US and Israel rule the Middle East

The US has a rather murky history of enforcing its will through covert actions, sometime by waging war on its opponents and against those who do not agree to protect American vested interests
It is difficult to trust or believe in western journalists and analysts when it comes to the question of protecting western vested interests. There are a very few exceptions who try to be objective and even fewer who understand the various psyches of the east. The large majority is biased and a great number are western propagandists. We have seen their role time and again all over the world. In the past it used to be muted and subtle, but now it is brazen and downright insulting the sensibilities as well as the intelligence of our people. Power has the ability of expanding one's ego and denting the faculties.

Our interests must be paramount

Pakistan’s policy making capabilities have always displayed a lack of foresight, a dearth of planning, and a result of reactive thinking rather than a well thought out strategic approach that accounts for the possible repercussions also. Besides this the accommodation of foreign influences and pressures leaves little room to pursue national interests.

The weak and unprincipled governments that our non-system keeps throwing up therefore rule with a bundle of contradictions that create chaos, mismanagement and failures which keep aggravating the miseries of the people and enriching the ruling classes.

Justice, Not Prayer, Is The First Obligation of a Muslim 

by: Asghar Bukhari

Apolitical practicing Muslims claim that the first and highest priority of a Muslim has always been the rituals they perform and the great ethical causes of the world are of secondary importance.

Although I usually stay clear of theological debates, I am drawn to this particular argument, because of the damage it has done to the revolutionary message of Islam and how today this argument is used to undermine any political awakening of the Muslims.

Muslims are taught to spend their lives on the impossible task of perfecting themselves through ritualistic worship and never wake up to the true cause of Islam.

This theological concept was implanted in the minds of our religious leadership by those who unjustly ruled us. They feared that the ethics of Islam would undermine their authority. So they allowed Muslims to pray — just as long as they were silent on injustice. Over time that is exactly what we did.

Are rituals the first and most important thing a Muslim should do? Was perfecting ones rituals our mission on this earth? Or did ethics take precedence? Perhaps history could give us an insight and an answer to this troublesome argument about priorities.

The Muslim story that could get you killed

by: Asghar Bukhari

I am going to tell you a tale of two stories’ and one of them could get you killed.
The first is the story of Western political elites. Their story is about Islam. They tell you that Islam (or if they can’t be honest ‘ Islamism’), is a threat to the world, that this medieval religion is violent and barbaric, a faith that leads to violence and one that the West must take action against in order to defend itself. It is a story that inevitably leads to a clash of civilizations.

It is repeated in newspapers & news channels in the Western World every single day in various subtle ways and as a result white westerners believe it.

Muslims also tell a story, and it also involves Islam. This is the one that could get you killed. They tell a story of an American Empire pushed by Israel and its lobby and old European hatreds into yet another war against Muslims. In their story the West had been waging wars to uphold their manufactured borders across the Muslim world that allowed them to control and dominate the region and kept that order & maintained it by propping up ruthless dictators. The resulting deaths and broken lives now measured in their millions.


It must be said at the outset that this is no scholarly dissertation for academic appraisal nor does it aspire to qualify for theological approval. It is simply the attempt of a layman to understand and share that understanding with others.

During the thousands of years of Man’s existence numerous civilisations have come and gone. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) tells us that one hundred and twenty four thousand Prophets were sent, presumably therefore as many religions came and except for a small number remaining till today all the rest vanished. All species face death and disappear. Innovations, discoveries, technologies have always come only to become obsolete with time. It tells us that change and evolution are probably the most essential dynamics in the Divine scheme of things.

However there are constants too, for the believer God is an absolute constant. The Sun, Moon and various planets have been there for millions of years. What about the search for knowledge and truth? Have they not been a constant endeavour of mankind? Evil and good have existed since Adam. The need for security and a competitive spirit has been part of our nature. The capacity to love and the desire to kill coexist in humans just as the aspiration for freedom and the instinct to subjugate are ever present. Power and piety have always had their disciples. Extremists and moderates have for ever battled for ascendancy.


The ‘free movement of labour’ (the other side of the coin to the 'free movement of capital' (pardon the pun!) can sometimes be a double edged sword, as well as also being counterproductive; particularly to vital public sector services.
Take the NHS for example. Because of the austerity measures being pursued by the Coalition government, thousands upon thousands of nursing and support jobs have been culled. I use the word culled deliberately.
It is no surprise then, that winter, and the pressures upon the NHS that these cold months bring, has forced the employers to accept that it has a severe shortage of staff!
The remedy?  Poach nurses from overseas. Entice staff from other countries (EU and beyond) to plug the UK shortages. Bring staff from countries that themselves are struggling with basic health needs.

A constant malaise

The need to customise policies to suit the personal needs of the ruler and the delegation of foreign policy formulation to the military brass has not allowed the foreign office to evolve and function

Policy formulation or the creation of a roadmap for the nation is a serious and complex business requiring foresight, vision, a thorough understanding of the realities, an adherence to its principles and clarity of purpose that points to the chosen direction of the nation. Unfortunately, such a thorough exercise was never deemed necessary by Pakistan’s successive, inept rulers. Mr Jinnah’s speeches provide more than a glimpse of such policies but we lost him and nobody else bothered thereafter.

Pakistan was created to provide a homeland for Muslims in the subcontinent to ensure freedom and opportunities of all kinds including religious freedom and the healthy, unfettered development of its people. Regardless of all the hair raising interpretations and controversies created since about its aims, one thing is quite clear from all the discernible facts that the founders were not in favour of a theocratic state. They were firmly of the belief that Pakistan should be a state that provides equal opportunity and rights to all its citizens regardless of caste, creed, colour or religion without discrimination. Countless speeches by the Quaid are proof of this philosophy. The mess that we have created is the result of our weaknesses, opportunism, inability to maintain direction and failure to grasp the fundamentals of a nation state. 

The status quo has to go

The military’s predominant role in the country’s politics and decision making have been the single largest reason for the failure of constitutional government

So much was expected from our recently held elections, change was the buzzword and hope was in the air. People were prepared to forget that ground realities did not support their wishes; they hoped against hope. In the end, hope was the victim and disappointment our fate.

Since 1958, three parties have ruled Pakistan. The army for 32 years, the PPP of Z A Bhutto for five years with complete independence, the PPP of Benazir/Zardari for about 10 years and Nawaz for another six years; the last two being under an unwritten arrangement with the military whereby the military controls the defence, security and foreign policies of the country, and exercises influence on major domestic issues — a complete violation of the constitution.

How to reform a non-system

The deterioration is rapid; the new government is busy trying to control the new dimensions through the old beaten track methods and is therefore bound to fail 

Pakistan’s socio-economic and political decline along with uncontrolled violence has reached the stage where some are already using the phrase ‘failed state’ while others fear to utter it lest it comes true. Nothing much was done in the last two decades to rectify the mistakes and arrest the decline, as a matter of fact even more glaring errors were committed to compound the situation. There is almost total paralysis in the management of the state and matters are getting out of hand. The present government has done nothing in the last two months to infuse confidence. Its focus, like before, is still on motorways and development of the Punjab. We need to think of alternatives to reform Pakistan.

A special place in hell

by Bradley Burston in Haaretz

In his eleventh-hour decision against attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela, Benjamin Netanyahu proved that he is not the smug, petty, vindictive, waffling, in-your-face insulting man he seems. He's something worse. The problem is not so much that the prime minister had first informed the South African government that he would, in fact, attend the ceremony, alongside Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, French President Francois Hollande, and scores of other world dignitaries, among them Iranian President Hassan Rohani, in what is expected to be a world gathering unprecedented in scope.

Nor is the basic problem the fact that the decision was made so abruptly and with such lack of consultation, that the office of President Shimon Peres was thrown for a loop, and it was unclear if arrangements could be made to have Peres represent Israel in Netanyahu's stead. The problem is the reason Netanyahu chose to give: Money. The trip would cost too much. The problem, then, is the message Netanyahu has chosen to send: