What Diplomatic Isolation Looks Like

Source: The News

There finally comes a time in the relationships between nations when you start seeing the end of the concessions given to a party.

Pakistan has been given the warning that many have talked about around the world and finally has been put into the terrorism funding watchlist by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), perhaps only a day or two after the Pakistani diplomats were boasting of evading the banking and economic sanction. This was probably because they had decided to formally do that in the next meeting in June 2018, when the term of the current elected government of PML-N will pretty much be completed and had not made the announcement earlier. The last time Pakistan was on the watchlist was 2012, until 2015 when it was removed from the list by the body.

While Khawaja Asif’s delegation had thought that Saudi Arabia and China had done just enough to keep them off the list, especially ahead of Pakistan sending a thousand troops to the Kingdom, probably for the Yemen campaign, it wasn’t to be. The United States had particularly lobbied following the US administration’s tough stance against Pakistan’s policy on fighting terrorism.

While the Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa made quite a few important comments in his speech at the Munich Security Conference, such as the premature withdrawal of military resources from Afghanistan by the US government, his overall case apparently failed to make an impression on the international community. Time and time again, the response of Pakistani military and diplomats have been pointing fingers back at the West for this failed policies. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has also brought up the US-Afghan Policy during the latter years of Cold War and has even gone far enough to say that it was a mistake to follow that path.

Listen to the speech of the Army Chief and you will get an impression as if the militant Jihad is some sort of a recent invention. He also probably does not realize that his speech really got weird for a foreign audience at a point when he said that a body of Islamic clerics from all sects had passed a decree that Jihad and suicide bombing were not permitted “until sanctioned by the state.” Yeah, right. That’s precisely what the security officials from around the world wanted to hear. I just hope I am wrong or he should fire his communications director.

Source: RFE/RL

But really our military establishment has more people’s performance to worry about than just their communications team. We can make it a national issue because of our bloated egos as in the case of the “Dawn leaks,” but the inaction of the security establishment to take. We are talking about a country where Hafiz Saeed, a certified terrorist in the eyes of India and the West and pretty much the rest of the world, has formed a political party which is contesting elections. And of course, anyone who claims that his Difa-e-Pakistan Council has no support from the military establishment is obviously living in a fool’s paradise.

Pakistan finally needs to decide whether it wants international acceptance or not. It is up to the Pakistani state to decide if we want to become Iran or North Korea in the world’s eyes or a progressive democratic nation. Pakistan is nowhere near going to be acceptable to the international community with the same course of action. The government and the military simply cannot keep on distracting and diverging when answered a simple question about taking action against terrorist elements within the country. The FATF restrictions are only going to make the people suffer from the horrific policies of their ruling state.

Yes, more is needed to be done indeed.

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We are all Taliban

Source: Dawn

Source: Dawn

The entire nation is in mourning.

The terrorists strike again where we are most vulnerable. Killing our children. Making us realize that we still have a lot to lose and proving how cruel they can possibly get.

Cruel. That’s how we have come to define our enemy.

But how are we dealing with them? Other than complaining about people not being mournful enough of the incident.

We are responding by suspending the moratorium on the death penalty and applauding the Prime Minister for it.

And what do I hear from many of my fellow countrymen?

Enforce the death penalty. Hang the terrorists in public squares.

Cruel. Justice must be cruel and merciless.

If only we could keep our cruelty to the battlefield, where it belongs, and out of our towns, legislatures and courtrooms.

Forget that. We actually want to follow the example of Iran and the Taliban themselves. We have people drooling for revenge justice. We are broadcasting the images of the corpses of the hanged terrorists and are just a touch away from live broadcast of public executions.

We condemn the extremist terrorists for their barbaric actions but believe in the same heinous extremities.

It is safe to say that a good number of those who would be described as moderate Muslims believe in public punishment, amputations, stoning to death and an eye for an eye.

Does this mean we would like to see many of our politicians hanging in public, just like what the Taliban did to Dr. Najeeb? I would really like a survey asking that question.

But ask any ten people and you would find a healthy number of replies hinting toward such revolutionary goals.

In other words, how does that make us any different from the enemy?

But wait, who is our enemy?

You might see the condemnation of the heinous act of the Peshawar carnage, but you would find voices reluctant to attack the attackers.

Some of our most prominent commentators would see India behind the attack. Others would blame the CIA and the Mossad for the problem.

Of course, how could our Muslim brothers possibly do something like this to us?

The very occurrence of the incident is evidence that the attackers were not Muslims, but non-Muslims in the guise of the holy warriors.

We are never going to win this war anyway. How can you fight your own self and claim to win? Down with the military operation which resulted in this massacre.

Yet, India and America are behind it.

But no need to appease Western influenced politicians and civil society. There is no need to pretend that we hate our brothers, who are our very own people.

Their beliefs and ours are the same.

We want Shariah compliant public executions now. We don’t care who is being killed in the name of God, we want revenge.

We are all Taliban.

The post was originally published in The Nation blogs.

Another Attack on Our Way of Life

Source: A. Majeed/AFP/Dawn

Source: A. Majeed/AFP/Dawn

Today’s tragic terrorist attack on the premises of Army Public School in Peshawar is not an ordinary one. There has been a lot of thought behind it.

It only possibly targeted the families of the personnel of the Pakistan Armed Forces, because it is their children studying in that particular school, for most part. So the TTP terrorists probably thought about sparing the civilians in their own way by selecting that school.

Revenge for the military operation. We’ll take your kids away.

Makes sense.

But children… Even the Taliban would not lower themselves to such disgrace. That’s too low to be human.

What sort of faithful people could engage in such a heinous action?

Well, so much for wishful thinking. And if you really, really thought so, you have a considerably good opinion about them.

That it is not just an attack on school children, and there is nothing shocking about the Taliban carrying it out. They have only proved how cruel they are, and we have only come to learn how vulnerable we are.

They are perfectly capable of it. They have been at it before, exploding schools.

Though there is one thing that we must not forget, and which most Pakistanis are not even going to consider. Because they still refuse to acknowledge that Islamism and the Taliban are the enemies.

This war must be fought.

It is time to decide whether to keep on fighting, or to hide behind the world of comfortable lies of Islamism. It is time to ask ourselves how strongly have we stood by our military for fighting these terrorists.

Were we just as enthusiastic as we would be in a war against India?

Would we ever recognize Islamism, not just the Taliban, as our enemies?

This is no ordinary terrorist attack on a children’s school.

This is another attack on our way of life.

If you would not fight for that, what else is there to worry about?

The Good Old Peace Protests

Source: we-celebrate.com

People like John Lennon remind you of the prominent peace activists of the last century who have changed a lot of minds. I sometimes wish I had lived in the 60s and the 70s. At least it was fashionable to root for peace back then. Now, after all these years, do you see the same number of peace protests while we still have all the wars? People look at you as if you are a moron if you talk about peace. Maybe it is just me or maybe the world has become a much more realistic place than it used to be. As a matter of fact, the world has become more prone to violence and wars. The economy is in turmoil, class inequality is at its worst, unemployment except for a few countries in the world is at record levels and what else.

The modern world has becoming the breeding grounds for intolerance in the age of information, despite the age of information. There is terrorism, yes. But that is what the terrorists do. The terrorism is further spawning violence and intolerance to the extent that sometimes it seems we are approaching a point of no return when it comes to acceptance. The terrorists are turning all the people into terrorists in their own domain and that is the most terrifying thought. The world needs the hope for peace again.

But who wants to be crucified again?

Making an effort for Peace.

This is something you can never achieve by distributing the Nobel Prize for Peace every year and make a mockery of it. However, people like John Lennon can do it in this way very effectively.

Wars cost a lot of money. Peace costs nothing.

Today, on Lennon’s birthday, here is the song that I am reminded of again and again. It is a good description of our world and of ourselves.

None of us really wants to, it seems.

Happy Birthday John Lennon in no Hell below us.

The Fucked Decade

Source: Some 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Website

W I T H O U T   P R E J U D I C E

I never thought I would have to see such a time in my life, as neither would have you. Nobody told me. Maybe Nostradamus did, but even if he did, which can be highly debated, who listens to him anyway? But imagine this. It was a decade of wars and countless terrorist attacks, which cannot really be excluded from the wars, and perhaps just near or around or more than or less than a million people dying because of it and it is still going on. The best part is that most people don’t even know who they are fighting. Or what.

Of course you cannot expect just anyone to know that. Only President George W. Bush knew who and what, and he told us.

It was the decade of Terror.

Who is hiding terrorists? Afghanistan? Saudi Arabia? Yemen? Somalia? Egypt? Gaza Strip? Pakistan? Good chance, we are told that Ben Laden was killed there. Is Iran terrorist? No, they just officially threaten to bomb Israel. These guys seem to be all over the place. They were certainly not in Iraq or were they? No one really knows for sure. Ah, Iraq. They found nothing in Iraq they told us (except oil and sand) and poor Saddam was found in a manhole and was executed through the Law of Justice. There is a good chance that they are in the North Western parts of Pakistan. Actually that is one place we are sure of. But they don’t seem to die and fade away even after a decade. Actually they seem to be receiving their funds for the war quite regularly. Nobody knows how. Maybe the local mosque charity funds.

Source: xinhua.net

No one even knows for sure what the terrorists really look like but this is what we know. We are told that they are like the scary people in the Al-Qaeda videos. Heavily bearded, or not. Many 9/11 hijackers were clean shaven, but scary nevertheless. Sometimes covering their faces, as in burkas, which is precisely why the French banned it, waiting for others to follow. And some may wear that Jihadi piece of Arab headgear-cloth thing in the manner of Yasser Arafat, but that’s too obvious. They speak Arabic mostly, but may as well not, as some are the Pashtun Taliban and the Punjabi Taliban and the Chechen and the Uzbek and the Pakistani and the Indian and from many more countries, and they sometimes seem to be carrying a book with cryptic messages. They are known popularly as Islamists or Muslims who want to take over the world, so at least we get the direction.

The only problem is that it is hard to determine which Muslims want to take over the world and which don’t and it would be difficult to know if they are lying. The problem is that there are 1.57 billion of them, that we know of. It is a really difficult situation.

But here is the bottom line.

Body Count. (Civilian, I think)

9/11 (2001) – 2,977

Afghan War (2001 – ∞) – 14,000-34,000 (No one really knows for sure)

Iraq War (2003 – ∞) – 98,170-654,965? (No one really knows for sure)

Business as Usual (2001-2011) – 37,154-? (Various Countries) (No one really knows for sure)

Current Status. (Rough Estimates)

War: Still going on, indefinitely.

Goals:    Destroy Al-Qaeda – Somewhat. No one really knows for sure.

                Destroy Afghani Taliban – Not achieved, at war.

                Destroy Pakistani Terrorists – Not achieved, at war.

                Destroy Saudi Terrorists – Oh wait.

                Kill Ben Laden – Achieved (At least they are not looking for him anymore)

                Kill Al-Zawahiri – Rumors. No one really knows for sure.

                Kill Mullah Omar – Rumors. No one really knows for sure.

                Kill the New Al-Qaeda Deputy – Not achieved.

                Kill the Next Al-Qaeda Deputy – Not achieved.

Future Plans: No one really knows for sure.

I am not saying the wars were not justified. All wars are it seems.

Everything is the terrorists’ fault anyway.

All I am just saying is that it has been a fucked decade.

This is what it will go down in history. A Fucked Decade.

Just an objective fact. Not concerned with the politics.

Not saying that the earlier decades were any better.

Gulf and Balkan Wars of the 90s, Iran-Iraq and Afghan Wars of the 80s

Cold War. Vietnam War of the 60s and 70s, Korean War of the 50s

World War II, the Holocaust in the 40s.

But this has been the fucked decade because it indirectly affected almost everyone.

PATRIOT ACT. TSA. Policing. Global Recession. The rest is your imagination.

I guess an overwhelming majority will agree.

A lot of nice things happened in this decade too.

Like the iPhone and iPad were invented, and Spain won the Soccer World Cup.

The major social networking websites were launched, if that is a good thing.

But all in all, it really has  been a fucked decade.

For some countries, more than others.

You would not know if you are not living in one of those, or maybe you do.

I am just glad that I made through it in one piece.

If anyone you know who didn’t, I’m sorry.

In the end, let us just hope for our dear lives that this is not the fucked century.

I have a bad feeling in my gut that it is.

No one really knows for sure.

Are Muslims the New Niggers of America? – My Comment on Roger Ebert’s Post

Rogert Ebert is probably the most famous film critic in the world, who has also become a twitter sensation. But of late, Roger Ebert has been the center of attention for completely different reasons. Ebert is a noted critic of the Republican politicians like Sarah Palin who are opposing the Park 51 Muslim Community Center, dubbed incorrectly as the “Ground Zero Mosque”,  and sees the controversy as a missed opportunity to show to the world the Constitutional freedoms that Americans can enjoy.

But in relation to his opinion and comments about the Park 51 controversy, the right wingers have actually resorted to criticize Roger Ebert for his views, for supposedly sympathizing with the “terrorists” and for accusing Sarah Palin to be resorting to tactics from Mein Kampf, the autobiography of Adolf Hitler. Despite the criticism on Ebert, his mention of Sarah Palin in the context is correct, since it was her initiative, along with other politicians like Newt Gingrich, which fueled the controversy.

And this post will further illustrate why this controversy is encouraging the notion of hatred against Islam among Americans, which is the most dangerous part of the story.

One of his very recent posts for his blog for the Chicago Sun-Times “10 Things I Know About the Mosque” offer a very balanced and common-sense perspective on the issue and I felt compelled to comment on the post myself.

“Brilliant piece. The correct reaction to this blown-out-of-proportion issue is common sense really. So are American values and the rights offered by the American constitution. While those who oppose Park 51 maintain that it is not about the religion, they maintain that mosques are “monuments to terrorism” and that Muslims are terrorists. The simple translation to that is: “We don’t like you Muslims, and you can get the hell out of here.” Which is fine, but unAmerican. Given their viewpoint, there should not even be a single mosque in the NYC because the World Trade Center was located in the city, which suffered the 9/11 attacks, leave alone building Park 51 on the proposed spot. I just hope that feeling does not spread out to the rest of the America, although I have a feeling it already has, with anti-mosque protesters rising voice in other states like Tennessee. If things get too worse, this could be the beginning of the end of the religious freedom of Muslims in America. I hope not, but if that happens, then America would need to consider a fact: Are we not resorting to the same values for which we bomb other countries?”

August 26, 2010 4:25 PM

While I won’t go explaining my comment, which really was made on the spur of the moment, I would just like to reflect on a few things here. The location of the Park 51 Community Center, which just contains prayer halls and is not a mosque, has certainly stirred a controversy, which in my opinion is absurd, but nevertheless respecting the sentiments of the families of the 9/11 victim, I would consider it to be an issue in the first place. Probably the sanest analysis of the issue which I have come across so far comes from Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and pretty much reflects what I think about the issue.

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment: There is No Ground Zero Mosque

However, in the wake of the opposition to the proposed community center, many people who opposed the very idea of a Muslim place of worship found an excuse to spew out their hatred for the Muslim community. Most of these anti-Mosque protesters hold that “Mosques are monuments to terrorism”. While they have all the right to think in that way, preventing the construction of mosques is denying Muslims their religious freedom and civil rights, which is unAmerican, which would be paradoxical since the opponents of Mosques are patriotic Americans.

Even states like Tennessee, which are miles away from either New York City or Washington D. C., which were the cities that became victims of the 9/11 attacks, and have no apparent connection to the attacks except for the fact that they are located in the same country, people have started voicing their opinion against a local Islamic Center, which is well elaborated and covered in his usual satirical manner by Jon Stewart in the Daily Show.

The opposition to the proposed community center has also revived the sentiment of hatred against the Muslim community among the American public, which like most of the non-Muslim world is already suffering from Islamophobia, with incidents like a Bangladeshi Muslim cab driver getting stabbed in New York City after the passenger asked him if he was a Muslim, and went on to stab him on learning that he was, and one drunk man entering a New York Mosque, abusing Muslims and urinating over the prayer mats.

We are talking about the United States of America here, the Free World, not Afghanistan, not Iran, not Iraq, not Pakistan, but America. Still they say it is not about religion. To those who consider these mild episodes, I would just say that let us hope that it does not get any worse.

But then again, it is Americans who have to decide whether they want to offer Muslims their rights in the country, or whether they want them out of the country altogether. Because given the theory of the opponents of the Mosque, who are clearly more concerned about Islam itself than the 9/11 victims or their families, given the example of the opposition to the Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, TN and other examples quoted above, then not only should there not be a single mosque in the New York City, but in the entire country.

It could even be implied by this opinion that they also do not want any Muslims living in America altogether, since Muslims supposedly are terrorists, which is fine if the majority of Americans agree with it, which is not really the case. Just the problem is that all those Muslims living in America are “Americans”, and are somewhere in between 3 to 9 million in numbers. And you know we are not talking about illegal immigrants here and obviously it does not matter if most Muslim Americans are immigrants. Besides, America was built by immigrants anyway.

I know sane Americans like Ebert, Olbermann, President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Bloomberg believe in American values and don’t agree with those suffering from Islamophobia. But the broad public opinion matters more than that. Because if this trend strengthens, I will not really be concerned about the religious freedom of Muslims in America, but their very security. The question to ask is: Are Muslims becoming the new niggers of America? If that is the case, America certainly needs another Martin Luther King Jr.

There can be a thin line between hating terrorism and becoming a terrorist yourself.

Note: If you are still wondering why some people are insane enough to support Park 51 even after watching the video clip with Olbermann’s comments, read this.