Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gwadar gets NINE inches of rain -- and counting

Just check the Met office's website -- the press release was as of 11 am -- and it said that Gwadar had received 222 mm of rain so far -- and it wasnt over -- 222 mm is just under NINE inches -- imagine what could or would happen if that comes to Karachi -- which it is supposed to -- better to be safe than sorry -- good luck everyone

Friday, June 4, 2010

Secret meetings

Interesting letter we carried on June 4 -- by an IBA student -- the rest is self-explanatory

Secret meetings between Pakistan & Israel

After years of denying any sort of contact with Israel at the top level, former Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri disclosed in a TV programme (that has yet to be aired) that secret meetings have been going on between the two countries for the past 50 years. He also disclosed that his meeting with the Israeli foreign minister at the time was not the first one.

However, Mr Kasuri said his meeting was the first one which was publicly acknowledged.

It seems quite ironic that ministers only disclose such secrets when they are not in power and on private TV channels or shows. For the record, this show was taped on May 31 at the IBA where I study and will probably be aired on a private TV channel soon. The audience was made up of IBA students.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 4th, 2010.

The will of the people & the Constitution

Editorial -- The Express Tribune -- June 4, 2010

A member of the 17-judge full court hearing petitions challenging the 18th Amendment said on June 2 that the will of the people was above the Constitution and that upholding and protecting that will was the ultimate objective of every organ and functionary of the state.

Quite clearly, the ultimate objective of every organ and functionary of the state, the judiciary included, should indeed be to uphold and protect that will. However, with the utmost of respect, may we say that the Constitution of Pakistan is precisely the embodiment of the will of the people of Pakistan, especially given the manner in which the 1973 Constitution was drawn up and formulated. After becoming president in 1971, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appointed a 25-member committee comprising members of parliament to draw up a draft of a new constitution for the nation, still reeling from the catastrophe of 1971. On Oct 20, 1972, the draft bill for a new constitution was signed by leaders of all the parliamentary groups. This bill was introduced in the National Assembly on Feb 2, 1973 and on April 19, 1973, it was passed unanimously. The 1973 Constitution, which exists today — in somewhat changed form because of various amendments — came into effect on August 14 of that year.

Further to this, the passage of the 18th amendment was done in a manner that was in accordance with the Constitution, as in it was passed by the required two-thirds majority. In fact, it would be fair to say that this is the only way that the Constitution can be amended – as in by such a majority in parliament – precisely because it represents and embodies the will of the people of Pakistan. Were the present constitution drafted and decreed by, say, a military dictator, or were it mangled and mutilated by one like what General Ziaul Haq during his time with the insertion of the Eighth Amendment, whose purpose was more to shore up his otherwise sham Islamisation claims, it would be fair to say that it did not reflect the will of the people.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ahmadies under attack


The Ahmadis of Pakistan have been under attack for a very long time, though what happened to them and their places of worship on May 28 in Lahore is quite clearly one of their worst days ever. The second amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan in 1974 excluded Ahmadis from the religion followed by the majority of Pakistanis. The amendment made this exclusion legally in that the phrase “for the purposes of the constitution or law” was used when rendering them non-Muslims. Under law, anyone who is a minority is entitled to equal protection and has the right to due process, but as our history and in fact present show all too clearly, Ahmadis have not been given this entitlement.

Friday’s events are more or less an inevitable outcome of the intolerance and bigotry found in Pakistan today – we say ‘today’ because while it began many years ago and was facilitated actively by the state during General Zia’s days, it persists and has perhaps grown stronger than ever. Those who died – the number is at least 70 and could well rise – are going to soon be forgotten and added to the hundreds of minorities who have been killed over the years by extremists and militants. In fact, one cannot help but notice the tragic irony in all of this. Just a week ago, many Pakistanis were outraged – and rightly so – at an offensive page on a social networking website and complained that the west should show some sensitivity to their religious feelings. And what have we done to our own minorities?

We have, in our midst, a group of people so crazed and fanatical in their faith that they see it as an obligation to take up arms and attack a place of worship and kill those present simply because of their beliefs. We can only wonder how many among us will unequivocally speak up and condemn the actions of these militants and how many will label this (undoubtedly right) action as ‘anti-Islam’?

Published in the Express Tribune, May 29th, 2010.