Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Category

Fatwa On Demand

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Ever since the Salman Rushdie incident, the word Fatwa has had a negative connotation. Perhaps no word has been as misunderstood, with the exceptions of jihad and madrassa.

It turns out that a fatwa is a kind of judicial opinion from an islamic religious authority. In nations that have adopted the Shariah as part of the legal system, a fatwa could have the force of law. But mostly, it is guidance for the faithful. Because Islam does not have a hierarchy like the Catholic Church, each religious authority has to rely on its own reputation as the force behind its fatewa.

Outside of the Middle East, the most respected school of Islamic studies is Darul Uloom, located at Deoband near Delhi in India. It was founded in 1866 after the defeat of Indian forces by the British. The school played an important role in the Freedom Struggle of India. It opposed the creation of Pakistan, and asks its followers to participate peacefully in Indian democracy. Its influence extends well outside of India. The mainstream of Islam in Pakistan is historically of the Deoband school. After Partition, certain logistical difficulties clearly exist and Saudi Arabia is playing an increasing role in providing support to the madrassas. (more…)

Who Is On The Line?

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Hoax phone calls used to be funny. As a teenager, Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the Apple computer, figured out the Bell System technical protocols- he and Steve Jobs had found the manual at the SLAC Library. Woz used this knowledge to call the Pope, pretending to be Henry Kissinger. His fake German accent was good enough to get the Holy Father out of bed. But before he took the phone, an aide figured out that it was some California teenager pulling a prank. (more…)

Who Attacked Mumbai and Where Are They?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Lahore Country Club

The Lahore Country Club in Muridke

The US National Intelligence Director has taken the unusual step of placing blame in public: AP

The same group that carried out last week’s attack is believed to be behind the 2006 Mumbai train bombings that killed more than 200, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell said Tuesday during a speech at Harvard University.

McConnell did not identify the group by name. However, the Indian government has attributed the 2006 attack to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani terrorist group based in Kashmir, and the Students Islamic Movement of India.

Hard to know how to evaluate this information. The Bush Administration just isn’t that credible after the epic failure of intelligence on WMD in Iraq. They could be right this time: the boy who cried wolf was right one time too. Whether or not the LeT are behind this particular attack, it has already been designated a terrorist organization based on its previous record.

At first one may think that the LeT is a secretive organization, operating out of some cave in the mountains. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Although it is banned, the LeT actually operates freely in Pakistan: it just changed its name. It runs schools, hospitals and provides social services. Its headquarters is in Muridke: a suburb of Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city.They even have a website in English. and in Urdu ( the national language of Pakistan.) (more…)

What Next?

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Anger in India is currently focused on its own Government. The mindless bloodbath that followed some previous attacks has not happened. What we see instead is a quieter rage, one that can be channeled to something constructive. For, rage has its uses too.

Every one, the US Sec State included, seems to be counseling the Indian Government against an overreaction. Certainly, no one wants a war between two Nuclear-Armed adversaries.

But what of the dangers of under-reaction? What will be the consequence to India and to the world if they are allowed to get away with it?

There seems to be consensus that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is behind this attack: (more…)

The Obama Criteria

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama is about to announce his foreign policy team.No matter who is on it, Obama promises that the policy will be set by him. Nowhere is his intellect more needed than on policy towards Pakistan.

On 1 Aug 2007 Obama said:

The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He said he would make the hundreds of millions of dollars in US military aid to Pakistan conditional on the following actions by the Pakistani government:

  1. substantial progress in closing down terrorist training camps
  2. evict foreign fighters
  3. prevent the Taleban from using Pakistan as staging area for attacks in Afghanistan

I have not heard a clearer analysis yet. There is more: (more…)

Mumbai Lesson: Defund The Pakistani Military

Friday, November 28th, 2008

So what do we know so far about what is going on in Mumbai? (more…)

Helluva Job Mushie!

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Other articles on Pakistan
Excerpt from an interview with President Bush by ABC News Nov 2007.

What’s his name has agreed to hold elections in January, and he’s agreed to take his uniform off. Frankly, I think he should do that in the privacy of his own home, but hey, everyone wants the man to take off his own uniform, so lets let him do it anyway he wants. Make sure you cover it live Charlie.

Do you mean Musharraf?

Yeah him. Have trouble remembering his name. General. General something. Hey, he knows how to call me, I don’t need to remember his name. (more…)