New strategy for Afghanistan?

31 08 2009

General Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan has called for a ‘tweaking’ in the Afghan policy. The General does not want any new troops as he thinks that the current policy is flawed. Instead, he thinks that the strengthening of Afghan Army and Police would be sufficent to counter Taliban threat. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shame on Pakistanis

3 08 2009

Yet another episode of shameful behavior that has become a hallmark of Pakistani Muslims. Scores of Christians were burned to death and their residential quarters were gutted by an angry mob of Muslims. The incident took place in a small town of Punjab — the largest province of Pakistan by population with the largest population of Christians.

Pakistan, especially Punjab, has a long history of violence against Christians. They are free to do that under the Islamic laws of Pakistan that allow violence against minorities if they are found to be blasphemous to Islamic teachings. One can even be sentenced to death if he or she is found to be desecrating any Islamic principles or figures.

Mullahs take full advantage of this clause and accuse non-Muslims with blasphemy. They gather large crowds that attack non-Muslims and burn their properties, sometimes also killing them. Interestingly, the later judicial inquireis have never been able to confirm the charges of blasphemy.

Things will continue the same unless and until the draconian blasphemy laws are not repealed by the Pakistani government. Western governments, especially the United States, should put some pressure on Pakistanis to mend their ways. US is giving billions of dollars in aid and it reserves the right to withhold its aid package if human rights condition in Pakistan remains pathetic.





Pakistan and India’s animosity – when will it end?

18 07 2009

Pakistanis have a long ‘infatuation’ with India. I would say it an infatuation because Pakistanis want to do everything in accordance with the Indian action. They made a nuclear bomb and Pakistan went on the same track. They tested it and Pakistan wasted no time in detonating its own nuclear devices. The media and entertainment industry of Pakistan is nothing but a cheaper version of the Indian entertainment industry.

Apart from this ‘copying’ game, Pakistan also share a huge animosity towards Indians, which of course it also receives from its eastern borders. Both countries have fought three major and many minor wars. Every five years or so, the world averts a disaster brewing in the South Asian region. The most recent example of this was observed immediately after the Mumbai attacks.

Now Pakistanis are an aggressive nation. They caused all these war and skirmishes by infiltrating into the Indian region and supporting the insurgency movements (there were many apart from Kashmir including Khalistan and Assamese insurgents). Although India can’t be considered a peaceful nation either, they were at least not provocateurs of violence until recently. Now as they are turning the tables on Pakistan by backing the o insurgency and also some groups of Talibans (as per Pakistan’s ISI reports), Pakistanis are feeling betrayed.

Pakistan is also facing serious resentment because of its suppression of minority ethnic groups. The dominant Punjabi establishment will never allow the empowerment of other ethnic groups nor will the feudal system that controls these people like their slaves. India, on the other hand, is free from any feudal society but is facing another crisis: brutal caste system and religious tensions. The long established democratic system has no place for the poverty ridden masses and religious minorities.

The situation is really complex in both countries. While a storm is brewing in Pakistan that can sweep away the very existence of Pakistan, the minimal democracy in India is at least able to act as the lifeguard of the system.

In the next part of this article, I will discuss the complications and contradictions that are destroying the very fabric of South Asia, especially India and Pakistan.





Forced conversion turns ugly in Pakistan

15 06 2009

This is not new in Pakistan and in fact, in the Muslim world. Forced conversions are a daily routine and many are not even reported. However, they get media attention only if the minorities refuse to convert. In the latest event, a Pakistani Christian man (they constitute more than 2% of Pakistani population) was murdered after he refused to accept Islam. It was not a typical murder but a mutilation preceded by rape.

Read the rest of this entry »