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Just a breaking news make me to wake up from bed .Blasts in Datta Darbar Lahore killed 43 people n 175 injured. I was shocked because the target was a religious place which is sign of peace for the Muslim community. Thousands of people daily visit Datta Darbar for spiritual reasons.
Two hours after the blast, there were no high ups except CCPO Lahore. He just visited the site and announced it was suicide bombing . The TV crews repeatedly asked about security measures but they got no answer.
After couple of hours ministers, the governor and other politicians started to condemn the attack on TV. Not even a single political figure visited the Darbar at that time because they were aware of public anger.
The security detail failed to stop those bombers attacking Datta Darbar was a sentence ceaselessly repeated but do we know what kind of security was deployed there for the protection of thousands of visiting devotees? On TV screens, one could only see some volunteers with sticks!
When Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif announced his visit to Datta Darbar , there were according to media 960 commandos deployed for CM's security.
The Government of Punjab first has to decide whose security is important? One CM's or 80 million people's?
Fourty-year-old rickshaw driver Akbar took poisonous pills along with his wife and three daughters due to poverty.
Nearly six thousands suicides have been recorded in Pakistan in the past three years, most of them were male, unemployed and under 40.
According to the HRCP report, the ratio of suicides in Pakistan remained the highest last year, as at least 2,528 people - 1,725 males and 803 females - committed suicide in 2008. The ratio suggested that around seven people committed suicide in Pakistan every day due to poverty.
In 2009 more than 1,600 people committed suicide due to extreme poverty. On the other hand the wealthy government of a poor nation spends over 165 billion rupees just to run the affairs of this so called democratic government.
Interestingly" The government has allocated Rs 484 million in the Budget just for the Prime Minister's Secretariat.
Pakistan's population is 165 million and is the 6th most populous country in the world, official unemployment stands at 25% of the eligible workforce and health spending is only 2.07% of the national annual budget.
Labor force in the country was 51.78 million. Around 285,000 people lost their jobs in banking sector, 61,200 in computer industry, 115,000 in construction, and 120,200 in electronic and 69,000 in telecommunication.
This case of AKBAR is neither rare, nor it is uncommon. With the increasing rate of economic instability. Time is not far away when people would take extreme steps.
Hum dekhain gay,
lazim hay kay hum bhi dekhain gay,
hum dekhain gay,
woh din kay jis ka wada hai,
hum ehl-e-safa mardood-r Haram,
masnad pay bithay jain gay,
sab Taaj oochalay jain gay,
sab Takht gira-ey jain gay
I enjoyed Farooq Sulehria's piece, "Poets and Hawks", on June 18 issue. The analysis of Indo Pakistan 'hatred' has been going on now for over 60 years and it appears things are getting from bad to worse. Unfortunately, This piece is as useful as sticking a bit of balsa wood in a leaking dam, because our leaders will carry on with their agenda. Our leaders and public are obsessed with India and must know that animosity with India will only harm Pakistan. Both the countries are spending so much on armaments which is leaving very less room for developing infrastructure and investing in health and education sector. Our short history tells us that whenever we went to war with India, we lost. So spending billions is not a wise decision. It encourages the army to subjugate the civilian developments. We have reached a stage where the people are poor, but the army is rich. It owns factories, hospitals and many other privileges. Whenever they feel 'threatened', they march back to Islamabad and take over the political power and send civilian leaders to jail. We must make people aware of such futile expenditure on army.
I was pleased to read that Faiz, our leftist poet and some others were against such wars. This quotation from Faiz is a great piece:
Since our lights were extinguished
I have been searching for a way to see;
My eyes are lost, God knows where.
You who know me, tell me who I am,
Who is a friend, and who an enemy.
It is pleasure to see viewpoint again. I used to purchase it for Rs 4 in Hyderabad in 1983. It carried news and letters in urdu which were translated by Alys Faiz. During Lahore visit in 1988 I meet Mazhar Ali Khan and his team at Lawerence Road but now unfortunately after perestroika world has been changed. The youth of poor third world desire to become cyber-coolie and away from national realities,
Reference, Linn Hjort article on FIFA 2010, on June 28, in your Viewpoint, I have certain observations and reservations which I want to present for the readers. Hosting the soccer World Cup is seen by many as a great chance for economic uplift for the host country. That is why many countries, including developing and developed nations do lobbying and use different channels to be the host country for this mega event. There are many indicators to judge the utility of FIFA world cup 2010 being held in South Africa, may native country. Despite some negative reports, millions of South Africans consider this event as an opportunity for economic uplift and employment.
For many South Africans, the promise of economic uplift is being seen as the entrepreneurial opportunities at the citizen level. There are so many Bed and Breakfast (B&B) being run by ordinary citizens and their family income will increase. Another form of business that has flourished is the merchandising sector, with the sale of vuvuzelas (the loud trumpets blown at soccer matches in South Africa), makarapas (the soccer styled hard hats), country flags and soccer T-shirts sky rocketing in the last few months.
A lot of money has been invested in the infrastructure necessary for hosting soccer World Cup in South Africa, and this heavy investment will have trickle down effect, as result of which small businesses will flourish.
Some infrastructural developments will certainly play the key role in strengthening the economy even after the World Cup, for example, electricity production and telecommunications systems. Not only will this ensure that the 2010 event runs smoothly, it will also instill much needed investor confidence in the country as a potential destination for business and trade. This is a sentiment that was echoed by South African President Jacob Zuma at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland when he said the World Cup offers an opportunity to tackle stereotypes and preconceptions about the African continent and to explore new frontiers of interaction and cooperation with the rest of the world.
At a socio-political level, the soccer World Cup has the potential for nation building. This was witnessed in the past when South Africa hosted the rugby World Cup in 1995, which fostered national unity in a country with a racially divided past. It is hoped that the soccer World Cup will have a similar effect, but on an even greater scale - as soccer has a much greater following in the country than rugby.
So, apart from the B&Bs and the vuvuzela merchants, who else is benefitting from the World Cup? The construction companies obviously. They are cashing in on the multi-million Rand tenders associated with the infrastructure upgrades. A little further down the list of beneficiaries are the construction workers and their families. Now skilled workers with great references, most of the people involved in building the roads and stadiums were unemployed with little or no skill at all to sell in the labour market. Many were from rural parts of the country where work opportunities are very scarce.
Through the South African government's extended public works programme, which was in part driven by the World Cup, the booming construction industry is providing work opportunities to thousands of young South African who, otherwise, would have been stuck in the grips of poverty with no hope of salvation.
While others might view the work opportunities created through the public works programme and the World Cup as temporary, it is important to take into cognisance the role of these "temporary" jobs in bridging the skills gap that is plaguing so many South African industries.
All in all, where the livelihood of a number of families was uncertain, the soccer World Cup has shined a beacon of hope for a better tomorrow
I read the interview Zia Sardar in your Viewpoint's 3rd issue on June 4th, I am agreed with him on many points when he talks about current turmoil in the world, but disagree with his assertion when he says, "I have always advocated and written about in the New Statesman, we need to negotiate with the Taliban, You can't beat the Taliban into submission."A group that breaks laws of any country, kills innocent people, burns girl's schools and tries to impose a ruthless rule is not an ideal partner for any meaningful negotiation. In Taliban's world of oppression, cruelty trickles down from the top, results in a place of cold-heartedness and animosity, where such steps will not lead to any hope. I am not suggesting complete submission of Taliban and other terrorists groups, but a promise from them to hand over weapons and a substantial proof not to resolve to killings and accept the supremacy of the law and constitution of the country. Such talks or negotiation will encourage these undemocratic forces. I do not see that it will work in near future in Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Reference, viewpoint's coverage regarding regarding May 28th attacks on Ahmadiyya Mosques in Lahore and other such incidents.
Situation for minorities in Pakistan is not ideal and especially for Ahmadis, it is worst. Ahmadis have suffered at the hands of State sponsored persecution for decades. This is part of a general campaign of hatred targeted at Ahmadis resulting from the infamous blasphemy laws in Pakistan.
Many people will be astonished to learn that Ahmadis in Pakistan do not enjoy the same basic fundamental human rights enjoyed by other citizens in Pakistan such as the right to vote, to freely practice their religion. Many people don't even know that Ahmadis despite being Muslims cannot even call themselves Muslims nor do anything which depicts them to be Muslims. Under the State law, Ahmadis can be imprisoned and ultimately face the death penalty for professing their religion, Islam.
The May 28th event has been the most cruel on in the last decade. In the past months the religious clergy have been openly holding conferences under the patronage of Government Officials where they incite the ordinary masses to take action against Ahmadis. In fact during these conferences ultimatums are given to the Government to effectively annihilate Ahmadis and Ahmadis are declared 'liable to be killed'. Posters to this effect are openly displayed in places such as Courts with the Government turning a blind eye.
To add insult to injury even the Pakistan media and press has not spared Ahmadis. Media always gave time to clerics say on the airwaves that Ahmadis are 'liable to be killed' whilst Ahmadis conferences are never given publicity. If anyone has been following this horrific event they would have noticed that the Pakistan media when reporting this event do not refer to Ahmadiyya mosques as mosques but a 'place of worship'.
The Government and Pakistan media both in Pakistan and the United Kingdom are saying that this is not a religiously motivated attack but this is not the case. The reality and hard facts are that this is a result of the discriminatory religious legislation entrenched in the Constitution, known as the Anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance.
Of course attacks are also taking place against other groups and minorities such as Shias, Sunnis, Christians but the difference here is that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only which is discriminated against, harassed and persecuted by the Law. No other community faces these sanctions, a fact recognised by the UN and NGOs such as Amnesty. Effectively Ahmadis are second class citizens. It is ironic that a Community, which has undeniable contribution in the creation of Pakistan, is now being severely chastised and persecuted. Many people won't know that the Founder of Pakistan, Mr Jinnah was persuaded by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK to return to Hindustan and work to get indipendent homeland for muslims of India. Mr Jinnah even made this public at the Ahmadiyya Fazl Mosque, in Londo known as the London Mosque.
Many won't know that the First Foreign Minister was an Ahmadi, the Finance Minister was an Ahmadi, the first and only Pakistani Muslim Noble Prize Winner was an Ahmadi and the list goes on. Ahmadis served Pakistan at the very highest level and continue to do so despite these discriminatory laws making their lives hell.
This is a highly educated and enlightened community, a community which does not face the issues facing other Muslim groups, a community which abhors violence, a community which condemns suicide bombings, a community which is law abiding and loyal to its country, a community which serves the needs of all irrespective of one's colour, race or religion.
It is alarming to know that Muslim Organisations in the United Kingdom have not openly condemned this and I understand that no Muslim Organisation in Europe has condemned this. What a tragedy! Irrespective of one's beliefs everyone must be allowed to enjoy the same basic fundamental human rights such as freedom of thought, conscience and religion otherwise we will be going down a very slippery slope and giving into extremists.
I would hope all people living in Europe and elsewhere join me in condemning such acts of extremism and violations of basic rule of law.
98 Gressenhall Road
Just a glance at the web page changed my mood and lit hope deep down the heart that there is still hope and we (people) are not alone. We will do our best to make truth prevail. Please do not forget to make web pages interactive for comments and sharing with social networks.
Rashid Khan Orakzai,
Abbottabad (via email)
Congratulations on the launch of Viewpoint. Good and commendable effort.
We must take sides but we must side with truth. Let me come to the allegations levelled by comrade Khadim Hussain. I want to clarify that not every Pakhtoon is a nationalist as assumed by writer. One finds Islamists, rightists, leftists, atheists, politically inert and so on. Not all are rejoicing the renaming of NWFP as Kyber Pakhtoonkhwa. In fact for most, it's merely an old political slogan by ANP, a leftist and secular party preaching non violence.
If there can be Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan representing ethnici groups living in these provinces then whaats wrong with the name Pakhtoonkhhwa?
Resolutions have been approved with two-thirds majority by NWFP Assembly in the past long before this government took up the cause. Not a single Hazara representativel opposed it back then. Recent wave of riots, after re-naming, broke out when Shujaat Hussain visited Abbottabad and enticed violence.
All leaders campaigning for Hazara province are puppets of establishment who lost elections against PML N in 2008 general elections. It is a matter of settling score with N League rather any danger from Pakhtoon nationalism. Let me explain Hazara for Khadim Hussain. Hazara is native to Gujjars and Karraal tribes living in the mountains. The dominant and well off Jadoon, Taherkheli, Tareen, Swatee, Khankhel, Mashwaanee and Tanoli tribes are proud of their Pakhtoon background and yet Gohar Ayub Tareen and Amanullah Jadoon now suddenly fears their own tribes. Why? Have they not been given their due share in frontier government or have they not represented the province at the federal level. Out of 17 chief ministers in the past, seven have been from Hazara. This division now makes up five districts and each district has still significant numbers of native Pashto speakers. What are they going to do with Pashto speaking areas of Haripur, Abbottabad and Mansehra while Battagram and KalaDhaka are 100% Pashto speaking. Will then there be another province carved out of Hazara for Pakhtoons or will we witness mass exodus on the pattern of 1947. Hazara has the most developed infrastructure, high literacy rate, highest government spending and per capita income compared to any district in Pakhtoonkhwa. Compare it with even Peshawar and you will find Hazara far better. Where is the injustice? Have Pakhtoons taken jute out of Hazara and built Peshawar?
Rashid Khan Orakzai