May 2009

Scourge of land mafia in Pakistan

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Malik Tariq Ali
Pakistan’s peace and tranquility has been eroded by unchecked weaponisation, land mafia, drugs and abuse of power by individuals and institutions. The dominance of political and religious parties by these elements along with a weak judiciary and failure of the state and its institutions to eradicate this scourge today threatens our national security. Our major urban centres like Karachi have been subjected to turf control battles, while Swat, Balochistan and the Tribal belt suffer turmoil. Insurgency and rebellion breeds on deprivation, injustices, exploitation and discrimination. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted to create a welfare state for the Muslims, instead it has become a country riddled with ethnic strife, rising street crimes and insurgencies by misguided religious bigots like Maulvi Fazlullah or through the sense of deprivation in Balochistan, because the state has failed to cater to its primary functions of welfare of the most deprived sections of our society. Pakistan’s security is today threatened from within by self-seeking adventurers, with their insatiable greed to acquire wealth, irrespective of its cost to our national security. Read More »Scourge of land mafia in Pakistan

‘Magic gadget’ places 6 mobile phone connections in single SIM

Islamabad: One must wonder if told that it is possible for you to use six cellular connections with single Subscriber’s Identity Module (SIM).

Experts say that there is a Magic Gadget available in the market, which enables you to have multiple connections in it. You can easily purchase the device and its driver with the instructions manual from the local markets.

“Basically, the SIM comes with no data in it, such as an audio cassette comes blank first, but you can record songs in it. The same way, you would have to purchase a blank SIM and get it loaded into a SIM card reader to load SIM data into it. The blank SIM is available in the market for Rs250 while the cost of loading six SIM’s data over it is also Rs250,” said Zawar Hussain, an IT expert, in an exclusive talk with the APP.Read More »‘Magic gadget’ places 6 mobile phone connections in single SIM

Warnings from Washington —Shaukat Qadir

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After the hugely successful Long March, which was led by Nawaz Sharif’s party, he has emerged as a serious contender on Pakistan’s political scene. What is more, he has come out fairly strongly against the religious extremists. Consequently, a number of American officials have been meeting him regularly

In the hundred some days since Barack Obama took office, a number of interesting developments have taken place relating to how the new US administration views Pakistan. Can some of these be taken as indicators of another US policy shift towards Pakistan?
Read More »Warnings from Washington —Shaukat Qadir

Defeating despair with art —Saleem H Ali

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My dear compatriots, listen to the news but don’t get addicted to tales of turmoil. Flip the channel to watch a drama or venture to a theatrical performance or an art exhibition to see how human creativity can triumph over the Taliban

About five years ago, I visited Kinshasa, capital of the “Democratic Republic of Congo”, on a research trip during the height of the country’s civil war.

Darkness enveloped the city as our plane landed at Kinshasa airport. This is a country where only around 15 percent of the population has access to electricity. The university in the city, once the largest in Africa, was in utter disrepair and most of the library’s books had been looted. The once modern hospital was being used as a military barrack. The currency had been devalued to such an extent that when I exchanged a hundred dollars, I had to carry a backpack full of equivalent notes to my hotel with an armed escort.Read More »Defeating despair with art —Saleem H Ali

Three nations, three stories —Rafia Zakaria

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The symbolic meeting between American, Pakistani and Afghan leaders brought together three countries whose relations are marred by mistrust based on broken promises on all sides

In the cavalcade of photo opportunities and press conferences that took place this past Wednesday during trilateral talks between the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan, much was said about three nations coming together to combat the common challenges posed by terrorism. Time and again, Afghan, Pakistani and American leaders stood in close proximity, an agreement was signed, promises made and reassurances given to attest to the commonality of the task before the three democratic nations. Read More »Three nations, three stories —Rafia Zakaria

Islamabad diary: Pakistan being short-changed again

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Ayaz Amir

We sold ourselves cheaply under Zia. We sold ourselves very cheap under Musharraf. Battered from all sides, we are selling ourselves cheap once again.

What good has American aid done us in the past? What do we have to show for it? The US Congress can keep the Kerry-Lugar assistance bill in one of its lockers. Far from working any wonders it will only be another instrument to keep us doing American bidding, often against our better judgment..

The sooner the present ruling setup gets this into their heads the better for the hapless people of Pakistan. We need a writing off – a complete writing off – of our foreign debt: about 40 billion dollars of it. And we need more US market access for our textile goods. These two things will do more for national confidence than the rest of the nonsense we are hearing at present. Read More »Islamabad diary: Pakistan being short-changed again

A letter from Pakistan / Princeton to President Obama

Sehar Tariq

I came to America at age 17 as a college freshman three weeks before 9/11. And when the world changed forever on that fateful day, I never realised the extent of it because I was sheltered by the loving arms of Mother Yale. She provided guarantees that no harm would come to my person despite the threats being issued nationwide to people of my religion and nationality. University President Richard Levin wrote a beautiful letter to parents assuring them of the efforts Yale would take to guarantee my safety and well-being. My parents tear up, even to this day, when they read this letter from a stranger promising to protect their only child. It was this selfless compassion of Americans that won my heart.Read More »A letter from Pakistan / Princeton to President Obama

Of heartburn and heart attack

It begins as a sharp, burning sensation in the chest, near the breastbone or ribs. But is the pain heartburn, or might it be a heart attack?

“It’s often difficult for people to tell the difference,” said Dr Ravi Dave, a cardiologist and associate clinical professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Complicating the issue is that some people with diagnosed heart disease will also have heartburn, Dave said.

“Those are the patients who don’t want to say, ‘Oh, this is just heartburn’ and not worry about it,” he said.Read More »Of heartburn and heart attack

The need for business registers in Pakistan

Particularly in crisis times with an increasing fiscal deficit, high inflation rates and a considerable power shortage there is a necessity for wise political decisions to solve the existing problems in the country. Accurate economic and financial statistics is the basis for more evidence-based decision making and therefore for good governance. One objective of official statistics is to improve the information available to key decision and policy makers in government through the improvement in the scope, quality, relevance and timeliness of statistics. However, the quality of statistics is often limited by low response rates of respondents. Read More »The need for business registers in Pakistan