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It was the farewell speech from George of Pakistan, published in the Tribune. I read it through. It was superficial look at Pakistan even if George had apparently lived in Pakistan for an age. I mean, there was nothing new here except the old rhetoric that most foreign journalists indulge in – you know, stuff like Pakistan is on the brink, it is almost a failed state, terrorism and bigotry are on the rise, blah, blah, blah By Fareeha Qayoom

By Fareeha Qayoom

 

O

n Friday afternoon, (March 4, 2011), I was engrossed in writing my cotton report when one of my colleagues handed me a print-out and told me to read it now. It was the farewell speech from George of Pakistan, published in the Tribune.

Wordle Comparing Obama's Inaugural Address vs President Bush's Farewell Speech
Photo by Thomas Hawk

I read it through. It was superficial look at Pakistan even if George had apparently lived in Pakistan for an age. I mean, there was nothing new here except the old rhetoric that most foreign journalists indulge in – you know, stuff like Pakistan is on the brink, it is almost a failed state, terrorism and bigotry are on the rise, blah, blah, blah. Sometimes, I think as if I am divorced from reality (in the sense that I don’t see what they see)  the way the media goes on and on. I mean they insist on staging hysterical fights on current affairs’ talk shows. They insist that our society is getting polarized. They insist that we are being taken over by the fundamentalist fringe. They insist the government is powerless. They insist that Pakistan is on the brink.  Listening to them you would think Pakistan is full of Afghans, Talibans and home-brewed terrorists. It’s beside the point that majority of those guests have probably never met a real live terrorist in their life. How can they speak for them? For that matter, they probably have never met a bigot in their life either bar themselves and their fellow guests. I mean, according to official figures the minorities are only 3 percent of the entire population, in other words, a mere fringe – besides, I don’t see a representative of the minority in these discussions either. (For example, I didn’t even know the name of the Federal Minister for minorities before he was slain – let alone his views on the blasphemy laws! Most of the people are like me, they don’t even know half the names of their government officials if they are not visible on TV or in print!). On top of that, the so-called terrorists (TTP) are imported/immigrant fringe group from Afghanistan’s northern alliance waging a war with Pakistan and its people. Yes, they recruit little children from our part of the world, brain wash them and then allow them to blow themselves and innocent folk around them, however, the fact remains, majority of Pakistanis have never met a single TTP guy. I mean get real. They are a fringe of a fringe. We are a nation of 180 million strong if you take the TV’s word for it. (Just do the math).  And they (the panelists on TV) are only a group of three representing the so-called majority groups. The politicians do not represent the people. The journalists also do not represent the people – both groups represent the politicians and journalists of our society respectively and since they never invite a cross-section of the entire population, you hear only views of the journalists and politicians on TV. How can that be balanced reporting or analysis? It’s skewed. Also not a single rational voice is allowed to be heard on TV.

 

Yes, the Americans also like to indulge in the propaganda that the so-called Afghan resistance is being fought from Pakistan border area. Apparently a group of maybe a couple of thousand (that’s being ambitious – we don’t have real numbers!) are apparently strong enough to penetrate the border, launch attacks on a super power and its allies and then come back to their safe havens this side of the border without losing a single hair. (I don’t know how they can afford the equipment though. I hear buying a single machine gun is apparently a costly business for an average Joe. They have rocket launchers by the dozens!). We all seem to have bought that argument as well. (I don’t know what the Afghans on that side of the border are doing though. I guess, they are tame folk and are all allied with the NATO forces?) Drone attacks are part and parcel of that ‘war on terror’ – people die every day by drone attacks and bomb attacks – move and counter-move, in the meantime, we as a nation have grown comfortably numb and are the real collateral damage.

A team of women Marines in Afghanistan
Photo by United States Marine Corps Official Page

We tune out the horror and get on with our lives. Death is no longer news. It’s only an occasional headline. We are in a state of war. The problem is we don’t know with whom. The enemy is invisible. The only visible people are the Afghans and Americans; so most of us blame the visible problem – the Afghans and the Americans. We as a nation know that terrorism was not a problem within our borders before the so-called U-turn by former President Musharraf in our foreign policy back in 2001 – when the Americans decided to bomb Afghanistan back to Stone Age and asked us if we were with them or against them? So we helped them start a war within our own borders too.

 

So what am I really saying? I am saying all this (media) hysteria is make-believe and a product of their own collective imaginations. Majority of Pakistanis are just keeping their heads down and trying to make a living in difficult circumstances. We are no terrorists and we have no reason to become one. FYI, Pakistanis officially or even unofficially don’t believe in Pan-Islam.  (I mean, get real – we can’t keep our own house in order – would the Pakistani people or even for that matter the establishment really be capable of taking on the problems of the world?) Blaming Pakistan for all evils of the world is stretching the media hysteria too far especially as we can’t even run our own government without IMF, WB, ADB’s hand-outs. Besides, this region has a long history of invasions starting from the year dot. The last one ended only less than a century ago. This seems no different. Invaders come, invaders go. The people of this land just get on with their lives – they are resilient and they are adaptable. They move with the flow – Its business as usual. ■

 

 

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Tkfr.com and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

30 Comments

  1. more reading?

    When we weren’t a land of bigots
    S Iftikhar Murshed
    Monday, March 07, 2011

    The writer is the publisher of

    Criterion quarterly.

    Hope, it is said, is like a rainbow in the eye that colours every cloud with a wealth of colours. But shame and sorrow visited Pakistan yet again with the assassination on Wednesday of Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti. This was the second killing of its kind in Islamabad in less than two months, after the gunning down of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer on Jan 4 by his own bodyguard. The lives of Taseer and Bhatti were brought to an abrupt end because they had opposed the blasphemy laws promulgated by Ziaul Haq.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=34834&Cat=9&dt=3/7/2011

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  2. Will the moderates ever stand up?
    By Basil Nabi Malik
    Published: March 5, 2011

    The assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti has given rise to the usual sentiments of denial, self-loathing, embarrassment and shame. The moderate sections of society have made plain their indignation for the murders taking place in the name of Islam, however, with that said; it is precisely these sections of society which have ensured that the religious right remains in a position to kill off all dissent without fear of any repercussions.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/128166/will-the-moderates-ever-stand-up/

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  3. A fatal intolerance
    By Shireen M Mazari
    Published: March 4, 2011

    Regardless of who murdered Shahbaz Bhatti, we as a nation must accept collective responsibility. In my last interaction with him, he spoke of the leadership being told of his security problems and the lack of response in terms of getting a bullet-proof car — many of which have been commandeered by the more powerful and less needy — or a house in the ministers’ enclave. What was so noticeable, even then, was his resigned tone rather than anger at this criminal neglect — a determined soul, he exuded a decency and calmness missing from so many of his cabinet colleagues. His murder is our collective national shame. We have watched ineffectively as our minorities have been subject to increasing persecution and insecurity as a culture of bigotry and intolerance has spread, marginalising the minorities and trampling on the diversity that was the soul of the Pakistani nation. The militarisation of our society — where recourse to violence in daily life is always the preferred option, be it two students arguing or political parties confronting each other — has continued unhindered.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/127722/a-fatal-intolerance/

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  4. Leaving Pakistan
    By Letter
    Published: March 2, 2011

    BURLINGTON, VT, US: This is with respect to George Fulton’s article “George ka khuda hafiz – I”. The people who have been commenting on your website on this article reflect an alarming sense of self-hatred. George’s perspectives remind me of many South African friends who were white and who fled after 1994. The country did not collapse — it has its tribalism and violent crime (much worse stats than Pakistan) but it is reinventing itself.

    Pakistan, too, will reinvent itself and it needs the diaspora who live abroad just as much as those who live there. I visited Lebanon a few years ago and was amazed to see the resilience of a country fractured by war, religious violence and adversity. Good luck George — don’t give up on Pakistan so easily.

    Saleem H Ali

    Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2011.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/126440/leaving-pakistan/

    George ka khuda hafiz — I
    By George Fulton
    Published: March 1, 2011
    For the past nine years, I have been in a dysfunctional relationship. My liaison started somewhat unexpectedly, quickly becoming an all-consuming passionate love affair. My partner reciprocated strongly, bestowing deep affection and adoration upon me. Blinded by love, I was naive to her failings. Yes, at times she was self-destructive, irrational and grossly irresponsible, but I hoped by appealing to her nature’s better angles she could change. Instead, as the years progressed, and, supported by her ‘friends’ in the media, she corroded, simultaneously displaying signs of megalomania and paranoia. Once the relationship turned abusive and I feared for my life, I decide to call it quits. Today, the divorce comes through. Her name is Pakistan. And today, I am leaving her for good.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/125853/george-ka-khuda-hafiz–i/

    George ka khuda hafiz — II
    By George Fulton
    Published: March 2, 2011
    From the moment I arrived in Pakistan nine years ago, the omnipotence of the military apparatus was self-evident. Yet, as I leave, it’s apparent it will be this institution, more than any other, that will be the catalyst of this country’s eventual downfall. As Pervez Hoodbhoy recently pointed out, rather than acting as a factor for détente in the region, our acquiring the nuclear bomb in 1998 exacerbated our military arrogance. Kargil, the attack on India’s Parliament and, more recently, Mumbai have all occurred since we got the bomb — attacks that couldn’t have been carried out without some military/intelligence involvement.
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/126442/george-ka-khuda-hafiz–ii/

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  5. When desire shall fail
    By Amina Jilani
    Published: March 4, 2011

    The most depressing thing this past week, amidst the myriad of things depressing in the incohesive, incoherent state of Pakistan (including the gunning down in the capital of the federal minister for minorities), was reading George Fulton’s farewell to a country he so passionately adopted.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/127718/when-desire-shall-fail/

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  6. Decency is never inappropriate
    By Feisal H Naqvi
    Published: March 5, 2011

    Communism has faded so far from public consciousness that there seems little difference between discussing the Bolsheviks and the Merovingians. But back when I studied Darkness at Noon, the Red Menace was very much still an extant threat.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/128171/decency-is-never-inappropriate/

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  7. Zardari says extremism poses existentialist threat
    Published: March 6, 2011

    President Asif Ali Zardari has called the slain Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, and the former governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer, victims of increasing intolerance and polarisation in Pakistani society.

    In a letter published in The Washington Post on March 6, Zardari said the “assassinations serve as a warning that the battle between extremism and moderation in Pakistan affects the success of the civilised world’s confrontation with the terrorist menace.”

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/128461/zardari-says-extremism-poses-existentialist-threat/

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  8. The unfolding war
    By Dr Akmal Hussain
    Published: March 7, 2011

    The cold-blooded assassination of Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, following that of Governor Salmaan Taseer, has made apparent the modus operandi of the Taliban and al Qaeda, in this, the latest phase of their war strategy: Target a prominent politician who explicitly opposes their extremist ideology on humanitarian grounds, pass a fatwa and then execute with telling efficiency. The objective is to demonstrate that it is the ideology of the Taliban and al Qaeda, rather than the Constitution of Pakistan, which defines what is acceptable. Equally, it is they who determine the guilt of an errant individual and the punishment to be given, rather than Pakistan’s judiciary.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/129045/the-unfolding-war/

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  9. The Christians in our midst
    By Amber Darr
    Published: March 7, 2011
    A long time ago, I had read somewhere that one does not feel any pain when first hit by a bullet: The wound only begins to burn a few minutes later and, the longer it is left unattended, the greater becomes the pain. The news of the brutal murder of minister for minority affairs, the Catholic Shahbaz Bhatti, hit me like the proverbial bullet: It was around noon on March 2, that I first heard that Bhatti had been shot dead in Islamabad, minutes away from parliament house where he was due to attend a cabinet meeting. I was shocked, even outraged, but was still able to carry on with my work. As the day progressed, however, the initial shock gave way to an unexplained sense of unease and, by the evening, I found myself engulfed in a profound sorrow that threatened to paralyse my ability to think and act.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/128661/the-christians-in-our-midst/

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  10. Pakistan: Our only home
    By Rasul Bakhsh Rais
    Published: March 7, 2011

    Pakistan faces multiple challenges from poor governance and corruption of the ruling groups to internal strife and insecurity. Among all the problems we have accumulated over the decades, it is the intolerance, hate and violence of a minority of extremists that threatens our national security, peace and social order. We have mourned the slaying of three of the most vocal Pakistani leaders in about three years. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was the first, then Salmaan Taseer and now, Shahbaz Bhatti. All of them were the modern face of Pakistan, had a progressive outlook towards society and their presence in Pakistani politics portrayed a positive picture of us. Sadly, they are gone.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/128657/pakistan-our-only-home/

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  11. Because of the foreign troops
    Rahimullah Yusufzai
    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    Protests have broken out in Kabul and other cities in Afghanistan against the US-led foreign forces, following a spate of civilian casualties in military operations and a lawmaker wept during the session of the Meshrano Jirga, the upper house of parliament, as he described the agony of the families that lost 65 members in recent airstrikes by Nato aircraft in the eastern Kunar province.

    Afghanistan has been a tragic place since April 1978, when the communist Saur Revolution triggered violence that continues unabated. The two superpowers of the time, the USSR and the USA, took turns to inflict death and destruction on the unfortunate Afghans by sending in thousands of troops to occupy Afghanistan and chase an elusive victory against their respective determined foes.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=34864&Cat=9

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  12. Honouring Bhatti’s memory
    Mosharraf Zaidi
    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    For anyone with even the slightest interest in Pakistan’s future, Shahbaz Bhatti’s assassination should spur some serious problem-solving. The first question any good problem-solver asks is: “What is the most urgent and immediate problem that needs solving?”

    For some Pakistanis, it is that people aren’t outraged enough by these killings. Not enough Pakistanis condemn terrorism, and not enough reject extremist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba. This failure to reject extremism, the thinking goes, creates the space for acts of violence, like the suicide bombing in Nowshera, and the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti. Indeed, the lack of moral clarity about violence in the name of ideas is a huge problem. But is it the most urgent and immediate problem?

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=34866&Cat=9

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  13. Emerging global trends
    Dr Maleeha Lodhi
    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    The writer is special adviser to the Jang Group/Geo and a former envoy to the US and the UK.

    Forecasting the future is hazardous but essential business. Extrapolating emerging trends into the future is necessary not just to equip ourselves for what might happen but to help avert crises and mitigate risk.

    A conference earlier this month at Wilton Park on what the world would look like in 2030 was aimed at examining trends and challenges relating to global conflict. Organised by the British government in association with the US National Intelligence Council, the two-day event brought together officials and experts from around the world for what turned out to be a rich and lively discussion.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=34868&Cat=9

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  14. Side-effect
    Harris Khalique
    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    Empires develop an illusion of permanence, it is said. So it seems has the Pakistani state establishment. Although without achieving anything even remotely comparable to the accomplishments of a developing country with comparable or even less resources, let alone an empire. But an onlooker observes that our powers that be, the top brass of military, the higher echelons of civil bureaucracy, the superior judiciary, that part of political leadership and media barons who are hand in glove with those running the key institutions of the state, continue to think that they are in control.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=34869&Cat=9

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  15. PENSIEVE: Shahbaz Bhatti and after —Farrukh Khan Pitafi
    I was busy writing a piece on the sordid affair of Raymond Davis when a ‘breaking news’ flashed on the muted television’s screen. Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti had come under attack from armed gunmen and was critically injured said the news. By critically injured I surmised that his life had already been lost and that it was almost the rerun of the Salmaan Taseer assassination episode. But whatever it was, I was sure that the terrorists must have killed him with relative ease. There is no doubt in my mind that non-Muslims, including their ministers, in my country almost always have been treated as second-rate citizens. You may notice that I have clearly avoided calling them minorities because I firmly believe that religion should not be the criterion to identify the minorities. Christians, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Ahmedis and other non-Muslims born in our country are virtually of the same racial stock, are equally patriotic and hence cannot be identified as minorities. Nevertheless, my doubts were soon confirmed.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\08\story_8-3-2011_pg3_3

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  16. VIEW: Religious intolerance: Pakistan vs the US —Nizamuddin Nizamani

    There is a popular understanding in Pakistan that Muslims are victimised in the US. However, many Muslims in the US would appreciate the moral and other support from individuals with Jewish and Christian backgrounds

    The brutal killing of Mr Shahbaz Bhatti, federal minister for minorities, on March 2, 2011, in Islamabad in a terror attack reminds us of a similar incident that took the life of late Salmaan Taseer, the vocal and bold governor of Punjab, both preaching tolerance and coexistence among the followers of different faiths in Pakistan. This incident illustrates the level of intolerance prevailing in the frustrated but lethally equipped extremist groups in our unfortunate country.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\08\story_8-3-2011_pg3_6

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  17. Policy on War, Terror. crumbling social and economic sectors of Pakistan
    Monday, 07 March 2011 16:10

    KARACHI: The war and terror is crumbling the Pakistan’s social and economic sectors.

    According to the report of social policy and development centre in annul review.

    The report mentioned high cost of war from Rs.380 billion to Rs.840 billion which represents the Fiscal burden on budget constrain in both Federal and Provincial government level.

    http://www.brecorder.com/pakistan/business-a-economy/5993-policy-on-war-terror-crumbling-social-and-economic-sectors-of-pakistan.html

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  18. Malik gives terrorists last chance to surrender
    Published: March 9, 2011

    ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehamn Malik on Wednesday said that the Wafaqul Mudaras should form a committee to hold talks with misguided elements.

    Addressing the Serat Conference in Islamabad, the interior minister said that he was giving terrorists a last chance to surrender and apologise.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/129965/malik-gives-terrorists-last-chance-to-surrender/

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  19. You aren’t the only one, George
    By Seema Raza Bokhari
    Published: March 8, 2011

    George Fulton bade farewell to Pakistan. He is not the only one. But his departure will be explained away as a ‘naive gora’ fleeing in panic, suffering from the security syndrome endemic in all the foreigners in this country, or a seriously paranoid soul eager to take flight lest he is mistaken for Raymond Davis or confused with someone that might have supported Taseer or Bhatti — when the two were alive, that is. All other reasons are meaningless ravings of a man who never belonged here.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/129571/you-arent-the-only-one-george/

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  20. Fata: the tribesmen are not militants
    Ayaz Wazir The writer is a former ambassador who hails from Fata.
    Wednesday, March 09, 2011

    In a discussion about the negative coverage of events in Fata, a friend used the media’s favourite term “militants” for all the unfortunate people killed in drone attacks and bomb blasts in that area. Responding to our reservations about the use of this term “militants” for the victims, another friend stated that the FCR (Frontier Crimes Regulations) had been imposed by the colonial masters to regulate “criminals.” Besides, have the tribesmen protested the FCR and made their voice heard against it – even once?

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=35133&Cat=9

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  21. hmmm….

    Why I am not leaving Pakistan
    By Caitlin Malik
    Published: March 14, 2011

    I remember watching “George ka Pakistan” and enjoying it. Obviously, as a foreigner residing in Pakistan, I could empathise with much of his experience and I liked the fact that his Urdu (at that stage) was worse than mine.

    So it was with some sadness and, to be honest, a little anger, that I read George’s farewell to a country that had granted him citizenship for no other reason than that he came across as a decent guy (I believe he probably is). Deluded Pakistan might be, but I think George’s delusions are a bigger factor here. Or maybe mine are.

    I must be the only person in this country who doesn’t believe Pakistan is on the brink of collapse; civil war; destruction; uncivil war; or total annihilation (pick your preferred noun). I don’t have the requisite ethos to expect people to believe me. I am neither a journalist nor a professional analyst; neither an Ivy League nor an Oxbridge graduate.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/132489/why-i-am-not-leaving-pakistan/

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  22. The way out of our problems
    Zafar Hilaly
    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Whenever a study, like the one entitled The Future of Pakistan by Stephen Cohen forecasts Armageddon for Pakistan, chiefly because Pakistan is a nuclear weapon state ‘with a bad record for proliferation’, the American provenance of the study becomes obvious. Nothing else captures the attention of an American audience quite so dramatically.

    We can be certain that the study will be hyped as a definitive analysis of what the future holds for Pakistan. That’s because propaganda is that branch of the art of lying in which having deceived yourself into believing what you are peddling, though not really, you try and deceive others.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=36257&Cat=9

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  23. Does a phrase matter?
    Dr Maleeha Lodhi
    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    The writer is special adviser to the Jang Group/Geo and a former envoy to the US and the UK.

    Abandoned by the countries where the term was coined, the “war on terror” continues to be the phrase of choice used by officials and many media persons in Pakistan to describe the country’s efforts to counter terrorism and militancy.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=36261&Cat=9

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  24. Pakistan’s image problem
    By Hasan Zaidi | From the Newspaper

    THE recently published 2011 BBC World Service Country Rating Poll, which surveys global perceptions about “16 major countries, plus the European Union”, has confirmed for many Pakistanis that they are getting the short end of the stick around the world.

    According to the latest poll — the poll has been held every year since 2005 — while positive perceptions of 13 of the 16 countries increased from last year, Pakistan was among only three countries about which negative perceptions showed a marked upswing.

    http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/16/pakistans-image-problem.html

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  25. COMMENT: Afghanistan: the threat of civil war —Musa Khan Jalalzai

    Strong military leadership is impossible in an environment where political and ethnic affiliations rather than merit are the basis of promotions

    The issue of mutual distrust between the US and NATO and the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the killing of innocent civilians by the US-led coalition forces, has been a matter of great concern for Afghan politicians. The rising power of the Taliban insurgency, desertions of Afghan army soldiers, ethnic and sectarian rivalries and massive corruption in the government departments have threatened the US and NATO stabilising strategy for Afghanistan. These are a few reasons behind the rift that caused distrust between the Karzai regime and its NATO allies.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\03\17\story_17-3-2011_pg3_4

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  26. A grim trajectory
    Cyril Almeida

    PEOPLE killed in suicide bombings, people killed in a hail of bullets, people killed by remote-controlled IEDs — dead, dead, dead. At every step, at every turn, people are dying violent deaths in Pakistan. And there is no end in sight.

    Are the militants and the terrorists winning?

    The short, glib answer, yes, they are. The longer, more nuanced answer: if this keeps up, they will.

    http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/11/a-grim-trajectory.html

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  27. Dealing with extremism
    By Syed Imad-ud-Din Asad | From the Newspaper

    DUE to their absolute and brutal intolerance of dissenting views and modernity, Islamic extremists have succeeded in presenting Islam as the most barbaric way of life ever. Unfortunately, their influence is increasing.

    They are never short of recruits and their area of operations has expanded. Ignorance or lack of self-confidence or both are the main reasons for the spread of such vicious attitudes. While ignorant people can easily be influenced and won over, educated, but insecure, individuals are equally prone to falling into the trap laid by clever, confident and determined extremist elements.

    http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/18/dealing-with-extremism.html

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  28. Blasphemy Laws Are Against Islam
    Salam Al Marayati
    Blasphemy laws or laws prohibiting defamation of a religion are incompatible with Islamic thought and philosophy. The concept of Defamation of Religions denies a person their free will to choose — one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity — and deprives individuals of their right to free speech and expression. It also creates a climate of intolerance that can breed discrimination and violence.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/salam-al-marayati/need-to-oppose-blasphemy-_b_836290.html

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  29. Our collective psychosis
    By Raza Rumi
    Published: May 26, 2011

    Pakistan’s right wing has flourished on the crutches of a national security doctrine: A world view, which prioritises paranoia and ‘security’ of ideological and geographical frontiers. Never mind if the majority of Pakistanis have no access to water and sanitation or the public education and health systems have virtually collapsed. The events of May 2011 cast a long shadow over the merits of investing in security institutions and fuelling patriotism with conspiracies.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/175853/our-collective-psychosis/

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  30. Pakistan’s surreal Urdu media — II
    By Aakar Patel
    Published: May 26, 2011

    More than newspapers, news television knows the popular mind. This is because it responds to daily ratings and can calibrate pitch and tone accordingly. What appears on their television should worry secular Pakistanis. In what other nation would Zaid Hamid be an analyst?

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/175850/pakistans-surreal-urdu-media–ii/

    Pakistan’s surreal Urdu media — I
    By Aakar Patel
    Published: May 25, 2011
    The Pakistani’s uncomplicated view of the world is revealed in his Urdu press.

    A sample is available daily in the verse of Riaz urRehman Saghar, the poet published on Nawa-i-Waqt’s second page. He’s entertaining, but his trajectory is predictable: Citizens victims, Muslims pious, hukumran corrupt, Pakistan honourable, Amrika bad, Bharat worst. (Urdu writers refer to India as Bharat, rarely as Hindustan.)
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/175047/pakistans-surreal-urdu-media–i/

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