan for a tripartite meeting). He said Pakistan would do everything possible to encourage cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistani militaries. Gilani noted that Pakistan was using its F-16 aircraft to fight the militants and thanked the U.S. for providing funding for the F-16 mid-life upgrades. However, Gilani pleaded for urgent U.S. assistance in providing relief for displaced people around Bajaur and noted that fighting was spreading to neighboring Mohmand Agency. ¶11. (C) Malik suggested we hold off alleged Predator attacks until after the Bajaur operation. The PM brushed aside Rehman,s remarks and said “I don,t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We,ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.” (Note: The strike has been front page news, but the media is reporting that the targets were nests of Arab fighters.) ¶12. (C) Gilani said it would be almost politically impossible to reduce fuel subsidies (raise prices) in the short term along the lines Deputy Secretary Kimmitt had suggested to the Finance Minister. The coalition had restoration of the deposed judges, immunity for Musharraf, and the election of the new president on their plate. They were already taking enormous heat for previous fuel price increases. ¶13. (C) Comment: Nawaz may increasingly be considering leaving the coalition in the center and consolidating his hold in the Punjab because he cannot engineer a new general election in the short term. The addition of MQM’s support leaves Nawaz with less leverage over Zardari in the current coalition. The fight over Iftikhar Chaudhry probably is based on Nawaz’s expectation that Chaudhry would rule in both Nawaz’s and Shahbaz’s favor in pending court cases ISLAMABAD 00002802 003 OF 003 challenging their ability to run as candidates in the National and Punjab Assemblies respectively. Until he can sit in the National Assembly, Nawaz cannot be Prime Minister. PATTERSON

Ladies and Gentleman, We Suck!

Reminds me of Are We in our senses??

Ladies and gentlemen, we suck!

We suck and that's a fact. These are things we should not do to "suck a little less".
There was a time when Muslims were the most peaceful group of people in the world. They ruled half the Earth, and established a perfect model of governance. Muslim scientists were the pioneers of modern-day science. The great Mughal Empire built the most beautiful examples of architecture ever witnessed by mankind.
Muslims were brave and pious, righteous and honourable, enlightened and well-visioned. However, slowly and gradually, the Zionist forces and deputies of Satan with magical powers started to plot against the mighty Muslims. They stole our scientific knowledge, captured our lands through manipulation, and secretly lead us towards dismay.
Modern-day Muslims are a sad group of people, divided amongst themselves, and declining by each passing day. Even today, it is the Zionists who plot and plan against the welfare of the Muslims.
Let us look at the holy state of Pakistan. After suffering the atrocities of non-Muslims for 90 long years, the noble Muslims of Hindustan finally gained independence under the able leadership of the Muslim League (the one with no initial attached to it). All members of the Muslim League were pious Muslims, and after the sacrifices that went into making this country, there was no doubt that it would go on to become one of the super powers of the world in the near future.
But alas, the Zionists intervened yet again, causing instability within the region and causing the people of varying ethnicities to hate each other to the point where they can take each other’s lives, causing corrupt governments to come into power, causing the country to become an embarrassment on the face of the pious Muslims world.
Sorry, guys. I am really sorry, but I can’t go any further. I can’t go any further without saying that, in reality, we suck.
Yes, we suck. We suck as a nation, we suck at doing justice to our beliefs and we suck as human beings. We’re not good people. We hate each other. We’re numb to the things that go on around us as long as we are not affected by them. We shower murderers with rose petals; we lead protests for Muslims killed thousands of miles away and ignore the ones killed on our very streets.
We don’t respect our heroes. We condemn our corrupt leaders but subconsciously we know that if we were in their place we would do the same. Even if we don’t know, I am telling you that we would. Our leaders represent us; we are the reason they have enjoyed the fruits of power time and again.
We suck. The world has gone far beyond our reach. Face it. Accept it. Yes, we have Abdul Sattar Edhi but we also have several people who would shoot people like him if they have unfavourable names. Yes, we have Professor Adeeb Rizvi, but we also have hate preachers in countless places all across the country, brainwashing our children and feeding the pest of hate to their hearts.
We suck. Way too many people are dying every day. Yes, the population of Karachi is estimated at 20 million, so 377 deaths in 42 deaths is not that big a proportion. But these 377 lives were not lost in accidents; they were taken intentionally. We are quiet; we are numb, because we genuinely suck.
This is not an article to paint a negative picture of Pakistan. There are enough people doing that on a daily basis. And I honestly don’t care about some elements in our neighbour who naturally harbours hate for us. I don’t care if he is jumping in his chair in jubilation agreeing to every word being said here. I don’t care.
So what’s the point then? Open your eyes. We suck. Realise it. It’s not a Zionist agenda that makes us spit pan on hospital walls. It’s not some secret sorcery on some forsaken mountain that makes us lack morals. A country made to secure the rights of minorities has started genocide of its minorities and we are quiet. Why? Because we suck.
Open your eyes. Finish the hate. Stop pointing fingers. Look in the mirror. Go back to the basics. Let’s start saying “please” and “thank you” more often. Let’s treat our streets like our own homes. Let’s understand the fact that we are no one to judge others based on the language they speak, the religion they belong to, the area they live in, or the kind of clothes they wear.
We’re going back whilst the world is moving forward. It’s about time we opened our eyes now. Let’s finish the hatred in our hearts. Let us learn to care.
We suck. Let’s accept it so that we can stop doing so.
Khuda Hafiz, or Allah Hafiz. Whatever makes you happy. No issue, really.

A 21st Century Pakistani Patriot

A chat with a 21st century Pakistani patriot

Patriot: Do you see any scars on Malala Yousufzai's head? Terrorism is a hoax created by the West.
Interviewer (I): Assalamu alaykum. My name is Sanjay.
Patriot (P): Sanjay? Are you Indian?
I: No, I’m Pakistani.
P: How come?
I: Well I was born and raised here.
P: However, people of your belief are born and raised in India. Sanjay Dutt is an example.
I: A large number of people of my belief live in Pakistan as well. Seen the white in our flag?
P: Oh. That’s Odd.
I: What do you think about Pakistan?
P: I love my country. It’s a great country to live in.
I: What do you like about Pakistan?
P: I know the funded media is trying its best to ruin Pakistan’s image, but we need to be positive and see the bright side. We need to look at people like Begum Ali Moeen Nawazish Ali and Agha Waqar who are the true representatives of the country.
I: Agha Waqar? The guy who said he could run cars with water?
P: Yes, him. Unfortunately the diesel mafia got the better of him.
I: And what about Malala Yousufzai?
P: Do you see any scars on her head?
I: But you do agree that terrorism is a problem, right?
P: Terrorism is a hoax created by the West.
I: But people are actually dying because of attacks.
P: Drones. Besides, all of us have to eventually die anyway.
I: What about the drones?
P: If you stop the drones, it will stop terrorism. Injustice leads to more injustice.
I: So if we stop the drones, people will stop getting killed altogether?
P: Not altogether. The rest are being killed by *ahem* *ahem*, foreign agents. Didn’t you see the dragon tattoo on the back of a terrorist who was once killed?
I: But that was just one terrorist. Many more have being caught.
P: And how many of them have been stripped to check for tattoos?
I: I’m not exactly sure.
P: See?
I: So how do we stop these foreign agents?
P: By having a government that is not installed by the West.
I: Why does the West have control over who rules Pakistan?
P: Because it is scared of us.
I: What exactly is it scared of?
P: Our atom bomb.
I: So because the West is scared of us, it ends up indirectly ruling us?
P: Sounds legit. It also funds our media to destruct the image of Pakistan. Instead of showing lofty mountains, it shows the people dying from snake-bites!
I: You mean the mountains where tourists were recently killed?
P: Foreign hand. Besides, the number of tourists killed is a lot less when compared to the total number of tourists visiting the mountains. You need to think more positively.
I: Well, positively speaking, how will we get out of this mess?
P: Through a revolution.
I: And how will the revolution come?
P: A leader will rise from amongst the common man. The nation will march behind him to Islamabad and will overthrow the corrupt government and then everything will be alright. Next we will march to Kashmir and make it a part of Pakistan once and for all!
I: Someone like Colonel Sanders perhaps?
P: No he stays inside a container and is a dual national; clear signs of being a foreign agent. The big hat is also fishy.
I: How will everything become alright once the government is overthrown?
P: That’s the leader’s headache. I don’t look like one, do I?
I: I wouldn’t think so. What are your views about load-shedding?
P: It can be solved if the government pays attention to it.
I: How about the public start paying their bills for a change?
P: You need to understand that it is very difficult in this age of inflation.
I: What has caused the inflation?
P: IMF funds. It is again Western conspiracy to make us beggars.
I: Do you pay your taxes?
P: I don’t pay taxes because the government is corrupt. I don’t want to pay taxes to government officials who take their salaries from the West. *PHONE RINGS*
I: Is that an iPhone I see in your hand?
P: Oh yes! My new iPhone 4S. Cool, isn’t it?
I: Very cool. As a Pakistani I am concerned about what is happening in Balochistan. Do you remember East Pakistan?
P: What’s that?
I: Bangladesh?
P: Yes, what about it?
I: 1971? Civil war?
P: Oh! Yes, that.  India. It was India all along.
I: What about India?
P: Please don’t mind me saying, but India funded the entire rebellion.
I: Why was there rebellion in the first place?
P: Bollywood. Our brothers’ minds were corrupted because of Indian movies.
I: I guess we should end this conversation here now.
P: I am sorry if I sounded a bit harsh. Hope you see the right path soon.

Pearls of Destiny

Just Condemning attacks on polio workers won't help

Pearls of destiny… deprived

This tear was strictly personal. It was a question that she posed to her fate. The tear inquired the authors of her destiny about her fault; it was a testament of agony, an expression of anger and a plea of desperation.
Her face glowed as she reached the gates of her college. Her eyes sparkled with ambition as she took each step towards her classroom, aided by her faithful crutches. Slowly, she approached the front desk of the class, kept her bag on the seat next to her, sat down and neatly hid the crutches under the desk.
It had been another usual day for Anika. She had enjoyed every bit of her lessons, making it a point to answer all the questions she had answers to when asked by the teacher. When she didn’t know the answer, she would eagerly wait for her colleagues to answer instead, so that she could add to her growing pool of knowledge. Anika, through her sheer determination and hard work, was making sure that the disability nature had bestowed her with in no way blocked her path towards achieving excellence.
Attending classes at school and college had always been enjoyable experiences for Anika. At home, she loved playing Ludo with her younger siblings, or helping them with their homework. Watching television was another form of entertainment that Anika always looked forward too.
It was her belief that these activities put her at par with everyone around her. That these activities protected her from the glares and stares that society often showered her with. These activities blocked the inquisitive minds of unknown bystanders who failed to mind their own business. These activities relieved her, temporarily, from her dreaded crutches.
Although nature had been unfair towards her, Anika always managed to fashion a smile on her face. When she would watch her friends at college play throw-ball, Anika would loudly cheer for them. When her siblings would excitedly play hide and seek in the yard, Anika would make a quick snack for them to consume after play-time. But no matter how much she smiled, the natural concern on her parents’ faces regarding her future could not be permanently erased.
Anika was generally well in control of her emotions, not allowing them to get the better of her. And while expression of emotions is generally considered a healthy sign, required for development, such a habit in her case would equate weakness.
Hence, every now and then, deep into the night, when most of God’s creation would be busy hiking a mountain or visiting the moon in dreamland, Anika shed a silent tear. The tear was often accompanied with an aching feeling in her throat, and a sinking feeling in her chest.
This tear was strictly personal.
It was a question, a question that she posed to her fate. The tear inquired the authors of her destiny about her fault; it was a testament of agony, an expression of anger and a plea of desperation.
It was another evening when Anika’s siblings were busy playing out in the yard. Anika decided to watch her favourite drama on television. She turned on the TV and began switching channels. Midway, she heard the phone ring in the nearby room. A bit annoyed, Anika grabbed her crutches and proceeded to attend the call. The news channel that had been tuned in to had a noisy talk show host interviewing a politician.
“You have been in power for seven months now. Can we know what your party has done for us?”
She inquired in her usual style.
“Listen madam, we don’t have a magic wand. These things take time,” calmly replied the politician.
“How much more time do you need? Even today, four doctors were killed in broad daylight at a hospital. Things have never been this bad before,” the host continued her onslaught.
“Madam, we strongly regret this incident. But you are forgetting what happened 12 years ago when our rivals were in power. You are forgetting how polio workers were shot in broad daylight and they did nothing about it. You can pick up the newspapers and check if you want to. Our party was the only group that openly condemned those attacks on polio health-workers and registered our protest outside the press club. Through your channel, I would hereby like to announce the formation of a committee that…”
Anika kept her crutches on the ground and tuned in to her favourite channel.
It was her uncle’s call. He would be visiting them the following day with his children.

5 Ways to Improve US Policy in South Asia

How to improve US Policy in South Asia in 2014

Five ways to improve US policy in South Asia in 2014

US officials can help themselves out by pledging to do several things differently in South Asia this year. DESIGN: ZOYA ZAIDI
If there’s one word that defines South Asia in 2014, it’s transition. Elections are scheduled in three countries – Afghanistan, India and a controversial one already held in Bangladesh on January 5. Newly elected governments face their first full year in office in four others – Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan. And hovering over this all is the international troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Amid this change and uncertainty, Washington’s chief objective for South Asia will remain the same – attaining stability. It’s an admittedly ambitious goal in a region cursed by interstate and intrastate tensions alike, and flushes with security threats that range from Islamist militancy to organised crime.
US officials can help themselves out by pledging to do several things differently in South Asia this year. Here are five New Year’s resolutions that, if upheld, can help inch the region just a bit closer to the stability that’s long eluded it.
1) Think more regionally
There’s a tendency in Washington to perceive competing regional interests in Afghanistan through the narrow lens of the India-Pakistan rivalry. And indeed, as the international troop presence draws down, these two countries will intensify their competition for influence in Afghanistan, with troubling ramifications for regional stability.
Yet it’s also important to recognise Iran’s concerns about Afghanistan’s Hazara Shias, China’s apprehensions about the security of its mineral and other private investments in Afghanistan, Russia’s worries about the Afghan drug trade and the fears of Central Asian states about intensified unrest in Afghanistan spilling over their borders. To be sure, these broader regional anxieties don’t portend conflict. But leaving them to fester could aggravate a set of regional tensions quite separate from those tied to the Durand Line or Line of Control.
This year, Washington should host a conference exclusively for Afghanistan’s neighbours.
It could highlight regional perspectives, interests and concerns, and equip US officials with useful policy inputs.
2) Pursue economic integration more robustly
South Asia is one of the world’s poorest and least integrated regions, which has constrained development and fuelled chronic instability. US officials know this from back in 2011, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that Afghans must ‘work alongside all of their neighbours to shape a more integrated economic future for the region that will create jobs and will undercut the appeal of extremism’.
The Obama administration has often spoken of establishing a ‘new silk road’ that reconstitutes old trade links between South and Central Asia. It’s a good yet vague idea, though little of substance has been done to pursue it.
This year, the US should focus on more targeted pro-integration efforts such as taking better advantage of its observer status in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), South Asia’s notoriously ineffective eight-member regional organisation. SAARC is plagued by deep-seated challenges (most notably dysfunctional relations between many member states), yet it also suffers from more easily rectifiable problems such as a frequently malfunctioning website that Washington could gently press the organisation to address.
The US should also reconsider its opposition to the Iran-Pakistan pipeline. If ever consummated, this project would not only contribute to regional integration but also ease Pakistan’s destabilising energy crisis. The pipeline would provide more than an estimated quarter of Pakistan’s daily electricity demand.  Thanks to last year’s Geneva agreement, the US has pledged to suspend sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports if Tehran freezes some of its nuclear weapons program. If this happens, Washington’s continued opposition to the pipeline will start looking silly.
3) Pay more attention to Bangladesh
In recent years, Washington’s South Asia policy has centered around Afghanistan and Pakistan, with India also in the mix. Bangladesh has largely been ignored, a troubling omission. Bangladesh is a moderate Muslim-majority nation that sits astride the Indian Ocean region, an area that influential foreign affairs commentator Robert Kaplan says,
‘… May comprise a map as iconic to the new century as Europe was to the last one’.
Bangladesh also provides five billion dollars’ worth of goods to Americans every year; roughly 40% of its exports go to the US.
More to the point, Bangladesh is one of the biggest powder kegs in South Asia. In recent months, the nation has been convulsed by ‘unprecedented’ pre-election violence and the political opposition decided to boycott the January 5 poll. Public unrest, already inflamed by on-going and polarising government-led trials for war crimes committed during Bangladesh’s war for independence, could well explode in the aftermath of a flawed election. And one can never rule out intervention by Bangladesh’s military. It’s attempted a whopping 30 coups (most recently in 2012) over the country’s nearly 43-year existence.
Given its geopolitical significance and volatile neighbourhood, Washington needs to keep a close eye on Bangladesh this year. A Congressional hearing and several government-sponsored private roundtables last year represent a good start. The White House needs to be up to speed so that it’s not caught off-guard if a worst-case scenario, from a ruling party effort to establish a one-party state to a military takeover, should ever come to pass.
4) Make a new push for India-Pakistan reconciliation
Most observers agree that peace between these nuclear rivals would be a boon for regional stability. Yet, few believe full normalisation is in the cards anytime soon, given the total absence of progress on the relationship’s core territorial disputes.
For Washington, the trick is to latch onto the lowest-hanging fruit and that’s trade. In recent years, the two countries have taken a slew of measures that have brought them tantalisingly close to a formal commercial relationship. The sole remaining step is for Pakistan to eliminate its list of goods that can’t be traded with India. Islamabad pledged to do this by the end of 2012 and still hasn’t done so.
Washington should quietly use its good offices to help finalise this trade normalisation, an outcome that would provide much-needed economic boosts and help build constituencies for peace in both countries. Admittedly, this may be the best contribution the White House can make toward India-Pakistan peace this year. Given the turbulent nature of its ties with Islamabad and, more recently, its worsening relations with New Delhi, mediating a behind-the-scenes resolution to the intractable Kashmir conflict simply isn’t realistic.
The previous three words provide the perfect lead-in for the final and arguably most important, New Year’s resolution for US South Asia policy.
5) Be more humble about expectations and objectives
Washington must acknowledge the limits of its leverage in South Asia. Ousting the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and plying the country with aid hasn’t prevented President Hamid Karzai from refusing, so far, to sign a bilateral security agreement that permits a post-2014 American military presence. Similarly, pouring billions of dollars in security assistance into Pakistan hasn’t prompted that nation’s military to unequivocally sever ties with militants that attack US forces in Afghanistan.
Given all of the changes in store for South Asia this year, it’s understandable that US officials will want to do all they can to secure their interests in the region. Yet there are limits to how these interests can be secured, particularly because South Asian countries’ own interests, in many cases, simply don’t align with America’s.
And that’s a lesson for US policy that extends well beyond the region.

Misbah ul-Haq: the most honourable cricketer of the modern era! British newspaper terms Misbah the best of the modern era

By   Last updated: January 21st, 2014

Misbah is as thoughtful and measured in interviews as he is at the crease, although he has occasionally hit back at critics who accuse him of being a defensive captain. In the latest victory, his captaincy was imaginative and inspirational.

This article is written by the cricket novelist Richard Heller and Peter Oborne
Who is the most admirable cricketer in the world? Some might name Michael Clarke, who has done so much to turn the Australian team around, both with the bat and also brilliant captaincy.
Some might well suggest Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who again and again digs the woeful West Indian batting line up out of trouble. But I would like to nominate the Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq, who last night led his team to an improbable and famous victory over Sri Lanka.
No one, not even the great Imran Khan, has had an easy ride leading Pakistan, but Misbah has had the toughest task of them all. Like his predecessors he has had to cope with infighting, selectorial caprice and the notoriously chaotic administration of Pakistan cricket.
But on top of that he had to take over a team which had been tainted and demoralised by the spot-fixing scandal of 2010. Most important of all, he has had to lead an international team in exile since the horrific attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in 2009. All of Misbah’s 27 Test matches as captain (and 86 one-day internationals) have been played away from Pakistan.
The latest Test victory was Misbah’s twelfth as captain, with seven losses and eight draws. The highlight was the 3-0 sweep over England at “home” in the United Arab Emirates in 2012.
As a win ratio, it put him ahead of Imran’s 14 wins from 48 matches (although to be fair, Imran often rested himself against lesser opponents). Like Imran, he has become a better batsman as captain, averaging 33.6 before and 61.4 afterwards.
Misbah was a desperation choice as captain. He was appointed at age 36, after a stop-start Test career in which he was regularly dropped and had to force his way back by consistent scoring in domestic cricket. Shaharyar Khan, the former head of Pakistan’s cricket administration, believes that his background kept him out of favour when Inzmamam ul-Haq was Pakistan’s captain.
Misbah comes from the same Niazi clan as Imran’s father, and he holds an MBA from Lahore’s highly-regarded University of Management Science.
Misbah rejects any suggestion of prejudice against his education, and suggests modestly that he could not break into Pakistan’s powerful middle order at the time.
Misbah is as thoughtful and measured in interviews as he is at the crease, although he has occasionally hit back at critics who accuse him of being a defensive captain. In the latest victory, his captaincy was imaginative and inspirational.
He has spoken of the stresses of leading a team in exile, pointing out how few of his players have played in front of their home supporters. (Saeed Ajmal, his star bowler, has played none of his 31 Tests in Pakistan). Misbah’s travels in 2013 make his point for him.
They began in India, then took him to South Africa, Scotland, Ireland, England, West Indies, Zimbabwe, the UAE, South Africa again and back to the UAE. In that year he played just one first-class match in Pakistan compared to nine, all Test matches, overseas. He managed six one-day matches within a fortnight for his home team in Pakistan (Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited) compared to 34 overseas.
One wonders how much longer Misbah can continue to sustain the performance and mentality of his players. There are many other things which this intelligent and highly qualified man could do with his life. He is now nearly 40. When he finally steps down as a player, Pakistan, and indeed international cricket, will sorely miss him.
Let’s return to Pakistan’s famous victory yesterday. On the fourth day, the match seemed to be dying of inanition. But on the last, Pakistan chased down a target of 302 in just 57.3 overs. Few teams have ever scored over 300 to win a Test match and none of them achieved this with such a fast run rate. Their 5.25 an over edged out the West Indies’ 344 for 1 against England, when Gordon Greenidge belted a double century.
Fittingly, the Pakistan captain was at the crease with 68 not out when his team clinched their five-wicket victory. In a crucial partnership of 109 in 20 overs he helped his younger partner, Azhar Ali, to a century and brought Pakistan to the edge of victory. In Pakistan’s first innings Misbah had made 63, initially joining another centurion, Ahmed Shehzad, and then guiding Pakistan’s long tail. He shared six partnerships which produced 136 runs.
This is guts and determination of a very high order indeed. As national captain operating in circumstances of unprecedented adversity, he can now be classified in the same category as those two cricketing legends:
Abdul Hafeez Kardar and Imran Khan.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dehshat Gardi k Haq mai 7 Dalail

Arguments in favour of Terrorism

Ye Sakoot Aakhir Kab Tak?

Ye khamoshi kab tak meray bhai??

Confusion Dar Confusion

Confusion he Confusion hai ,, Solution kia hai pta nai..

Nawaz Sharif k Masail

Prime Minister k Massail

The neglect of education

By Talat Masood Published: January 21, 2014

It is education, which propelled Barack Obama and Bill Clinton to rise to the pinnacle of power although they were from humble backgrounds. In Pakistan, too, we have experienced how education has transformed individuals, even if they came from modest backgrounds

The writer is a retired lieutenant general of the Pakistan Army and served as chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board
Shahbaz Sharif’s laptop scheme is a valuable contribution in incentivising the young to be computer literate and be a part of the globalised world. So is the scheme launched by the prime minster to distribute loans to the underprivileged youth, who through entrepreneurship, can start their lives and make a new beginning. The Metro in Lahore and perhaps, similar facilities in future in Islamabad and Karachi would be wonderful gifts to the people. Even if these schemes have strong political underpinnings, it is only natural for politicians to indulge in these ventures.
But there is something far more important and more fundamental that the leadership of this country, whether it is the Sharifs, Zardaris, or for that matter the previous military and civilian rulers, have grossly neglected and continue to do so, which is education. It is time that our leaders, at every level, invest heavily in education and treat it as a number one priority. Most of the problems that Pakistan faces today — militancy, a distressed economy, poverty and poor health can be linked to lack of education.
There is a virtual global consensus that education is the key to development. The answer may appear to be self-evident but it is not merely a question of just spreading knowledge and some skills or being able to read and write. Access to education is the key to empowerment, self-confidence and dignity of the individual. It is this empowerment that gives the underprivileged the courage to bring down class barriers. It is education, which propelled Barack Obama and Bill Clinton to rise to the pinnacle of power although they were from humble backgrounds. In Pakistan, too, we have experienced how education has transformed individuals, even if they came from modest backgrounds. It is the same empowerment that enables educated women to overcome gender discrimination and raises expectations of overall socioeconomic betterment. Educated societies provide the climate for rule of law, meritocracy, hope for the future and the all-important belief that we may create a better future for our children. We have to look at countries like Singapore and South Korea and to see how education has transformed the destiny of their people. It is the bedrock of successful nations and Pakistan without it cannot expect to succeed.
If we look at the state of education in Pakistan, it becomes obvious why we are lagging behind other nations and why so many of our people are deeply frustrated and alienated. It also helps explain why our national security — if not our national identity — is in such a mess today. Look at the state of education in South Korea and you will also understand immediately why the Koreans have surged among nations as a model of modern development. I have been to South Korea and other countries of Southeast Asia on several visits and would attribute their progress to good planning, positive cultural attributes and highest priority accorded to education. One could argue that the Japanese, Koreans and the Thai are different, and it may not be correct to make comparisons with them. But when we compare ourselves with India, we find we are truly lagging behind them in education. One of the reasons for India’s recent efforts to get into the great power leagues is that it has a critical mass of educated population.
But it is not necessary to go that far to explain the problem. When I was chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) Board, a clerk who worked in my office made a genuine effort of investing in his family’s future — with access to quality education for his family, thanks to the positive policies of the POF. Humble as his origins and status may have been, he helped ensure that his children built on their Pakistani education and studied abroad. They are all doctors and engineers in Pakistan and abroad today. By failing to provide quality education to our people as a whole, we have cheated ourselves as a nation, condemned countless millions to poverty and helped create the conditions that brought violence and misery to millions more. It is high time that our leaders sincerely endeavoured to reform our educational system root and branch, and our people need to be empowered, for our very survival as a country.
The continued denial of education to the girls and women of Pakistan in many parts of the country is one of our great failings. Besides being a violation of basic human rights, it is a monumental waste of human potential. I admire young Malala Yousufzai for her crusade for the cause of education. She has become a symbol of the struggle for the right of every child in Pakistan (and in the world) to education.
There is no doubt that education alone will not reverse our continued decline into chaos and stupor, but surely, it will play a major role. It is crucial that our educational system be based on an appreciation of modern science and technology. Without progress in science and technology, Pakistan’s economy and its future will remain bleak. However, this need not be at the expense of our culture and language. How often have our students spent more time trying to master English than the subject at hand? Engineering can be taught in Urdu as well! If the Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Finns and Turks can master engineering and scientific subjects in their own language, why can’t we? Of course, we need English to meet the challenges of globalisation and to take our rightful place in the international community, but we also need to nurture our roots. As a nation, how will we value our great contribution to civilisation, like the poetry of Iqbal and Ghalib, if we are not also masters of our own language and culture? Moreover, by learning science and technical subjects in one’s own language, the concepts and understanding becomes much clearer and it inculcates a scientific and modern culture in society.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2014.