January 31, 2009

Outsourcing security-Ayesha Siddiqa

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THE lashkars in the tribal areas are being touted as a great military plan to counter the Taliban. The governor of the Frontier province, Owais Ghani, for instance, was of the view that the lashkars would create minimal social disturbance, because the battle would appear to be waged by the local population rather than foreign forces.
The plan has been endorsed by Centcom commander Gen Petraeus who probably views this strategy as workable. Since it is being used in Iraq, it is being employed in Pakistan’s tribal areas as well.Read More »Outsourcing security-Ayesha Siddiqa

Heavy costs of a dirty war

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By Dushka H. Saiyid

 THAT the world changed with the departure of Bush was borne out by Obama’s words at his inaugural address when he said, “Our founding fathers … drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man … those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

This is what distinguishes the western civilisation from what the Taliban and Osama are selling: it underscores the supremacy of the rule of law, and its cornerstone, that everyone is innocent till proven guilty. It was a rejection of rendition, water-boarding and other euphemisms for the torture of prisoners, incarcerated for years without trial. It is not difficult to fathom why the US, and Britain under Blair, lost their moral leadership of the world.
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Swat, Somalia and sharia —Rafia Zakaria

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rafiazakria2Reducing justice to a crude pantomime devoid of equity and education to an expression of un-Islamic elitism, these groups rely on the most decrepit aspects of human nature to assure their own ascendancy

Early this week, the Taliban in Swat issued summons to over forty politicians asking them to appear before the sharia courts they have set up in the valley. As the Taliban have entrenched their power in the area, their courts have been busy carrying out public floggings, executions and amputations.Read More »Swat, Somalia and sharia —Rafia Zakaria

Dealing with hard times —Shaukat Qadir

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shaukat2The flat rate increase in the unit price of electricity beyond a certain limit should suffice to induce conservation of domestic electricity consumption, but we are also short of water. What is more, India’s continued violations of the Indus Water Treaty are likely to increase our shortages

I read the same newspapers that all citizens of this country do, but when I venture forth from home, it seems that either nobody else does or nobody else cares. The country has petrol reserves for only six days but there is no reduction in traffic; supply of natural gas is insufficient to meet demand, a fact frequently advertised through the media, but all public offices have gas heaters on, even when they don’t really need them. In my house, heaters are turned on only for guests or my grandchildren.Read More »Dealing with hard times —Shaukat Qadir