Monthly Archives: July 2011

One Year Onwards

It has been a year since a private airliner crashed into the Margalla Hills in Islamabad, killing 152 passengers and crew. But the inquiry reports of the crash have still not been made public and the grieving relatives are still looking for answers. Findings from FIA and CAA investigations are present in the defense ministry, but due to unknown circumstances these are not being released. Individualland Pakistan supports the right of the people to know and have access to information. Under Article 19-A every citizen has the right to acquire information of public interest form relevant authorities. It is an appeal to the administration that the report and findings of the investigation into the crash should be made public, especially for the relatives and citizens at large. As this is also not an issue which falls under the category of State Secret, so no hindrance should be present in its release.

A Tale of Two Countries

The bombing and shooting spree in Norway, resulting in above than 90 deaths was a very dark day in the country’s history. It is a stark reminder of how an unchecked rise of radical elements in any society, can afflict damage to its very foundations. While it should be clear to everyone that radicalism and terrorism associates to no religion. Norwegians have woken up to this fact and it is yet to be seen, how they will pursue this situation and curb such elements. In Pakistan, even after a decade of violence and a loss of estimated more than 30,000 lives, the extremist element still appears to be very much in presence. We are still comfortable in ignoring the monster which is consuming our nation.

Difficult Partners

The relations between Pakistan and United States have perhaps dropped to their lowest level ever, in recent days. A senior U.S. official has termed Pakistan as a “very, very difficult partner”. Pakistan and U.S. are officially allies in the war on terror and both have been actively engaged in counter terrorism, but mistrust has turned the relationship around. Allies are supposed to have a joint approach for a common goal, but in this case both countries seem to have a different perspective. The pertinent need of the hour is that both Pakistan and U.S. should understand they cannot achieve success in the war on terror alone. This confrontation is only facilitating the radicals and their rhetoric that the West cannot be trusted. By abandoning Pakistan, a free playing field will be provided to the extremists. Engagement and working relationship should not be forgone, while compromise and understanding is the key.

Safe Passage

Parachinar road is still not safe and the militancy is carrying on in Kurram Agency at full throttle. The authorities despite their reassurances and claims have failed to provide the security, which is the right of every citizen, whether in Parachinar, Karachi or Islamabad. Half hearted attempts to attain peace through dialogue with these terrorists or limited operation, will not work anymore, stricter measures have to be implemented. Parachinar is part of Pakistan and it is a shameful situation, where locals have no choice than going through Afghanistan, as the state is unable to provide them a safe passage to the rest of the country.

Another One Roams Free

Is our legal system flawed and abundant with loopholes and are these drawbacks resulting in actively supporting a takeover by the extremist mullahs and terrorists? Another one roams free, after spending 14 years in jail. Malik Muhammad Ishaq, founding member of banned outfit Lashkar-e Jhangvi was implicated in no less than 44 cases of sectarian violence and acts of terrorism, while he was also accused of attack on Srilankan team, but due to lack of evidence, charges have been dropped. More ominous is the fact that there were armed and unarmed supporters present outside the jail to celebrate his freedom. These terrorists fear nothing and the loopholes in the law allow them to carry out their malicious activities with impunity. One should not be surprised if even the killer of Salman Taseer, who killed in broad daylight and confessed; might be released on the basis of some legal technicality

More Leeway?

In a statement made by the leader of a popular political party, he has claimed to, “…put an end to all military operations and will withdraw our troops from FATA…” and adopt a political approach. This was part of the plan presented by the party, if they are elected to power. What one fails to understand is that these extremists have already been given enough leeway and we can all see where it has gotten us to, but certain parties and their leaders with their unique agendas fail to comprehend the situation. The political approach has been tried time and again, which has failed and resulted in only providing the militants time to recuperate. Strict and concrete measures are required to tackle this situation, instead of baseless political maneuvers.

Irresponsible

A government spokesman in Islamabad termed U.S. Admiral Mike Mullens statement as “irresponsible”, in which he stated that the Pakistani Government had sanctioned Saleem Shahzad’s killing. One shudders to even think that this may be true; one prays that this is only be a misunderstanding. If this is true then it has defaced the nascent democratic structure of our country, for a long time. While the citizens of Pakistan have a long list of complains, where the institutions have failed to provide and the security situation has been deteriorating day by day; certain elements within the state are also carrying out killings? Let this not be true or it will be us, who will be termed irresponsible in the international community.

Unchecked and Unconcerned

In recent days Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) have been brazenly distributing pamphlets within the Federal Capital, instigating military officers to instigate a coup or “fulfill their duties”. The literature starkly criticizes the civilian and military leadership for their ties with the U.S. and encourages the officers to over throw this leadership and replace it with caliphate. According to The Guardian newspaper, these same pamphlets were distributed near military bases, after Abbottabad Operation. With the arrest of senior army officers, in connection with activities of HT, it proves that the organization is not just fooling around. The point, which makes the situation ominous is that this group is still allowed to operate and distribute their hate speech freely, within the Federal Capital, let alone what they might be doing in other parts of the country. The authorities seem to be unconcerned of these developments. This situation gives rise to many questions, as to why have the authorities not prevented this organization from carrying out their agenda? What or who do they fear? Are they waiting for a right time?

Prevalent Practice

The eagerly awaited Kharotabad tribunal report has been pushed into the darkest pits, out of public view, by the Government of Baluchistan. Although, it has been reported that the Chief Minister ordered to release the report within 24 hours, but no steps seem to have been taken yet in this regard. Already the news seems to be fading away, as people will forget and go about with their busy lives of cursing power outages and bracing for fuel shortages. The gross human rights violations being conducted by the same security apparatus, responsible for upholding the law and protection of citizens, is a horrifying situation. The withholding of this report only proves that the tradition of cover-ups is still prevalent in our official structure, rather than addressing the issue head-on.