Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rs 193 billion hiest

he State Bank of Pakistan has reported an astonishing Rs 193 million
were written off by banks from 1997 to 2009. Therefore, an average
Pakistani contributed Rs 1,135 to the reportedly 97 thousand
beneficiaries. Had this amount been invested at the rate of 10% per
year in equal yearly installments (assuming that all governments are
equally corrupt) the citizens of Pakistan would have all been given a
payback of Rs 2,000 for their sacrifices in 2009. Can the numbers
since 1971 be released so that we know the true extent of our
impoverishment due to our government?

Citizens should be aware that this is just one from of corruption and
numbers would add up.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All the Friends We Need

Pervez Hoodbhoy again makes a compelling argument that is based rational thinking. While an argument can be made that on grounds of prudence India should not be allowed to operate on Pakistani soil. But the fact of matter remains that Pakistan needs all the friends that it can get. 

Get up boys (and Girls)!

One impressive poem from Allama Iqbal.. My father used this poem every morning to wake us up for school. Didnt work then but it has been ignored for too long. Not much time left.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Lesson From Moon Market

There are a number of lessons that can be learnt from the bombing in Moon Market, Lahore as given in this BBC report. The terrorists are killing but there is an equal number that is a victim of bad planning and weak governance. Providing easy measures would have brought down the death toll of any terrorist attack significantly down. But the sad thing is that it is not.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

US Luxuries and Pakistani Compulsions

One of the biggest surprises of the 2003 Iraq war was how everything thing went as planned till an unexpected sand storm forced the US army to dig in and wait it out. This predictability irked the generals as their experience shows that in a combat zone nothing is expected to go as planned and something must be wrong if it was. Other Generals warned that the objective in Iraq should be clearly defined and once it is achieved the US must withdraw. Removing Saddam from power was a byproduct not the objective of the war as this could have been achieved without any incremental cost. Infact the US allowed Saddam to quell the 1991 uprising in Karbala by allowing Saddam's air force to operate despite the declaration of "No fly zones". We all know that no weapons of mass destruction was found either. Now six years later US finds itself with the huge burden of an expensive war with nothing positive to show for it.

Today we also find ourselves in an similar situation where we are fighting a war without a clearly defined enemy or a clearly defined objective. Depending whom you ask the enemy can range from the almost omnipotent abstraction known as the "hindu zionist" lobby to the CIA-RAW-MOSSAD nexus that has somehow converged on a single objective and support people who, if ideology means anything, are their sworn enemies. There are also the good Taliban and the bad Taliban, the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban. One group also blames a
morally and financially bankrupt government as the real enemy that fails to stop terrorist attacks among other things. The definition of winning is also equally vague. Some claim that victory has been achieved and that all "backs that need to be broken" are already broken. Would victory be declared (by any side) when we have drawn a
line between us and them or continue to fight till every bolt in the jihadi machine has been identified and melted down. Would this be followed up by a comprehensive strategy to ensure that the mistakes of the past are never repeated and there are no rational reason for any one to take up arms against the state.

The last armed conflict on US soil ended in 1865 (Indian Wars of (1865–1870) should not be considered a war. Pearl Harbor (1941)and New York (2001) being two further exceptions). All US wars since then have been on foreign soils. Therefore, no matter how big the debacle there are always enough helicopters to fly from Saigon to waiting aircraft carriers in the South China Sea. This luxury allowed US forces fire bombed Dresden and Tokyo knowing fully well that no matter what the result of  second world war no retaliation of consequence was

Pakistanis don't have such concessions and an ill defined strategy is  already being translated into a rising body count. The death toll of  the 1965 India-Pakistan war is estimated to be about 6,800 on both sides. The known casualties during 2006-2008, by some estimates, is 17,000 dead (both sides) and as the figures for 2009 are tallied the number shall be well over 20,000.

This war even lacks a clear communication strategy. It does not even have a name. Where is the daily briefing given to the people of Pakistan about the progress of the war and where are the identities of the people who are attacked and where is the list of casualties (is there a plan to build a Black Wall)  that have been killed in this
conflict? Why are we not identify every spot where a suicide attack happened so that our children learn from our mistakes and hopefully never repeat them? The impression one gets is that this war is not a classic battle between good and evil but an embarrassing family feud in which only what cannot be hidden is known and no further discussion happens in polite circles at least. The consequence is a mixture of juicy intrigues, conspiracy theories and street rumor that can hardly be used for analysis. More problems are created by indecision than by
bad decisions and at the current death rate every hour spent in procrastination cost about 0.97 lives.

Ideological Suicide Bombers

Here is an excellent article about how people like Zaid Hamid are misleading the nation. Dawn has taken a surprisingly positive turn and taken the side of reason. The article also states that the two points of view have to collide and Gul's point of view is that it should be up to the Rationalists to take the argument to the conspiracy theorists. I agree, despite the fact that the response is not going to be a convincing argument but a violent backlash. For instance yesterday's blog (below) shows a video about how Facebook had acted against Pakistan   by taking down Zaid Hamids page on it.

Closer inspection showed that violent reaction is being planned against the alleged "Israeli Agents" who launched the campaign against the page and brought it down. There are more then convincing suggestions that the even violent action is justified against these "miscreants".

Zaid Hamid and his supporters are the ideological equivalent of suicide bombers. While a suicide bomber chooses to take his life he also makes the choice to take others with him and without their consent. Similarly, these ideological suicide bombers are planning to take everyone with them with or without their consent.

Would it not be more rational to build a better Pakistan for our children and our children's children rather than dream of a trans national empire with Pakistan at the epicenter.

Ideological suicide bombing forms the basis of the actual act. Therefore, people like Zaid Hamid are trying to keep the ideology alive in a time when rationality might prevail and people make a wholesale rejection of  a very suicidal idea!