Yet another sad news! A passenger plane of a private company crashed this forenoon in Margalla Hills, North of Islamabad. The plane was about to land at Islamabad airport. It took off from Karachi about a couple of hours earlier, around 0800 hours. It carried 150 plus passengers including the air crew. All of them are reported to have died with their bodies scattered all over the inaccessible Margalla Hills. Over a hundred bodies have been recovered. The black box of the plane has also been found out.
The plane is reported to be flying in No Fly Zone. Soon after the crash, Federal Home Minister made an irresponsible statement that five passengers had been found alive and evacuated to the hospitals. Later, the statement was found to be baseless and the minister had to correct it. A cabinet meeting was in progress which was called off on hearing the news of the plane crash. The Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and the Defense Minister opted to fly in the same helicopter over the scene of the accident. The pilot of the plane is reported to have reached Karachi this morning flying another plane from Turkey. He was over 65. An inquiry has been ordered which like all other such like inquiries is not likely to be made public.
The response of the nation was very positive. A number of residents individually and also as part of various organization collectively immediately moved to the scene of the crash and put in their bit to evacuate the dead bodies and search for the survivors. Helicopters, too, were there on the scene within minutes and played a major role in rescue operations. However, there was lack of coordination among various agencies while undertaking the rescue operations.
Labels: Islamabad, Plane Crash
posted @ 9:00 PM,
The prime minister states that if the present coalition government fails no force will succeed in running the country. Does it mean a confession on part of the worthy prime minister that the present government is certainly not successfully running the affairs of the state and that it is heading towards failure, if it has not already failed? The prime minister is also claiming that the present coalition government is composed of the best set of people to run the government and that if the best can't succeed how could the second best. He may be right. After all this is the government, people of Pakistan happen to have voted to power a couple of years ago. If the best are corrupt and are resorting to nepotism, and are unable to control price hike, improve law and order, follow the verdicts of judiciary, resolve the issue of load shedding and so on, how could the second best do it. The present state of affairs is perfectly in line with the divinely words that people get the rulers of the type they themselves are. So, let us reflect as to what we are doing in our individual capacities. Our criticism of the situation and the government/rulers is not going to do any good either to us or to our country.
posted @ 6:01 PM,
Ever since independence from the British rule in 1947, the relations between the two neighboring countries, India and Pakistan have remained strained primarily for want of resolution of Kashmir issue. Quoting the post 1971 War, Simla Agreement, India insists that the resolution of the Kashmir issue and all other issues has to be undertaken through bilateral talks. These bilateral talks have not borne any positive outcome to date.
The recent visit of Indian Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia signalling stronger ties between the two countries has raised the possibility of Saudis mediating between India and Pakistan.
Labels: IndoPak Relations, Kashmir Issue
posted @ 4:13 PM,
Pakistan has four provinces. These are Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP. The names of the first three provinces make sense. Punjab means 'five waters' implying the rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej and Bias which pass through the province. The language spoken by the majority population of Punjab is Punjabi. Sindh province takes its name from the river Indus which is also called Sindh and Sindhi is the language spoken by the majority population of this province. Balochistan takes its name from the Baloch tribe which forms the majority population of this province. However, it must be noted that the entire populations of the first two provinces do not speak the languages as per the names of these provinces. Similarly, Baloch tribe is not the only tribe living in Balochistan. NWFP stands for North West Frontier Province which once part of Indian sub continent i.e India of the pre-partition era made some sense as the province lay in the north west of then India. However, NWFP is the only province of Pakistan whose name makes no sense at all and is irrelevant. It's indeed sad that despite repeated demands from the people of the province since independence of Pakistan in 1947.
The provincial assembly of NWFP has, more than once, passed resolutions including the one passed by the current ruling alliance led by ANP (Awami National Party) for change of name of the province to Pakhtoonwa (the majority population of the province is Pakhtoon, the Pashto speaking Pathan tribes, known as Pakhtoons) but to no avail. Pakistan Muslim League (N), the largest political party in opposition opposes the name of Pakhtoonwa on the grounds that all population of the province is not Pakhtoon. The truth of the matter is that the party has more following in non Pashto speaking belt of Hazara, named after Hazara tribes, and negligible in the majority Pashto speaking areas due to which it is opposing the renaming of the province as Pakhtoonwa. This area is also known as Gandhara. Political wisdom of PML(N) is strange. Both arguments, the declared and the hidden one, reflect the hollowness of the political wisdom of PML (N). How does it expect to seek the support of the Pakhtoons after opposing the name of Pakhtoonwa?
Another irony of the fate is that the renaming of the NWFP is part of the larger package of constitutional amendments under consideration by the constitutional committee. ANP has made it clear that it would not support the package if the province is not renamed. It could mean a deadlock for the passage of the package of constitutional amendments. A middle ground is being sought by renaming the NWFP as Pakhtoonwa Hazara or Pakhtoonwa Gandhara. Let us see as to what turns out to be the final outcome.
Labels: Constitution, Provincial Autonomy
posted @ 3:55 PM,
The threat of terrorism looms large on all Pakistanis on daily basis. It has been so for many years now. Since the life must go on, we all continue moving about despite hearing the news of terrorists attacks taking place in our city or another city. Sometimes, we don't hear the news but the noise of the blasts themselves. This is what happened about eight hours ago. I heard a big blast which was heard all over Lahore. Owing to load shedding, I could not switch on the TV to find out as to what had happened. A few minutes later, I got a phone call from my cousin in Canada who inquired about the well being of all family members. She could not get through to talk to her mother, my aunt. I rang up my aunt and then informed her daughter that everyone in the family was safe. Soon thereafter I got a call from my daughter who is studying in Montreal, Canada. Same concern and question about family's safety with the same answer from me that all of us are fine and safe. I rang back to my daughter as call from her side is more expensive. She commented very seriously that we should emigrate. How many of us can emigrate?
How many phone calls must have been made by Pakistanis all over the world to inquire about the well being of their near and dear ones in Lahore. All phone call responses were certainly not of all correct report. Over a dozen persons died and another five dozen were injured in the suicide attack which shook Model Town, Lahore and its surrounding localities. The target was the building in K block in use by the Special Investigation Agency, Punjab. A vehicle loaded with 800 kilograms of explosive was banged into the building by the suicide attacker/driver. The blast caused a 12 feet hole at the point of impact and shock waves of the blast caused cracks in the buildings nearby. Window panes of buildings up to two to three kilometers broke. Why was this office located in a residential area? Why wasn't it well secured? There are countless questions but no answers! That's the state of affairs, we, in Pakistan, happen to be bearing and passing through.
Labels: War on Terror
posted @ 4:18 PM,
The actual “Road to Swat” bifurcates from the great Grand Trunk Road near Nowshera. About a kilometre below the highest point on the Road to Swat, the commuters can see the view of Takht-e-Bahi Mountains in the middle distance standing from the road. The ruins of one of the grand monastery of the past are situated on the top of a 152-meter high hill, about 80 kilometres from Peshawar and 16 kilometres northwest of the city of Mardan. While Swat is famous for different reasons now (rise and fall of the Taliban), some interested people still commuters to visit Takht-e-Bahi - a Buddhist monastery developed between 1st and 7th centuries AD.
Read Throne of Origins at Logic is variable
posted @ 1:43 PM,
India has agreed to resume talks with Pakistan after a deadlock of over two years.
India and Pakistan turned out to be foes of each other soon after their independence from the British Rule in 1947. The two countries have had three wars to date in 1948, 1965 and 1971. The last war resulted in secession of East Pakistan from the Federation as an independent state named as Bangladesh.
The main issue of enmity between the two countries is regarding the State of Jammu and Kashmir part of which is under the administrative control of India and the other part is under the control of Pakistan. With majority population of Muslims but ruled by a non Muslim who sold the state to India for Rs. 7.5 million only resulted in the advance of armies of both countries into the state in 1948. The UN sponsored cease fire and the countless resolutions passed by Security Council and General Assembly seek holding of a plebiscite in the disputed state. Having agreed to the aforementioned resolutions at the time of cease fire, India backed out from her commitment and continues to do so to date. Whereas Pakistan could take the case to UNO, the Simla Agreement signed after the 1971 War binds the two countries to resolve the dispute mutually without intervention of a third party. This is the price Pakistan had to pay for the 1971 War to get its thousands of prisoners back besides losing its eastern wing which had more population than the western wing. In 1988, India undertook the nuclear tests which was immediately followed by Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan became nuclear states.
With the passage of time, a number of other issues like Siachen, prisoners in both countries have cropped up. The two worth mentioning are the water dispute and terrorism. The former has arisen as a result of construction of dams and diverting the water by India on/of the rivers flowing from India into Pakistan. Earlier, the struggle of Muslims in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir was recognized the world over as a bona fide independence movement. Since the incidence of 9/11 , India has been able to politically shun the notion of independence movement before the world and is hell bent on labeling it as terrorism. Pakistan, too, had to cease its support to the freedom fighters restricting itself to only moral, political and diplomatic support.
Ever since the US invasion of Afghanistan soon after the 9/11, India has been increasing its presence in Afghanistan; over a dozen consulates and lot of trade and construction activities. This does not suit Pakistan, rather threatens Pakistan's security on its western front. Pakistan's concerns have been registered by America who acknowledge that Indian presence in Afghanistan is adversely affecting Pakistan's war on terror. Pakistan accuses India of supporting terrorists playing havoc in Pakistan and separatists seeking secession of Baluchistan from Pakistan. India denies both accusations.
Until the end of the last decade, India insisted that confidence building measures should be taken first to resolve the issues and Pakistan maintained that the issues be resolved first and confidence building measures would automatically follow. During all these years there was a time that India refused to recognize Kashmir as an issue between the two countries as India considered its integral part. However, through negotiations, Pakistan has been able to make India concede, though only diplomatically, that Kashmir is an issue between two countries which requires resolution. During the last decade, Pakistan changed its stance and agreed to initiation of confidence building measure like cross cultural interaction between the citizens of two countries and trade.
The confidence building measures progressed pretty fast and, reportedly, back channel diplomacy was taking place to resolve the issues including that of Kashmir when the Mumbai attacks occurred in November 2008 and everything came to a standstill, rather, it started moving backward to the brink of cross border adventures. India accused Pakistan of its involvement in these attacks as the only terrorist caught alive is a Pakistani citizen. Pakistan denied its involvement at governmental level and committed to undertake investigations and punish the individual Pakistani citizens, if any, found involved. This row has taken two years for the dust to settle down where after India has agreed to resume talks of which terrorism is going to be an important point on the agenda.
Labels: Indo-Pak Talks, IndoPak Relations
posted @ 10:45 PM,