Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’
Posted December 27, 2007on:
The Bhutto Assassination has already begun to have severe impacts on the world. While people are crying and mourning, a very close friend, disheartened and tied up with family problems says that his city is dead, the rest of the country is on fire.
Individuals all over the world, particularly the states are the aftershocks of the massive quake that is shaking the country. Texas, a state with a major population being Desi’s have been reporting on the unrest and tension in cities such as Sugarland (Read the Houston Chronicle’s post with Barkat Charania Here).
Imagine this: with so much tension, one wrong move or one wrong word on the part of any prominent leader or organization may spark riots. There are supporters of each political party in the United States as there as in Pakistan, and there may well be fights emerging between them- this across the seas, tens of thousands of miles from where the tragedy occured. If this happens in every major country, not only will there be stress in Pakistan, but in other countries leading to stress on Pakistan. This may call for the United States to topple the military and the current care taker government for its interests in order to re-stabilize the scenario in both the local and international communities.
Earlier the same day, a few members of Nawaz Sharif’s party were shot and killed by an opposition party. We set light to our own busses and cars. Pakistani brothers and sisters, we must realize that this does nothing but cause more anger and we are the ones who with our own hands add to the loss.
The future prospects of Pakistan? The General Elections? This is how it might carry on: No other emergency or martial law is imposed. A new political candidate is selected for PPP and will have an equal chance at winning the elections as did Bhutto, despite having no prominence. The popularity of the party has already been boosted even further by what has ensued and now, PPP will not think in terms of a candidate winning the elections, rather, the political party, an ideology, a movement winning the election. The saviors?
Nawaz Sharif has an increased chance of winning the election now, however. With a major competing candidate out of the way, the PPP being dispersed, it remains to be seen if they can pull back together. In the meanwhile, Nawaz has an open gateway to win a major amount of votes.
The Musharraf regime has and will constantly come under critical fire from the country and foreign allies, and although Musharraf will be blamed in particular, each member of the party is at risk of revengeful crimes.
For the record, it is not clear as to whether this is Al Qaeda or another faction that was responsible for this event. Benazir was a secular leader and so had attracted hatred from extremists.
A word about the way the assassination was committed. There was enough security for guns to have not been allowed in the procession. However, the security may not have been too tight in terms of being able to detect explosives (this is after all, a suicide bombing). Since Benazir’s vehicle was surrounded by individuals, the explosion may have been intended to disperse the crowd, leaving Benazir an open target for any sharp shooters. Benazir’s political style may have also been studied by the assassins, since the vehicle glass was bullet proof. However, usually, Bhutto pulls down the window to wave at the crowd and so, it is plausible that the assassins may have played on Bhutto’s predictable method. The assassination was also committed at the same location as the late Liaquat Ali was killed. This cannot be a coincidence.
It is official. Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistani People’s Party has been assassinated in Pakistan in a rally. Bhutto died of a gunshot wound to the neck, after which a suicide bomber blew himself up – this according to CNN. There is perhaps a lot of speculation, mourning and anger looming in the air. Everything seems to be chaotic, and the recent socio-political situation of Pakistan is reminiscent of a phrase, “order out of chaos.” When I wrote the articles, As the Fog Clears Parts 1 and 2, on Chowrangi, I never considered this a possibility.
It is important at this point to focus, not on what has happened, but what will ensue in what I believe will be a series of events leading either to a revolution or, well, nothing. People will either eventually forget about it, or instead of just demanding justice, will take it into their own hands.
A major portion of the Pakistani population and ex-pats will say that this is the Musharraf government at work – Satan at his best. But please, countrymen, let us not over-attribute, and remember that Bhutto had a lot of enemies. This assassination may well be an attempt to defame the Musharraf government. All the same, it is not even rational (at this point) to rule out that this was not an assassination attempt by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML, Musharraf’s Party).
It may well be Nawaz Sharif to secure his throne, since he is the obvious rebounder. Although Sharif claims to now boycott the election, he has done so before, only to compete in the January 2008 elections.
It may well be Mr. Zardari, who may come back to Pakistan with renewed vigor and lead his party to salvation. After all, he does have a disturbing track record.
It may well be the local or foreign intelligence agencies, trying all the more to destabilize Pakistan through internal stress.
It may very well be the Taliban, or other local extremists.
What I am trying to say here is not that one of these individuals or organizations have committed a heinous crime, a murder, deciding the fate of not just a country, but of human beings; rather what I am trying to say is that there are an equal number of possibilities as to what happened and why and that we must reserve judgement. What happens in a country such as Pakistan, which is so famous in the international media, has global repercussions. We must contain ourselves before we give our state up for grabs to a number of ill-intending entities. Let us not be another Afghanistan, another Palestine, another Iraq, or perhaps Iran.
Stay in your local communities. Keep a vigilant eye out for any suspected activities, and report to the police on their hotline numbers (Madadgar 15 in Karachi) of even the remotest suspected threat. Take care of chores during those times of day when there are not a lot of people gathered together. A suicide bomber is going to target a large crowd, not a dispersed one. Look for people wearing thick heavy clothing (for they may well be c4 strapped to the chest), some people with their hands constantly in their pockets, or those people you have not seen before.
Avoid keeping your cars outside of a safe and secure area, for this may allow enemies to use them in their illegal activities. Avoid taking routes which are deserted for that matter, for you may be stopped by dacoits or kidnappers. Stay out of home for as little as possible. Arrive from work early. Take extra security measures in securing your home and family. Be prepared for any emergencies (include a first aid kit, clean water, toiletries and important legal documents).
My brothers and sisters, this is a dark and gloomy day for all of us. Stay strong, Pakistan.
If anyone would like to add anything else, please do so.
As the Twelve Steppers say, we must acknowledge our powerlessness. We cannot knowledgeably make even a fraction of the appropriate choices available. Say it out loud. Today I will make several wrong choices. Now, whether you’ve selected an inferior vacuum cleaner, bought the large soda when the jumbo was a better deal, or accidentally prayed to the wrong god – forgive yourself. If we took some joy in being bad choosers, or at least placed less value on being stellar consumers of unimportant things, we would be training ourselves to accept a few extra drops of imperfection in our lives. Somehow, that would seem more like progress than having the choice between polyproylene arch brace contours and a solar-powered argyle.
Steven Waldman, my friends.
Over the past four months I’ve been studying advertising and its effects and roots in our North American society. Over the course, I have read from authors possibly down a couple centuries about the consumer culture. Many authors have talked about the benefits of advertising, such as giving us the ability to make informed decisions; while on the other hand, many authors claim this as a myth, stating that with puffery and imagery, we are dumbed down even more. I believe that since advertising impacts people at individual levels making each consumer a unique (and important) addition to the consumer culture, the judgement as to whether ads really dumb down or help make decisions about buying the correct product lies in the hands of these unique members of this society. Needless to say, history shows how the FDA and similar organizations give way to the big fishes in corporate America, knowingly allowing them to exploit the loopholes in policies, leaving major repercussions to be felt in the American society.
Another imporant observation is the bleeding of consumer culture, a very, purely American thing – well, until recently – into third world countries such as Pakistan. By the way, it should be important to add here that advertising and the culture has already risen above the boundaries of ethnic demographics (although targeted advertising is a major, effective practice). I call this supervening, superceeding repercussions. All over we are now starting to see private fashion labels, advertising following the patterns of the American style (Create a problem or need, provide a solution), with images and extravagant claims which float viewers up to cloud number nine and therefore, need to have certain products or service. The important of family life is being targeted in advertisements by the services sector (financial stability, credit cards, cars and houses, loans, etc.), individuality by certain products which appeal to the self (such as an imported, branded colognes), the sense of belonging by minimal advertising (niche coffee bars and cafes), and so on. Already, this is reminiscent of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs.
My question to you – and think about this – is where do we draw the line between wants and needs? Is there a difference between wants and desires?
Who’s afraid of citizen journalists? – Chapter from “Communicating Disasters: An Asia Pacific Resource Book” « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)
Posted December 21, 2007on:
This is perhaps one of the most interesting pieces of blog entries I have read in a while, and I would like to congratulate the author(s). I myself am looking forward to reading this book
The author of the blog (who is also published in the book) draws a small sample (although very important and insightful) saying,
“Disasters are about resilience – how we pick ourselves up after a human tragedy and slowly return to normalcy. ICTs help us understand how we can help communities spring back to life after a disaster. They humanise a tragedy, the scale of which may be too large to otherwise comprehend. Citizen journalists, flawed as they may be as individuals, are nevertheless tremendously powerful as a group. They have the potential to capture, over the long term, a multiplicity of rich and insightful perspectives on disasters not often covered by the traditional media.”
This is all true when we humanize disasters. Disaster management and preparedness is more than an entity that exists reified of the social structure. What I don’t understand, however – and this gets a little philosophical, is that no tragedy has a scale which may be too large to comprehend. No tragedy, is larger than humanity to understand. What then, does the author mean when he states that the scale may be too large? That it is beyond humans? That it exists separately of humans? What I’m trying to say (and I don’t know if this comes out clearly) is that no tragedy is larger than humans, so what scale is the author talking about? What exists beyond rational beings? What is the underlying meaning?
Again, I do not know if I come out clear, but I hope the author understands and explains.
The author also briefly touches on an important issue (although in passing) in his blog entry about the “deplorable” conditions of media independence in countries like Sri Lanka. This may or may not be related to the media conditions in Pakistan versus media independence in the west. A word of caution to anyone who debates on the topic of media independence: take into account the social, historial and political context in which the media were born and given independence (if that) to be able to better compare and contrast between different countries. It is not sufficient to say that media in the West is free whereas in the East, particularly Pakistan it is under stringent, unfair control. The media in the west, particularly in the United States predates WWII and has seen a long history of changes and political scenarios before it has come to what it is now: a place where biases and hatred for others (whether fellow citizens or other countries) is disguised under the idea of freedom of speech.
Yes, it rhymes. But it isn’t something that should surprise anyone of us, passionate, dictator-hating, democracy-loving citizens of Pakistan. When the President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf (also known as Mushy Unles to his fans) declared emergency followed by announcement of national elections, all the major political party leaders such as Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif spoke aloud to the national public to boycott the elections, saying they will be rigged. Not surprisingly, Benazir Bhutto, party leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has already filed her nomination papers in Larkana, Sindh and Nawaz Sharif, party leader of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) is soon to follow.
The WeCite blog says, “While Nawaz Sharif is expected to file for his nominations later today, Dawn has reported that Pakistani former prime minister and main opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has already filed for her nominations…Nawaz Sharif, who has been the most recent running mill with regards to boycotting the elections is said to file his papers today in Lahore.”
Do we really, really vest our trust and the future of a nation who blatantly, proudly counter their own threats without any explanation? Better yet, are we really true Pakistanis who seek justice, truth and democracy, yet turn a blind eye to such events?
What are your thoughts?