Letters to the Editor
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No more lies
The Kashmiri people enslaved in their own nation have been hearing lies and false promises of liberation for 66 years from both the occupiers and Kashmiri Nationalist movement leaders their so called messiah’s.
Truth and politics are generally an oxymoron. Politicians say things to please their supporters, to get elected and re-elected or to attain legitimacy and wider popularity.
Politicians lie to satisfy their supporters. They lie because the people do not want to hear the truth, as the truth
Sometimes is hard to swallow, and truth does not fit neatly into their rhetoric.
If our leaders speak the truth and it is not what we expect to hear, can we or will we accept it as fact at face value? Have we woken up to the LIES, do we want more LIES and FALSE PROMISES, or are we ready to hear the TRUTH?
Has the time not come when the Kashmiri people who have only heard lies, lies and more lies coupled with false
promises that they say “Please no more LIES and FALSE PROMISES, we are ready to hear the truth”.
Raja Basharat Khan
Conspiracies against us
What is the real problem of the Muslim mind and mentality? Why cannot we behave as normal human beings do? Where are we going wrong or where did we go wrong, as one wrong turn at a crucial moment of history has led us to our present position, which obviously is as if we were peeping into a volcano. Whenever I write the Muslims I mean the Muslims of Pakistan as they are the Muslim of different kind nowhere to be found in the rest of world.
I think it was once philosophical error might be an error of judgment, but now it has become psychological disorder. If I can do a little psychoanalysis of this almost lost nation, this disease started with narcissism, became megalomania and now in its advance and acute stage it has become schizophrenia.
My knowledge of psychology accompanies me no further so I cannot suggest any therapy but somehow I can trace those elements which aggravated this to a mountain.
It has greatly to do with the philosophy which has been repeatedly hammered into our bones and which accompanies us like our shadows. That is philosophy of a hawk, that we are created to rule the world, we are denizens of upper skies. That picking spiritual progress is a trait of a hawk and picking material progress is that of a vulture. We are the chosen one and that we are to lead the whole world. To this extent the rhetoric does good, but when it states how to achieve this status of a hawk, it is not only confusing but totally impracticable. It says that is to be achieved with the help of spiritual powers. That if you have not made any progress despite sticking to this philosophy, there is nothing wrong with you, this stinking world needs correction you just carry on.
Now when we see all the rest of the world making progress and definitely enjoying the fruits of their labor we are at a loss to understand why have the world treated us like this. Why can’t we make both ends meets, why they give us kicks and pricks? The problem is that we have questions, no answers. This leads us to a paranoid conspiracy theory i.e the whole world is conspiring against us, that the world wants to persecute us at any rate and whatever the achievements of the rest of the world civilizations are (such as they are) boil down to nothing when compared to our spiritual progress. There is nothing as falsifying as this that we can determine our position in the world on our own. However, one’s status is determined by one’s achievements and performance not by any lofty claims and self-proclaimed status.
Feb. 26, 2013
Everything that is wrong with the U.S. drone program in Pakistan
The USA with its heavy use of drones in Pakistan is making its own rules of the game along with setting a dangerous precedent for warfare in the 21st century.
Pakistan is an un-declared war zone and site of drone attacks. The official stance of the government is that ‘drone attacks are illegal, counterproductive, in contravention of international law and a violation of Pakistani sovereignty’ (Foreign Office 2012). Yet, we have seen a remarkable increase in the drone strikes in Pakistan under the Obama Administration.
By withholding information about its drone program in Pakistan, the U.S. is defying the principals of free flow of information and transparency which are apparently deeply cherished by the democratic stall mark. According to the U.S. Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich, even the Congress is denied the right to read the legal framework used by the Administration to justify the drone strikes. Although CIA has almost finalized the manual that provides detailed guidelines and restrictions regarding the use of drones but it doesn't help out Pakistan. Because Pakistan is exempted from this manual as a result of comprise between the CIA, State Department and the Pentagon. What it means is that the U.S. is given a free chit to strike targets in Pakistan with virtually no transparency, oversight, accountability or judicial review.
The manual doesn't allow the highly questionable signature strikes that make up a huge chunk of total amount of drone strikes in Pakistan. And since Pakistan is exempted from the proposed manual, it won’t be provided with a justification if drones are used in the region to strike down individuals who are not recognizable terrorists. A report by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) has found that the US Central Intelligence Agency deliberately attacked rescue workers and funeral processions in follow-up strikes after drone missile attacks on insurgents in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Further, it is an undisputed requirement of the International Law to distinguish between civilians and combatants. But CIA is conducting its operations in Pakistan in a very murky manner, the lines are blurred as to who is a civilian, or to be more legally precise, a non-combatant. With CIA in an absolute control of the drone program in Pakistan, the victims are denied the right of free trial. The International Law prohibits any extra-judicial killing hence; the U.S. can’t sideline the civilian casualties as a result of drone strikes only by using the cover of collateral damage.
Talking about the same issue, the former military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, paints a very gloomy picture by saying that regardless of what it wanted; Pakistan was too weak militarily to oppose US attacks. He said, ‘You cannot do it… If the air force does it, let’s see how they confront the joint might of the coalition forces.’ By not giving a legal justification to Pakistan, America being the super-power is openly proclaiming that it will solely determining who get killed and via what mode the deed is done.
Drone program is indeed one of the centerpieces of Obama’s campaign against militants. The drone war is carried out remotely, from the U.S. and a network of secret bases around the world. And hence, it enables America to continue killing militants in foreign lands without having a presence on ground or without putting its troops in danger. A number of militants have been killed as a result of these drone strikes but some reports say they have killed more non-combatant civilians than died in 9/11. U.S. can’t simply ignore the Pakistani public’s concerns, complaints and protests while indulging in this boundary-less un-declared war.
For who knows, following this madness, if CIA decides tomorrow to strike drones in the main cities of Pakistan for some suspected terrorist activity? We also have to aware that the rest of the world is also catching up on the drone technology and according to some estimates, within next ten years the annual expenditure on drones would be 53.2 billion pounds. Who can prevent the global chaos, if countries like India or China decide to follow the footsteps of America and start to use drones to conduct operations in other countries?
It is time that we pressurize the U.S. to release more information and provide for a legal premise for its drone policy in Pakistan or take the matter to the UN. No intelligence agency, however powerful, can be allowed to conduct independent operations in foreign soil. If Pakistan decides to stay mute them we are looking at a very unpredictable future which will be scarred by the draconian legal implications of America’s un-checked drone program in Pakistan.
Feb. 23, 2013
Partition played havoc with family units
Born a few years after partition, I could easily detect a cultural distance from the local Bengali population in my early childhood. My father was born in Bihar and lived in Bengal since his early youth. He went to St. Xavier College in Calcutta and joined Bengal Railway before partition. Biharis (natives of Bihar) usually migrated from their villages to colonial Calcutta for education and work.
Partition broke our family. We were cut off from our uncles, aunts and cousins who didn't migrate to Pakistan. Travel between India and Pakistan became difficult as relations between the two countries continued to worsen.
Migration of a large number of people due to partition changed the perception of locals towards immigrants. Pakistan's oppression of Bengalis deteriorated communal relationships. Immigrants benefitted by aligning with state power. It helped them settle down after they were uprooted by the events of 1947. There was a clash of interest between people. On one side were the locals who demanded rights and resisted state oppression and immigrants on the other side who depended on the state for protection. Political positions projected the two communities that had lived peacefully with each other, as enemies.
Partition 1947 and oppressive policies of Pakistan's state towards Bengalis set the stage for another genocide and massive migration in 1971. This event connected me with the hardships my father's generation endured after partition.
I was uprooted from my surroundings and landed in Karachi, Sindh, where immigrants from the earlier partition of India had settled. I don't know where my childhood friends are. Boys my age got killed or assisted in killing. Again, as new immigrants we were unwelcome for the local Sindhi population.
Conflicts arose. Violence claimed thousands of lives. We kept running out of our habitat but there was no effort to heal, reconcile or make peace.
Look forward to your partition story. Please share how partition affected you @
British Raj responsible for gory drama in 1947
The colonial administration of British India utterly failed to provide safety to its subjects in 1947. Let us note that whenever it came to warmongering across the world, Britain never had any trouble in raising a formidable army from Punjab that comprised Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus. Yet it miserably failed to keep the peace in Punjab itself.
Somehow this essential point is missing from the recent exchange among scholars over who is to be blamed for the partition violence. Colonial Britain's crime of ultimate negligence (or could the motive be sadistic blood-lust?) needs to be clearly recognized.
Dr. Usman Qazi
2753 Alma St.
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Shia Killing has roots in Iranian- Saudi conflict
The situation in Pakistan for Shia Muslims is very dangerous and the state itself is not interested in their protection. This trend is said to be a part of a global Game where one influential Muslim country is playing the leading the role of a mentor in this war against Iran and its block. Apparently that one very powerful country is supporting extremist groups in Pakistan and Pakistani agencies are just turning a blind eye to the reality due to high command instructions. Gilgit Baltistan is a new entity on the Pakistan’s map and has a Shia majority. The people of this region who are developing a new identity are not immune to the Shia genocide. Pakistan is only interested in the geography of Gilgit Baltistan not in the inhabitants due to the difference of sect in the region.
In this situation the only way for Shia community is to defend itself and it’s not difficult for them if they unite on the issue than no bird can fly without their permission in GB. The establishment and media is also part of these killings no proper coverage is given to this genocide. Pakistani media has plenty of air-time to broadcast irrelevant stuff but not for these killings. Judiciary has not taken any notice of this genocide in Balochistan, GB and other parts of Pakistan. Just because the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chowdhry who belongs to the extremist camp, he never realized the miseries of Shia who are being killed brutally in all of Pakistan and GB. We appeal to international media and human rights agencies to help us in this critical situation to stop this ongoing genocide of shia community in Pakistan and Gilgit Baltistan
GILGIT BALTISTAN RIGHTS FORUM
Politician turned nationalist from GB
The need for establishing rehabilitation centre for criminals
Imprisonment and sentencing, I believe, are not sufficient steps to make criminals experience hard time for their crime. The task does not end here, I dare say that to eliminate crime from our society it is essential to take tremendous and evolutionary steps which brings a gradual change in the behaviour of the criminals which prohibits them as well as the society from committing further crimes.
To bring about this evolution in the system a start should be taken from making jails a place of rehabilitation for criminals rather than a place of isolation from outer world and instead provide criminals with Instead of providing them with the environment where they rectify themselves, the jail culture provides them with breeding ground of transforming a theft into a robber and a robber into a murderer and a murderer into a drug addict. In jails criminal learn more about how to commit more crimes than they do in an open society as in jail their exposure to crime increases there they internalize more values and behaviour of criminal culture thus become more threatening and perilous to the safety of the society. Rehabilitation would not only provides them with an opportunity to rectify themselves but will also aid a healthy and constructive treatment of the criminals thus purifying them from all ill behaviours .
Thus to break this cycle, a sense of duty should be felt by the social activist the politicians and other workers in the society to put pressure on the government to take some necessary steps in this realm.
By: Rida Hussain
An appeal to Prime Minister Of Pakistan
Through your esteemed paper I would like to bring my problem to the notice of the high ups of Sindh Health Department. I was appointed as a Assistant Physiotherapist BPS 16 at civil hospital Mithi District Tharparkar, under a contract basis for three years Notification NO: SO (PM-1)7-850/74-85, and I resumed my duty on 21-3-2007.
My contract expired on 20-3-2010, whereas the contract was extended by Chief Minister for a year same Notification NO: SO(PM-1)7850/74-85, however, it was not extended despite strong recommendation by the EDO Health, Tharparkar.
It would be pertinent to mention here that backward and remote District Tharparkar is facing acute shortage of doctors and health staff for last several years and as it lacks basic amenities. Most of the doctors, particularly, the new appointees are reluctant to serve here. However, I served for four years at Mithi. The irony is that neither my contract was extended nor my services were confirmed. I am the only physiotherapist working in District Tharparkar as there is no physiotherapist willing to work in this remote desert area.
I belong to a middle class family of Tharparkar and am the sole bread winner of our seven-member family. I, therefore, request the worthy Prime Minister and higher authorities at the Health Department Sindh to reappoint me and regularize my services purely on merit.
Physiotherapist, Mithi, Tharparkar
Cell No 0333.2176599
Above all congradulations for editing such a good magazine. Though i am not regular reader of viewpoint but let me admit that, this has proved itself to be one of the few to offer a sound alternate source of understanding this corporate media world. I am education/cultural secretary & federal committee member of Labor Party Pakistan. We used to publish a Marxist magazine (AADARSH) in sandhog from 2004 to 2011. Now I am editing Labor Party Sindh organ monthly ‘SAMAJWAD’. Soon the august copy will be in our hands, with a translation of Thiery Meysen’s article about the counter revolution in Middle East. That was a very important work done by the writer and thanks to you for sharing this informative masterpiece.
In Pakistan I see there are two communities who are hated too much. In religious matter Ahmadis are mostly target by the religious people and they are always under life threat. And the second is Bhuttos or PPP. I have not seen any other party who got such extreme hate in political matter in our country. Why it is so?
Please write something on this matter.
House 2, Durani Street, Islamabad
Who killed me?
On Thursday evening, I returned to home after spending good time in evening meeting, such sorts of moments persuaded me to think that life is still very beautiful and worth living. On reaching home, I found my whole family sitting in dinning room as it was dinner time and watching television as normal routine in middle class families. All of sudden a clip appeared on TV screen and my mother said “What a horrible incident it is…I watched it in the night and remained disturbed for rest of it”. My sister who was holding remote control changed the channel and started to weep bitterly. I was very surprised on what was happening, therefore, I inquired “What’s happened?”
After knowing what happened the day before in Karachi with a young boy, named Sarfaraz, by Rangers shocked me. Every thing seem absurd to me in that clip. On that day, every news channel had that incident as their “cover-story” and people belonged to various spheres of life were making myriad comments over it.
But, what was I thinking…………I was imagining myself in place of that guy and comparing my life with him. Still in my life, I have experienced many things, studied, have family and friends, and have expectations, hopes and desire for my better future. But what will happen when one day I would be killed by “Soldier of Islam” for “nothing”. Would I pledge like that guy for my life? What would be my feeling when I would see my life going in vain? The very thought made me feel disgusting.
Sarfaraz’s murder is a lens through which condition of other fields of society can be seen. It amplified the spectrum of wrenched and corrupt state of so-called law enforcing agencies. It highlights the prevailing lawlessness in a society and explaining very vividly how Pakistani society is turning into a “Jungle”---------diverting itself from civilized ones, where might is always right. It projects the imbalance in power structure and inequality of law according to status quo.
This lens also gives image of societal behavior of our society, its apathy, extremism, moral degradation and rotten trends. But more importantly, the havoc darkness on the fate of upcoming generation and present youth. It presents the dilemmatic scenario in which our youth is upbringing and surviving. It brings into focus why this “Pure Land” is far behind in world’s progress despite of having more proportion of young persons in it as worldwide accept indicator of development is the existent of more ratio of young’s in a society. This murder is not a “first murder” of this kind in Pakistan but another which came on to the surface with evidence of innocent killing. This murder stands for the “murder of entire youth” of this country………who sees dreams, have expectation and hopes for better future ….but lost everything for “nothing”. Being a young member of this society my question is “Who killed me?” and hope against hope that the answer of my question is blowing in the wind………
My this question is giving an ultimatum to all concerned sections of society to mend their ways if they want to see “Pakistan” anymore on the map of world as it is proven reality that a community wipes out when it kills it’s own juveniles. It is the collective responsibility of all members of this country to contribute for making this land a livable place rather to wait for extreme point where the echoes of questions creates hyper-resonance to destroy every bit of the chain which involve for making a “Land” into “Country” .
He speaks Punjabi ?
The most shocking experience being a native language activist I experienced in Pakistan, the day, I moved to an elite school to get my eldest son registered within Montessori. I approached school principal office. Sachal; my son, a slim 4 ½ year child was feeling uneasy in a formalized atmosphere of The Principal office. He instead of taking an independent chair got himself fitted with my bending legs. He was adjusting himself to get understand and fit into strange situation. While seating I introduce myself with principal and explain purpose of visit. Principal realizing value of a new client immediately bring smile and welcome us. After early formal chat he asked Sachal in English. What is the color of your shirt? . Sachal remained silent and strange. Principal bombarded second question, what is the color of table? Sachal looked at me with strangeness. Principal asked another question, What is the color of flowers placed on small table? Sachal again was silent. Realizing intensity I intervene and requested worthy principal in English please ask same questions in Punjabi language. Principal stares at me with strange look but realizing cliental value favored mine request. By obliging he asked same three questions in Punjabi. Sachal answered all with confidence and accuracy. Sachal after answering each question looked at me and my wife with appraisal as this gesture was not coming from Principal’s side. The Principal after getting answers from Sachal immediately said, “Sahfiq Sahib, your child will spoil our school children and school have to work hard in getting him educate”. This blunt observation was shocking and I asked in wonder, “How”. Principal said, “He speaks Punjabi”. Without losing a moment principal further added his second stunning observation, “First we have to get him educate in Urdu Language and later in English language”. Along with this school has to make double efforts in getting him familiar with school kids and culture. Listening this revealing statement of Principal I asked would you please give me a favor and instead putting Sachal into learning of two languages, why not you use his early childhood learning as a “bridge” for the later learning instead of putting him in position where he should be given ashamed on his early learning in native language”. This talk of mine was not fully understood by the worthy Principal but he immediately handed over me Sachal’s Registration Form.
This dilemma of Sachal and mine is the dilemma of millions of born child in Pakistan who has to quit his early childhood learning only because his native language is not officially taught (except Sindhi) in public and private primary schools. The concept of “Bridge Language” ------- where early learning of a child is used to get him educate for further learning------- has not been approved and understood by our state and private run educational institutions.
147/X, Scheme No 2, Farid Town,
Cell No 0345 7444704
Dear Dr. Ali Madeeh Hashmi,
I hope you would be doing fine. Today I read your thought provoking article in online magazine Viewpoint under the heading 'Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the ones who think differently'. In fact it was so interesting that I forgot that I was having hot iron on the table that result in burning of Iron. I hope you would keep it up.
I enjoy reading Viewpoint and agree with your comments. Your interview with FarooqTariq ’Undemocratic change will not be progressive’ was interesting. Any undemocratic change will weaken institutions further. What with floods creating havoc and millions of people without home and having difficulty in making both ends meet, another shake up will deteriorate matters.
What Pakistan needs is a party which not only talks about the working class, but one that belongs to the average Pakistanis, led by those not born with silver spoon and know about the sufferings of poor people.
It is one thing to talk of freedom of speech, freedom to vote and freedom to practice your faith, but does that not exclude another important aspect of life? I say freedom from hunger; freedom to have a place to live, freedom to let all children go to schools is more relevant than anything else.
If you ask somebody living in huts if they rather have a freedom to vote or freedom from extreme poverty, his reply would be exactly what I say: Freedom to vote can vote, hungry stomachs cannot.
We see democracy in India and yet after 64 years of this blessing, nearly 50% of Indian children lack nutrition and millions still live on the streets. In China, on other hand, extreme poverty has been eliminated. That is something we should keep in mind when we talk about economic progress. I am not preaching for anti democracy government, but only that this aspect of making more emphasis on dealing with poverty should be given more importance.
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