Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dear Taliban leader, thank you for your letter to Malala Yousafzai

By: Mohammed Hanif
You were big enough to admit that your comrades tried to kill a young girl, but I would advise against picking a fight with women
Dear Adnan Rasheed, I am writing to you in my personal capacity. This may not be the opinion of the people of Pakistan or the policy of the government, but I write to thank you in response to the generous letter you have written to Malala Yousafzai. Thanks for owning up that your comrades tried to kill her by shooting her in the head. Many of your well-wishers in Pakistan had been claiming the Taliban wouldn't attack a minor girl. They were of the opinion that Malala had shot herself in order to become a celebrity and get a UK visa. Women, as we know, will go to any lengths to get what they want. So thanks for saying that a 14-year-old girl was the Taliban's foe. And if she rolls out the old cliche that the pen is mightier than sword, she must face the sword and find it for herself. Like you, there are others who are still not sure whether it was "Islamically correct or wrong", or whether she deserved to be "killed or not", but then you go on to suggest that we leave it to Allah.
There are a lot of people in Pakistan, some of them not even Muslims, who, when faced with difficult choices or everyday hardships, say let's leave it to Allah. Sometimes it's the only solace for the helpless. But most people don't say leave it to Allah after shooting a kid in the face. The whole point of leaving it to Allah is that He is a better judge than any human being, and there are matters that are beyond our comprehension – maybe even beyond your favourite writer Bertrand Russell's comprehension. Allow me to make another small theological point – again about girls. Before the advent of Islam, before the prophet gave us the holy book that you want Malala to learn again, in the times we call jahilia, people used to bury their newborn daughters. They probably found them annoying and thought it better to get rid of them before they learned to speak. We are told Islam came to put an end to such horrendous practices. If 1,400 years later, we have to shoot girls in the head in an attempt to shut them up, someone like Russell might say we haven't made much progress. Like you, I did a bit of research in Malala's hometown in Swat valley, and I remember a wise journalist warning your commanders that the Taliban might get away with slitting people's throats in public squares but not to try shutting down the girls' school. The government practically handed over the valley to your comrades, but their rule didn't even last for a few weeks because they ordered all women to stay home. There was only one lesson to be learned: you can fight the Pakistani army; you can try and almost kill Pakistan's commander-in-chief, as you so heroically did; you might wage a glorious jihad against brutal imperial forces. But you can't pick a fight with the working women in your neighbourhood and hope to win. Those women may never get an audience at the UN but everyone – from cotton picker to bank teller – cannot be asked to shut up and stay home, for the simple reason that they won't. It has also been suggested that your letter represents the mainstream opinion in Pakistan. But don't fall for this praise. You might think that a lot of people support your just fight, but there is a part of them that worries whether their girl will get the grades to get into a good university. And if you tell them there is a contradiction there, they might tell you to leave it to Allah. I'm not sure if such frank language is appreciated in the Taliban's shura, but I'm sure, with your linguistic skills, you can phrase it better. I have a feeling that, like it or not, our women will kick arse. Yes, we have heard all your arguments about how they are a weaker sex, they can't be in the workplace because they are impure five days a month, and if they are good wives they are pregnant nine months a year; but whenever I look around I have this sinking feeling that they are going to kick arse. Mine and yours.
Don't believe me? You may have seen the propaganda pictures of female pilots released by your former employer, Pakistan's air force. Some of them have started to fly fighter aircraft.
Like you, I'm of the firm belief no good has ever come out of the Pakistani army's misadventures. But just think of the day when one of those female pilots decides to not leave it to Allah.


The United States is still viewed as the world's leading economic power in many countries, according to polls in 39 nations by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. But as the Great Recession has buffeted the U.S. economy, China has gained rapidly in the eyes of the rest of the world, and many say it ultimately will replace America as the world's top global economic force. In 22 of the 39 nations polled, the U.S. is seen as the top global economy, while China is viewed as having the upper hand in eight countries, including U.S. allies Canada, Britain, Germany and France. Surprisingly, Americans are about evenly divided over which country has the stronger economy, with 44 percent saying China and 39 percent the United States. Since 2008, the population share that calls China the world's top economy has just about doubled in Spain, Germany and Britain, nearly tripled in Russia, and gained 22 points in France. Of the 20 countries Pew surveyed in both 2008 and 2013, all but two are now significantly more likely to say China is the world's leading economic power. In 18 of the countries polled, half or more believe China has or will replace the U.S. as the world's top economic force, while majorities in only three believe the U.S. will maintain its top economic position. The surveys, conducted before news about the NSA's surveillance programs broke, also found that 37 of the 39 countries saw the U.S. as a good steward of individual liberty than a poor one. Before leaks of classified documents revealed widespread U.S. tracking of Internet communications among people in other countries, many said they were confident President Barack Obama would do the right thing in world affairs, including 88 percent in Germany and 83 percent in France, two allies whose official reactions to the spying program have been broadly negative. Few in those nations think the U.S. gives their countries' concerns much weight when setting foreign policy; just 35 percent in France and half in Germany say America considers their interests at least "a fair amount."
Other findings from the surveys:
— The U.S. is viewed favorably by a majority in 28 of the 38 other nations tracked in the poll, with favorability ratings above 80 percent in Ghana, Senegal and Kenya in Africa, Israel in the Middle East and the Philippines in Asia. America fares worst in the Middle East, where most have an unfavorable opinion in five of seven nations surveyed, including 81 percent with a negative view in Egypt and 70 percent unfavorable in Turkey. — Among those in nations that receive U.S. economic aid, Egyptians and Pakistanis are more apt to say the assistance is having a negative impact on their country, while other African nations surveyed view such assistance as a positive influence. — Majorities in just three of the 39 countries say they approve of the U.S. use of drones to target extremists: Israel (64 percent approve), the United States (61 percent approve) and Kenya (56 percent approve). — More than 9 in 10 in Japan (96 percent) and South Korea (91 percent) say that China's growing military power is a bad thing. The Pew Research Center interviewed 37,653 respondents in 39 countries from March 2 through May 1, 2013. Interviews were conducted face-to-face or by telephone, depending on the country, and are representative of at least 95 percent of the adult population of each nation except for China and Pakistan, where the samples were disproportionately urban, Argentina, Bolivia, Greece, Indonesia and Malaysia, where some difficult to reach or rural populations were excluded, and the Czech Republic and Japan, where interviews were conducted either by cellular or landline telephone only.

India: EDITORIAL: The poisoned plate: ''Tainted School Lunch Kills at Least 23 Indian Children''

The Hindu
The fatal consequences of having a routine midday meal for at least 22 children in Bihar’s Saran district expose the chronic neglect of school education in a large part of India. That governments cannot find a small piece of land for a school and are unable to store food materials without the risk of contamination is a telling commentary on their commitment to universal primary education. The Bihar horror clearly points to the absence of strong normative procedures for the provision of infrastructure, even for a new school. Such inefficiency and indifference is deplorable, considering that the Centre has been levying a cess on taxes, part of which is given to States to strengthen the Mid Day Meal Scheme; the collection stood at Rs. 27,461 crore during 2011-12. If the preliminary evidence pointing to food poisoning and ingestion of yellow phosphorous — which is used in fertilizers and as rat poison — is confirmed as the cause of the tragedy, it points to a colossal failure to observe minimum food safety standards. It is a matter of concern that man-made tragedies such as these can shake the faith of the citizen in a crucial welfare programme, rightly lauded as the biggest school meal programme in the world covering 10.54 crore children. The scheme has the vital objective of providing specified levels of calories and protein to pre-primary and primary school students. It achieves a lot more, by involving the entire community, providing employment to women, and breaking caste barriers by ensuring that all children have a meal together. It must also be pointed out that public provision of meals has been working well in the better-administered States, while partnerships with NGOs have sometimes miserably failed. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has confirmed that a staggering 95 per cent of meal samples prepared by NGOs in Delhi did not meet nutritional standards last year. The lesson here is that an accountable public system can perform well, arguably better than other arrangements, if there is strong commitment among policymakers and the bureaucracy. Evidently, even the vaunted ‘Bihar model’ of the Nitish Kumar government has a lot of distance to cover. It would be doubly tragic if the death of so many children is turned into a political arm-wrestling event, with little attention paid to systemic changes that can prevent a recurrence. State governments often show great concern for provision of infrastructure for economic growth but fail to see where it all begins — in a school system that produces the workforce of the future. Without even being able to guarantee children a safe meal, their assertions are meaningless.

Bangladesh: JAMAAT-E-ISLAMI’S Mojaheed gets his due

The wheels of justice move on
JAMAAT-E-ISLAMI’S secretary general, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, has got his comeuppance. Given the magnitude of the crime he committed as the head of the al-Badr, a death squad with the mission to decimate Bengali intellectuals at the fag end of Liberation War in 1971, the capital punishment handed to Mojaheed by ICT-2 is fully justified. This is the sixth verdict in a series of convictions against persons tried for crimes against humanity in 1971. In the preceding verdicts, three got capital punishment, while two received jail terms. It’s a hallowed moment in the Bengali nation’s 42nd year of statehood that it has been able to extricate itself of yet another moral thorn in its side through this verdict. But we are dismayed at the unabashed arrogance with which Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Shibir have been reacting through violence and mayhem to the ICT’s verdicts pronounced against these bitterest enemies of our war of independence and Bengali nationhood. The acts of vandalism and destruction perpetrated by Jamaat activists in the holy month of Ramadan during hartals since Monday have taken their huge toll on life and property. Until Tuesday, nine people died in hartal-related violence along with its attendant collateral damage. This is extremely reprehensible. They must feel remorse, behave and respect the people’s sentiment.

Pakistan: 'Blasphemous' texts land Christian in prison for life

Ahmadiyya Times
A Christian man in Pakistan has been given a life sentence for sending “blasphemous” text messages to Muslim clerics. Addition District and Sessions Judge Mian Shazad Raza sentenced 28-year-old Sajjad Masih to life in prison and a fine of 200,000 rupees (about $2,000) Saturday in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Masih was arrested in December 2011 for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages to Muslim clerics of Gojra in Toba Tek Singh, about 125 miles from Lahore. According to Christian Today Austraila, attorney Javed Sahotra told Morning Star News that prosecutors at the court in the Toba Tek Singh District did not produce any evidence that Masih had committed blasphemy. Sahotra said Masih had repeatedly avoided arrest but went to the Gojra city police station to record a statement on Dec. 18, 2011. “The police refused to let him leave and put him behind bars,” Sahotra said, adding that Masih’s case was registered under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s widely condemned blasphemy laws, which call for death or life in prison of anyone found guilty of blaspheming Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Christian leaders had accompanied Masih to the police station, but Sahotra said officers removed Masih from his cell after they left and started beating him. “They hung Masih upside down in a room and tried to force him to confess that he had indeed sent those text messages,” Sahotra said. “A naked electric wire was tied around his feet, and he was threatened with electrocution if he did not do what the police wanted.” Officers did not carry out the threat against Masih but instead sent him to Toba Tek Singh Prison. The attorney blames the situation on young Muslim men who had plotted against Masih to “punish him for being friends with a local Christian girl.” Prosecutors argued that the woman, Roma Masih, had broken off a marriage engagement with Sajjad Masih and that he had used a mobile phone SIM card bought under her name to send blasphemous messages in revenge. Tariq Saleem, the complainant in the case, lives near Roma Masih’s former neighborhood. Under cross examination, he admitted he had not received any blasphemous text messages as he had originally claimed, Sahotra said. “The complainant backtracked from his statement during cross examination—Saleem told the court he had been forced by the police to file the case,” Sahotra explained. Still, Raza convicted the young Christian. Sahotra pointed to further lack of evidence, including the fact that Masih was in his office in Pakpattan during the time he was accused of purchasing the SIM card. “We even submitted affidavits of Masih’s co-workers in court in support of our claim,” Sahotra said. In addition, police did not produce the SIM card or the mobile phone from which the text messages were sent, and officers failed to retrieve the service provider’s call data records. Masih is one of many Christians who have been falsely accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, which is nearly 96 percent Muslim. Christians make up just 2.45 percent of the population.

Pakistan: Some Churches and NGO,s lavishly spent millions on Muslim leaders in Election 2013
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC has urged Election Commissioner of Pakistan to publish data of expenditures born by all political parties during election 2013 campaign in Pakistan, according to press note issued by PCC Headquarters here today. PCC Chief said that billions of Rupees were spent by PML (N), PPP, PTI and other political parties on advertisements in newspapers and electronic media, rallies, use of helicopters, banners and pamphlets but people of Pakistan are not told about such heavy amount by Election Commission of Pakistan nor Supreme Court of Pakistan has taken any notice that which country or organization funded such costly election campaign in Pakistan. Nazir Bhatti said “Muslim political party’s leaders took millions of Rupees from Hindus, Christians and Sikhs who sought Selection in National assembly of Pakistan and Provincial Assemblies as bribes for election campaigns” There are some Churches which are involved in illegally selling Church properties, Evangelical Bishops who receive billions of aid from their sister Churches in Western countries for promotion and preaching of Gospel and Non-Governmental Organizations NGO funded for charitable programs lavishly spent and hosted receptions during election campaign of 2013, in honor of Muslim political leaders in different cities of Pakistan. Pakistan Christian Post PCP sources revealed that one evangelical group based in Islamabad spent forty millions of rupees in election campaign of one Muslim political party in hope of Selection as Member of National Assembly of Pakistan seat. PCP sources were further told that some Church in Punjab gave millions to PML (N), PTI and PPP for election campaign that their relatives shall be selected in National Assembly or Provincial Assembly seats from quota of these parties. The Hindus and Sikhs were also not in payments to Muslim political parties during election of 2013, it cost them 100 million per seat. Nazir Bhatti urged Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court of Pakistan to take note if Election Commission fails to publish parties’ election expenditures data because corruption cannot be capped in Pakistan, unless facts not surface that which organization or country paid heavily funded election campaign of election 2013, of Pakistani political parties. Dr. Nazir Bhatti said that PCC warn Church leaders and NGO heads to not to involve in politics of Pakistan and drain evangelical and charity funds for which they are trustees to use for uplift of life standard of poor and oppressed Christians in Pakistan. PCC Chief said if these NGO which have one political arm not announced to leave any one of Social or political wing will be brought in notice of their funding agencies and government of Pakistan for immediate action.

Being a journalist in Balochistan

The Baloch Hal
By Muhammad Akbar Notezai
Day by day, Balochistan is becoming a battleground for journalists who barely and rarely dare write and report independently. They regularly receive threats from security forces, underground organizations, sectarian organizations, political parties, student associations, etc. These warnings come as a price the journalists have to pay while endeavoring to perform their journalistic duties with honesty in the restive province. Due to these reasons, in Balochistan, independent journalism has become a far-fetched idea. There is no journalistic activity in the following districts of Balochistan: Khuzdar, Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Kalat, Panjgur, Kech, Awaran, Gwadar, Kharan and even in Quetta. By no journalism means the local reporters and journalists are bound due to various pressure groups. They cannot report indifferently about any happenings due to the threats, because nearly 33 journalists belonging to these districts have been cruelly killed. And surprisingly, so far slain journalists’ killers are not apprehended. Nor are the problems journalists face resolved. The names of slain journalists who have been killed: Mohammad Iqbal, Khalil Ullah Sumalani, Dr. Chisti Mujahid, Khadim Hussain Sheikh, Wasi Ahmed Qureshi, Faiz Sasoli, Lala Hamid Baloch, Mohammad Khan Sasoli, Malik Mohammad Arif, Mohammad Sarwar, Ijaz Raisani, Ilyas Nazar, Wali Khan Babar, Abdost Rind, Rehmat Ullah Shaheen, Zarif Faraz, Siddique Eido, Munir Ahmed Shakir, Akhter Mirza, Javed Naseer Rind, Razak Gul Baloch, Haji Mohammad Rafique Achakzai, Abdul Qadir Hajizai, Dilshad Deyani, Abdul Haq Baloch, Khalid Musa, Abdul Ahad Baloch, Rehmat Ullah Abdi, Jamshaid Ali Karl, Saif-ur-Rehman Baloch, Muhammad Imran Sheikh, Mohammad Iqbal and Mehmood Ahmed Afridi. Moreover, those districts of Balochistan which were previously considered to be safe for journalists are now turning into dangerous places for them to write and report. Also, due to engagement of the security forces and the armed struggle the journalists are dangerously reporting, or sometimes they avoid reporting so that they may not be threatened. If those journalists who have dared report bravely have been blind folded, tortured and taken to prison. One of its examples is the Haji Arif (Reporter at Vash TV) from Kharan District of Balochistan who was picked up and released soon by security forces as they would not have evidence against him. In rural areas of Balochistan, journalists’ problems further compound due to lack of resources and tense situation. As one of Balochistan’s renowned and senior journalists, Shehzada Zulfiqar, told this writer: “Journalists are working just like clerks and conductors in the rural parts of Balochistan. They are bound to issuing or writing about press releases, etc, not more than that. Whenever they try to write or report something independently and indifferently, they get warned of dire consequences.” This is the reason the journalists’ journalistic duties seem impossible to be performed in the rural parts of Balochistan. Shehzada Zulfiqar further added about the security of Balochistan’s journalists: “There are no ways to be followed for the security of Balochistan’s journalists. Balochistan has become a most ‘dangerous place’ for journalists. One of my journalist friends, Malik Siraj Akbar, had to seek political asylum due to the same worst circumstances. He felt the pulse. He knew he would have a no space in Balochistan. That is why he had to stay there, not to come back. But, unfortunately, all journalists cannot do so.” Shehzada Zulfiqar further said that he being a Baloch journalist went through the case of Mehmood Ahmed Afridi, who was shot to death by the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) in Kalat town, did not have any links with intelligence agencies. He was guiltless. In recent months, private TV reporter Jahangir Aslam and Directorate of Public Relation Balochistan Sector Incharge Abdul Wahid Baloch were heading towards their residence from Press Club in Turbat when gunmen opened indiscriminate firing on them, injuring them critically. Moreover, the number of Daily Tawar’s, the well known Baloch nationalist Urdu language newspaper, staffers, contributors and sub-editors have allegedly been killed or abducted by the security forces. Also, its office was recently raided, and the newspaper allegedly said that the security forces surrounded, burnt all the furniture of the office and took away the electric equipments, including fax machine, computers and electric generator. Haji Abdul Razzaq, who is a staffer at the same newspaper, was kidnapped by the security forces on March 24 and he is still missing. In July 2009, Daily Azadi and the Daily Balochistan Express, Quetta, while on August 18, 2009, the Daily Asaap Quetta newspaper offices were forced to close their publications. And unfortunately, the attack on the Daily Asaap Quetta newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Jan Muhammad Dashti, the newspaper had to close its publication to save its rest of the staffers. It is also pathetic to know that in Balochistan, especially in its rural parts, journalists do not have any facilities available. They are hardly paid salaries in few districts, not all 30 districts of Balochistan. Despite having these economic problems, they go to intelligence agencies, separatist leaders, Sardars/ Nawabs and landlords to report. So, in these circumstances, their minor mistakes while reporting create countless hardships for them, and sometimes these minor mistakes get them threatened or killed. There are several more multi-dimensional challenges being faced by journalists in Balochistan. Journalists, economically, are living a deplorable life. There are a few newspapers and TV channels in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, that pay their reporters. But even these reporters’ salaries are not equivalent to their counterparts that are getting in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawer. Due to these reasons, Balochistan’s journalists have either quit the journalism or they have kept silence. The government has failed to ensure them their safety. On the contrary, its own institutions threaten the journalists whenever they endeavor to reach the truth.

Punjab govt agrees to release most dangerous Lashjar-i-Jhangvi terrorists - More Shia genocide on the way?
The government has agreed to release three members of the Lashjar-i-Jhangvi in exchange for eight policemen held hostage by a gang led by notorious bandit Chotu Mazari and the handover is expected to take place on Monday night, The Express Tribune has learnt. On Sunday night, the bandits released three civilians kidnapped months earlier for a reduced ransom of Rs2 million, after talks between MPA Sardar Atif Mazari – representing the government – and Ataullah, aka Patt Umrani, an ally of Chotu Mazari. The gang of some 50 to 60 bandits had taken the police hostages a week ago when they stormed pickets on islands in the riverine region in Rajanpur. Earlier negotiations with Chotu Mazari for the release of the hostages had failed because the police had refused to give up all three LJ men arrested a few months ago. The bandits then fled the area with the eight police and three civilian hostages in tow. Sources told The Express Tribune that Chotu Mazari had handed over the 11 hostages to Umrani and asked him to negotiate on his behalf. After negotiations with the MPA on Sunday night, Dr Wazir Khan, his 18-year-old son Shahzeb Khan, and a dispenser – all of them from Rahim Yar Khan – had been released in exchange for Rs2 million. Chotu Mazari had earlier demanded a ransom of Rs10 million. The hostages had been kept in the tribal area of DG Khan and in Rakni, Barkhan district, Balochistan province. Tahir Khan, the doctor’s son, said he did not want to comment on how the release had been arranged, but added that he and the rest of the family were very pleased to see his father and brother again. Atif Mazari told The Express Tribune that he would ask the police to give the family a vehicle belonging to Chotu Mazari as compensation. The vehicle had been confiscated by the police a few months ago. Regional Police Officer Umar Akhtar Hayat Laleka said Dr Wazir Khan had been recovered from one of the islands in the Rajanpur kacha area. He said that the police had cordoned off an area of 50 square kilometres from Rojhan to Kashmore and Chotu Mazari was on the run.
Police hostages
According to sources privy to the negotiations, Atif Mazari and Umrani are to hold talks on Monday night for the release of the police hostages in exchange for Chotu Mazari’s companions. The sources said that the three LJ men had been released by the Basti Malok SHO into the custody of RY Khan District Police Officer Sohail Zafar Chattha, who in turn had handed the men over to Atif Mazari. They said that Mazari and Umrani were expected to finalise an exchange deal on Monday night. The bandits had sought a similar deal a week ago, but the negotiations were thwarted when the police declined. Atif Mazari said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had directed him to facilitate negotiations between the bandits and the police. He said he was confident that the eight police hostages would be recovered. According to police sources, Chotu Mazari is a member of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and has also donated money to Jaish-i-Muhammad. He had received training in Afghanistan. His three allies are also active LJ members, they said - See more at:

Urgent action in Balochistan

In spite of making Dr Abdul Malik, a Baloch nationalist with a sterling reputation among most factions in Balochistan, as a chief minister, nothing has changed. Murders, disappearances, terrorist attacks by sectarians against Hazaras continue. Groups of violent armed men still roam freely in Quetta as anywhere else in Balochistan. As if it is a jungle out there and not human dwellings. The many meetings between the federal and provincial rulers both in Quetta and Islamabad; the many briefings by the officials responsible for the law and order in the strife torn province; the many sessions between the security and intelligence agencies all seems to have given no results. The federal and provincial governments still seems to by appeasing the Baloch Sardars when the fact is that these very Sardars have been playing, and still do, on both sides of the fence: Parts of these important tribal families are with the insurgents, parts with the civilian governments, parts of these catering to the agencies and are trying to play the civil authorities against the security forces and the other way around. And all the time, most of these families have very close ties with foreign powers who keep them well stocked with money and weapons to keep the province visibly torn between various factions. Half of the families of these Sardars stay abroad and if one look at their apparent sources of income, they can hardly afford to live in decent hotels and residents in Pakistan, yet they live a royal life style in foreign countries famed for high costs of living. Unless the federal government takes notice of the difference between their apparent sources of income and their luxurious standards of living and make these Sardars to give accounts for the same, they will never come under control. It was hoped that with Dr. Abdul Malik as chief minister, the poor and voiceless of the province will not just find a voice but their say will be valued and their interests given priority. That, however, has not even begun to happen. When all is said and done, the game in Balochistan played by the sardars and parts of the officialdom is for money. The money they take in the name of their people from the federal and provincial governments on the pretexts of development projects which never materialize. It is all about money for these sardars who want to keep the province bleeding and remain a source of income for them. The government can turn things around by starting projects which directly helps the poor and the needy. Right now the federal government is financing its organizations elsewhere in the country which are loosing hundreds of billions. These organizations by all accounts would have been making huge profits if these were in private hands. While it would be wise for the government to either dissolve these or sell them to the private sector, Balochistan needs some industries set up by the government in that province to provide jobs to the poor people their. And it would not be something new. The Pakistan Industrial Development Authority (PITDC) was set up for doing exactly that. This organisation would pioneer by setting up industries in sectors which were never tried in the country and where the private entrepreneurs would be hesitant. Once examples were set by PITDC, the private investor would follow. Why not do the same for Balochistan? Why not establish heavily guarded industrial sites in various parts of province and regardless of profit and loss consideration. The purpose should be to employ the poor and take enough of them out of the economic and social influence of the Sardars. Once that is done and work ethics of industrial nature is inculcated among the poor Baloch a social change will be the next step. Such out of the box solutions, however, needs an iron political will which if the present federal government has, will be possible. In the short run, the government in Islamabad should put its act together and put one of its important and influential politicians, probably, the interior minister himself, to coordinate information sharing and action of the different federal agencies. This is important, as these agencies have for too long been working independently and bringing them to new of thinking and operating may take some nudging. Of course we need new laws against organised violence by organised crime, insurgents and unbridled sectarianism. We need a policy of zero tolerance and a strong implementation of it. We need to establish a strong manifestation of the writ of the state and that can only be done if the culprits whoever they are brought before the courts and punished according to the words and spirit of law. To achieve this end, we should spare no efforts or money. Let us not waste time. Let us start right away.

The Taliban wanted Malala’s silence, but gave her a megaphone

Four years ago, rushing home from a school that the Taliban didn’t want open, Malala Yousafzai heard a man say, “I will kill you.” Terrified, she hurried on, only to realize that the man was on his cellphone and was, in fact, threatening to murder someone else. Last year, the Taliban did try to murder her: The teenaged Pakistani activist was shot in the head because she refused to stop going to school. Worse, she refused to stop arguing that all girls should have the same right.They wanted her silence, but instead they gave her a megaphone. “Here I stand, one girl, among many,” Malala said, addressing the United Nations Friday on her 16th birthday. “I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard.” A tiny figure wrapped in a pink shawl that once belonged to Benazir Bhutto, she needed to stand on a platform to reach the microphone. You would have forgiven her for speaking slowly or tentatively, or if her eyes had darted nervously around the room. It’s been less than a year since a bullet ripped across the left side of her skull. Instead, she was remarkably poised. Some people just have a gift for refusing to shut up when they’re told. “We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced,” she said. “In the same way, when we were in Swat, the north of Pakistan, we realized the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns.” She was speaking at the UN’s Youth Assembly in support of education, particularly for girls, on the heels of a UNESCO report that shows 57 million children are denied schooling around the world (a figure that is dropping, but not rapidly enough). The Taliban, she said, are afraid of books and the change and equality they would bring. “They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would point guns at people’s heads just for going to school.” Whether she likes it or not, Malala has become a celebrity, the global face of a struggle to get girls into school and keep them there. Her memoir, I Am Malala, will be released in the fall. As she spoke, delegates took her picture. Her mother and father, who guided her activism, beamed. Only her little brother looked bored. The audience was filled with teenagers from around the world whose stories might have been less dramatic than Malala’s but hardly less stirring. A boy from Gambia talked about how he had to beg on the streets every morning to earn the $1 daily classroom fee. A young woman from Kenya said she became an activist after falling out of her wheelchair at school and realizing that, as a disabled girl, she was doubly damned. An Egyptian girl stood up to talk about how she’d been discouraged from going to school by everyone but her mother, who said: You don’t want to be dependent on your brothers. This was a refreshing change from the narrative we’re used to in North America: These kids were desperate to get into the classroom instead of out of it. And, in a week dominated by the sight of Justin Bieber peeing in a bucket while being filmed by his cackling hench-elves, it was like watching an alternative universe unfold – a universe filled with nerdy, earnest teenagers bent on getting stuff done. Everyone in the room was familiar with Malala’s story. In 2009, as a seventh grader, she began writing an anonymous online blog for BBC Urdu about life as a student in Swat, where girls’ schools were under fire and their lives threatened. Her family eventually left, but she never stopped speaking out. In October of last year, a Taliban fighter burst onto the truck carrying her to school, shouting, “Where is Malala? Who is Malala?” He shot her in the face, then wounded two of her friends. She was treated by surgeons in Britain, where she now lives with her family. At home in northern Pakistan, as The New York Times reported this week, “the war on girls’ education continues unabated.” When one teacher’s school was destroyed, she relocated the classroom to her backyard; only a quarter of her pupils showed up. In Quetta last month, a bus carrying students to the region’s only women’s university was blown up, killing 14. The device was detonated by a female suicide bomber. One of the survivors, a biology student, swore she would go back to school: “No matter what happens,” Sana Bashir told the BBC, “I am determined to continue with my education.” Halfway around the world, another survivor remembered the dead of Quetta. Malala talked about the power that knowledge gave women – and how that frightened some men. Like all great speeches, hers had a rhetorical flourish: The pen was once mightier than the sword, and now it needed to be mightier than the gun. “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world,” she said. “Education is the only solution.” And then she was finished, but it sounded like a beginning.