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The making of a
suicide bomber?

Columnist Gp Capt (Retd) SM HALI provides insight into the
indoctrination of suicide bombers.

On Sunday May 18, 2008, I had the opportunity to accompany a team of national/international media persons, who were flown into the remote former Baitullah Mehsud territory of Spinkai Raghzai (South Waziristan) by ISPR. We witnessed a human tragedy of epic proportions. The village was devoid of any human life apart from army soldiers patrolling to keep the miscreants at bay. The houses in Spinkai Raghzai village indicated that their occupants had left in extreme urgency, not even bothering to take their valuables with them. Earlier at Dera Ismail Khan, the GOC 14 Div. Major General Tariq had briefed us that not a single civilian casualty had occurred because leaflets were dropped asking the civilians to vacate or face the wrath of the Army. Those who stayed behind were killed or forced to retreat. 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) were provided refuge in different camps.
The media team, led by its host the DG ISPR, Major General Athar Abbas had the opportunity to interact with a group of IDPs. They narrated their sad plight, the torture they received at the hands of Baitullah Mehsud and his band who tried to impose Talibanisation on the hapless residents by terrorizing them with threats of dire consequences.......more

“Maritime Strategy and
Nation Building Technology”

Columnist M. NAIM SHAIKH makes a case for adoption of dual purpose marine technologies to help naval build up and also contribute to nation-building.

The Pakistan Navy (PN) is at the crossroads of history both in terms of the armed forces of Pakistan and the Indian Navy (IN). It has the smallest budgetary allocation as well as personnel in Pakistan’s three military services. It can not match IN either man to man or boat for boat. Neither can PN squeeze a larger budgetary allocation as compared to the Pakistan Army (PA) or the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Yet, its mandate of defending the sea frontiers is larger than either the country’s air corridor or its borders with four neighbouring countries. In fact, the sea is the limit! Add to all this is the adage that, as Admiral Mahan would have said, all great nations are indebted to their command of seas for their great power status.1Pakistan is more concerned with the security of its sea dependent commerce, a whopping 97% of its total trade, than dreaming any great power status. However, PN is mindful of India’s quest to make the Indian Ocean its own lake as a successor to the British Empire. Any discussion on PN must discuss the challenge posed by IN. India, on the other hand is also mindful of its own maritime history and how it was dominated for almost two hundred years by a tiny seafaring nation – Britain........more

NPT Preparatory Conference -2008

Columnist FAZAL HABIB CURMALLY explains why the US finds itself in a mess in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other things.

“Congress has lost its ability to defend its own role in governance, and over time has demeaned its constitutional mandate by transferring powers inherent to the legislative branch to an executive branch which has assumed the role of caretaker of the military. By vesting absolute power in the hands of the executive, Congress has all but assured that America has become a nation no longer governed by the rule of law, but rather the rule of man.” Scott Ritter The Pentagon vs. the U.S.: “How Americans Have Become Targets of Their Own Military.” Scott Ritter-in Truthdig. Posted on May 7, 2008 and published in Alternet of May 8, 2008.........more

Pak Nukes and
Propaganda Explosions

Columnist Dr S M RAHMAN examines how dictatorial rule has
continued to damage democracy in Pakistan.

The western strategic scholars and think-tanks, while they take pride in being rational and objective in their analyses, when it comes to Pakistan, they are outrageously discriminative and tend to grossly defy norms of even-headedness and are persistently committed to systematic propaganda against Pakistan’s ‘minimal nuclear deterrence.’ It had to acquire this capability as it was faced with a very precarious existential dilemma. Not to acquire it would have amounted to accepting India’s over lordship in the region and live like a vassal state. India’s initial nuclear explosion was made by first hood-winking the entire world that it was for the so called “peaceful purposes” and the typical ‘kautalian’ mind-set induced to name it ‘Smiling Buddha’. It is wrong to assume that USA with its enormous intelligence net-works had no inkling of India’s great global ambitions. When subsequently it exploded the weapons, it was even more ridiculous on the part of USA to acknowledge its intelligence failure to gather the information in time. Shutting eyes against India’s massive nuclear programs was part of a design to make it at par with China so that it could be contained........more

Portrayal of President Musharraf in the Washington Post
Exploring news Framing

Columnist Dr SYED ABDUL SIRAJ presents a study showing how US foreign policy influences media content relating to the international sphere.

This study quantitatively analyzed portrayal of President Pervez Musharraf in the “Washington Post” in the year preceding and following the 9/11 terrorists attack on the US World Trade Center and Pentagon. The incidents and the aftermath events dominated the news media in all parts of the globe in general and the US media in particular. Public opinion in America since 9/11 has shown that the counter attracts and the war against terrorism are the most important issues facing the US government. The study (N =86 stories selected by using systematic sampling) found that amount of coverage given to Musharraf differed between the pre- and post-9/11 periods. The mean length of stories after 9/11 was greater than before. The newspaper described Musharraf as friend and favorable after the 9/11 than before. The treatment of the newspaper most likely seems within the context of the changed relationship between the United States and Pakistan after this attack, wherein Pakistan became an ally of the United States in its War against Terror.

The Theory of Evolution -
Bible and Qur'an

Columnist Brig (Retd) AFTAB AHMAD KHAN sheds light on the
theory of evolution.

The science has formulated a ‘Theory of Evolution’ to explain the creation of human beings. The word ‘Theory’ means something taken as true without proof for the sake of argument or investigation, its opposite is ‘fact’; a thing known for certain to have occurred or to be true; a datum of experience. Evolution is a gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. The idea of human evolution was first presented by the Muslim thinkers Al Jahiz (776-868 C.E) and Ibn Miskawayh (930-1030 C.E) also mentioned by the great Sufi mystic and poet Maulana Jalal-ad-Din ar-Rumi (1207-1273 C.E): “Low in the earth, I lived in realms of sore and stone; And then I smiled in many tinted flowers; Then roving with the wild and wandering hours, O’er earth and air and ocean’s zone, In a new birth, I dived and flew, And crept and ran, And all the secret of my essence drew Within a form that brought them all to view- And lo, a Man! And then may goal, Beyond the clouds, beyond the sky, In realms where non may change or die- In general form; and then away Beyond the bounds of night and day, And Life and Death, unseen or seen, Where all that is hath ever been, As One and Whole.” [Translation, quoted from “Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam” by Muhammad Iqbal, the great poet philosopher of 20th century].......more

Weapons of Mass Destruction, Nuclear
Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

Views from Pakistan

Columnist TAUQEER H. TAKI SIRGANA stresses upon Pakistan's commitment to prevent proliferation activities through implementation of a stringent export controls regime.

Following the events of May 1998, any discussion on the topic of proliferation and weapons of mass destruction leads us inevitably to the situation in South Asia. As a responsible member of the international community, Pakistan shares the concerns about nuclear proliferation, specifically the threat of acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by non-state actors and is determined to work with the international community to prevent any proliferation activities through the implementation of stringent export controls regime strengthened by a system of national export measures.
In the wake of the overt nuclearization of South Asia in May 1998, there has been a strong realization in Pakistan (and this pre-dates the AQ Khan revelations by 3-4 years), that we need to manage our nuclear capability, as well as our external and internal policies in such a manner that while the objectives of our national security are effectively achieved, international concerns on nuclear proliferation are also equally addressed. This includes formulation of a transparent Nuclear Policy, development of Command and Control Organization, robust safety and security measurements, establishment of Pakistan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority and promulgation of Export Control Act-2004.........more

Reforming Pakistan’s Intelligence Services
Columnist FAROOQ HASSAN suggests restructuring Pakistan's intelligence
agencies on modern lines.

Whether a country is a Democratic state, a Dictatorship or a Hybrid, the Intelligence service has a vital role to play. Intelligence is generally regarded as the second oldest profession in the world, the first being of a more esoteric nature. I recently asked the Consul General of a modern Islamic country “which is the most powerful institution in your country?” Without hesitation he replied “The intelligence services”

The Basic function of any intelligence agency is to:

1. Collect data and storage
2. Tabulate the Data
3. Analyze
4. Extrapolate
5. Draw conclusions

In a political and democratic environment the agency only presents the findings for the political masters to draw conclusions and make decisions. In other countries, especially with an overbearing military, as in Pakistan, the intelligence agencies act on their own findings.........more

The Two Most Notorious Sects of
Islamic History

Columnist M A GILLANI dwells upon a dark chapter of Islamic History
and wonders why cannot we learn from our history.

There are many hateful personalities in Islamic history who founded notorious sects by making changes even in the holy verses, Sunnah and Kalma. The interpretation of some holy verses was also twisted by them to misguide simple people for achieving their evil designs and providing cover for their nefarious activities. With their outward suavity, devotion to religion, prayers and by delivering sermons they were able to entice the poor people and peasants. Deserters and absconders, dacoits and miscreants also joined them because they found refuge and protection.
The two most notorious sects are CARAMATHIAN (the KARAMITA-278 AH-891 AC) and the ASSASSINS (HASHI SHINS or SABAHI or HASSANI or BATINIA 455 AH-1063 AC) which created hideous dents in unity, discipline, faith and brotherhood of Muslims. The CARAMATHIANS had filled with rapine, carnage for over 40 years the whole of ARABIA, SYRIA and IRAQ, and brought disaster on the Muslim world. The ASSASSINS created terror for almost 150 years in the Muslim world. They assassinated a great number of Muslim scholars, religious leaders, many ministers, amirs, commanders of opposing forces, a most eminent prime minister and even some sovereigns because they had opposed the doctrines of the sect. Sultan SLAH-UD-DIN was attacked twice but he escaped the daggers of the assassins. Sultan MOHAMMAD GHORI had become a victim of the ASSASSINS near SOHAWA (Distt: JHELUM) PAKISTAN. Those were sad and sinful days but we can only repent........more

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