Articles of the year 2007

The Sovereign State
Published on August 17th, 2007

There was a brilliant, scholarly essay in a leading daily last week in which Hassan Aslam and Taimur Malik gave an elegant analysis on the legality of war, and the definitions of this legality. How because of World involvement Iraq 1 was legal, as everyone was on board, including the UN, but Iraq 2 was not, because at the time of the attack, the UN was not on board. A part of the essay dwelt fleetingly on the rhetoric that was used in the buildup in both cases, and should be looked at carefully from Pakistan's standpoint.

While we are all loudly proclaiming our sovereignty, and rightly so, for we are an independent and sovereign state, now sixty years old. And our Foreign Minister thunders dire warnings to anyone who would dare to challenge this sovereignty. His loud threats embarrass our citizenry for we know and recognize empty bombast, for what it is. We only wish that these remarks were made by someone less educated, more realistic, and in a less responsible position. These threats fool nobody, especially as the targets of these threats, are vague, not unlike Quixote's windmills.

The bigger dangers are that the threats are being taken seriously by sensible Pakistanis who should know better, and youngsters, who being in the fanatic fundo mode, are exhorted to join the Suicide brigade. This would then be used as a weapon aimed at whosoever is targeted by their handlers. The other dangerous aspect is the voices in the assembly echoing the same threats. This is as dangerous as the threats by Obama to attack our Holy cities. Now whereas Bush led a chorus of voices against Obama's remarks, and the American press immediately also reacted forcing a retraction, our press our Government, and our politicians are strangely silent on the rhetoric of our Mullahs, and that, by their very silence are taken careful note of by the foreign media. Thus reinforcing the perception of the Fundamentalist State. We must be very careful, for this perception is in itself a cause for concern, as coupled with the Nuclear ability, we are now not just a cause of concern, but will be targeted accordingly, before we can even think of using them( God forbid), and on whom? For Kasuri to brandish the Nuclear ability is not only foolish, but very dangerous. This is playing Dare for the highest possible stakes, and with the weakest hand on the table. The President would do well to rein him in quickly.

The other Mullahs in the Assembly must also be stopped from their aggressive statements, for having been elected to the House, they have the necessary credentials to be quoted in the press if nothing else. Pakistan has already been placed on a terrorist watch list, and utterances such as our Mullahs make from time to time, all add to our anxiety cause list. While Musharraf is being besieged by the Americans for not doing enough, he should start by cleaning up the Assemblies, and the Senate from such dangerous elements which by their utterances, and their covert actions would be giving tacit, and not so tacit support to the extremists in our midst who are the true enemies of Pakistan. Before they can damage any external enemies, they are not only damaging Pakistan, but also hindering any development that would be possible.

A case in point are the Madressas, which by their huge numbers, -Seventy thousand to date, could bring about a revolution in education. If the curriculum were to be expanded into having more subjects it would be more beneficial to all concerned. After all, the reason that children are sent to the Madressas is the abject poverty of the children's parents to start with. The money that the madressas receive is from the people of Pakistan, and certainly not from the earnings of the various Madaris. Therefore we must ensure that the education given to the children is productive, and gives Pakistan valuable educated assets, whose education can be used for more productive pursuits, and not just to be restricted to the parroting of the Holy Koran only, without even knowing the meaning of their recitations. This is a disservice to the student, and worse to the Holy book itself. Far better to educate the child so that he can obtain gainful employment and be an asset to his family and himself, thereby becoming a better Muslim also.