Month: January 2010

An Image…

By Awaam We see many trash picker children around our homes and streets daily. Chatting and giggling while digging through the massive garbage dump at every corner to support themselves and their families in most cases. I never saw anyone stopping for them and asking why they have got to do all this and at such early ages? Where do they come from? What are their names? No one ever asked. Because it does not matter. We as a society have absorbed the fact that at every garbage heap there must be a few little children probing it, picking from it, and the worst eating from it. It’s a shame that it is not shocking to see it happening. Abeel, a 12 years old boy, is also one of those many children. I saw him this morning through the window while sitting in my office, doing something after which I could not resist but to go to him and ask him why has he to do this. He had lit fire in the stove which …

Tony Blair and the imperial temptation in Britain and America

Thomas Ash– OpenDemocracy Why did Tony Blair decide to go along with, and even cheerlead for, the invasion of Iraq almost seven years ago? I don’t pretend to know the full explanation. But ahead of his testimony to the Chilcot Inquiry on Friday – which I would guess is more likely to devolve into a media circus than to provide a truly satisfying answer to this question – it is worth considering one factor many informed commentators consider key. I have in mind the imperial temptation in British politics – the desire to “punch above our weight”, reshape the shaken kaleidoscope of the world, or whatever description you favour (there is no shortage of purple prose to choose from). In his illuminating history of twentieth century UK politics, Britain Since 1918: The Strange Career Of British Democracy, David Marquand illustrates how leader after leader has fallen prey to this temptation, Blair included. I was reminded of this history by a recent exchange in the higher-browed reaches of the American blogosphere which is well worth your …

Women’s bills revisited

By Zubeida Mustufa Hats off to the women who lobbied for the two bills on sexual harassment, and managed last week to move them a step further towards becoming the law. At long last the ruling coalition partners mustered enough courage to take a stand on women’s rights in this matter. At one stage the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Bill and the Criminal Law Amendment Bill had appeared to be in the doldrums, given the resistance from the religious parties. Another bill, the Domestic Violence Bill, which was passed by the National Assembly, lapsed when it was not adopted by the Senate within the stipulated 90 days.

PROSPECTS FOR PAKISTAN

Jonathan Paris This Report analyses the prospects for Pakistan over a one to three year time horizon. It looks at economic, political, security, and bilateral issues. There are three possible scenarios for Pakistan over this relatively short time horizon; Pakistan probably will avoid becoming a “failed state” and is unlikely to find a “pathway to success” but, as Pakistan confronts a myriad of vexing challenges, the most likely scenario is that it will “muddle through”. 1. Economy Looking at the economy optimistically, in just over 20 years, Pakistan will surpass Indonesia and become the fifth most populous country and the one with the most Muslims. Its youth bulge provides it with a baby boom which, if educated and employed, could provide its economy with a demographic dividend long after the equivalent bulges in China and India have aged and retired. Pakistan has an opportunity to leverage its domestic consumer market to attract multinationals and build up competitive economies of scale in industries like food, electronics, autos and engineering for the export market. Peace with India …

Dealing with brutal Afghan warlords is a mistake

Nick Grono and Candace Rondeaux in the Boston Globe Boston Globe   AS WASHINGTON rolls out its latest troop surge in Afghanistan, all eyes are on the violent south and east of the country to see whether the additional military muscle will bring stability. But outside observers are looking in the wrong place: They ought to focus on the backroom deals the United States is preparing to make with some notorious warlords, as these will determine the long-term effectiveness of President Obama’s strategy. While the White House has paid lip service to the importance of good governance in Afghanistan, the reality is that co-opting violent warlords is at the heart of a plan that will likely result in further instability. One of the warlords who may soon star in the new US efforts to rebrand fundamentalists as potential government partners is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a brutal Afghan insurgent commander responsible for dozens of deadly attacks on coalition troops. As a mujahedeen commander during the civil war in the 1990s, Hekmatyar turned his guns on Kabul, slaughtering …

WEARING BURQA WILL NOW BE A CRIME?

Asghar Ali Engineer Now a draft bill is under consideration of French Parliament imposing a fine of Euro 700 on any woman wearing burqa covering her whole body in any public place and her husband twice as much if he forces hear to wear burqa. This is for the first time that women would be penalized for wearing burqa. Earlier France had banned Muslim girls wearing hijab in schools. It argued that these religious symbols interfere with its commitment to secularism and its secular culture. In fact nothing happens without political ideology being behind it. This measure is being   championed by rightwing politicians who are exploiting anti-Islam feelings in France among a section of people under the cover of secularism. However the socialists are opposed to any ban on burqa though they are also not in favour of women wearing burqa. They feel women should be discouraged rather than banning burqa (which includes covering face).

Rental Power Projects to Hike Power Rates

While the minister for water and power has once again promised of zero load shedding in the next three to six months through Rental Power Projects, The Asian Development Bank [ADB] has laid the claim bared by terming it impossible. The ADB was tasked with third party evaluation, by the federal cabinet to examine government’s agreements for additional 2250MW capacity through 14 rental power projects [RPPs]. The Bank, according to a news reports, has debunked the RPP scheme of the government in a report submitted to the government committee by saying that the agreements had been ‘signed in haste’ and without examining in detail the fiscal and contractual obligations of the government. The Bank disagreed with the claim made by Water and Power authorities that the rental tariff will range between 13-18 cent per unit, and observed that it would actually be between 14-22 cents per unit, which will make the electricity produced by RPPs substantially more expensive than what the government has claimed.