Will Pakistan Become a Theocracy? III



Dear NYT editorial page,

Let’s talk.

I know you are really into this ____ miles from Islamabad schtick. It is a good schtick. Mainly because your dwindling readership cannot actually place Islamabad on a map. Nor do they have any sense of its physicality. Can you name a prominent landmark in Islamabad? Do you know what the terrain looks like? Precisely because it is an indeterminate space, you can project on it the Mothra Flies Towards Tokyo scenario that seems to be moving so much copy lately.
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The Silence of the Lawyers Movement

Naim Sahib in Outlook India on the plight of Sikh families under the Swat deal: Islamic ‘Adl in Orakzai. It is worth reading in full, and I wanted to highlight this pertinent call to the lawyers movement…
[glossary: ‘adl (justice), jizya (property tax levied on conquered populations), dhimmis (non-Muslims under Muslim rule), fiqh (jurisprudence), bid’ah (innovation, bad), `ushr (annual tax on Muslim) ]
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South Asia: The Field

If one was interested in plunging the murky depths of the ways in which US academia began to study “South Asia” – specifically within the Area Studies framework, one could begin with these preliminary sources:

  • W. Norman Brown. “South Asia Studies: A History,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 356 (1964: 54-62)
  • Maureen L. P. Patterson. “The South Asian P. L. 480 Library Program, 1962-1968,” Journal of Asian Studies. vol. 38, no. 4 (1969: 743-54).
  • Ford Foundation. Annual Report: 1956.
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Annual Report: 1965, 1983, 1985
  • Richard H. Davis. South Asia at Chicago: A History. (Chicago: COSAS New Series, no. 1, 1985).
  • Nicholas B. Dirks. “South Asian Studies: Futures Past.” In ed. David Szanton, The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003): 341-86.
  • Timothy Mitchell. “The Middle East in the Past and Future of Social Science.” In ed. David Szanton, The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003): 74-118.
  • Nils Gilman. Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America. (2003: Johns Hopkins University Press)
  • Bruce Cumings. “Boundary Displacement: Area Studies and International Studies During and After the Cold War,” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, vol 29 (1997)

Just letting you all know.

Iqbal Bano, 1935-2009

My first cassette, paid for, was Iqbal Bano sings Faiz which was put out by Shalimar Recording. That summer, I think it was a summer, I was obsessed with Faiz’s Dast-i Saba (1952). That dog-eared, tea-stained, copy still sits on my shelf, with pages marked and poems underlined. In that collection is the poem Yaad (Memory) which I saw being performed by Iqbal Bano on PTV. And I rushed out to purchase Bano’s music.

In the desert of solitude, o love, quiver/the shades of your voice, your lips’ mirage/In the desert of solitude, underneath the dirt of distance/blossom the flowers and roses of your presence

Iqbal Bano’s voice, especially on the cassette version, gorgeously quivers when she begins the last stanza. Is kadar pyar se, ai jan-e jahan, rakha hai/dil ke rukhsar pe, is waqt, teri yaad ne hath (With such tenderness, o love, has placed/your memory, its hand on heart’s cheek). Pyaaaar – se. I love that soft elongation, imbued with longing, that word. And going into the hopeful last two verses, she picks up the tenor. You have to hear it.
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Bats Left


Things have been dour here, lately. I was thinking we needed to talk cricket, today. And, as if by magic, dear e. sent this awesome shot of President Hussein getting schooled by Brian Lara (Mr. 400).

The IPL has started in South Africa. India’s biggest sporting event was moved due to security concerns to SA. The first few matches have already pit Shane Warne, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff against each other. I think no one won. I will try and catch some on youtube or elsewhere. The IPL Page 2 site from cricinfo is quite, um, interesting?

In happy news, let it be noted that Afghanistan will be playing international cricket! As Hamid Hassan right writes, It is the most famous day in the history of Afghanistan cricket.

In sad news, Pakistan lost the chance to host the 2011 world cup. Read Osman Samiuddin to get a sense of the loss.

Finally, as we contemplate President Hussein’s stiff elbow, wide stance and off-positioned head, we should remember that American Presidents don’t make good cricketers.

Will Pakistan Become A Theocracy? II

Read what David Kilcullen, close advisor to General Petraeus, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee back in Feb:

In Pakistan, we need to stop asking ourselves the question “Is Pakistan an enemy or an ally?” Pakistan is NOT the enemy. But we have enemies – as well friends – in Pakistan. We need to identify those friends and enemies, and empower our friends to deal with our enemies. This is a classic diplomatic strategy, and an essential enabler for it is to build a willing partner in Pakistan – something that will mean, amongst other things, that we need to help Pakistani civilian politicians gain control over their own national-security establishment, and we need to impose a much more stringent set of limitations on strikes into Pakistani territory.

Things aren’t hopeless, but they are extremely serious.

Now via Jonathan, comes this gem, U.S. experts: Pakistan on course to become Islamist state. The first cited source is Kilcullen. Via google, I found the same quote from him predicting the collapse of Pakistan within months at the SMH. Juan Cole even rebutted.

Is this quote, in the McClatchy, also Kilcullen?:

“The place is beyond redemption,” said a Pentagon adviser who asked not to be further identified so he could speak freely. “I don’t see any plausible scenario under which the present government or its most likely successor will mobilize the economic, political and security resources to push back this rising tide of violence.

“I think Pakistan is moving toward a situation where the extremists control virtually all of the countryside and the government controls only the urban centers,” he continued. “If you look out 10 years, I think the government will be overrun by Islamic militants.”

This appears to be a drastic shift of opinion. What is going on Kilcullen? This is a drumbeat (of what? war? invasion? pre-emptive drone attacks on nuclear sites?). Check our moon-crazy,Tony Blankley:

Yet Pakistan’s military seems insufficient to deal with the radical Islamists. After the Taliban took over the Swat Valley in the middle of Pakistan, seized an emerald mine to help finance their war with America and Pakistan, and established Shariah law, the Pakistani government was so weak it accepted a cease-fire with Maulana Fazlullah, a local thug and terrorist.

With our own Army too small, our NATO allies unwilling to help, and Gen. Petraeus’ senior counterinsurgency adviser worried that the Taliban and al-Qaida will be able to take over nuclear Pakistan, we are left with a policy of temporizing and crossing our fingers.

Blankley is not the type to cross fingers and wait. Some crazy spin is in the air.