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Pakistan News And Discussion-9
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Make borders irrelevant  [so that his family can come back again]
Najam Sethi's
E d i t o r i a l
India and Pakistan are on the verge of liberalizing travel between the two countries. This is the best news of the new century.

Currently, India is issuing up to 10,000 visas a month and Pakistan about 1000 visas to each other’s citizens. But visa seekers on both sides have to run the gamut of intelligence agencies, queues and delays, which is worse than an obstacle race. Other restrictions apply. Most visitors have to report their movements to the police on arrival and departure like criminals on parole. They can’t enter from one point and exit from another. They can’t go to ‘cantonment’ areas even though such areas are not exclusive military cantonments any more and have become residential suburbs. They can’t get permission to visit more than a couple of cities on any one visit. They can’t change their travel plans once they have landed in the other country. And so on. Often there are travel restrictions on diplomats as well, which is a contradiction in terms and completely absurd.

All this negativism is justified in the name of “national security” by both sides as though real spies queue up for permission to ply their trade. Indeed, the violent destabilizing campaigns so effectively mounted from in the past by both in the other country through proxies are rarely, if ever, dependent on such restrictions. At the end of the day, Pakistan’s establishment has not been in favour of people-to-people contacts and cultural bonhomie because the “threat from India” was a central plank of its “Pakistan’s ideology strategy” to retain primacy for the military in the country’s body politic. As for India, its rigid and arrogant bureaucracy was wedded to the theme of “reciprocity” (do unto Pakistan what Pakistan does unto you) even though it was clearly in India’s interest to unilaterally flog an open travel regime so that Pakistanis could see for themselves that Indian Hindus were not out to gobble up Pakistan.

At last, real change is in the air. Many of the current restrictions will be lifted and people will be able to travel relatively freely in the region. This is on account of a dramatic change of heart in Pakistan rather than in India. Indeed, President-General Pervez Musharraf made a remarkable statement the other day at a conference in Islamabad. He said that tourism between India and Pakistan would benefit the economies of both countries. He might have said that people-to-people contacts would reduce hostility and enable him to build a peaceful neighbourly relationship with India, which is on the top of his agenda. But he shied away from the truth because it would have upset many old-timers in Pakistan whose veins are still flush with the anti-India poison injected over the decades in pursuit of false “national security” objectives.

India has a flourishing tourism industry already which is a great foreign exchange earner and helps build the image of India as a peaceful, romantic and democratic place to visit. No one gawks at foreign women while local women bustle about in saris, shalwar/kameez, jeans and even skirts. Everyone who can afford it can put his hair down and feet up in beautiful resorts all over the country. Booze is not banned. In short, the ingredients of tourism – hospitality, charm, tolerance, infrastructure are aplenty and affordable. Pakistan, on the other hand, needs to improve its level of tolerance and infrastructure. But this is easier said than done. It is lumbered with adverse travel advisories by foreign countries and foreigners fear for their lives from gun toting, wild eyed mullahs rampaging on the streets.

However, the point of tourism between India and Pakistan shouldn’t be underplayed either. Delhi, for instance, is full of old Lahoris who migrated in 1947. Many would flock to Lahore to refresh historical memories of communities and families and associations. Lahore would also become the focal point of transit to Srinager because it is at the centre of the old natural geographic trade routes between Kashmir and the rest of the sub-continent. Similarly, many people in Karachi would swamp the Indian consulates for a chance to revisit their roots in Bihar or Hyderabad or UP or Gujerat. From the other side, Sikh pilgrims would choke the highways of Pakistani Punjab year in and year out. What could be better for business than tourism that doesn’t challenge our culture or affront our religion or outrage our sense of modesty?

Businessmen would profit the most from free association and trade. Some months ago, the Pakistan government added a few hundred items to the list of goods that can be imported from India. This was a radical step to rationalize the domestic economy. Now another few hundred items are on a list on which import duties will be mutually cut by up to 10% as part of an agreement under the South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement. Fears of Indian goods drowning Pakistani industry have evaporated since Chinese goods have come to play that dubious role. Only the fittest, most competitive and cheapest will now survive, which is good from the public’s point of view.

Since borders can’t be changed, they should become irrelevant. There can be no better mission statement than this for both India and Pakistan.  <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo-->
India has long been advocating more open door policy towards Pakistan and that is the reason why it has been taking CBMs in the past. In fact, the Government of India has also been criticized by certain section of the citizens as being too accommodative towards Pakistan. The reaction is quite natural in view of the fact that India has long been a target of terrorist activities directed from across the border. In the past the Government of Pakistan has given a number of assurances to ensure stoppage of such activities but the people of India are yet to see the result of such efforts of Pakistan. Till the situation improves actually on the ground no tangible results will come out of all these measures.

<b>Ravish Ji :</b>

Many thanks your reply which is general in nature and does not address the issues raised.

Let us take the Visitor Visa Issue :

The Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi issues 1,000 Visitors’ Visas every month to Indians to visit Pakistan.

The Indian High Commission in Islamabad issues 10,000 Visitors’ Visas every month to Pakistanis to visit India.

All Indians return from Pakistan.

Every Year up to 10,000 (I would opine many more) Pakistanis visiting India go missing and do not return to Pakistan.

Now I put up the following for your consideration : A large number of these Pakistani Visitors who do not return to Pakistan become in fact <b>Sleepers</b> i.e. they are waiting for Instructions from Pakistan – normal Government, ISI or whatever – to carry out nefarious and Terrorist Acts.

Why is it that Pakistan issue only 1,000 Visitors’ Visa to Indians wanting to visit Pakistan?

Now for some facts : I am in touch with a number of Pakistanis who have their relatives in India. The Pakistanis (In very High Positions i.e. Justices of the Pakistani Courts) complain that their Indian Relatives are too proud to visit Pakistan. There was even an Article in the Pakistani Press to this effect.

On the other hand the Indian Muslims complain that all Pakistanis visiting India originally come for a week or two and then refuse to return in time, making all sorts of excuses and begging the Indian Authorities to extend their stay in India. One of my esteemed Pakistani Friend has been to India nearly Thirty Times in the last Twenty Five Years and on every visit stays for a week or two at the 15 to 20 Relatives in India. How can he spend 20-25 Weeks a year in India? Why?

Of all his relatives <b>Only One visited Pakistan – Only Once</b>

One cannot understand why the Government of India is allowing so many Pakistanis to visit India.

The contention that these 120,000 Pakistanis visiting India annually will contribute to the Indian Economy is bandied about.

Far from it.

According to my Indian Friends <b>The Pakistani Relatives are a bunch of bums</b> always overstaying their hospitality.

These Pakistani Visitors – being used to the “Crappy” Pakistan Railways Facilities – make full use of the Indian Railways which are subsidised by the Indian Tax Payer and Government.

All the old Pakistanis – many middle aged and even a number of young ones – feign all sorts of disabilities, in addition to those who are over 60 and above and get not only free Two-Three Tier Air Condition Class Travel for themselves but also for the person accompanying them.

Thus this huge number of Pakistanis are a Burden to the Indian Tax Payer as well as the Government.

Why is the Indian Government bent upon wasting its meagre finances on the Pakistani Visitors [b]who will never ever wish anything but evil for India.

One of the very senior Pakistani Officers who travels to India every year confessed to me that during the Bangladesh War and the Kargil War that he actively worked on collecting Funds to finance the Pakistani Armed Forces to aid them in their Quest of Conquering India.

Is this what the government of India wants?

I asked one of my Pakistani Friends as to how – he is about 47 years old – he can manage Eight to Ten weeks every year in India? How does he get leave from his Employers? He just shrugged his shoulders.

Look forward to your reply

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Dec 22 2006, 12:09 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Dec 22 2006, 12:09 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Make borders irrelevant  [so that his family can come back again]

<b>Mudy Ji :</b>

Najam is a Sethi from Rawalpindi(?) and probably his family converted sometime in the last Century - most probably at the time of Partition.

His desire to make Borders irrelevant is so that the Crassistani Fundamental Islamic Jehadi Terrorists can make their way to every nook and corner of India.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>A PR stunt </b>
Udayan Namboodiri
Pervez Musharraf is now playing the friendly neighbour with a large section of the Indian media. Good for him, but the international community, which has come out with two damning indictments of his hypocrisy, is not likely to be bowled over. Unknown to him, a new set of factors has been induced into the West's perception of South Asia. Now, it's the economy stupid

General Pervez Musharraf's interview to an Indian television channel in which he announced that Pakistan was "willing to give up its claim over Kashmir" is the best publicity stunt of 2006. The Pakistani President's appetite for slavish media attention was never known to be bound by reason. This time, however, he has surprised even himself.

The good news (conceding that it means "good coverage" as distinct for happy tidings) is, however, outweighed by the bad (or unfavourable publicity). The General's oldest friends, the human rights wallahs, are turning against him. Over the past two months, two old apologists of international terrorism, Human Rights Watch and the European Union, came out with stinging indictments against Pakistan for not only abetting cross-border strikes into India, but also practicing hypocrisy and double standards. Sadly, the importance of the development was lost on the ever optimistic Indian media.

This Saturday, therefore, we publish DR Ahuja (see main article) who worked hard to lay his hands on these reports. They clearly show how the Islamabad establishment has lost its cheerleaders. The same organisations which treated every morsel of evidence supplied earlier by New Delhi with utmost scepticism - even arrogance diffidence - has apparently come round to accepting the reality. The two, however, are no friends of India. They have routinely insulted Indian Governments by giving precedence to the accounts of like-minded organisations. They played down Godhra but blew Gujarat out of all proportion. They humiliate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi but look over West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's excesses. Still, the good news is that they have accepted the ground reality.

The timely publication of these reports indicates that the international community has lost its old appetite for Islamabad's rhetoric on Jammu & Kashmir. Quite a few major incidents in recent times have contributed to this change in world view of Pakistan.

The international community woke up to the horror of terrorism in their own backyard. The act has been replayed over and over again in different areas of the world. Madrid bombings, the London tube bombings and so on, keep reminding the world that terrorism is alive and Pakistan is its source. But they refuse to open their eyes and look at this harsh fact, instead Pakistan led by its dear leader General Pervez Musharraf is brandished as a frontline state in war against terrorism. It's time to call a spade a spade the way these reports have done.

Another important factor weighing on the international community's attitude towards the Kashmir issue is the growing economic clout of India. With three successive years of eight per cent GDP growth, India is coming on its own as a minor superpower. The economies of the West being driven chiefly by business considerations, the markets of India are too attractive to ignore. That is why foreign policy matrixes in Western capitals are being reworked to factor in the Indian point of view. This is having two effects on Pakistan. First, Western human rights groups, which are dependent on transnational corporate donors for sustenance, are giving President Musharraf the thumbs down. Second, the great dictator himself has got to perform handstands to keep himself relevant. The "give up Kashmir" line has to be seen in that context.

The terms of the conflict have not changed. Though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated this week that he would be willing to consider General Musharraf's "bold" initiative, even give India's past experience the go-by, Defence Minister AK Anthony has indicated that New Delhi would not drop its old guard. Anthony has even ventured to dismiss the Musharraf package as part of an old series of solution mongering. This line is stressed by academician Khwaja Ekhram (see The Other Voice) with greater clarity. He has referred to the terrorist attacks in Delhi, Benares, Ayodhya and Malegaon which were clearly aimed at fomenting communal violence and creating divisions in Indian society.

Similarly, the presence of terror groups in Bangalore and Mysore, two centres of India's IT industry, and the train blasts in Mumbai, prove that these were attempts to hurt the Indian economy by Pak-sponsored groups. With India attracting top investors, the aim of these militant groups is to scare away foreigners by turning these cities into Beiruts.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Najam is a Sethi from Rawalpindi(?) and probably his family converted sometime in the last Century - most probably at the time of Partition.

His desire to make Borders irrelevant is so that the Crassistani Fundamental Islamic Jehadi Terrorists can make their way to every nook and corner of India.
Newly converts have more reasons to justify cowardness.
(Post 123)
Naresh Ji, I read Times of India has tied up with Pakistani news papers (Dawn/Nation/Jung?) to bring Pakistani matrimonials ads to India, promoting marriages amongst Pakistani and Indian Muslim families. If that gets going it will mean more visitors.

<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Dec 23 2006, 08:34 PM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Dec 23 2006, 08:34 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->(Post 123)
Naresh Ji, I read Times of India has tied up with Pakistani news papers (Dawn/Nation/Jung?) to bring Pakistani matrimonials ads to India, promoting marriages amongst Pakistani and Indian Muslim families.  If that gets going it will mean more visitors.

<b>Bodhi Ji :</b>

As it is Pakistani Muslim Men marrying an Indian Muslim Bride get settlement in India.

Again Pakistani Muslim Women marrying an Indian Muslim Groom also get settlement in India.

As such Times of India has got on the bandwagon to ensure that India becomes an Islamic Republic - sooner than later. <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Please refer to post 118 at Dec 22 2006, 04:48 AM</b>

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Stagnant oil production, reckless use create crisis</span></b> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo-->[/center]

<b>ISLAMABAD – International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have warned the government against the increasing energy crisis, with oil consumption skyrocketing to seven times of the production, which stays stagnant at 50,000 barrels per day for the last 20 years.</b>

According to well-placed sources, both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are not satisfied with the pace of the reforms in the energy sector and performance of the overwhelmingly state controlled energy industry. Therefore, the two have stressed upon the government to go for rapid and greater reforms in the energy sector to reduce over 80 per cent import dependence.

According to the sources, the two major donor organizations have doubted the potential of the existing state-owned energy industry to meet Pakistan’s ambitious plans to double the existing production by 2010 to 100,000 barrels per day through massive as well as effective reforms.

Both have noted in their recent concerns to the government that the energy sector reforms have failed to cope with the otherwise acknowledged structural reforms in the country. Moreover, the sources said, the IFIs have underlined that the energy sector has so far failed to respond to the multiplying demand with the country’s economy being on high growth trajectory.

“Western researches as well as donors have noted with pleasant surprise that Pakistan’s economy has managed to grow despite historically tragic Earthquake of 2005, yet they noted with concerns that energy feed to the economy remaining largely import based was alarming,” the sources added.

Pakistan’s demand for oil during last couple of decades has risen more than double of approximately 160,000 barrels per day in 1986 to over 350,000 barrels per day in 2006. While the production remained stagnant at 50,000 barrels per day during the last 20 years rendering the country into an alarming energy crises and enlarging oil import bill beyond half of the total imports.

Therefore, the sources observed that the government was in a fix between the political compulsions ahead of next general elections to keep prices affordable for consumers and the IFI’s requirements rationalizing the oil tariff in the domestic market. The rationalization of sources means completely independent as well as transparent linkage of the domestic prices with the international crude without any intervention of the federal government. The current regime can hardly afford especially in the pre-election political environment to ideally rationalize the energy tariff, which is bound to cost loss of vote bank, the sources added.

According to official estimates, Pakistan’s net oil imports are projected to rise substantially in coming years as demand growth outpaces increases in production. Demand for refined petroleum products also exceeds domestic oil refining capacity, so nearly half of Pakistani oil imports are refined products.

Therefore, the sources said, in their latest concerns conveyed to government of Pakistan the IFIs have noted lethal bureaucratic inertia impeding production growth, lack of indigenous capacity to explore proven reserves, and last but not the least crunched refining capacity were coinciding for an impending energy crisis.

The IFIs have also warned that the energy security for being chiefly import based is also threatening to imbalance foreign trade and the exchange rate besides having sever threats to choke the high growth economy running short of energy supply or in a different scenario energy running beyond affordability.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Further to Posts 118 on Dec 22 2006, 04:48 AM and 129 Today, Dec 23 3006, 12:41 AM :</b>

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>PM rules out five-day working week</span></b> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo--> [/center]

<b>ISLAMABAD : The government has no plan to convert the six-day working week to five-day in the face of growing energy crisis.

“The speculation in this regard is absolutely baseless,” the prime minister on Friday told journalists here at the Prime Minister Secretariat during a Christmas reception. He said no such proposal was under consideration. “We wish to put up more efforts for the progress and development of the country. There is power gap in supply and demand during summers but we can handle it through load management but two weekly close days are out of question," he added.</b>

Replying a question about the Kashmir dispute, Shaukat Aziz said Pakistan has a principled stand on Kashmir, ie the issue should be resolved in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir.

He, however, parried a query regarding the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir. He was asked to comment on the validity of the UNSC resolutions and could Pakistan invoke them sometime later. “As I told you we want a just solution to the issue and wish to establish peace in Kashmir,” he said.

The prime minister told mediapersons that Pakistan and India are engaged in the composite dialogue process and back channel diplomacy. Shaukat Aziz told another questioner that he would be attending the funeral of the late Turkmenistan president, Saparmurat Niyazov, since Pakistan attaches great importance to its ties with the Central Asian states.

APP adds: The proposals, like demilitarisation, joint control and self-governance were being talked about as a basis for a peaceful and just solution to the Kashmir dispute and there was nothing new in Pakistan’s policy on the issue, the prime minister said.

“We have always been with the Kashmiris and will remain with them,” he added. He said that as the gap between demand and supply of electricity in the summer season increases, the government was taking measures to minimise this gap in the next summer through various means and Wapda and the KESC are working on it.

He said besides load-management during peak hours, the government as a temporary arrangement was also importing power generation equipment to reduce the demand-supply gap.

Responding to a question about Christmas, the prime minister said the present government took a bold decision to allow joint electorate to Christians while keeping their reserved seats in the assemblies intact. He said the decision was meant to create a conducive environment for minorities.

The prime minister said Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had clearly stated in his various speeches that the people of all faiths will be fully free to practice their religion in Pakistan. Islam gives the same message, he added

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

[center]<b>ET TU, UNDERWEAR FRIEND?</b>[/center]

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Chinese delegation arrives in Chabahar for investment</span></b> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo-->[/center]

<b>Chabahar, Sistan-Baluchestan province, Nov 26, IRNA


Deputy head of Chabahar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) in investment affairs said a Chinese delegation including investors in petrochemical sector arrived in Chabahar on Saturday.

Mahmoud Hosseinzadeh Hejazi said the delegation is to study and also discuss with official of the CFTZ to build tanks to store petrochemical materials in Chabahar port city.

A member of the delegation said the aim of their trip to Chabahar was to find a suitable position to build " Oil Tank Farm" in the area.

A Chinese company president who is also a member of the delegation said after studying about Chabahar strategic position, they have come to conclusion that having a joint cooperation with Iran in this concern is completely possible.

The Chinese investors are in Chabahar for a 3-day visit upon an official invitation extended by the managing director of the CFTZ.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Chinese delegation arrives in Chabahar for investment
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Oh yes, another scam for General to build house and send kids to Vilayat and USA <!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Stop infiltration in J&K: EU to Pak</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In a report to be presented to the European Parliament, the European body has also slammed Pakistan for lack of "meaningful and representative" democracy in parts of Jammu and Kashmir held by it while drawing a contrast with the situation prevailing in areas of the state across the LoC.

The draft report, prepared by the Committee of Foreign Affairs, has attracted sharp reaction from Pakistan, which has dubbed it as "unwarranted criticism" of the country in contrast to the "unquestioning endorsement of the Indian standpoint".

as usual confused lot. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>S Asians want democracy, Pakistanis not sure</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The study found that the citizens of South Asia do not simply like democracy, they prefer it over authoritarian rule.

"With the exception of Pakistan, about two-third of those who responded preferred democracy over any other form of government," the report said.

For every one response that endorses dictatorship, there are six that prefer democracy, which compares favourably with the ratio obtained in East Asia, Latin America and post-Soviet era countries of Europe.

<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Dec 25 2006, 12:34 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Dec 25 2006, 12:34 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Chinese delegation arrives in Chabahar for investment
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Oh yes, another scam for General to build house and send kids to Vilayat and USA <!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Mudy Ji :</b>

Chah Bahar is in Iran - about 50-100 Kilometres West of the Pakistan-Iran Border.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Bahawalpur’s two ends : Dr Ayesha Siddiqa</span></b>[/center]

<i>Prostitutes and jihadis co-exist and represent the same end of the spectrum rather than opposite sides. They both have something to sell : the prostitute her body and the jihadi his life. Both also sell dreams (of different kinds) to the local population</i>

<img src='http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/images/2006/12/25/20061225_ayesha%20siddiqa.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

A few weeks ago on a usual trip to my ancestral village near Bahawalpur I heard several stories of young and not-so-young girls eloping with their lovers. These women either married these men or returned to their families after a while without risking being killed. At best, they could expect some walloping. Should I be surprised to hear such juicy gossip?

This is nothing new to the district located in Southern Punjab. Despite the apparent conservatism and feudal nature of the society, women, especially from the lower and the upper classes of society, have led interesting lives. This matches the overall social environment that offers a mix of religious and cultural conservatism and, on the other hand, complete defiance of moral norms. The district is known for its jihadis but also for prostitution, drugs and gambling.

There is a saying : police officers go to Bahawalpur crying and return crying. They would be unhappy going there because it is remote, less interesting and less developed; they would return crying because they had got to spend time peacefully. Before terrorism became fashionable, the only noticeable crime there was women eloping.

What made the lives of district police officers easier was the fact that there was hardly any incident of honour killing. A woman is a precious commodity who would be of no use if killed. According to local tradition, daughters are quite valuable since they bring bride money or can be easily traded in marriage. So, the men have a better chance of getting married without having to pay bride money if they can trade-in a family female, preferably of marriageable age.

Such a tradition is prevalent in lower- and lower-middle class households rather than the upper class. This does not mean that the lives of upper class women are less interesting, especially of those from very conservative and religious families. There is much that goes on behind the chaddar and the chardewari, and under the garb of piety; no one would spill the as long as a certain level of silence and decorum is observed.

So why was I surprised to hear the stories? Maybe because my imagination was consumed by the stories of honour killing; perhaps, because over the years Bahawalpur has experienced a certain kind of transformation denoted by greater visibility of orthodoxy and characters such as Maulana Masood Azhar, Riaz Basra and others? Bahawalpur is one of the few districts which has contributed as much to jihad as some districts in the frontier province.

Honour killing is found mainly in areas with Punjabi settlers rather than the local Seraiki people. If one looks at the statistics and co-relates them with the data on where these killings take place, it is easier to access that most such incidents take place in areas bordering the frontier province. There is an entire belt in the Punjab including districts such as Multan, Mianwali and others where the social morals have always been far more stringent than in other places.

<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>In Bahawalpur, gambling and narcotics addiction is quite rampant. The police surely cannot do much because of the influence of local politicians who prevail upon the police not to apprehend a drug dealer or addict, and because addicts, in particular, are always a liability. With hardly any facility for rehabilitation the police is better off not arresting drug addicts.</span></b>

The reason I was surprised at the gossip mentioned earlier was due to my expectation that the environment might have changed after the reported increase in religious orthodoxy and militancy in the district. Jaish Mohammad, which is one of the most notorious militant organizations, is based in Bahawalpur and its head, Maulana Masood Azhar, had a free run for many years. He would recruit young students from government schools for jihad and his men were known for terrorizing people for indulging in more innocent pleasures such as dance and music at wedding ceremonies. Still, it is not as if Masood Azhar or Jaish Mohammad has completely disappeared from the scene. Indeed, the districts can boost of other militants as well.

My question is : why didn’t these militants start with an internal jihad against the many ills that the society is ridden with. I have also discovered that the jihadis do not necessarily observe a puritanical life style. Some jihadis benefit from prostitution (if not drugs) like other common mortals. They draw a distinction between what they want to follow themselves and what they would impose on the rest of the society.

There are three basic explanations for the militant organizations not launching a jihad against social ills. First, their leadership views their area of operation more as a piece of territory which they need to occupy to establish a power base from where they can extend their power to other areas. It is more in terms of conquering and using force to convert people to their views rather than adopt more conciliatory methods such as preaching. In political terms, the militant organizations plan more like the feudal armies for whom territorial gains are more important.

Second, the jihad waged by these militant organisations owes a lot to the generous financial help provided by their national and international principals. The external funding provides these organisations with the tools to fight. <b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>The behaviour of many of the jihadi organisations is very similar to women of questionable reputation who render a service to someone for cash or kind.</span></b> Most of these organisations took money for buying men and material that could then be used in undertaking jihad by violent means. In both cases, the objective is not to convert the heart of the people but to establish influence through physical power.

Finally, both extremes in Bahawalpur’s society have existed due to the state’s willingness to abdicate its responsibility for economic and social development of the region. Since the princely state of Bahawalpur joined the One Unit in the 1950s the government cannot boast of undertaking major infrastructure development other than an airport, a medical college and an extremely impotent and unproductive university. Then there is also the sprawling cantonment, not accessible to the local people, or major historical buildings that are under military control. A district, which is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country, has unfortunately been treated like a territory on rent used for breeding sectarianism and militancy.

Despite the knowledge that most of the madrassas, which had proliferated during the 1980s, were fanning sectarian hatred and supporting violence, nothing was done to stop the trend. In fact, this is one district where the number of religious seminaries has increased. The state’s primary intelligence agencies and the religious elite tend to treat the youth like cannon-fodder who were fed to different war fronts.

Under the circumstances, the society’s growth has been extremely slanted. The mix of socio-economic underdevelopment, poverty, inequitable distribution of resources, conservatism and spates of violence have made the social environment extremely wobbly. <b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Prostitutes and jihadis co-exist and represent the same end of the spectrum rather than the opposite sides. They both have something to sell : the prostitute her body and the jihadi his life. Both also sell dreams (of different kinds) to the local population.</span></b>

<i>The author is an Islamabad-based independent defence analyst. She is also an author of a book on Pakistan’s arms procurement decision-making, and on the military’s economic interests</i>

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Chah Bahar is in Iran - about 50-100 Kilometres West of the Pakistan-Iran Border.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Thanks, <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> too bad, i thought its is Pakistan. Lost oppourtunity for Pakis.
Why CHini are interested in Iran/Paki border?
<b>Pakistan Bans Truth About Muhammad</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion, published by Regnery (a HUMAN EVENTS sister company), was pulled off shelves after it was found to contain "objectionable material" about Islam's founder, according to a notification obtained by the Kuwait National News Agency.

The Pakistani government has confiscated all copies and translations of the book.

"It is interesting that they would say the book contains 'objectionable materials,' since it is all scrupulously sourced from texts that Muslims themselves consider reliable," Spencer told HUMAN EVENTS. "It manifests a certain cultural insecurity that, instead of having a fruitful dialogue or debate about what's in the book, the Pakistani government just bans and confiscates it."

In response to questions about the ban, Shahid Ahmed, counselor of community affairs of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Washington, D.C., said he had not yet read the latest reports but that "the book is very, very damaging—let me tell you." He also said the book was ill-sourced.

Spencer said his primary sources for the book were the Koran, the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim, and the two earliest biographies of Muhammad, which, he said, were "both written by pious Muslims: Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa'd."

"Obviously, this official hasn't looked at the book," Spencer said.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Blundering peace </b>
<i>Again, we have the US pushing us on a perilous course with Pakistan.</i>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The PM has stressed in the past of making borders irrelevant. <span style='color:red'>That is a very European concept. </span>It is dangerously Utopian as a South Asian, leave alone India-Pakistan, concept. Borders become irrelevant only between states with comparable economies and similar, democratic political structures and societal aspirations.<b> No European state would have wanted open borders with, say, Fascist Spain or Fascist Italy or Fascist Germany, although Germany foreclosed the issue by trying to conquer everybody</b>.  <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'> We would be utter, contemptible fools to envision irrelevant borders with a Pakistani state which is failed, expansionist, and which practices terror as state policy. We have hardly lived down the sell-out at Havana before we see the spectre of another sell-out, now at Amritsar. </span>

Back off, Mr Prime Minister. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Dec 25 2006, 05:42 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Dec 25 2006, 05:42 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Thanks,  <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->  too bad, i thought its is Pakistan. Lost oppourtunity for Pakis.
Why CHini are interested in Iran/Paki border?

<b>Mudy Ji :</b>

As far as I know the Chinese have no interest in Iran/Paki Border.

I am making a “Long Shot” Guess.

If there is a Military Action by the USA on Iran – without it breaking into an all out war – the Persian Gulf will become a War Zone and ships entering the Persian Gulf will end up paying extremely high War Risk Insurance Premiums.

To avoid ships having to pay WRI Premiums (as ultimately the Country Export-Importing Country ends up paying the costs) Iran used the Port of Chah Bahar during the Iran-Iraq War.

As such if the Chinese and/or Iranians build an Oil Pipe Line to Chah Bahar then the Iranian Crude could be stored in Tank Farms in Chah Bahar for eventual Export to China.

The same, theoretically, could be done for Iranian Natural Gas to be exported in the form of LNG to China.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Blast at Pakistan airport; three injured</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->At least three people were injured in a car bomb blast at an airport in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar early on Tuesday, police said.

The bomb was planted in a car parked at the airport and two of the injured are in a serious condition, said Rifat Pasha, a police official in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

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