[On the morning of 7 January 2015 at about 11:30 local time, two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Armed with assault rifles and other weapons, they killed 11 people and injured 11 others in the building. After leaving, they killed a French National Police officer outside the building. The gunmen identified themselves as belonging to the Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, who took responsibility for the attack.]
[Cricket World Cup 2015 started from the mid January 2015. As soon as the schedule was announced, Pakistani youths like from all others cricket playing nations started cheering for their team. Please see this link which is from Cricket Dot Com PK (http://schedule.cricket.com.pk/)
which gives details of Cricket Schedule 2015/2016 – All International Events.]
In the video below, which was posted on January 7th 2015 on a “hate video blog” hosted on YouTube, which the Google search engine is displaying as:
data-href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laC06lAe50Q“>UK – Pakistani Muslims ‘celebrating’ ATTACKS IN FRANCE …</a>
“>Pakistani people celebrating
PARIS attack in england (luton …
If you carefully listen to the audio and compare it to other genuine unaltered videos, the chants are “Jeetay ga… Pakistan jeetay ga” (Will win… Pakistan will win) additionally the siren like sound is a classic noise from an air horn used by cricket spectators / fans from Pakistan and sometimes from India.
The source of this video which has been intentionally tagged with fake description and optimized for Google’s search engine comes from a YouTube channel called “new to Islam” with the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9LrjZDubbjdKW5Td5WPNug
The ten months old video poster claims that Pakistan youth based in UK Tooting / Luton are celebrating Paris attacks on Charlie Hebdo from January 7 2015. It is not claiming celebrations of the recent Paris Atacks although the video has started showing up again in the search results as the search terms being used are same as the ones used for January 2015 Paris Attacks.
This channel is openly anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan and posts “stuff” which would hurt the targets directly by damaging their global reputation and / or hurt the feeling of the targeted community. In short it’s a “hate channel” hosted on YouTube and as Google owns YouTube this video and other content from this channel is accessible on the web.
October 16, 2015
An Editorial in India’s NORTHLINE newspaper of October 16 makes interesting reading. The fact that it is written by a former Foreign Secretary gives it some importance even though not all retired foreign secretaries are equal. The title of the article says it all—“US-Pakistan Nuclear Deal: Why India should see America as no friend”. It could easily have been—: “How Dare the US even think of a Nuclear Deal with Pakistan”. So far there is no official indication that the US wants to discuss any sort of nuclear deal with Pakistan but there have been reports in the US media and two credible writers have authored articles suggesting such a possibility — David Ignatius and Sanger. So perhaps something is in the offing or is being considered. The article suggests that a prompt denial of the media reports would have assuaged Indian outrage and in the absence of such a denial “speculation could damage its (US) relations with India” — the message to the US being that deny these reports pronto or else. Else what?
According to the media reports the talks with Pakistan on this issue if they do take place will be led by Peter Lavoy from the White House. Lavoy is an old South Asia Hand and knows the score. If indeed he leads the US side then he will do so competently, objectively and impartially. This is an aspect that has been ignored. The US will do what is in its interest to further its policy in South and West Asia.
Also ignored is the possibility that the US on its own has come to the conclusion that Pakistan has made a paradigm shift in strategic direction and has to be brought on board on the basis of converging interests and not the transactional agreements of the past. After all Pakistan has evolved a unique civil-military relationship to suit its own environment — a relationship that sustains democracy and brings the organizational and structural strength of the military in support of the elected government so that the immediate vulnerabilities being exploited by ‘others’ to destabilize and isolate Pakistan are defeated and all institutions strengthened for effective orchestration of state power. Not everyone is happy with these positive developments it seems!! There is probably a conviction that by raking up the past you can fog the present and also that the US will buckle under intimidation, threats and imagined fears—not a very complimentary view of an ally, especially an ally who is bending over backwards to woo you!!
Pakistan has stated clearly and unambiguously that it wants peace and a resolution of issues with its eastern neighbor through a dialogue. Pakistan has also made it clear to the world that it is for peace and stability in Pakistan and that it is not supporting and will not support any faction that is bringing violence and instability in Afghanistan and will do its best to bring about reconciliation through talks. Pakistan’s leadership has also determined and stated that its main security threat is internal and that its vulnerabilities are being exploited by ‘external forces’ in multiple ways. It in on the basis of these declared facts that Pakistan has developed responses and capacities that are delivering results and rapidly sidelining threats. Threatening any neighbor or supporting any faction that creates internal problems or jeopardizes bilateral relations is not a part of Pakistan’s present strategic response. With its focus on present and future economic challenges and opportunities Pakistan will not be side-tracked into actions that distract it. So no amount of ranting about a civil-military divide or military domination or past events will change the perceptions of the present reality. Pakistan is not the only country that has concerns about the country specific US-India Nuclear Agreement under which India gets access to nuclear trade and gets away with unsafeguarded military nuclear facilities with only its civilian facilities under safeguards. The boost that India gets for undetected fissile material production is what the FMCT needs to address and this certainly raises concerns in Pakistan. Pakistan has said that its nuclear program is security or insecurity driven because of the existing and rapidly growing asymmetry in the conventional weapons balance in South Asia. Pakistan has been forced to go for full spectrum deterrence to ensure that its deterrence remains credible. Pakistan does not threaten India—it cannot—but India by the strides it is taking in the conventional and nuclear fields threatens Pakistan because it does not agree to dialogue, because it pressures Pakistan on the borders and the Line of Control in Kashmir and because it has mounted a relentless campaign to destabilize, discredit, malign and isolate Pakistan especially its military establishment that for some reason looms large in India’s strategic concerns. So it’s no surprise that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor that is being seen positively by the world including the US and Russia is not viewed the same way by India. Pakistan does not threaten India with nuclear or conventional weapons and it has no desire to create problems for itself by actions that are clearly not acceptable in today’s global environment that stresses connectivity, trade and energy flows.
Hypothetically what is wrong with the reasoning that—“in return for an NSG waiver, Pakistan will be asked to restrict its nuclear program to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defense needs against India’s nuclear threat, and not to deploy missiles beyond a certain range”. Pakistan had suggested a bilateral restraint regime in the past so does this possible agreement, if ever executed, evoke the fear that the real destabilizing force in South Asia will be unmasked? It has been rightly stated that Pakistan may not agree to such an agreement because India parades the threat from China as the reason for its inordinate military expansion forgetting that almost all its forces are arrayed against Pakistan? So can Pakistan be faulted for being India centric? The US did sanction Pakistan when it determined that such action was warranted but on what basis should it sanction Pakistan now—certainly not on the say so of another country.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan will be visiting the US soon. He will go with the full backing of all institutions including the military and the people of Pakistan. In the discussions he will discuss Pakistan’s concerns and will listen to what the US says. He will do what is in Pakistan’s best interests because now there is no ambiguity or doubt about the positive role that Pakistan wants to play in the region and beyond the region. His visit is likely to be followed by a visit by the Chief of Army Staff. The US has not introduced uncertainty about its strategic intentions towards India, the US has signaled acceptance of Pakistan’s good intentions and a desire to reciprocate and help Pakistan. After all, anti US policy rhetoric in Pakistan notwithstanding, the US and Pakistan have been allies in the worst of times and the best of times.
September 23, 2015
Over the years, Eid ul Azha has become an occasion to show off—the bigger the sacrificial animal and the more elaborate and extravagant the sacrifice the better the Muslim—or so it is believed. It has become apparent that the understanding of religion and the spirit of sacrifice or giving to the less fortunate is superficial. The meat may satiate hunger for a while but does little for the betterment of the poor and while it is an Abrahamic tradition that should ideally be practiced on the festival, we must also look towards ensuring that if we have the resources, we contribute by providing more than just food to the hungry. How about keeping expenditures on the sacrificial process limited to a reasonable level and using that extra money on things that will change the life of the needy? How about contributing by funding a child’s education or helping a person in need set up a source of livelihood? Not only will such measures touch lives, they will provide peace of mind—we can sleep well at night knowing that we have contributed in some shape or form to help the less fortunate.
This Eid, let’s be more sensitive to the needs of the less affluent and try to help them in ways other than just feeding them. Let’s understand the root of their afflictions and try to provide solutions that will enable them to become productive members of society and lead happy and fulfilling lives. Religion has for too long been treated in a shallow manner. Let’s look for redemption by taking routes that aren’t travelled all that often. We might be surprised.
September 15, 2015
A young lady associated with the Punjab administration decided to do her job honestly and to the best of her ability. The results were startling. Suddenly there were graphic reports of donkey meat, pork and even meat of dead animals being sold and supplied to eateries. There were also reports of unhygienic conditions in restaurant and hotel kitchens—not just roadside eateries but also the five star types. Lahorites were aghast but they should not have been surprised. The profit margins for these haram meat sellers are enormous and not just for them but also for those buying and using this meat. Think of the vast roughs cooked and served at weddings, the barbeque joints and the nihari sellers and you will get the picture. The checking spree has spread to other towns in Punjab. Let us hope that there is permanence in these arrangements. The more positive dimension is that people are either giving up meat or becoming very choosy about what they are getting and from where they are getting it.
On the heels of this phenomenon come reports of raids on ‘factories’ engaged in producing fake toiletries, fake cosmetics and fake medicines. The trick is to create a shortage and then unleash a fake product that is then quickly snapped up. The packaging is exactly like the original. Condiments, cooking oils and other products are included in this scam creating a serious health hazard. So far not much has been done to stop this rampant activity but at least the public is being made aware of what is being sold to them.
There is another dimension to this nefarious activity. There are no arrangements for refrigerated transfer of meat and vegetables. One well known supermarket unloads all produce in the parking lot where it is sorted out in the heat by sweating workers and then hand carried to the air conditioned premises where the unsuspecting customers are waiting. There is also the scene where beverages in plastic bottles are left in the sun for hours creating carcinogens within them — no wonder the incidence of cancer is rising in Pakistan. You will not find a single drug store or pharmacy that stores medicines in temperature controlled environments so even the genuine product losses its efficacy very quickly in the hot summers.
The well heeled have an answer. During their annual or biannual jaunts abroad they stock up on medicines, toiletries, cosmetics and even groceries so that they do not have to buy anything locally. Sad but true. The brunt of the negative impact is thus borne by those who do not have an alternative. A good move by the government could be oversight of pharmacies and those selling edibles and insistence that they improve storage and transportation systems. There is the problem of the energy shortage and the cost of energy — after all how can you run generators and still hope to make a profit. A vicious circle if ever there was one. Switch to home grown vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts, cereals etc but then you need money to buy these at exorbitant costs!!! What should one do and where should one go?
June 19, 2015
By now Ms Christine Fair has more or less branded herself as India’s champion. Whether this is out of a new love for India and Indians or some other more pragmatic reason is something to wonder about but her agenda is clear. Promote India and twist logic to prove its lily white innocence, counter anything even faintly critical of India and bad mouth Pakistan every which way to please the Indians and their lobbyists. With such an image it is hard to imagine US policy makers or anyone else for that matter taking her seriously not withstanding her scholarly credentials. In fact her recent writings targeting Pakistan signal a come down and tarnish her image especially because in the background somewhere is a refused visa to visit or work in Pakistan — as is the case with some others attacking Pakistan. Just because you give aid or have a relationship does not mean unquestioned access — the Raymond Davis fiasco proved that.
June 18, 2015
Much is being read into the recent so called ‘macho’ speech of the Co Chairman of the PPP. Some analysts are calling it some kind of a gauntlet thrown at the ‘establishment’ which they think and hope will be picked up so that fireworks can start. The media loves fireworks because it rakes in the moolah and these days that is the most important consideration. More experienced and savvy people know that the outburst by the Co Chairman was neither a speech nor a gauntlet — it was a sad and pathetic spectacle. It was the response much like the one a cornered rat makes as a last ditch effort to evade a fate that looks inevitable.