Month: June 2010

Inspiration Pakistan: Selflessness in Jaded Times

Sehar Tariq Times in Pakistan are tough. Things were never great but they were never this bad either. There weren’t as many incidents of violence, so many hours of load shedding or such high  prices of food and electricity. And in our fast paced downward spiral, we have lost our sense of being one nation. Its each man and woman for himself or herself. Its the only way to survive. And in the pursuit of survival we will lie, cheat, steal, trample on others, cut corners and take the low road as often as possible to get to destination mere survival.

Guillotine and Governance

By Awaam Does anyone remember a certain French Queen who famously said ‘well if they do not have bread to eat, why don’t they eat the cake?’. Anyone who knows this will also know what her fate was.  Marie Antoinette ended with her head on that famous French chopping block – guillotine. Neat, instant and bloody. Why am I reminded of this early in the morning?

What is Blasphemy?

By Awaam Blasphemy, in its literal meanings, is defined as a behaviour or language expressing disrespect for God or for something sacred The issue of blasphemy, highlighted again by the recent banning of certain websites in Pakistan, has caught the attention of everyone again, through debates on media. I also read and heard different versions of thought on the issues of blasphemy. While due to the rapid transmission of the message throughout the country, and due to pressure generated by the  perceived angry reaction( read road demonstrations resulting in injuries, burning , destruction and looting) of the people, authorities were keen to ban the sites within a few hours. On the other side, it also gave birth to a serious question in my mind that ‘what the hell is blasphemy’ indeed?

Court order to ban Nine Websites in pakistan

By Awaam Lahore High Court (LHC) has ordered Pakistan Telecom Authority to block nine websites in Pakistan, which purportedly contain the blasphemous contents. The decision was taken in response to a petition filed by a retire civil servant for the ban on the websites including Google, Yahoo, Amazon, MSN, Hotmail and YouTube. The LHC ordered an interim ban on these sites without any consultation with the information technology experts regarding the issue and alternatives to deal with it. It is a moment to take a pause and reflect on what on earth is going on. What madness has gone in all of us? How are our courts reacting and why?

Sinking further – Dawn Editorial

Tuesday, 22 Jun, 2010 Balochistan is a province on edge. Its denizens don’t know where the next attack will occur or who will be the target. On Saturday, an attack on an army convoy killed one soldier and injured several others; the Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility. On the same day, two members of the Hazara community were killed on Art School Road in the heart of Quetta city. Suspicion has fallen on Jundallah, the group which claims to be fighting for the rights of the Baloch in Pakistan and Iran but that also has a sectarian hue. With such disparate sources of violence in Balochistan, easy solutions will not be had. Start with the Baloch nationalist problem. To be sure, there are extremists hiding in the hills of Balochistan and living outside Pakistan who are orchestrating the violence and whose central demand, independence, will not be met by the Pakistani state. But focusing on the most extreme demand of the radical fringe can be misleading.

Value Added Tax: Sucking Blood from Stones

Brig. Simon Sharaf The progress of a country’s revenue generation directly depends on the growth of its economy and the fairness of its tax collectors to deliver. However, at the broadest and lowest level of this enforcement lie a mass of people with different ideas, idiosyncrasies, historical traditions and daily experiences. This diversity is intertwined at the very top with governance manifested by its politicians, establishment, enforcement and intellectuals. Consequently, the tax culture of a country will always take the colour of its top tier.