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Giving facts a "Spin"

A comment upon "Avoiding an Abyss" has insinuated that in the article an impression was made that the Shaheeds of the Armed Forces are not looked after, and that the Army as an institution is to blame. Misleading on both counts and deliberately taken out of context to divert the thrust of and obscure the actual message, the attempted "spin" was in keeping with why the Army gets into such trouble with its image inside and outside the country. On the principle of "shooting the messenger" carrying bad news, differentiation is seldom made between friend and foe or separating good advice from motivated criticism. If the hierarchy perceives something unpalatable, the "spin masters" are tasked to distort the substance of the message, directly or indirectly. If such an impression was created even inadvertently or remotely, I stand corrected......more

The Underdog Feeling

Barely three months ago the paths of terrorism and cricket crossed in Lahore. Terrorism we can do without, what we cannot do without is international cricket on our soil. Given the amount of food and water in the backpacks of the terrorists, the primary aim of the ambush was not to kill but to kidnap. Prabhakaran and the remnants of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) were making their last stand at Killonochi against the relentless Sri Lankan Army, possible that the aim was to take the Sri Lankan team as hostages and barter their freedom or was the timing just an amazing coincidence?....more

Confronting Adversity Positively

When faced with a man-made human catastrophe of the Swat magnitude, it is not enough just to provide relief and succour, one must plan for mental resuscitation to force-multiply physical rehabilitation. To confront the adversity faced by the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) positively and turn adversity into an opportunity, a three members "Rapid Mission" was constituted at the innovative initiative of the outstanding Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), Dr Zafar Altaf. The Rapid Mission visited 8 IDPs camps located at Mardan, Takht Bhai, Swabi, Nowshera and Peshawar. This article examines their Diagnostic Survey to assess and analyse the present situation. Their assessment viz (1) identifies the issues related to drinking water, sanitation, solid waste, wastewater and disposal of waste and rain-water (2) diagnosed problems relating to food, health and security and (3) identified prospects of short-term agricultural interventions in the IDPs camps.....more

Avoiding a Quagmire?

The magnificent performance of the rank and file of the Army fighting the counter-insurgency in Swat is no surprise. Whether in Kashmir in 1947-48, Dir in 1958 and 1976, the Rann of Kutch, occupied Kashmir (Operation Gibraltar) and later in the full-fledged war of 1965, during the 1971 war, in the Balochistan counter-insurgency in 1973-5, Siachen continuously since 1985, in Kargil in 1998 and in FATA since 2004 (and many more small conflicts that would take many more pages), young officers and their men have kept their commitment “even to the peril of their lives” in line with the oath they took on induction into the Armed Forces....more

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