NAWAIWAQT GROUP
Editorials
Monday, 28 July, 2014

The Model Town inquiry has come to an end and we await the report. The CM claimed in his affidavit that he ordered the police to retreat from the Minhajul Quran International (MQI) Secretariat to prevent any further clashes or worsened law and order situation as soon as he saw the incident on television. He later set out for Model town, where he had to meet a foreign delegation. He said that Rana Sanaullah had chaired a meeting on June 16 and agreed to remove the barricades outside the MQI, which was not to his knowledge. He chided the former Principal Secretary Tauqir Shah for not informing ...

The Islamo-fascist ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria) is systematically destroying any religious or cultural influence they deem non-Islamic since seizing large parts of northern Iraq in the last month. Women in the city of Mosul have been told to wear full-face veils and even shopkeepers have been ordered to cover their store mannequins with veils. ISIS runs patrols in Mosul that answer to a morality committee; they have shut the city’s college of fine arts and physical education, knocked down statues of famous poets and banned smoking and waterpipes. All Shias are declared ...

With a little over two weeks left till independence day, Imran Khan is gearing up for what he claims will be his biggest rally to date. The PML-N has not responded to his call for a complete audit of the May 2013 elections, and the PTI is not likely to deter from its path; it is too late for them to reconsider their strategy without losing face and credibility, and the presence of troops in the capital starting August has increased political anxiety.The government on the other hand, cannot afford to get its hands dirty after the Model Town tragedy, which continues to haunt it. Using the ...

Sunday, 27 July, 2014

This editorial today marks the passing of our founding Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Majid Nizami. His 52 years of service to the Nawaiwaqt Group have made it into the force it is today. For the staff, an irreconcilable loss. But also an acknowledgement of the privilege it was to have worked with him.Over the years as editor of Nawaiwaqt, the achievements Majid Nizami accumulated were many. But not one of these came to define him. In professional organisations, he earned admiration for his vociferous resistance to military rule, and a reputation for being unabashedly outspoken when dealing ...

Over a year has passed since 3000 people looted and torched Joseph Colony, a Christian community in Lahore, over suspicion of blasphemy allegedly committed by a single inhabitant, while the police stood by and watched. Sawan Masih, the man the mob was after, was sentenced to death in a Sessions Court on the basis of the blasphemy charge. The government condemned the incident, promised compensation of Rs. 500,000 per family, and moved on. 190 families lost everything but their lives in a single instant, and even after a year, 30 families have not been compensated.The orchestration of blatant ...

Ahrar-ul-Hind (AuH), a terrorist group which was relatively unknown until it claimed responsibility for the March 3rd attack on Islamabad District Courts complex, is back in the news once again. The Islamabad attack had come only a few days after the government had announced its decision to hold dialogue with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which had reacted to the bombing by distancing itself from AuH. Still, many remained of the view that militants from various groups operating in the tribal agencies were in fact united in their opposition to the state, and that the TTP leadership ...

Saturday, 26 July, 2014

In one of the most open criticisms of Operation Zarbe Azb since its commencement in June, Afghanistan has accused Pakistan’s military and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of aiding Haqqani militants to flee the border into Afghanistan. Furthermore, the Afghans unfalteringly believe that the Pakistani military has made no successful attempt to significantly go after any international terrorist organization in North Waziristan. The claims mirror some of the criticisms springing up in the Pakistani media against the operation; due to the lack of independent sources on the ground, very ...

Pakistan has retained its spot at number 146 in the Human Development Index (HDI) of 2014, which is not surprising in the least, considering the overall lack of development in the country during the past year. The HDI is calculated on the basis of three factors; the average life expectancy, the Gross National Income (GNI) and the education index. All of these combine to account for the overall standard of living in a country. Out of our neighboring countries, only Afghanistan is ranked below us at 169, while India (135), China (91), Iran (75) and even Bangladesh (142) are ranked higher.The ...

On Friday, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan announced the federal government’s decision to request deployment of troops in Islamabad for a period of three months beginning from 1st August, 2014. Article 245 of the constitution allows an elected government to request military assistance for maintenance of law and order. The general impression was that the government would impose Article 245 in all major cities, but interestingly, it has done so only in the capital. Security concerns alone do not suffice as a satisfactory explanation for the government’s decision. That is not to say ...

Friday, 25 July, 2014

It’s been in the air for a long time, that the Nandipur Power Project is a doomed project, bound to fail, a fake, a fraud. We have been duped again with promises of energy provision amounting to naught. PTI was the first on the scene to protest the project earlier this month and now it seems with good reason. The project has been an example of how not to set up an energy project lacking logistical and infrastructural planning. The Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali has said that the plant is in working condition and only one turbine had to be shut down due to technical ...

The difference between the public’s attitude for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of the military operation and those previously displaced by earthquakes and floods in the past is easily apparent. Although the figures are equally alarming, we are yet to see people spring into action as we saw them do so effectively not too long back. We are, if anything, a charitable nation. And if never else, it is during national tragedies that we manage to unite and act. It’s not as if the general population is oblivious to the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis their country is facing ...

Two days ago, a ten year-old boy’s arms were severed by the son of an influential landowner in Gujarat. Although one suspect has been arrested by the police over the incident, any hope of justice being upheld is slim. Pakistan’s agro-based economy is dependent on landlords that own huge swathes of land and workers that do the brunt of the work in exchange for just enough to survive on, but never enough to break free from the system. Tenants tend to the lands, but do not reap any profit from the crops themselves. Entire generations of families have been oppressed by this modern ...

Thursday, 24 July, 2014

In March this year, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva passed four resolutions on the question of Palestine, and the United States was the sole “no” vote in every single case. As of 2013, Israel had been condemned in 45 resolutions by United Nations Human Rights Council since its creation in 2006—the Council had more resolutions condemning Israel than on the rest of the world combined. In total, more than 500 Palestinians have been killed along with 20 Israelis — 18 of whom were soldiers — during the two-week offensive targeting Hamas. The members of the ...

The public is getting increasingly aggravated by the constant power cuts, and the protest in Lahore in front of the LESCO office on Wednesday was yet another indication of how the failure of the power companies is leaving the people at the end of their wits. The promises of the government to end the energy crisis have not been forgotten, and their overconfidence is coming back to haunt them now, with the unrelenting summer making life intolerable.With the shortfall now averaging around 6000MW daily, LESCO was given an ultimatum by the government to bring down line losses and prevent theft. ...

Is the Prime Minister deliberately trying to be bad at his job? Or does he actually believe that this is an appropriate time to leave the country for a 10-day long vacation in Saudi Arabia? Pakistan is fighting a war. The armed forces are currently engaged in battle with militants holed up in North Waziristan. A mass exodus of people from the tribal agency into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and elsewhere is proving to be too difficult of a challenge. The atmosphere in the political arena is anything but peaceful. Load shedding is making a strong comeback along with familiar circular debt. And at this ...

Wednesday, 23 July, 2014

Displaced from their homes, steeped in one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time, without enough food, money or shelter, without the very basic utilities that can even marginally dignify a life, and the tribal elders of displaced North Waziristan tribes in Bannu thought this the right time to distribute a pamphlet restricting women from going to ration points. In some ways, this is not surprising at all. At this time, thrown into entirely unfamiliar circumstances, the communities will perhaps need to feel more culturally aligned than ever. They are not used to this place, to these ...

Just three days ago, four people were killed and over twenty injured in an explosion in Khuzdar city. Over 800 bodies have been found in Balochistan over the past three and a half years, with the majority comprising political workers, teachers, student rights activists and journalists, but victims of domestic abuse and tribal disputes were also included. The horrifying realization is that this figure does not even account for the thousands that died because of bomb attacks, target killings and other forms of violence. After Khuzdar was uncovered in January, one is given to wonder how many ...

Like something out of a Robert Ludlum novel, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Columbia Law School have released a report on a series of “sting operations” conducted against Muslim Americans by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The report reveals how the FBI targeted persons on the basis of their ethnicity and religion, and approached them through undercover agents in a bid to ensure preemptive prosecutions. In many cases, the undercover agent acted as the key player rather than as a mere participant or an abettor. During one of the trials, a judge had observed, “the ...

Tuesday, 22 July, 2014

The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from North Waziristan is far higher than what the government and relevant authorities may have had in mind. According to Federal Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) Director General Abdul Majeed, 92,702 families have been manually registered at several registration points. So far, NADRA has verified 49,857 families leaving almost half of the total number of IDPs unregistered and deprived of the assistance that is only extended to those who have been verified. The process is moving too slowly for the large number of people who are in need of ...

On Monday, four women were attacked in Quetta with acid thrown on their faces. This is a tragic habit that patriarchy has adopted in Pakistan and is at an all time high. The reasons behind the current attack are still undisclosed. These are not isolated events. In September 2011, four female teachers were attacked with acid in Quetta and no group claimed responsibility and no arrests have been made. Motivations range from male embarrassment, to proposal rejections to carrying out the will of God on “unchaste” women.The most common type of acids used are sulfuric and nitric acid. A ...

Traditionally Egypt has looked after its own interests and Palestine can hardly call it a friend. The state of war between Egypt and Israel since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war ended in 1979, with the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty a year after the Camp David Accords. This cold peace between the two jeopardises any efforts that Egypt can make to help the Palestinians. Yet Egypt is the only country in the region that Israel will talk with; US senator John Kerry will be involved in these talks. Egypt sees the conflict as Israel versus Hamas, not Israel versus Palestine, and this type of convenient ...

Monday, 21 July, 2014

The Indian government’s decision to spend $3.5 billion on modernizing the military is likely to send alarm bells ringing on this side of the border. The BJP led government is probably not basing this choice solely on the threat they fear from Pakistan, and China will have been just as much of a concern for Modi’s government in their consideration for increasing military spending. Our rivalry with our Eastern neighbors will be used as an excuse by hawks on this side to resume spending a large chunk of our budget on the armed forces.The Indian government’s rationale for ...

There are two issues of regional importance ongoing in Iran, the first is that of its role in Iraq as a counter balance against the Sunni backed force ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria), the second of nuclear talks. The US and associated allies are against the Assad government in Syria, and for the Sunni Free Syrian Army, but also would like ISIS to dissolve and stop being the new Middle Eastern headache. Iran would like the same and has been supporting the Shia militia fighting against ISIS, thought it has not stated this officially. Is Iran to be a friend or a foe? For the ...

First things first: why is Pakistan’s Railways Minister suddenly the man calling all the shots? We left a railways man in charge of air traffic control on the fateful day Tahir ul Qadri was to land in Pakistan. He’s the one assuring everybody of a vote recount, and he’s the one appealing to Imran Khan to change the day and venue of his demonstration. In the latest in his long list of extracurricular activities, Khawaja Saad Rafique is letting the nation know that the government doesn’t plan to use any force on the day of the PTI Long March. Apart from a gentle reminder ...

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