Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sadanand Dhume on Lieven's book

Sadanand Dhume in the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Lieven is unusually enamored of the army, which he calls "the only Pakistani institution that works as it is officially meant to." In itself, this observation would be unremarkable—the army gobbles up more than double the federal outlays for health and education combined—if it didn't shade into a peculiar adoption of much of the army's worldview as his own. That's the defense Pakistan's military is employing as it's besieged by civil society and by outsiders for its apparent collusion with terrorists.
This exaggerated concern for all things military gives Mr. Lieven's book the tone of a love letter to a general in Rawalpindi, the country's military capital.
 Dhume points out that as one holding on to the status quo, Lieven does not have Pakistan's bests interests at heart either.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


SSridhar on BRF:
One of Pakistan’s best known historians, Prof. K.K.Aziz, in his book, “Murder of History” has the following to say of a Pakistani propensity:

Almost every Muslim of any importance claimed, and still claims today, in his autobiography reminiscences, memoirs, journal and bio data, that his ancestors had come from Yemen, Hejaz,* Central Asia, Iran, Ghazni, or some other foreign territory. In most cases, this is a false claim for its arithmetic reduces the hordes of local converts (to Islam) to an insignificant number. Actually, it is an aftermath and confirmation of Afghan and Mughal exclusiveness. It is also a declaration of disaffiliation from the soil on which the shammers have lived for centuries, and to which in all probability, they have belonged since history began. If all the Siddiquis, Qureshis, Faruqis, ... have foreign origins and their forefathers accompanied the invading armies, or followed them, what happens to the solemn averment that Islam spread peacefully in India? Are we expected to believe that local converts, whose number must have been formidable, were all nincompoops and the wretched of the earth—incapable over long centuries of producing any leaders, thinkers, or scholars?

Reading about the genome sequencing and the unique genetic markers that are said to have been found to identify inner-most Pakistaniyat, I was somehow reminded of the above.  
What he is referring to is this news that Pakistan has sequenced its first genome:

“Our nation is a mix of a lot of races,” said Prof. Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, who heads the project. “Pakistanis are like a “melting pot” ie a mix of Mughals, Turks, Pashtuns, Afghans, Arabs, etcetera.”
{No Indian component?} 

“According to the researchers, the newly sequenced Pakistani genome has uncovered a multitude of Pakistan-specific sites which can now be used in the design of large-scale studies that are better suited for the Pakistani population,” said Dr Choudhary, who is the director of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences at Karachi University."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Religion in the public discourse in Pakistan

Tazeen, at A Reluctant Mind, has a great essay.
She writes about how religion has played the determinative role in the media narratives of four killers who captured the headlines recently - Mumtaz Qadri (killer of Salman Taseer), Raymond Davis (CIA operative who shot dead two men), Osama bin Laden and Illyas Kashmiri.

Gul Bukhari on understanding radicalism

In the Daily Times of Pakistan, Gul Bukhari writes that
People will always be free to believe in what they will but they cannot be allowed to execute their ‘beliefs’ with impunity, with no concept of a state, law by consensus and without punishment because they are accorded, for some unfathomable reason, the pedestal of all moral high ground owing to emotions emanating from a set of beliefs.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Musharraf: September 19, 2001

As close to a full transcript as I have come across of Musharraf's Sept 19, 2001 speech.  IMO, no one should profess to be shocked by the current state of US-Pak. relations; it follows from the policy outlined in the speech.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

How Pakistan Negotiates with the US

( How Pakistan Negotiates with the United States - Riding the Roller Coaster by Howard B. Schaffer and Teresita C. Schaffer)

Q&A with the authors.
....negotiators cultivate what one might call “the art of the guilt trip.” Important negotiations usually involve a major effort to create a sense of obligation on the part of the United States or to nurture and intensify the fear that failure to honor Pakistan’s requests will lead to disastrous consequences for U.S. interests.

Excerpt in The Hindu.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Alleged Death of Ilyas Kashmiri

Bill Rogio of Long War Journal relayed a purported picture of the dead Ilyas Kashmiri, the terrorist who was supposedly killed by drone attacks in September 2009, and June 2011.
Sharp-eyed and long-memoried vdutta on the Bharat-Rakshak Forum recognized the picture as being that of someone else - (from a newsitem in December 2008, one of the Mumbai attackers)

The body of suspected militant Abu Dera Ismael Khan. Indian investigators claim the Mumbai attackers had months of commando training in Pakistan
(Photo: Reuters/Mumbai Police handout)
So it remains to be seen whether the rumors of Kashmiri's death are true or not.