[Dawn] THOUGH mosques in non-Moslem states have been targeted in the past, mostly by right-wing and racist elements, We don't hear about a lot of them, but no doubt they occur. Presumably the author doesn't hear about the ones perpetrated by members of the congregations...
Monday night's arson attack on a mosque in Brussels may be the first intra-Moslem sectarian attack in a western country. A man, apparently an undocumented Democrat from Morocco, entered a Shia mosque in the Belgian capital and set it alight, shouting slogans denouncing the bloodshed in Syria, and holding the Shia community responsible for the carnage in the Levant. The Belgian interior minister has suggested the attack had sectarian motives while eyewitnesses described the suspect as "a Salafist". The mosque had already been under police protection because of threats received in the past from hardline Salafists. ...Salafists are ostentatiously devout Moslems who figure the ostentation of their piety gives them the right to tell others how to do it and to kill those who don't listen to them... As it is, Moslems living in the West and other non-Moslem societies encounter considerable prejudice due to the antics of religiously motivated terrorists. Acts such as these will further complicate the situation as sectarian poison originating from Moslem-majority countries is exported to the diaspora. While we in Pakistain have seen far too many mosques, imambargahs and Sufi shrines -- let alone non-Moslem places of worship -- targeted by bad turbans, Moslems of different denominations in the West generally eschew sectarianism and get along with each other. That may well change as sectarian tensions in the Middle East boil over and have a cascading effect. After Bahrain, the Syrian conflict has taken on an increasingly sectarian colour. If the Syrian quagmire degenerates into open communal conflict, the possibility of more such hate crimes cannot be ruled out. And if hard-liners in the West go ahead with an attack on Iran -- and especially if pro-West Gulf sheikhdoms have any role in supporting such an attack -- sectarian fissures in countries like Pakistain, Iraq, Leb and others which have seen bouts of Shia-Sunni violence, are bound to increase considerably.
For those determined on jihad, any target will do. But certainly for Western governments and police it is easier to justify to the PC crowd convicting and jailing those involved in intramural behaviour -- to be treated by the courts as straightforward violence -- rather than trying to anthropologize attacks on kufrs, so central to their quaint traditional culture.
[Dawn] I HAVE 'normal' sectarian prejudices and tell Shia jokes to friends and colleagues.
How nice: a self-aware bigot.
Also, I do occasionally listen to firebrand ...firebrands are noted more for audio volume and the quantity of spittle generated than for any actual logic in their arguments... Shia Learned Elders of Islam, who like their Sunni counterparts keep their audience spellbound, block traffic and contribute to noise pollution.
Beyond that, my 'prejudices' end. How strange, then, that there are Paks who have time to board buses, demand to see passengers' identity cards, guess their sects from their names, and slaughter them.
I wonder how many Paks have visited the paradise once called the Northern Areas, now Gilgit-Baltistan. Until 'civilised' people from the south and warriors from the west intruded in to this Shangri-La, this area nestling in the foothills of some of the world's mightiest mountains had known no violence.
They are a humble and pacifist people, and, more important, they flaunt their Pak-ness, because they take pains to emphasise they are not Kashmiris and that the GB people had revolted against the Dogra regime, thrown it out and joined Pakistain.These hardworking and remarkably handsome Paks are divided into three sects -- Shia, Sunni and Ismaili. But the commonality of interests in fighting a harsh climate and giving a better life to their people had, until recently, made them indifferent to sects.
Situated in a bowl, and hemmed in by towers of white granite that would pose a challenge to the most accomplished of climbers, the area was cut off from the rest of the country in winter for months and depended on airdrops by Pakistain Air Force for essential supplies. The area also had a high maternal and child mortality rate; literacy was low, but tourism was a major sector of the economy.
Three developments turned out to be the catalyst. The all-weather Karakoram Highway was built, land reforms were carried out during the Bhutto years, and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme took education and healthcare to the remotest of valleys.
Women have joined the medical profession in a big way, standards of living on the whole have gone up, the literacy rate has risen to 90 per cent -- the highest in Pakistain for any administrative unit -- and maternal and child mortality has gone down.
The rural support programme cost the government no money because the funds came from the Aga Khan Foundation, which encouraged people to rely on self-help to fight nature and give a better life to themselves.
The programme also led to the construction of channels by chipping away at the mountains and making use of glacial water.
This way water began flowing into homes and orchards and transformed the agricultural scene. A GB person can never go hungry, because the little plot of land in front of every home has fruit-laden trees -- citrus, grapes, cherry, pears, apples and apricots.
More important, the GB people have a Swiss-style direct democracy where development projects and other issues are decided by a show of hands. From the point of view of national integration, it is interesting to know that minutes of all meetings are maintained in Urdu as far as the Khunjerab Pass on the Chinese border.
The idyll has not lasted. The wave of religious militancy that America encouraged as part of its anti-Soviet 'jihad' in Afghanistan gripped GB, too. The situation deteriorated when non-Ismaili Learned Elders of Islam from the south suddenly found their religion threatened and rushed to the north to begin a campaign against what was a valuable, non-governmental development programme bringing education and healthcare to all GB people. As arms and faceless myrmidons from the south and west began their own mission, the green valleys and singing brooks became red with blood.
Until 9/11, mountaineering teams from all over the world used to descend on GB to scale some of the world's highest peaks. Now the area's thriving tourism industry has fallen victim to sectarian violence, guides are jobless, the hotel industry is struggling to survive, and even domestic tourism has taken a major blow.
On Feb 28, murderers wearing police uniform boarded two buses carrying innocent people -- men, women and kiddies -- to their enchanting snow-draped valleys. The 'coppers' checked the passengers' ID cards and shot those who belonged to the wrong sect.
Jandallah grabbed credit for the slaughter, which in their opinion will take the killers to paradise. Jandallah is part of the Pak Taliban, and they are supposed to be fanatically anti-American. But all the victims of their anti-US 'jihad' are Pak.
The GB people used to constitute the mainstay of the Northern Light Infantry (NLI), and killed and got killed in the wars with India. It was a paramilitary force, but because of its brilliant performance in the Kargil ... three months of unprovoked Pak aggression, over 4000 dead Paks, another victory for India ... conflict it was made part of the army.
However, facts are stubborn; statistics are more pliable... there has been a gradual change in their attitude. They still form part of the NLI, but many young men refuse to wear uniform and make a simple statement: "either we can stay home and protect our families or we can join the NLI. We cannot do both".
Was wondering when America and it's leaders will wake up and realize it is not good sound business practice involving the country with people who marry small children( age 10 and under etc.)? Blame National Geographic perhaps our leaders and their friends would like to send their kids to private schools in the hinter lands to be brought up all proper and such! Long live the fake people leading America down the toilet.
[Dawn] THE rapid expansion of Pakistain's media industry has been accompanied by reservations about the quality of content. Admittedly, there have been instances -- particularly in the electronic media -- where the limits of civilised discourse have been transgressed. This can be put down to the electronic media still being a young industry and the inability of channels to self-regulate. To some, therefore, the 'content regulations' drafted and approved by the Pakistain Electronic Media Regulatory Authority last month may seem a good idea in theory, containing as they do clauses meant to ensure, for example, that all programming complies with the country's laws and has nothing derogatory to any religion, sect or community.
In theory is as far as it goes, however. Should content codes such as these be put in place, it would soon become a case of 'give an inch and they'll take a yard' vis-à-vis freedom of speech and the ability to freely report and critique. The proposed code is worded so loosely that it is a potential tool for censorship and intimidation of media personnel and organizations. One worrying clause, for example, says that no material can be aired that "is against the national interest, brings into contempt Pakistain or its people or tends to undermine its integrity or solidarity [...]" Who will decide on matters as nebulous as 'national interest'? Potentially, such a clause could be used to stifle critique. Similarly, the document proposes to prohibit footage that can "cause depression" or that ridicules a person or state institution. Defining such things is too arbitrary a matter to be made a blanket requirement.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that no industry ought to operate entirely free of regulations, and in terms of Pakistain's media landscape there needs to be more self-regulation. Organisations need to ensure that their programming adheres to the highest editorial and aesthetic standards, so that no need for intervention is perceived. These matters could be handled by forums such as the Pakistain Broadcasters Association, or through moves such as the 'code of conduct' agreed upon by heads of major news networks in 2009 to standardise professional guidelines.
Something I never understood was Pakistanis have always been Saavy (in their own way). They were as so modern as Iran was back in the 60's and now have some people whom may communicate if only the government would let it.
You need to talk, and if you decide to kill people during your talk, you need to talk some more.
If you keep screwing around, they will talk anyways and then where are you.
[Friday Times] Standard and Poor, the top international credit rating agency, has just warned that Pakistain's ratings could slip down a notch (currently B- for long term credit worthiness and C for short term) if political instability and security risks continue to scare away investors, retard economic growth and forestall desperately needed structural adjustments and fiscal reforms. Particular note was taken of the country's "renewed balance of payment difficulties and a rising public debt trajectory" (144 per cent increase in the last four years of the Zardari regime, from Rs 4.8 trillion in FY 2007 to Rs 11.73 trillion in Dec 2011 or nearly 61 per cent of GDP). Who is responsible for this state of affairs?
Obviously, much of the blame must go to the Zardari government. It has reeked of corruption and incompetence from Day One. And it has hugely mismanaged and neglected the economy.
In theory, at least, the recipe was clear enough from the outset: raise revenues by enlarging and deepening the tax base; rationalize and prune expenditures; privatize state corporations and stop doling out Rs 500 billion in subsidies every year to loss making or leaking public sector enterprises. In practice, however, a number of extraneous factors have served to dampen the government's enthusiasm for reform.
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The possibility of an Iran attack highlights the latest arms race: The United States trying to build new bunker-busting weapons while Iran buries its nuclear labs deep underground to try to avoid possible U.S. (or Israeli) bombs.
Again, Iran's recent rant about how it doesn't care about US Bombs, Missles, or Ships, etc. suppors my contention that ambitious Iran will continue dev its NucProgs even as the US Fifth Fleet, NATO, + other USDOD, Allied mil assets lie offshore.
As per IRAQ 2003 + AFPAK, the Mullah's rants from years ago, espec as per their willingness to detonate Nukes-WMDS on domestic Iranian soil to defeat foreign invaders, + ditto unilater violatingthe sovereignty of its Muslim neighbors to wage "Vietnam-style" People's War agz same, strongly infers that nothing short of a MAJOR MIL GROUND INVASION/CAMPAIGN AGZ IRAN WILL DIVERT THEM FROM THEIR NUCPROGS.
ITS FOR THE [Shia-led]OWG "CALIPHATE" + "UMMAH", AS MILPOL PAR OR DOMINANT VEE THE NON-MUSLIM WORLD [read, JudeoChristianity].
ISLAMIST "MANIFEST DESTINY" = SHIA OR SUNNI, THE CALIPHATE NEEDS NUKES EVEN THEY DON'T WANT TO ADMIT IT.
Ahwazi activists have voiced their outrage against a documentary broadcast by Iran's Press TV that used televised forced confessions by political prisoners to construct an outlandish conspiracy theory.
The Iranian government's propaganda mouthpiece Press TV broadcast a documentary on 14 March claiming Ahwazi Arabs were "simple people with simple minds" and therefore vulnerable to mysterious "mind termination" brain washing techniques that turned them into violent unthinking killers.
Using theories of cult indoctrination devised by American Jewish psychologist Steve Hassan, the documentary claims that cult-like brain-washing techniques were used by individuals living in Denmark and Canada to involve Ahwazi Arabs in armed separatist groups. The ideology of the former Iraqi Ba'athist regime is cited as a method of attracting Ahwazis into psychological mind manipulation. The documentary implies that Arab social backwardness and psychological vulnerability makes them vulnerable to brain-washing and manipulation.