Saturday, February 28, 2009
Zardari has acted with the typical mindset of a feudal landlord showing no vision of any kind by dismissing the Sharrifs. I have no affections for the PML(N) but Zardari has clearly used and manipulated the Sharrifs in a despicable manner. This is not politics, its stooping to such low levels that its a new one even in Pakistan's political history.
Our party has been approached by the wheelers and dealers of Zardari. Like me most of the other workers and leaders are warning the Chaudhrys about Zardari. I can safely predict today Zardari will not only end up sacking Prime minister Gillani within the next year but that he himself will not be able to complete his 5 year term.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
On the flip side, I am still upset about the recent attitude of my in-laws. They have always seemed 'nice' but since lately there has been a tendency on the part of my father in-law especially to be a little interfering and dominating. Its like he wants to say that he is the boss. I have found it very resentful and maybe frustrating because i have not as yet come up with a way to counter it.
In my own analysis, my problem is that i tend to be very nice with people, maybe because of the insecurity i feel (nice people being nice because of their insecure emotional state?). Because of this goody good behavior i let others dominate me. The way to counter this is not to over react but act mature (define mature, anyone please?). There is a difference between thinking about and planning a course of action and putting it into practice. I am in a fix as to how to best respond to something like this.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
My relationship with him is an escape from the reality of my life, but its a very dangerous escape. I have decided for now to work on improving my marriage while keeping the affair at distance, at least for a while.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Conceding and appeasing the Talebaan is in my view very dangerous and short-sighted. Appeasement does not work. Islamabad has tried it before -- with disastrous results. This has only given these hordes time to rearm and come back. This development is a significant threat to Pakistan at many different levels.
To their credit, earlier on, the Pakistani army did step up in its fight against the Talebaan but then it started to stall. What happened recently -- and a lot of our soldiers have been killed by the way in this fight -- is that the military stopped going hand to hand with the Talebaan. They stood back and started shelling the militant outposts from long distance. What this did was cause mayhem against the civilian population -- death, injuries and destruction of property. The civilains in that area have had enough. They now want security and peace by any means. So, they as well as many in Islamabad are now saying that OK if we get Shariah Law, it will at least get us peace.
Reality however is different. We have seen this movie before. This is just a lull before the next storm and sooner or later, if unchecked will topple the establishment in Islamabad and for decades erase the vision of a secular Pakistan that many of us including this author share and pine for.
Friday, February 20, 2009
We have to find our own way through this mess created by Zia and exacerbated by Musharraf. There is no doubt in my mind, that these militants are getting enough support and training not only from our premier nemesis but forces beyond that as well. I do not buy into conspiracy theories but the reality is that Pakistan's Nuclear weapons are a sore sight not only for our eastern neighbour but Israelis as well. It is time that we stand up and show some backbone both to the extremists as well as to the Americans. The priority should be to cleanup the mess at home and one of the ways to do it is to stop killing our own people on the behest of foreign powers.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Ambassador Holbrooke, the Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan arrived day before yesterday in Pakistan. He has been assigned a task no less difficult than what confronted US Policy makers 40 years ago in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Disclaimer: I am a proud US National of Pakistani origin and it is with this perspective and motivation that I contribute this blog posting.
For Ambassador Holbrooke to succeed, a prerequisite will be that him and his boss, Secretary Clinton, with the full support of President Obama are able to closely coordinate with a fine and sharp focus the activities of a wide spectrum of agencies within the US Government – particularly with USAID within the State Department as well as with Defense, and the National Security Council -- if they are to achieve President Obama's strategic goals for the region.
Any informed and reasonable commentator and expert on the issues confronting USA in this region will accept and confirm that dealing with the situation in Afghanistan requires an integrated strategy that addresses the needs and aspirations of the Governments and people of both Afghanistan and Pakistan AS A WHOLE. This is something that the Bush Administration paid only lip service to. It would also best serve US interests if it drops its role of the last seven years as a "lone ranger" and engages NATO, Russia and China in developing a durable solution.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are two very distinct countries with different languages and different cultures. As someone who has a South Asian father and an Iranian mother – I am well qualified to comment on that. People tend to focus on the Pakhtoon ethnic overlap in both countries BUT there are more Dari speaking people in Afghanistan (with a different mindset and outlook on life) and more Urdu speaking people in Pakistan. Most of the visitors to this blog site are from Pakistan so you will appreciate when as I quote as an example the different outlook on life that a Mohajir or a Sindhi or a Punjabi has as compared to someone from the Tribal Areas. Both countries have extraordinarily different histories AND YET are intertwined by geography and religion and a common hatred for the colonial / imperial ambitions that the West has through the centuries exhibited for this part of the world.
To broker a fair and lasting solution that meets the needs of all key stakeholders is a VERY DIFFICULT ASSIGNMENT. Nobody can say that the war in Afghanistan has gone well for the Americans. US and allied soldiers occupy a country where they are becoming increasingly unpopular and are entrenched in a fight with a ruthless and elusive enemy – Vietnam all over again with perhaps the same negative outcome for America except that the killing fields this time will not be in Cambodia but in Pakistan. Just as Pol Pot savagely decimated Cambodia's population, so might the Talebaan and their fundo allies decimate and slaughter Pakistan intelligentsia and the secular educated middle class in Pakistan.
I have no love or admiration for the Talebaan. To me they represent a bigger threat to Pakistan and the ideals espoused by my beloved Quaid-e-Azam than anything that USA might have inflicted upon us, by supporting a succession of unpopular and destructive military regimes or India might have tried to inflict upon us through its territorial ambitions. This is a cancer that is growing from within and unless strong medicine is prescribed and radical surgery undertaken, will kill us as a nation. The Talebaan are without any scruples at all and have done some of the most odious things in the name of Islam.
I would submit that today Pakistan's and USA's long term objectives coincide – to eradicate the menace that is the Talebaan. We stand to lose more from these vile creatures and their despicable philosophy than USA. Both USA and Pakistan will need to work closely with an open mind and due respect for each other if we are to avoid the looming tragedy i.e. the implosion and collapse of Pakistan.
The situation is infinitely complex. I however think that a good start has been made by placing Afghanistan and Pakistan under one envoy. What is needed is a regional approach and a comprehensive policy and the Obama administration is far more likely to adopt this approach than the Bush Administration was in the last seven years.
Monday, February 9, 2009
So, i am back to my life and the daily grind of it. I have to figure out a way to kick start the writing again.