Humayun Gauhar

  • As expected, my last article, China and India, evinced a lot of response from India, most of it indignant, laced with misplaced patriotism and a total misunderstanding of what was said. One response was sensible, so there is hope yet. The problem is that when such an article is written by a ...

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  • China's think tanks are different. Unlike US think tanks that are ostensibly independent of government, and a few really are, in China they are tied to the State Council or the Communist Party of China, which itself is the country's leading think tank in terms of effectiveness. They are different ...

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  • Two weeks out of action and I return to Pakistan to find it as topsy-turvy as ever. It's been topsy-turvy for some time actually, except that the roller coaster of life makes one somewhat immune. When uncertainty and instability persist for long they become the norm. But by now the mirage has ...

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  • There is much wisdom in the saying: "Water finds its level." Sooner or later reality asserts itself no matter how much you may have distanced yourself from it or how much of an act you have put on pretending to be something that you are not, be you an individual, institution or country. Sure every ...

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  • Patriotism, dignity, self-esteem are all vital and healthy ingredients necessary for making a well-rounded, and balanced individual. Shiv Shanker Memon used to behave like a mouse when he was India's high commissioner to Pakistan. But now as India's foreign secretary did you hear him try and roar ...

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  • The octogenarian Lee Iacocca, father of the fabled Ford Mustang and the man who gave re-birth to Chrysler that recently died, laments in his latest book: Where have all the leaders gone? The septuagenarian Wajahat Latif, ex-policeman extraordinaire-turned columnist, asked the same question last ...

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  • What I'm saying has more to do with time and its increasing paucity and quicker ways to absorb information. It's perfectly true: there's so much to write and such little time - and space. However, this fits in neatly with readers whose time is also shrinking. The younger lot doesn't buy newspapers ...

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  • Over the past few weeks, I have painted myself into a corner by promising to write on many things but getting left behind as new issues and events demanding immediate attention kept cropping up. I promised to write on Task Force 121 and continue with the budget. I definitely remember promising to ...

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  • I feel my readers expect me to write about Pakistan winning the Twenty20 World Cup at Lord's last Sunday. There's no denying it, I feel like writing about it too. It's good to get away from the madding crises around us and talk of something nice for a change, especially when there is a humorous ...

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  • Said Iqbal the inimitable, the greatest of them all, who could encapsulate the entire spirit of egalitarianism or mussawat and socialism in one verse - Jis khait say dehkan ko mayasar nahin rozi/Uss khait kay har khosha-e-gandham ko jalla dau - "burn down ever bushel of corn from the field that ...

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  • For the past two weeks we have been searching for "Who Killed Benazir Bhutto" but haven't found anyone - yet, if we ever will. All we have are theories of endless wiseacres. Along the way we have run into many interesting things, like JSOC or Joint Services Operations Command that, according to ...

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  • I ended last Sunday's article, Who killed Benazir? with the promise that, "Perhaps I'll continue with this next week because there's so much to tell, unless something happens - which is well within the realm of possibility - that demands more attention." Well something did happen, to wit President ...

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  • Trying to identify assassins of the great is a zero sum game. Theories sprout up instantaneously, depending on where the theorists are coming from politically. The real assassins are hardly ever definitely identified. Surprising, then, that an experienced journalist like Seymour Hersh slipped into ...

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  • Ling Chi or Leng T'che was a form of slow execution used in China from 900 AD till it was abolished in 1905. Parts of the human body were systematically removed with a knife over a long period of time. It has been variously translated as 'slow process', 'the lingering death' or 'death by a thousand ...

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  • We have come to such a sorry pass that today we are confronted only with bad choices. Because humans are the only animals that God has given free will to, much of life is about making choices. Those who make the best choices more often than not are successful. But what to do when confronted with ...

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  • Though Obama made a platitude-ridden statement after his meetings with Zardari and Karzai, certain things still stand out clearly. We are now following America's script from A to Z, if you pardon the pun. There is supposedly a new 'joint' strategy in place. Fine, but one still has two concerns. ...

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  • While divorce is the absolute and undisputed Islamic right of a woman, last month in Ghotki, Sindh, which is not under Taliban control, a jirga ordered that the ears, lips and nose of a woman and her parents to be cut off for demanding divorce on grounds of torture by her husband. Such punishment ...

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  • We have to understand that what we call 'the Taliban' in the plural and the West in the singular is a polyglot, not a monolith. There are Afghan Taliban. Now we have many Pakistani groups that call themselves Taliban, prominent amongst them being the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) headed by ...

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  • I returned from China after two weeks and was alarmed to find how dramatically Pakistan's situation had changed - for the better if you are a Taliban supporter, for the worse if you are not. "Don't come today," I was told. "Islamabad is on high alert - red-hot alert." Days earlier a bomb had killed ...

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  • My dear Muhammad Ali: They love funny names and acronyms, dont they? Americas new 'AfPak strategy if one can call it a strategy on Pakistan and Afghanistan seems confused and incomplete and not much different from the Old Bush strategy: lower head, extend horns CHARGE However, one has been able ...

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  • My dear Muhammad Ali: I told you that it's a funny world getting funnier. Many American analysts are saying that America's real economic collapse could come by the end of this year. "It will come to be known as 'The Crash of 09', they say. Others, especially a Russian political analyst, are ...

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  • My dear Muhammad Ali: I intend to begin all future articles, regardless of subject, by pointing out at least one injustice that needs the attention of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, for we have been assured that our problems would start getting sorted out with his restoration. This week I intended ...

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  • My dear Muhammad Ali: I could begin with "First the bad news" and end with "Now the good news." But in affairs of state issues are rarely absolutely bad or absolutely good, absolutely right or wrong. The usual shades of grey aside, every issue or contention is part good and part bad, part right and ...

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  • My heart is heavy tonight. Not because of the latest political mess in Pakistan at the hands of a hypocritical, self-serving power elite but because another very dear friend and brother is leaving us. Ambassador extraordinaire Ali Asseri of Saudi Arabia for the last eight years is going to Beirut. ...

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  • My dear Muhammad Ali: Listen to this. "Twelve terrorists riding motorcycles went from Delhi to Amritsar. There they hijacked a bus and proceeded towards the India-Pakistan border near Wahga. About 10 km from Wahga they abandoned the bus and boarded some bicycles. Near the border a cache of arms ...

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  • My dear Muhammad Ali: It bears saying again: when you don't know whether to laugh or to cry, its best to laugh. But when laughter is caused by sheer helplessness, one laughs and cries at the same time. This is one such situation. When anti-democratic politicians masquerading as democrats haven't ...

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  • My dear Muhammad Ali: You are seeing the world change before your eyes. Savour every moment of it. Listen to people, read newspapers, hear opinions, suffer analyses, but what's much more important is to keep your mind open - and your eyes and ears too. Don't let others do the thinking for you by ...

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  • My dear Muhammad Ali: Once again our erratic people are clamouring for the army to "save the country." Once again they have reverted to type - expected and predicted - right on the clock, before the dust of elections has not even begun to settle, the excited echoes of the oath taking of our new 5 ...

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  • My dear Muhammad Ali: 'Fitna' (which spreads 'Fasad') is one of the gravest of sins because it spreads disharmony, discord and disorder and disunites the Muslims. The idea is to strive for the unity of the Muslim Nation. Disunity weakens and opens the floodgates to adventurers, conquerors, and ...

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  • My dear Muhammad Ali: This is the third and last part of the essay entitled The Future of the Muslims that your grandfather, Mr Altaf Gauhar, wrote 36 years ago when he was in prison for his editorials. "The consciousness of the existence of life after death and the reality of the Day of Judgement, ...

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