Sunday, May 19, 2013

Musharraf's escape route

Soruce: The Telegraph

One man in Pakistan would have watched last Saturday's election results come rolling with more alarm than anyone else. Pervez Musharraf was the general who cut short Nawaz Sharif's second term in office by seizing control of the country and arresting the prime minister.

How the tables have turned. Now Mr Musharraf is under house arrest, confined to two rooms of his smart villa just outside Islamabad, and his old foe Mr Sharif is preparing to move back into Prime Minister's House for a third term. Things could not have turned out much worse for the former military ruler.

But quietly, behind the scenes, it looks as if the stage is being set for Mr Musharraf to make a rapid departure. Informed commentators whisper that his old pals in the military are reaching out to the courts – where the 69-year-old faces a slew of cases – preparing the ground so he can leave before Mr Sharif is sworn in.

That would be handy for Mr Sharif. He has enough problems with a powerful military establishment without also being handed responsibility for dealing with their former chief of staff.
On Friday night, one piece in the jigsaw was slotted into place. A lawyer, who had initiated one of the cases against Mr Musharraf – the one with the most chance of success, alleging that he had arrested and imprisoned lawyers as he desperately tried to hold on to office in 2007 – announced he had withdrawn his complaint.
Talking to Dawn on Friday, Advocate Ghumman said he had withdrawn the complaint in the larger national interest. “I think that the trial of Gen Musharraf in such a state of affairs is not in the national interest and, therefore, I have decided to withdraw my complaint,” he said.
It will be up to the courts to decide whether to halt proceedings. But isn't it curious? Not only have the courts toned down their anti-Musharraf rhetoric in recent weeks but now one of the cases is on shaky foundations.
This has always been the issue. Ever since Mr Musharraf made his ill-conceived return, the question has been how to get him out of the country while allowing everyone involved to save face. The courts won't want to back down, given the way he treated the lawyers. Nor will Mr Sharif. Bringing both into conflict with an army that won't give up its man. Hardly the route to a stable Pakistan.
Musharraf's escape has become something of an Islamabad parlour game, constructing ever more complex ruses to get Mr Musharraf to Dubai or London. Some suggestions:
  1. He is taken ill and must go to Dubai for specialist treatment – never to return
  2. His 95-year-old mother is taken ill and Mr Musharraf is given special compassionate grounds to travel to her bedside in Dubai – never to return
  3. He receives a presidential pardon from President Asif Ali Zardari, who in exchange is given a nod and a wink that corruption cases against him be shelved, all lubricated with Saudi cash for Nawaz Sharif's government
Whatever eventually happens you can be sure of two things. The solution will be very Pakistani. And Mr Musharraf will be gone before anyone realises quite what is happening.

Most likely this is a likely outcome (what this article has described). And again, my question to everybody who thinks "elections are the way to change and betterment" ---> What change?

If this is one of the first things to be happening in this country after the "historic turnout" ... What change are you talking about?

My posts have become increasingly pessimistic (or so it seems). I'm only trying to point out that the flaw is in the very system - the system we hold sacred with no basis! That's the only purpose behind these posts.

The solution is simple (if not easy to implement). Bring back Islam on the political level in the country. It has been done before (in the Age of Ignorance in Makkah, nobody could imagine that an Islamic state could be set up in neighboring Medina which would spread far and wide within a few years).

Pakistan is still predominantly Muslim - and has awareness etc. :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Atheists, Old Tricks

Finally, an athiest with a brain. Interesting read!


By Davide Mastracci  (Journalist, Student)

- Source: Huffington Post

Following the Boston bombings, many Muslims felt obliged (though it's a shame that they felt this way) to explain that they do not support terrorism and the actions of some others who claim to share their faith. The pressure for Muslims to apologize for, or distance themselves from, other Muslims, came from the Western media and public, racist law enforcement agencies, as well as New Atheists. In response, I'd like to say that as an atheist, I do not support the actions of New Atheists, and do not consider them worthy to represent the banner of atheism.

In the simplest and correct definition of the term, atheism is simply a lack of belief in any deity, or the possibility of a deity. I am an atheist, and this just means that I do not believe in god. It means almost literally nothing else at this point in my life. New Atheists, who make up an ideological movement owing its existence to such figures as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, begin at the same point as me, but take their lack of belief in a far different direction.

I do not consider myself to be superior to theists because we differ on the issue of god. New Atheists often implicitly or explicitly do. In fact, New Atheists frequently uphold a hierarchy of faith, which enforces how they regard others. To a New Atheist, the best stranger is the stranger who is also an atheist while a stranger who keeps their belief in deities to themselves is the ideal sort of theist. Yet a stranger who allows their belief in a deity to dictate components of their life, in accordance with previously existing communities and institutions (i.e., a stranger involved with religion) is something the New Atheist mocks and condemns.

Dawkins claims journalist Mehdi Hasan cannot be taken seriously because he is Muslim

The second difference between myself and New Atheists comes in the way we regard such things as science and rational thought. New Atheists and I both claim to appreciate these things, though we show it in varying ways. For instance, I tend not to believe things I can't prove (like talking snakes, objective morality or heaven) while New Atheists take pride in attacking theists for their supposed lack of logic, because, well, science! For proof of this point, spend five minutes on any given day browsing the Atheist sub-section on Reddit.

Beyond the way we regard analytical skills, New Atheists and myself apply our analytical skills in different ways as well. I try to properly analyze everything, while the analytical prowess of New Atheism is selective. New Atheists love to poke holes in theistic beliefs by using science to show that these beliefs are false. New Atheists get giddy from the idea that what religion once had to create fables to explain, science can now provide empirical answers for. Yet when it comes to the behaviour of religious peoples, New Atheists logical skills go out the window.

This behaviour is especially evident in regards to Islam, as New Atheism has a nasty history of Islamophobia, which Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, as well as Murtaza Hussain for Al Jazeera, have pointed out. There is little defense major New Atheists can give to charges of Islamophobia, and in fact, the defenses they have given further outline their inability to calmly analyze events involving religion.

In a reply to Hussain's critiques of New Atheism, Samuel Harris, a leader in New Atheism, claims that he is not Islamophobic. He says that instead he spends disproportionate amounts of time viciously attacking Islam and Muslims because Islam is a more dangerous religion than the rest of the major ones. Harris backs this claim up by pointing to the Middle East, notorious figures like Osama bin Laden and numerous terrorist groups, and supports (just as Hitchens did) torture and racial profiling to combat this perceived menace. In fact, Harris has even claimed that "Unless liberals realize that there are tens of millions of people in the Muslim world who are far scarier than Dick Cheney, they will be unable to protect civilization from its genuine enemies."

Yet, belief in Allah is not the cause of the problems which plague the Middle East. Hundreds of years of imperialism, numerous American invasions, continued Israeli aggression, corruption, proxy wars and Western support for brutal dictators have all played a major role in shaping the Middle East. You can't attribute the current standing of the Middle East to Islam.

An example can be found in Lebanon with regards to Islamic fundamentalists Hezbollah. Years of conflict with Israel have left many in the country angry, desperate and poor. Hezbollah has, in the eyes of its supporters, managed to provide the community with much needed amenities, while offering a military response to Israeli aggression. If Muslim Lebanese civilians are attracted to Hezbollah, it is not because Islam is a violent religion, but because they perceive Hezbollah as a liberating force against the aggression which has destroyed their lives. It would be absurd to claim that minorities in the United States are disproportionately charged of crime because of their religious views, race or ethnicity. Relevant explanations include racial profiling, poverty, and unjust laws. The same holds true for claiming Muslims support alleged terrorist groups because of Islam.

And this is where my major difference with New Atheists come into play. I am an atheist because I tend to not believe in things I have no evidence for. Yet New Atheists believe scores of myths, with no evidence, about Muslims and Islam. While they enjoy poking fun at people who believe in flying horses, the sort of beliefs they carry, which justify imperialism, racial profiling, and torture as a means of combating theism, are far more dangerous. These beliefs are also disingenuous. To defend racism or imperialism with atheism is a cop-out; these views cannot be attributed as stemming from atheism. As an atheist, I apologize to Muslims for the vile my so called 'peers' spew. They do not represent me.

Monday, May 13, 2013

2013 Elections - if only!


Two news articles are all it's going to take.

Take a look:

Nawaz Sharif claims victory in Pakistan election

The frontrunner to become Pakistan’s next prime minister tonight promised to stand together with the West in taking on the forces of terrorism, hours after voting finished in the country’s historic general election.

During a close-fought campaign Nawaz Sharif had promised to end drone strikes and review the country’s relationship with America.
As he publicly claimed victory in the poll, the two-time prime minister sought to reassure Western governments and said he would not pull back on the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. 
“I have experience of working with US counterparts and will be very happy to further work with them,” he told The Sunday Telegraph
“What is most important is that we must never allow our soil to be used by anyone to create problems with any country in this world.”

--------------------  There is more, but not relevant. Now, the next article -----------------------------------

Obama hails Pakistan for elections, pledges equal partnership

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama congratulated Pakistan on Sunday for the successful completion of its parliamentary elections and said the United States would work with the country's new government as an equal partner.

"The United States stands with all Pakistanis in welcoming this historic peaceful and transparent transfer of civilian power, which is a significant milestone in Pakistan's democratic progress," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

 "By conducting competitive campaigns, freely exercising your democratic rights, and persevering despite intimidation by violent extremists, you have affirmed a commitment to democratic rule that will be critical to achieving peace and prosperity for all Pakistanis for years to come," he said.

Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif made a triumphant comeback in the country's election and looks set to form a stable government capable of implementing reforms needed to rescue the fragile economy.

The polls were seen as a democratic landmark, marking the first time one elected government was to replace another in a country vulnerable to military takeovers.

Washington is eager to maintain a stable partnership with Pakistan, particularly as it continues counterterrorism operations on the Afghan border, but the relationship has been complicated by U.S. drone strikes blamed for killing civilians.

Obama did not note Sharif by name in his statement.

Sharif, a former prime minister, is almost certain to take the post for a third time.

"My administration looks forward to continuing our cooperation with the Pakistani government that emerges from this election as equal partners in supporting a more stable, secure, and prosperous future for the people of Pakistan," Obama said.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who recently hosted talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan's army chief meant to reduce tensions between the two neighbors, also called Pakistan's elections historic.

"The Pakistani people stood up resiliently to threats by violent extremists," Kerry said. "We'll be working with the new government to advance shared interests including a peaceful, more prosperous and stable future for Pakistan and the region."

How about that for a change?

This should be an eye-opener for all those who think that the current democratic process and voting etc can bring about a real change in Pakistan, and for Muslims in general. It never can.

If it were to bring about a change, they wouldn't be sitting so quietly, applauding your bravery (against the so-called threats to elections and blah), and congratulating you when another one of their puppets is installed in power. They would be after you and the process would never even last.

If only, we could THINK.