Asghar Ali Engineer There are two different approaches to worship God for fear, greed or sheer love and devotion. Most of us ordinary people worship God either for fear of punishment or greed for reward in paradise. In Sufi lore it is said once Rabia Basri, a great Sufi woman of 23nd century hijrah (8th century A.D.) once was carrying bucket of water in one hand and a burning torch in the other. When people saw her they asked O! Rabia why are you carrying this bucket of water and burning torch?
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?
The only way that I see forward is neither ‘ijtihad’ nor ‘islah’, nor ‘ tajdeed’ ‘ehyaa’ or ‘tashkeel e nou’. Islam and Muslims rather need ‘ibtidaa e nou – min al asal’ (New Beginning from the Original). The first step is re-establishing Allah’s discourse in Islam. So how can we achieve that ? how will that happen? In my view that can only happen by certain fundamental reforms / rethinking to create a new Islamic discourse, which should then take its new form by open discussion and consent.
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.
In this insightful article, American journalist Peter Chamberlin presents a compelling narrative, explaining how CIA planners, in “Operation Enduring Turmoil,” have been busy using some of the Northern Alliance’s most ruthless men, along with a sizeable force of Uzbeks, to destabilize Pakistan’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas and the North West Frontier Province. Pakistan, Chamberlin writes, is the keystone in an American strategic move that stretches in an arc across the entire Middle East and southern central Asia. If Pakistan is not totally under American control then the plan cannot work. The existence of this plan accounts for the brazenness shown in American actions taken in Pakistan that are in direct contravention of the expressed will of the Pakistani people and their leaders, actions clearly intended to undermine Army and governmental authority.
Paul Rogers The problems faced by Barack Obama’s administration in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq owe much to George W Bush’s catastrophic legacy. (This article was first published on 14 May 2009 in OpenDemocracy) Barack Obama approaches the end of his fourth month in power with the full impact of the legacy of the George W Bush administration across the middle east and south Asia only now becoming clear. The dispute over the publication of over forty photos of maltreated prisoners of the United States held in an earlier period of the post-2001 “war on terror” – in which the president appears to have acceded to the wishes of the army – is but a small index of how inescapable and toxic is this legacy.
Source: Reuters – AlertNet Date: 17 May 2009 By Zeeshan Haider DAGGAR, Pakistan, May 17 (Reuters) – Fighting between the Pakistani army and Taliban militants drove farmer Rahim Zada and his family from their home in the mountains a week ago but on Sunday he was trudging back. “I’ve come back to harvest my crop,” Zada said as he took a break on the road with his aged father, four women in all-enveloping burqas and a baby. “We can’t live in Mardan, it’s too hot,” he said, referring to the main town on the lowland to the south. More than a million people have sought refuge on the lowland from fighting that began last month when the army moved to push the Taliban out of Buner district, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Islamabad.