April 2009

Taliban to the rescue —Dr Manzur Ejaz

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The foreign powers obsessed with extremism and jihadi violence in Pakistan have little insight into Pakistan’s real issues. They can throw a few billion dollars to prop up the state but money will only go so far: Pakistan will remain mired in lawlessness unless structural reforms are undertaken

Wali Dad, a peasant, died in front of the Karachi Press Club. He had been on a hunger strike, protesting the cruelty of a landlord Faqir Waryam, a member of Pir Pagara’s spiritual network.

Up north, the Taliban, besides enforcing shariat, forced the Swat landlords to flee, freeing landless peasants from long subjugation. Of course, the Taliban will receive revenue from the land but the peasants’ share will increase. Maybe the next Wali Dad will take his case to the nearby Taliban unit instead of dying in full view of helpless journalists at the Karachi Press Club.Read More »Taliban to the rescue —Dr Manzur Ejaz

The retreat of Jinnah’s Pakistan

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Dr Maleeha Lodhi

The writer is a former envoy to the US and the UK, and a former editor of The News.

An event in the life of a nation sometimes has deeper significance than what appears on the surface. The accord by which the government all but ceded administrative and judicial control to militants and their Taliban affiliates in Swat is such a development. This has profound implications for the country that have been obscured by the facile discussions on many TV talk shows. It may well mark a turning point in the country’s struggle with rising militancy.

The Swat deal signifies several things all at once. First and foremost it represents a retreat for Jinnah’s Pakistan. Whatever the apologists of the deal may claim, it is the very antithesis of the vision and ideals inspired by the country’s founder, the core of which was a modern, unified Muslim state, not one fragmented along obscurantist and sectarian lines. Several times during and after the struggle for freedom, the Quaid-e-Azam emphatically ruled out anything resembling a throwback to obscurantism or any variant of theocracy. His leadership rested on principle and according to one of his biographers, he preferred “political wilderness to playing to the gallery”.Read More »The retreat of Jinnah’s Pakistan

Kidney failure big new killer on the horizon

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Kidney failure has emerged as a new killer on the horizon in Australia, resulting in more deaths than cardiovascular disease.

Data from 2007 released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show kidney and urinary tract diseases have jumped to 10th on the leading cause of death list with 3,230 deaths being attributed as the single underlying cause. “Most of this increase appears to be due to an increase in chronic kidney failure deaths that have risen 148 percent in the last decade with a striking 133 percent rise over the last three years,” said Tim Mathew, medical director of Kidney Health Australia (KHA). This is at a time when cardiovascular deaths have decreased 125 percent in the last decade.

The rise in mortality has occurred in both sexes with female deaths accounting for 55 percent of all deaths from diseases of the kidney and urinary tract. An age breakdown of these deaths is not yet available, said a KHA release.
Read More »Kidney failure big new killer on the horizon

Seeking a US visa? This is the right time to apply

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By Amar Guriro

KARACHI: The Consul General of the Consular Section at the United States Embassy Islamabad Christopher J Richard has said that the number of visa application that had dropped after a change in the laws following 9/11, have once again increased in the past two years.

“A big drop in the number of visas occured after 9/11. Not only the US visas, but several other countries have also made the same reduction as the laws became strict and new laws were introduced after 9/11. In the last two years, the number of applications that the US Embassy has received has increased,” he said in an interview with Daily Times held at the US Consulate Karachi. “The increasing visa applications can be gauged from the fact that in 2008, the US embassy in Islamabad issued 23,300 visas including 2,700 visas for students and exchange visitor, 1,700 temporarily work visa and 1,900 visas for senior officials,” he added. Read More »Seeking a US visa? This is the right time to apply

‘Risky’ Pak applicants for UK visas interviewed over phone

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LAHORE: Students from Pakistan are being interviewed over the telephone from outside the country when there are concerns they might be ‘risky’, British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has admitted in the wake of the arrest of terror suspects who had entered the UK on student visas. British officials based in Abu Dhabi question some applicants over the telephone before giving them permission to enter the UK to study at universities and colleges, according to The Times. But the Home Office denied a claim by Keith Vaz – chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee – that some decisions on visa applications were made in the Foreign Office in Whitehall. Read More »‘Risky’ Pak applicants for UK visas interviewed over phone

‘Lahore stays linked to its past’

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Indian writer who visited Lahore despite travel advisory says city remains the most broad-minded of all towns
* Says city’s intelligentsia worried about ‘being abandoned by the world’ * Writes young man at hotel told him he had visited Sikh family in India as attempt to ‘reclaim a fast-disappearing past’

The provincial capital of Punjab stays linked to its past, said writer Ramachandra Guha in an article published
in the Financial Times recently.

The author of the article first visited the city in 1995, “illegally”. Given a single-city visa to visit Islamabad, he said he was “determined to get to Lahore”. Growing up in a north Indian town of refugees from this side of the Punjab, Guha said his friends’ fathers – all educated in Lahore – “spoke in elegiac tones about its colleges, parks, theatres and shops”. He noted that a book they “passed lovingly from hand to hand” was Pran Neville’s ‘Lahore: A Sentimental Journey’.Read More »‘Lahore stays linked to its past’

‘Beauty’ injections can turn ugly: NY health officials

People looking for a quick beauty fix risk death from unlicensed practitioners offering oil injections to enhance prized body parts, health authorities warned.

The city health department said silicone, petroleum jelly, castor oil, mineral oil or cod liver oil were among substances injected by unscrupulous practitioners.

“People who undergo these unsafe procedures hope to enhance their appearance, but the reality can be lifelong deformity and even death,” said Doctor Nathan Graber, director of the city’s environmental and occupational disease program.Read More »‘Beauty’ injections can turn ugly: NY health officials

Stem cells ‘can treat diabetes’

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An experimental stem cell treatment has enabled patients with type 1 diabetes to go for as long as four years without insulin injections, researchers say.

A US-Brazilian project with 23 patients found most were able to produce their own insulin after a transplant of stem cells from their own bone marrow. Even those who relapsed needed less insulin than before.

But writing in the journal JAMA, the team warned the treatment may only work in those very recently diagnosed. The treatment is designed to stop the immune systems of those with type 1 diabetes, a condition which usually develops in childhood, from mistakenly destroying the cells which create insulin. Read More »Stem cells ‘can treat diabetes’

Needle can save stroke patient

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Keep a syringe or a needle in your home to do this. It’s an amazing and unconventional method of recovering from a stroke.

When stroke strikes, the capillaries in the brain will gradually burst. So stay calm. No matter where the victim is, do not move him/her. The reason being if the patient is moved in this state, the capillaries will burst.

Help the victim to sit up to prevent him/her from falling over again and then the bloodletting can begin. Bloodletting is the withdrawal of often-considerable quantities of blood from a patient in the belief that this would cure or prevent a great many illnesses and diseases.

If you have in your home an injection syringe that would be the best. Otherwise, a sewing needle or a straight pin will do. Follow the directions below in cases such as this:Read More »Needle can save stroke patient

Mafia economics in Pakistan

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The country is short-changed on everything and yet the elite mafia keeps on getting ever more greedy and selfish. What is the eventual outcome of all this? Mafias abound on the scene. My definition of economic mafia is some one, who does much worse than a gun toting Sicilian or Italian. However, the one I am talking about has a recurring ability and keeps on milking the nation metaphorically and literally.

These mafias have lately increased and these have been because of the last government’s abilities to only see as far their nose. At the time they emerged, there were only seven of them and at one meeting with the then President of Pakistan I stated who those seven were. I was responding to a question by the then President that I had powerful friends and powerful enemies. So I narrated who my powerful enemies were and I had also mentioned that the power of the negative was much more than the power of the positive.

When I named the seven in descending order, the President agreed that I had a correct measure of the men. Unlike Protagoras, the stoic philosopher, who taught virtue, the then President and his men heard but did not take any notice, listened but did not pay heed. A powerful reminder of what can happen to people who live in ivory towers and feel the world’s information is provided by their JCO[s] and other ranks. If the information world were to be moved by these sources what would become of us?Read More »Mafia economics in Pakistan