Stories about Army

The (not so) long arm of the HEC

The Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) devolution has pulled emotions and inflamed passions for the past couple of weeks. We are told that the future of Pakistan and the future of higher education are at stake. However, I for one do not believe that the HEC is a barometer of the state of education in Pakistan. On the contrary, the case of Qamar Riaz Mamitkhel, a lecturer at Bahria University Islamabad points to how inadequate the provision of education in our country is. If we ever needed a snapshot of where we stand, look no further. Mr Qamar Riaz Mamitkhel had the audacity to ...

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Why democracy fails in Pakistan

Our prime minister stands on the remains of a crumbled democracy. He has approved the expansion of parliamentary lodges so the government can emulate the grandeur of the Capitol Hill. Perhaps the government thinks this measure will help alleviate the most serious security crisis that the country has faced. They may be right as once the luxury lodges are built, parliamentarians may actually begin to attend assembly sessions! So far, the current establishment has failed to save the day. Pakistan is now graced with the 10th ranking on the Failed States Index. Wide spread terrorism, a slacking judiciary, embezzlement of state ...

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Liberals then, and liberals now

The lack of pluralism within our society is emblematic of our intolerance in general. I hate to be cynical, but it has always been this way and I fear that it shall remain so. There has been talk on these pages of a ‘liberal movement’ or ‘liberal activism’ as well as ‘liberal fascists/ liberal extremists’. The fact of the matter remains that left-of-centre social and political thought has never been the ‘done’ thing in this country. Ghosts of a leftist past In the early 50’s right up to the 60’s and 70’s, this country had some semblance of leftist thinking. There was ...

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The secret of Western domination

When the United States attacked Iraq in 2003, the three main reasons given were the possession of weapons of mass destruction, the absence of democracy and the harbouring of terrorist groups and elements. The only country fulfilling in fact these three criteria at that time was Pakistan, which at the time was being ruled by an army general, possessed a huge stockpile of nuclear arms and was not only harbouring terrorists but allegedly sending them out as well to destabilise other democratic regimes. As if all this was not enough,  some in Pakistan started smuggling secrets of nuclear technology illegally to ...

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In defence of the army: The question of prisoners of war

Militants usually do not comply with customs of war. They  strike civilians and thus render themselves undeserving of traditional reprieve. In the war on terror, the US government promptly refused to regard captured al Qaeda and Taliban militants as Prisoners of War and instead labelled them as ‘unlawful combatants’ at the very onset of the long-winding war on terror. Historic precedent hints that ruthless terrorists are like pirates captured on the high-seas. David Neuendorf of the Indiana Journal-Press once contended that: “Such people were subjected to military justice, administered by military commanders on the scene. That usually meant hanging from a yardarm. Today it could ...

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Does Forbes support dictatorship in Pakistan?

I found this year’s Forbes list of the most powerful people illuminating. Most revealing was the inclusion of General Kayani on the list. The military has always played a role in Pakistan’s politics. Be it the overt martial law regimes or the democratically chosen politicians, it is the army that has the power. We, of course, remain happy in the illusion that we have the power of choice. But the Forbes list is a rapier of piercing light that shreds the magician’s cloth of delusion, shining on the single most important fact for Pakistan – the military is and has always ...

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Wikileaks: Defying the art of war

The war on truth: In an age filled with conspiracy theories and theorists, it is quite comforting to find Julian Assange and the Wikileaks organisation releasing their latest installment of classified war documents which unlike their predecessors, must be addressed by the US government. The notorious information clearing house released “The Iraq War Logs,”400,000 classified US military documents (the largest such release of classified documents in US history). As was expected, there was a great uproar within the US administration about the release under the pretense that the leaks would be putting American forces and Iraqi civilians at risk, even though the ...

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The desi-elite political identity quiz

Osama bin Laden has expressed concern over climate change in his latest audiotape. Yes, the man who is being hunted down by pretty much the whole world has finally noticed that his nut job agenda and that of the ultra-left wing nut jobs in the west are nearly identical. I predict we will soon here Ayman al Zawahiri declare al Qaeda’s outright support of PETA, as (in my humble opinion) the two groups could form a strong alliance – last I checked, PETA hates just about everyone, and they really do love animals. Sarcasm aside, there is a lot to ...

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What we don’t know will hurt us

An overzealous media sniffing a tectonic shift in Islamabad, readied itself in obvious enthusiasm to cover the news of the expected ‘change’. Unsurprisingly, nothing happened. The troika resolved to protect the current dispensation…the self-proclaimed defenders of what they choose to call ‘democracy’, while the reality of Pakistan is closer to that of a kleptocracy. If we were in a democratic polity, decisions that alter the destiny of nations wouldn’t be made behind closed doors, through inoculators, with gentle nudging and helpful prodding of US and Saudi diplomats. We have a President who in dubious circumstances inherited the leadership of his slain wife’s ...

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Pakistan’s ticking media bomb

It is rather disturbing to see television show anchors pretending to be political analysts. Their so-called analysis is usually hype-creating propaganda. Somehow, they have developed the notion that they are superior to politicians and their naive, idealistic ideas are the solution to Pakistan’s problems. They demean politicians to the extent that self-respecting political leaders have stopped appearing on guest panels. This in turn leads to the anchor of one television channel appearing as analysts on another channel as guests. Without any political background or knowledge, they go on harping about the future of Pakistan, not realising the consequences of ...

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