Month: May 2009

Bring ‘people power’ to Pakistan By Rick Barton

Published in Christian Science Monitor Rick Barton is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington, and was a member of their Smart Power Commission, a bipartisan effort to submit recommendations for developing an integrated policy to strengthen US influence, image, and effectiveness. WASHINGTON – How should the United States respond to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Pakistan? In a proudly sovereign country of 165 million people, billions of US dollars and thousands of US troops will not produce the necessary change. Instead, America should put its new commitment to “smart power” into practice: Success will depend on galvanizing the burgeoning power of popular opinion to bring about reform. There have been positive developments in Pakistan recently, which should be supported. The 2008 elections and the lawyers’ movement showed that popular will can overcome corrupt practices and unconstitutional traditions. The elections resulted in a civilian-led, coalition government. The restoration of the suspended judges following months of demonstrations and endless news coverage reaffirmed the dynamic link between the …

Pakistan on the Brink By Ahmed Rashid

Published in New York Review of Books, VOLUME 56, NUMBER 10 • JUNE 11, 2009 To get to President Asif Ali Zardari’s presidential palace in the heart of Islamabad for dinner is like running an obstacle course. Pakistan’s once sleepy capital, full of restaurant-going bureaucrats and diplomats, is now littered with concrete barriers, blast walls, checkpoints, armed police, and soldiers; as a result of recent suicide bombings the city now resembles Baghdad or Kabul. At the first checkpoint, two miles from the palace, they have my name and my car’s license number. There are seven more checkpoints to negotiate along the way. Apart from traveling to the airport by helicopter to take trips abroad, the President stays inside the palace; he fears threats to his life by the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda, who in December 2007 killed his wife, the charismatic Benazir Bhutto, then perhaps the country’s only genuine national leader. Zardari’s isolation has only added to his growing unpopularity, his indecisiveness, and the public feeling that he is out of touch. Even as most …

A Letter to President Obama:Work with Western Muslims to Promote Stability and Peace in the Muslim World

Dear President Obama, This is an extraordinary time in history. You have been elected as the president of the most influential nation in the world. This is also a formative period in history, and political decisions will influence humanity’s direction for generations to come. Humanity faces enormous challenges and hopes for great possibilities. The world finds itself in a reflective and transformative mood, and it hopes for a visionary leader who can set milestones towards a better world.

Young Pakistanis Take One Problem into Their Own Hands

Sabrina Tavernise LAHORE, Pakistan: The idea was simple, but in Pakistan, a country full of talk and short on action, it smacked of rebellion.. A group of young Pakistani friends, sick of hearing their families complain about the government, decided to spite them by taking matters into their own hands: every Sunday they would grab shovels, go out into their city, and pick up garbage. It was a strange thing to do, particularly for such students from elite private schools, who would normally spend Sunday afternoons relaxing in air-conditioned homes.

Battle for a Taliban Town of Terror

By Ali Rizvi Originally posted at theCurrent Affairs.com Initially welcomed, the mullahs controlled Mingora with burnings and beheadings. Now the Pakistani army is attempting to expel them. In a darkened room in Peshawar, far from prying eyes, a medical student from the Swat valley opens his laptop and begins a slideshow of terror. Over the past three years, the 22-year-old has secretly catalogued the horrors of life in Swat under the Taliban. The burning down of schools, bodies hanging upside down, public lashings and decapitated heads with dollars stuffed in their nostrils and notes reading, “This is what happens to spies,” were all captured on his mobile phone at great personal risk.

Vision 21

Vision 21 is Pakistan based non-profit, non- partisan Socio-Political organisation. We work through research and advocacy. Our Focus is on Poverty and Misery Alleviation, Rights Awareness, Human Dignity, Women empowerment and Justice as a right and obligation. We act and work side by side with the deprived and have-nots. We invite you to join us in this mission. We welcome your help. We welcome your comments and suggestions. If you are interested in writing on Awaam, please contact us at: awaam@thevision21.org ↑ Grab this Headline Animator