Friday, February 27, 2015 INTERNATIONAL

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Moderate majority to grow despite misgivings

Jehan Perera in Colombo

THERE is a popular perception that the new government’s performance so far shows that it is not a strong government. This would lead people to hedge their bets, as they are unsure how long the government will continue under its present leadership. The business community in particular requires stability to make investments in the future. They need to know that government policy would be stable and there will not be sudden reversals which can be very costly to them. The perception that the government is not strong is partly due to the fact that it is a coalition government in which the dominant party, the UNP, does not even enjoy a majority in Parliament. But the larger part of the reason for the perception of a weak government is that the government is not taking strong action against its opponents.
The unexpected defeat of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the presidential election led to high expectations amongst those who voted against him that the new government, and its anti-corruption crusaders, would soon put things right. During the election campaign they accused former members of the government of being terribly corrupt, of engaging in the trade of narcotics and the sale of illegal spirits to manufacture alcohol, among others, and of padding up contracts to build infrastructure, with massive kickbacks to themselves. However, the actions of the new government up to now have not justified these popular expectations.
More than six weeks after the change of government those accused of wrongdoing in the former government remain free of formal charges. They are also free to organise political rallies and find money to bus the crowd in from all parts of the country. The long arm of the law has not caught them, and as a result there are stories being spread that some of those in the former government are maintaining corrupt links with those in the present government. But this can be explained. The reason is that the new government pledged to bring in good governance, and key to this is to follow established procedures and the rule of law.
The government would be wary of taking precipitate action that they cannot sustain in a court of law. It is common experience that cases of fraud taken to court in ordinary circumstances will take months to start and years to conclude. This would be more so in cases where files have been destroyed, evidence tampered with and the wrongdoers are prominent in public life. In addition in situations such as the present one, in which the former government members are accused of spiriting out their ill gotten gains to foreign climes, the expertise to probe such crimes is also lacking in the country. An example of precipitate action that was counter-productive was the police raid on one of the former president’s home backfired against the government when nothing incriminating was discovered.

Appreciate change
Those who criticise the new government for being weak fail to appreciate the positive change it has brought to the country’s politics. The fear of arbitrary governmental action that targets individuals, who are critical of those in the seats of power, is no more present in the country at large. Instead there is a feeling that there is freedom to express one’s opinion and not be punished for it. Indeed, this space for free expression that has opened up is being used by a vociferous minority from the opposition to create apprehension that the new government might not last long. In addition they have created a fear that the new government will take the country to division and subjugation by the international community before its demise.
However, the average citizen has heard these dire warnings before and has a different interest. Their interest is to elect a government that will improve their lives, which necessarily involves reducing corruption and ensuring the rule of law. The previous government was popularly described as a strong one. It was so strong that it could implement virtually any decision its leadership took, even though some of those decisions violated the legal and human rights of others. It took over people’s lands and properties and drove them off despite their having legal title to what they owned. It bypassed Parliament and made huge payments to foreign consultants who promised salvation from the international threat of prosecution for war crimes. There was fear to dissent against the former government due to the impunity that those who wielded power at that time enjoyed.

Positive actions
The new government’s main strength at the present time is that it has increased the democratic space to dissent and to speak out, and that it promises a better future through the practices of democracy and good governance. At the same time the government would seek to implement its 100 day action plan and win the support of the people by engaging in constructive actions. There is much that it has already done. It has reduced prices of several essential commodities and assuaged the strongest grievance of the masses of people regarding the rising cost of living. It is in the final stages of drafting new legislation with regard to issues of good governance, including the setting up of independent state institutions. The fear of the arbitrary power of the government is much diminished, which is seen in the degree of freedom of speech and media the country now enjoys.
With regard to the North and East, the government has also done things that were not mentioned in its 100 day plan such as appointing civilian governors for the northern and eastern provinces. Although the military presence continues, they play a less visible and direct role in the governance of the people. In addition, the government has started returning land to the civilian population in those two provinces that were taken over by the previous government. It has also removed travel restrictions on foreign citizens and media, and thereby opened up the entire country to more transparent governance. The government may be moving slowly, but it is on the right course.

Continuing problem
The manifestation of extreme nationalism on both sides of the divide so soon after the presidential election in both the North and South of the country shows once again that the most important problem the country faces is its ethnic divide. One of the themes at the opposition rally was that the former president won more of the Sinhalese vote than did the winner of the presidential election. Another was to claim that the new government was leading to the ethnic division of the country, and that it would betray the ethnic Sinhalese majority, because of its reliance on the votes of the ethnic minority Tamils and Muslims. On the other hand, the resolution of the Northern Provincial Council which accused successive Sri Lankan governments of committing genocide against the Tamils and called upon the UN to investigate was a mirror image of this ethnic nationalism.
However, it is also relevant to note that the presidential election saw moderate opinion prevail. It was the majority of moderate voters who ensured the defeat of the former president who did his utmost to mobilise Sinhalese nationalism of the electorate. Although extremist Tamil nationalists sought to persuade the Tamil electorate to boycott the elections like the LTTE once did to help former president Rajapaksa to remain in power, Tamil voters flocked to the polling stations in huge numbers. It is plausible to believe that this moderate majority is larger today than it was before the presidential election due to the constant stream of media disclosures of corruption and abuse of power on the part of the previous government, and the problem solving actions of the new government at the level of the people.
The writer is the executive director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka.

Comment

Jehan Perera in Colombo

THERE is a popular perception that the new government’s performance so far shows that it is not a strong government. This would lead people to hedge their bets, as they are unsure how long the government will continue under its present leadership. The business community in particular requires stability to make investments in the future. They need to know that government policy would be stable and there will not be sudden reversals which can be very costly to them. The perception that the government is not strong is partly due to the fact that it is a coalition government in which the dominant party, the UNP, does not even enjoy a majority in Parliament. But the larger part of the reason for the perception of a weak government is that the government is not taking strong action against its opponents.
The unexpected defeat of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the presidential election led to high expectations amongst those who voted against him that the new government, and its anti-corruption crusaders, would soon put things right. During the election campaign they accused former members of the government of being terribly corrupt, of engaging in the trade of narcotics and the sale of illegal spirits to manufacture alcohol, among others, and of padding up contracts to build infrastructure, with massive kickbacks to themselves. However, the actions of the new government up to now have not justified these popular expectations.
More than six weeks after the change of government those accused of wrongdoing in the former government remain free of formal charges. They are also free to organise political rallies and find money to bus the crowd in from all parts of the country. The long arm of the law has not caught them, and as a result there are stories being spread that some of those in the former government are maintaining corrupt links with those in the present government. But this can be explained. The reason is that the new government pledged to bring in good governance, and key to this is to follow established procedures and the rule of law.
The government would be wary of taking precipitate action that they cannot sustain in a court of law. It is common experience that cases of fraud taken to court in ordinary circumstances will take months to start and years to conclude. This would be more so in cases where files have been destroyed, evidence tampered with and the wrongdoers are prominent in public life. In addition in situations such as the present one, in which the former government members are accused of spiriting out their ill gotten gains to foreign climes, the expertise to probe such crimes is also lacking in the country. An example of precipitate action that was counter-productive was the police raid on one of the former president’s home backfired against the government when nothing incriminating was discovered.

Appreciate change
Those who criticise the new government for being weak fail to appreciate the positive change it has brought to the country’s politics. The fear of arbitrary governmental action that targets individuals, who are critical of those in the seats of power, is no more present in the country at large. Instead there is a feeling that there is freedom to express one’s opinion and not be punished for it. Indeed, this space for free expression that has opened up is being used by a vociferous minority from the opposition to create apprehension that the new government might not last long. In addition they have created a fear that the new government will take the country to division and subjugation by the international community before its demise.
However, the average citizen has heard these dire warnings before and has a different interest. Their interest is to elect a government that will improve their lives, which necessarily involves reducing corruption and ensuring the rule of law. The previous government was popularly described as a strong one. It was so strong that it could implement virtually any decision its leadership took, even though some of those decisions violated the legal and human rights of others. It took over people’s lands and properties and drove them off despite their having legal title to what they owned. It bypassed Parliament and made huge payments to foreign consultants who promised salvation from the international threat of prosecution for war crimes. There was fear to dissent against the former government due to the impunity that those who wielded power at that time enjoyed.

Positive actions
The new government’s main strength at the present time is that it has increased the democratic space to dissent and to speak out, and that it promises a better future through the practices of democracy and good governance. At the same time the government would seek to implement its 100 day action plan and win the support of the people by engaging in constructive actions. There is much that it has already done. It has reduced prices of several essential commodities and assuaged the strongest grievance of the masses of people regarding the rising cost of living. It is in the final stages of drafting new legislation with regard to issues of good governance, including the setting up of independent state institutions. The fear of the arbitrary power of the government is much diminished, which is seen in the degree of freedom of speech and media the country now enjoys.
With regard to the North and East, the government has also done things that were not mentioned in its 100 day plan such as appointing civilian governors for the northern and eastern provinces. Although the military presence continues, they play a less visible and direct role in the governance of the people. In addition, the government has started returning land to the civilian population in those two provinces that were taken over by the previous government. It has also removed travel restrictions on foreign citizens and media, and thereby opened up the entire country to more transparent governance. The government may be moving slowly, but it is on the right course.

Continuing problem
The manifestation of extreme nationalism on both sides of the divide so soon after the presidential election in both the North and South of the country shows once again that the most important problem the country faces is its ethnic divide. One of the themes at the opposition rally was that the former president won more of the Sinhalese vote than did the winner of the presidential election. Another was to claim that the new government was leading to the ethnic division of the country, and that it would betray the ethnic Sinhalese majority, because of its reliance on the votes of the ethnic minority Tamils and Muslims. On the other hand, the resolution of the Northern Provincial Council which accused successive Sri Lankan governments of committing genocide against the Tamils and called upon the UN to investigate was a mirror image of this ethnic nationalism.
However, it is also relevant to note that the presidential election saw moderate opinion prevail. It was the majority of moderate voters who ensured the defeat of the former president who did his utmost to mobilise Sinhalese nationalism of the electorate. Although extremist Tamil nationalists sought to persuade the Tamil electorate to boycott the elections like the LTTE once did to help former president Rajapaksa to remain in power, Tamil voters flocked to the polling stations in huge numbers. It is plausible to believe that this moderate majority is larger today than it was before the presidential election due to the constant stream of media disclosures of corruption and abuse of power on the part of the previous government, and the problem solving actions of the new government at the level of the people.
The writer is the executive director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka.


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TARGETING ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA
Obama administration seeks blank cheque for perpetual war

Joseph Kishore

The Obama administration sent to Congress its proposal for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), ostensibly targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Obama accompanied a draft of new legislation to rubber-stamp an escalation of war in the Middle East and beyond with an eight-minute announcement from the White House afternoon.
Both the proposed resolution and Obama’s announcement were shot through with lies and double-talk aimed at concealing the far-reaching implications of what is being proposed.
The draft sent by Obama requests that Congress give its approval for military operations against ISIS or “associated persons or forces,” defined as anyone “fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside ISIL [ISIS] or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” This is formulated so as to potentially include organizations or individuals as diverse as Islamist groups in the Middle East and North Africa, homegrown “cells” in Australia, France or the United States itself, or anyone the US claims is aiding and abetting ISIS.

No geographical limits
There are no geographical limits to the military action sanctioned by the resolution. Making clear the global framework of the new “war on ISIS,” Obama wrote in a letter to Congress that ISIS could “pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland.”
The inclusion of language ending the authorization in three years unless the resolution is renewed has as much significance as similar “sunset” provisions in the Patriot Act, which has been routinely reauthorized by Congress. In his announcement of the AUMF, Obama stressed that the three-year framework did not represent a “timetable” for military action and could be extended by Congress under his successor in the White House.
In an attempt to delude the American public, which is overwhelmingly opposed to war, that the new operations are to be limited in scope, the authorization states that it does not provide for “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” Again, the wording is formulated so as to allow virtually any type of military action. There is no definition of “enduring” or “offensive.”
“defensive” or not “enduring”
Extended combat operations in Iraq, Syria or another country could be justified on the grounds that they were “defensive” or not “enduring.”
Obama claimed that the resolution “does not call for the deployment of US ground combat forces in Iraq and Syria.” This is simply a lie. Obama last year deployed 1,500 US troops to Iraq, many of which have already been involved in combat operations. The authorization would sanction a vast expansion of such operations.
To date, the administration has sought to develop local forces in Iraq and elsewhere to engage in heavy fighting, with US soldiers participating in an “advisory” capacity and engaging in Special Operations attacks. This could quickly change, as Obama made clear by noting that the resolution provides the “flexibility we need for unforeseen circumstances.” At the very least, the new proposal would authorize the deployment of combat forces within Syria so long as they are declared to be limited and “defensive.”
The entire proposal is thoroughly cynical, a pseudo-legal fig leaf to provide political cover for an illegal war. The way that the new authorization has been proposed—including a perfunctory White House announcement held in the middle of the afternoon—underscores the contempt of the political establishment for basic democratic procedures and the will of the American people. All decisions on military action are made behind the scenes by a cabal of military and intelligence officials, with Obama as their spokesman.

Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq
As recently as 2002, in advance of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, the political establishment felt it necessary to go through the motions of a Senate debate and vote, with a presentation of supposed facts (i.e., fabrications) and arguments to justify war. Now, wars and military operations are simply launched and presented to the population as a fait accompli.
The proposed congressional authorization for war against ISIS comes nearly half a year after the Obama administration initiated bombing in Iraq and Syria. There have already been at least 2,000 air strikes in this latest round of the US drive to conquer the Middle East.
The war authorization request marks the latest stage in the long and tragic encounter of the peoples of the Middle East with US imperialism. The White House proposal would repeal the 2002 authorization for military force in Iraq, which, following the 1991 Gulf War and a decade of brutal sanctions, was used to invade Iraq and initiate a war that led to the deaths of over one million Iraqis and laid waste to the entire country. ISIS itself is a product of this devastation as well as US support for Islamic fundamentalist forces that have served as proxies in the US-led wars to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya and oust Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Existing statutes
In asking for the new authorization, Obama was at pains to insist he did not need it, and that strikes would continue regardless. “Existing statutes provide me with the authority I need,” he wrote in his letter to Congress.
This was a reference to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force passed after the September 11 attacks, which has been used as the legal pretext for a series of wars and interventions, including (according to the Congressional Research Service) Afghanistan, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq and Somalia. It has also been used, directly or indirectly, as a pseudo-legal justification for drone assassinations (including of American citizens), abductions, torture, military tribunals, indefinite detention, domestic spying on a mass scale and the establishment of the framework of a police state, including the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Department and the Northern Command.

Military operations all over the world
Obama has adopted and extended the standpoint of his predecessor that the president has the right to unilaterally order military operations all over the world. The ostensible check on this power laid down by the US Constitution—that only Congress can declare war—has long been rendered a dead letter. As it is, the final language of any resolution that passes Congress will likely be even more open-ended.
The new AUMF is, if anything, even more broadly worded than its predecessor. As with the measure passed in 2001, the proximate target—in this case ISIS—provides a basis for operations aimed at ensuring US domination over key economic and geostrategic areas of the world. It is being introduced at the same time that the US threatens to unleash a European-wide war with Russia over Ukraine, intensifies its operations in Africa, and continues a “pivot to Asia” aimed at militarily and economically encircling and isolating China.
Obama concluded his White House announcement with the assertion that the new authorization does not place the US on a “perpetual war footing.” In fact, unending war, plotted behind the backs of the population, has become the permanent and essential feature of American foreign policy.
— WSWS

Comment

Joseph Kishore

The Obama administration sent to Congress its proposal for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), ostensibly targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Obama accompanied a draft of new legislation to rubber-stamp an escalation of war in the Middle East and beyond with an eight-minute announcement from the White House afternoon.
Both the proposed resolution and Obama’s announcement were shot through with lies and double-talk aimed at concealing the far-reaching implications of what is being proposed.
The draft sent by Obama requests that Congress give its approval for military operations against ISIS or “associated persons or forces,” defined as anyone “fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside ISIL [ISIS] or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” This is formulated so as to potentially include organizations or individuals as diverse as Islamist groups in the Middle East and North Africa, homegrown “cells” in Australia, France or the United States itself, or anyone the US claims is aiding and abetting ISIS.

No geographical limits
There are no geographical limits to the military action sanctioned by the resolution. Making clear the global framework of the new “war on ISIS,” Obama wrote in a letter to Congress that ISIS could “pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland.”
The inclusion of language ending the authorization in three years unless the resolution is renewed has as much significance as similar “sunset” provisions in the Patriot Act, which has been routinely reauthorized by Congress. In his announcement of the AUMF, Obama stressed that the three-year framework did not represent a “timetable” for military action and could be extended by Congress under his successor in the White House.
In an attempt to delude the American public, which is overwhelmingly opposed to war, that the new operations are to be limited in scope, the authorization states that it does not provide for “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” Again, the wording is formulated so as to allow virtually any type of military action. There is no definition of “enduring” or “offensive.”
“defensive” or not “enduring”
Extended combat operations in Iraq, Syria or another country could be justified on the grounds that they were “defensive” or not “enduring.”
Obama claimed that the resolution “does not call for the deployment of US ground combat forces in Iraq and Syria.” This is simply a lie. Obama last year deployed 1,500 US troops to Iraq, many of which have already been involved in combat operations. The authorization would sanction a vast expansion of such operations.
To date, the administration has sought to develop local forces in Iraq and elsewhere to engage in heavy fighting, with US soldiers participating in an “advisory” capacity and engaging in Special Operations attacks. This could quickly change, as Obama made clear by noting that the resolution provides the “flexibility we need for unforeseen circumstances.” At the very least, the new proposal would authorize the deployment of combat forces within Syria so long as they are declared to be limited and “defensive.”
The entire proposal is thoroughly cynical, a pseudo-legal fig leaf to provide political cover for an illegal war. The way that the new authorization has been proposed—including a perfunctory White House announcement held in the middle of the afternoon—underscores the contempt of the political establishment for basic democratic procedures and the will of the American people. All decisions on military action are made behind the scenes by a cabal of military and intelligence officials, with Obama as their spokesman.

Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq
As recently as 2002, in advance of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, the political establishment felt it necessary to go through the motions of a Senate debate and vote, with a presentation of supposed facts (i.e., fabrications) and arguments to justify war. Now, wars and military operations are simply launched and presented to the population as a fait accompli.
The proposed congressional authorization for war against ISIS comes nearly half a year after the Obama administration initiated bombing in Iraq and Syria. There have already been at least 2,000 air strikes in this latest round of the US drive to conquer the Middle East.
The war authorization request marks the latest stage in the long and tragic encounter of the peoples of the Middle East with US imperialism. The White House proposal would repeal the 2002 authorization for military force in Iraq, which, following the 1991 Gulf War and a decade of brutal sanctions, was used to invade Iraq and initiate a war that led to the deaths of over one million Iraqis and laid waste to the entire country. ISIS itself is a product of this devastation as well as US support for Islamic fundamentalist forces that have served as proxies in the US-led wars to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya and oust Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Existing statutes
In asking for the new authorization, Obama was at pains to insist he did not need it, and that strikes would continue regardless. “Existing statutes provide me with the authority I need,” he wrote in his letter to Congress.
This was a reference to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force passed after the September 11 attacks, which has been used as the legal pretext for a series of wars and interventions, including (according to the Congressional Research Service) Afghanistan, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq and Somalia. It has also been used, directly or indirectly, as a pseudo-legal justification for drone assassinations (including of American citizens), abductions, torture, military tribunals, indefinite detention, domestic spying on a mass scale and the establishment of the framework of a police state, including the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Department and the Northern Command.

Military operations all over the world
Obama has adopted and extended the standpoint of his predecessor that the president has the right to unilaterally order military operations all over the world. The ostensible check on this power laid down by the US Constitution—that only Congress can declare war—has long been rendered a dead letter. As it is, the final language of any resolution that passes Congress will likely be even more open-ended.
The new AUMF is, if anything, even more broadly worded than its predecessor. As with the measure passed in 2001, the proximate target—in this case ISIS—provides a basis for operations aimed at ensuring US domination over key economic and geostrategic areas of the world. It is being introduced at the same time that the US threatens to unleash a European-wide war with Russia over Ukraine, intensifies its operations in Africa, and continues a “pivot to Asia” aimed at militarily and economically encircling and isolating China.
Obama concluded his White House announcement with the assertion that the new authorization does not place the US on a “perpetual war footing.” In fact, unending war, plotted behind the backs of the population, has become the permanent and essential feature of American foreign policy.
— WSWS


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 ISLAMABAD DIARY

Can Team Pakistan stage a comeback?

Jonaid Iqbal

The question is: Can Team Pakistan stage a come-back in the World Cup (WC)? It was bad enough losing by 77 runs to India in its first match on 15 Feb at Adelaide; but the route scoring only 160 runs against West Indies 307 at Christchurch, last Saturday was a horror.
Indians have four points as well positive scoring marks; Bangladesh has three while Pakistan has only zero as well as minus scoring points in Pool B  matches.
Some among the public, here, say, the team is so low in performance it could not even win a tea-cup, leave aside WC.
Cricket big-wigs  such as Najam Sehti, Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board Executive; Mr. Shahryar Khan, PCB President; swing king the great Wasim Akram’ and others are trying to reason with domestic fans to be reasonable, and not write off the team just yet. They want the team to be backed fully for them to give confident performances. Pakistan will play Zimbabwe on 01 March.
Yes, there are a number of ongoing controversies including the Senate election scheduled for March five but cricket losses is uppermost in the minds. You can judge this fact by a reference to the third Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) that concluded last Sunday. There the most endearing session on the last day was devoted to the discussion of Pakistan cricket literature.

Osborne on Pakistan cricket
Two books were launched at this session, “The Wounded Tiger” (author Peter Osborne, a political commentator as well as cricket- lover) and Osman Samiuddin (author of “The Unquiet Ones” The session was moderated by literati Kamila Shamsie (author of the 2104 novel,”A God in Every Stone), who described the two books as ‘history of Pakistan through cricket.’
Author Osborne explained why he chose Pakistan cricket to write about, saying ‘cricket was a revolutionary activity; presumably endorsing the general narrative that cricket was a unifying force in the country.
At the nd of the session and during question- answer session the audience shared optimism that the team could still stage a come-back.
LLF was primarily devoted to books and authors and had a mission not to indulge in politics yet organizers did well to arrange a number of stimulating sessions such as one titled ‘Anticipating Peace: India and Pakistan.’ There were divergent opinions such as both countries had a new generation of voters who were asking their leaders, “What can you do for us’’. As for Pak-India dialogue, a former diplomat (secretary, Foreign Affairs, Pakistan) Mr. Shamshad Khan, speaking on a TV channel said, Pakistan should not bend backwards asking for resumption of dialogue. It must first preserve strength; India would be compelled to resume the peace process, sooner or later.
We also witnessed discussion sessions relating to the art of interview and opportunities for broadcast journalism at the LLF. Here, we heard Mr. Arif Nizami, editor of Pakistan Today speaking the maxim, “If you add too much masala (spice) to food it would lose taste.”
About this activity op-ed writer, Roger Cohen said in the New York Times: “The people of Lahore responded by bravely hosting the Lahore Literary Festival, a wonder of creativity, eclecticism, ideas and dialogue. Openness is what Pakistan needs.”

Comment

Jonaid Iqbal

The question is: Can Team Pakistan stage a come-back in the World Cup (WC)? It was bad enough losing by 77 runs to India in its first match on 15 Feb at Adelaide; but the route scoring only 160 runs against West Indies 307 at Christchurch, last Saturday was a horror.
Indians have four points as well positive scoring marks; Bangladesh has three while Pakistan has only zero as well as minus scoring points in Pool B  matches.
Some among the public, here, say, the team is so low in performance it could not even win a tea-cup, leave aside WC.
Cricket big-wigs  such as Najam Sehti, Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board Executive; Mr. Shahryar Khan, PCB President; swing king the great Wasim Akram’ and others are trying to reason with domestic fans to be reasonable, and not write off the team just yet. They want the team to be backed fully for them to give confident performances. Pakistan will play Zimbabwe on 01 March.
Yes, there are a number of ongoing controversies including the Senate election scheduled for March five but cricket losses is uppermost in the minds. You can judge this fact by a reference to the third Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) that concluded last Sunday. There the most endearing session on the last day was devoted to the discussion of Pakistan cricket literature.

Osborne on Pakistan cricket
Two books were launched at this session, “The Wounded Tiger” (author Peter Osborne, a political commentator as well as cricket- lover) and Osman Samiuddin (author of “The Unquiet Ones” The session was moderated by literati Kamila Shamsie (author of the 2104 novel,”A God in Every Stone), who described the two books as ‘history of Pakistan through cricket.’
Author Osborne explained why he chose Pakistan cricket to write about, saying ‘cricket was a revolutionary activity; presumably endorsing the general narrative that cricket was a unifying force in the country.
At the nd of the session and during question- answer session the audience shared optimism that the team could still stage a come-back.
LLF was primarily devoted to books and authors and had a mission not to indulge in politics yet organizers did well to arrange a number of stimulating sessions such as one titled ‘Anticipating Peace: India and Pakistan.’ There were divergent opinions such as both countries had a new generation of voters who were asking their leaders, “What can you do for us’’. As for Pak-India dialogue, a former diplomat (secretary, Foreign Affairs, Pakistan) Mr. Shamshad Khan, speaking on a TV channel said, Pakistan should not bend backwards asking for resumption of dialogue. It must first preserve strength; India would be compelled to resume the peace process, sooner or later.
We also witnessed discussion sessions relating to the art of interview and opportunities for broadcast journalism at the LLF. Here, we heard Mr. Arif Nizami, editor of Pakistan Today speaking the maxim, “If you add too much masala (spice) to food it would lose taste.”
About this activity op-ed writer, Roger Cohen said in the New York Times: “The people of Lahore responded by bravely hosting the Lahore Literary Festival, a wonder of creativity, eclecticism, ideas and dialogue. Openness is what Pakistan needs.”


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OIC Diary, January 2015 OIC Secretary General meets Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Babylon
OIC Diary, January 2015 Chairmen of the Sunni and Shiite Endowments, and UN Special Representative in Iraq meet Madani
 OIC Diary, January 2015 MADANI SISTANI MEET IN NAJAF
OIC Diary, January 2015 OIC MEETING WITH IRAQI KURDISTAN’S LEADERS MADANI CONDEMNS OPPRESSION AND DISPLACEMENT OF YAZIZDIS
 OIC Diary, January 2015 IRAQI PRESIDENT RECEIVES MADANI Welcomes OIC Proposal for Action on Makkah-2 Document
OIC Diary, January 2015 LIBYAN POLITICAL DIALOGUE OIC follows welcome progress
 OIC Diary, January 2015 MID-JANUARY REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT Charlie Hebdo co-founder denounces provocative cartoons
OIC Diary, January 2015 Charlie Hebdo: The first edition since the Paris massacre Ghost of “charb” does it again
OIC Diary, January 2015 ABUSE OF LIBERTY Protesters come out burn Charlie Hebdo poster
OIC Diary, January 2015 Pope Francis reacts to Charlie Hebdo repeat blasphemy
OIC Diary, January 2015 OIC apalled by repeat of Charlie Hebdo blasphemy
OIC Diary, January 2015 Christian protests against Hebdo blasphemous cartoons
OIC Diary, January 2015 OIC contemplating ‘legal action against Charlie Hebdo'
 OIC Diary, January 2015 OIC Secretary General discusses with OIC-CERT Chairman ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation
OIC Diary, January 2015 Saudi Monarch breathed his last
 OIC Diary, January 2015 OIC Secretary General's official visit to Afghanistan
OIC Diary, January 2015 Denounces Terrorist Attack in Sinai Peninsula
OIC Diary, February 2015 ISIS execution of Japanese journalist
OIC Diary, February 2015 ISIS killing of Jordanian air-force pilot Mo’az Al-Kasasbah condemned OIC calls for emergency meeting to curb terrorism
OIC Diary, February 2015 ADVOCACY OF THE PALESTINIAN CAUSEZ Norway visit of OIC Foreign Ministers’ delegation
OIC Diary, February 2015 IPHRC STRONGLY CONDEMNATION Barbaric killings of Jordanian and Japanese hostages
OIC Diary, February 2015 OIC MINISTERIAL DELEGATION TO OSLO Calls for International Terms of Reference for Negotiations on Palestine
OIC Diary, February 2015 Belgium parliament’s resolution recognising the State of Palestine
OIC Diary, February 2015 OIC condemns Houthis’ coup in Yemen
OIC Diary, February 2015 Human resource development in Uganda
OIC Diary, February 2015 OIC visit by State Secretary of Swiss Foreign Affairs
OIC Diary, February 2015 OIC visit by Benin Foreign Minister
OIC Diary, February 2015 ISLAMOPHOBIC INCIDENTS DURING JANUARY 2015 Increase in anti-Muslim sentiments after the Charlie Hebdo attack
OIC Diary, February 2015 OIC Ministerial Meeting in Jeddah to Counter Terrorism and Extremism
OIC Diary, February 2015 HUMANITARIAN SUMMIT IN AMMAN OIC, United Nations and Arab League joint preparatory workshop
OIC Diary, February 2015 SENSELESS KILLING OF THREE YOUNG MUSLIMS IN NORTH CAROLINA OIC Secretary General calls for efforts to curb religious intolerance
OIC Diary, February 2015 “Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism”
OIC Diary, February 2015 COMBATING TERRORISM AND VIOLENT EXTREMISM OIC announces package of urgent measures
OIC Diary, February 2015 Barbaric ISIS execution of hostage Egyptian Copts
OIC Diary, February 2015 Mass execution of Egyptian Coptic Christians by extremists in Libya
OIC Diary, February 2015 Mass execution of Egyptian Coptic Christians by extremists in Libya
OIC Diary, February 2015 OIC at the Global Summit on Violent Extremism
OIC Diary, February 2015 Terrorist attack on public officials in Mogadishu
OIC Diary, February 2015 Peace accord in Northern Mali
OIC Diary, February 2015 OIC visit by the Foreign Minister of Turkish Cypriot State
OIC Diary, February 2015 Palestinian Attorney General at OIC headquarters
OIC Diary, February 2015 OIC Receives Jordanian Minister of Holy Places
OIC Diary, February 2015 OIC Delegation Resumes International Tour in Support of Palestine
OIC Diary, February 2015 Commemoration of Khojaly Massacre
OIC Diary, February 2015 OIC in the Abidjan Regional Meeting on Statelessness
OIC Diary, February 2015 Talks in Moscow on Palestine for enhanced role of the quartet and Security Council
OIC Diary, February 2015 Natural disaster in Afghanistan’s Panjshir province
FOUNDING EDITOR: ENAYETULLAH KHAN; EDITOR: SAYED KAMALUDDIN
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