Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Category

Orphaned boy, broken peace

December 7, 2008

A week of investigation has yielded evidence to suggest that the Mumbai terrorist attack which killed nearly 200 people is linked with the violent Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT,) a radical Islamic group with roots in the Pakistani soil.

The horrendous suffering of innocent people cannot be completely quantified in this recent act of terrorism. It is horrible to imagine that there are people who spend time to destroy lives rather than build them.

In the aftermath of India’s worst terrorist attack, the story of Moshe Holtzberg stuck out as the most heart-rending. The two-year old Jewish tot lost his father Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and mother Rivkha in the killings at the Chabad House during the 60-hour carnage.

If not for the decision of his quick-thinking nanny, Sandra Samuel, the innocent kid could also have been shot dead too. Safely back in Isreal with his grandparents, seeing him cry is upsetting.

Moshe’s uncertain future and those like him don’t bother the terrorists. The orphaned child wails when he remembers his dead parents whose religious mission in India came to an abrupt end.

The boy’s young life seems to reflect the state of peace in the world today. It mirrors the trauma people have to endure as as they try to survive the climate of violence which seems difficult to stop. (Photo Credits: AFP/ Lorenzo Tugnoi; AP/ Hillary Levin)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “At least 82 killed & hundreds injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India” Posted by mesiamd at 11/27/2008

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Hunger in the Philippines

November 5, 2008

Listed in decreasing order of countries with hunger problem, the Philippines (40%) ranked 5th with Cameroon (55%,) Pakistan (53%,) Nigeria (48%,) Peru (42%,) topping the list. For lack of food, 4 out of 10 households (40%) or about 35 million Filipinos face hunger. The finding is worse but consistent with Manila’s Social Weather Stations poll (SWS) showing that the average hunger for 2008 is about 16.8%.

Regardless of the surveys’ accuracy what is important is to recognize the need to solve the worsening poverty, malnutrition, and food deprivation in the country. Bulacan Bishop Jose Oliveros of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said:

Granted the survey holds true, the government should make concrete pro-poor programs to make sure every household gets enough nutritious food to feed their family” GMA TV News (11/05/08)

Oliveros blame corruption, not overpopulation as the main cause of rampant hunger. It is most severe in Metro Manila where 500,000 families suffer lack of food. He asks the government to put up programs like providing employment to the poor so that “ramdam ang gutom” reverses into “ramdam ang kaunlaran.” (Photo Credit: Jaridaking) =0=

Riding the Pakistani Orient Express

November 3, 2008


It was a good day to ride a train. After a religious pilgrimage, Pakistani Muslims of the Sunni sect did just that on their way home. Every passenger had a special spot on the jampacked train as it snaked its way, precisely right on its track. Thousands jammed Multan, Pakistan for a three-day event which concluded on Sunday, November 2, 2008.

The scene seems to be lifted from an interesting page of the Guinness World Records. It’s note-worthy that overcrowding and potential accident situations in public transport are innocuous but real in many places in the world. (Photo Credit: AP/Tanveer, K)

Iran’s Ahmadinejad & the Impotence of the United Nations

September 24, 2008

Side by side with the financial crisis rocking America, the threat of terrorism showed its ugly head when Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made a controversial speech in the United Nations (UN) in New York City today September 23, 2008, highlighting the impotence and hypocrisy of current world politics. His allusion to a pessimistic outlook of America is as though the United States is alone in its march towards a rough ride into the future.

Faced with a global economy, exploding population, dwindling resources, differing value judgments and relativist view of truth, America shares its problems with everybody. This is what is happening in the current economic crisis. The financial flu sweeping the United States is threatening to be a world pandemic of economic and political woes whose end result for the world is scary to imagine.

Wishing bad things to happen for America isn’t good to the peace and stability of its global neighbors. Just as the full-blown effects of the present US economic downturn are starting to be felt, the world waits on the edge; nobody knows how it will end. But even without this, Iran has been suffering under the current Islamic regime of Ahmadinejad. Outside the UN headquarters, he is met by protests and jeers by those who disagree with him.

The United Nations (UN) has been inutile in convincing Iran to stop its nuclear program. Effective in fighting certain world problems, UN is “forced” to give air time to Ahmadinejad whose horrific support for terrorism and promotion to destroy Israel sends goose bumps to decent people worldide. Most observers doubt Ahmadinejad’s hyperbolic rhetorics and many don’t believe his vitriol and clever pretentions. With a sluggish UN, few nations however speak up and stand against his way.

For not suspending its uranium enrichment, three rounds of UN sanctions hasn’t deterred Iran from continuing its nuclear activities. It’s this type of UN sanctions that Sadam Hussein endured until after 16 unheeded resolutions which led to the Iraq war that was supported albeit lamely by the UN.

The possibililty of nuclear war is ever more real in the current stockpiles of weapons whose oversight is increasingly becoming more difficult. Serving as a political tool and a weapon of intimidation, the acquisition of nuclear arms by unstable countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea is a scary step towards the planet’s destruction. It encourages terrorists and extremists to work harder to destabilize the world and make the nuclear cloud closer to reality.

With rogue nations sitting side by side in UN in “cooperation” with those committed to make the world a peaceful place, the challenge of diplomacy is ever more complex and daunting. The world body cannot even agree on who are the terrorists. Having reckless leaders like Ahmadinejad who denies the holocaust, lacks accountability, threatens Israel, and wages proxy wars (Hezbollah and Iraq) could be the signs of what lies in the future. It’s at this late hour that world is learning. Sooner or later, it must wake up and confront the reality at hand. Photo Credits: Ben Heine; Nickolette22; MihaiRomanciuc)=0=

New Pakistani president’s war against terror & the need to secure nuclear weapons

September 7, 2008


Pakistan enters a new phase in governance with the election of Pres. Asif Ali Zadari, 53 year old widower of slain leader Benazir Bhutto who died on December 27, 2007. His landslide win on September 6, 2008 is immediately greeted by a huge suicide explosion near Peshawar, a troubled northwest part of the country killing at least 35 and wounding many more. Militants allied with the Taliban claimed responsibility for blowing up a pick-up truck that counted a teacher, a guard and seven police officers among the dead. AP (09/07/08, Khan, R.)

Called Mr. Ten Percent for alleged corruption during the Bhutto administration, Zadari who is considered as a pro-Western liberal is expected to follow Pervez Musharraf’s anti-terrorist efforts. Hard on insurgency in this violence-prone Moslem nation, Zadari’s position is in line with the American campaign against Islamic terrorism in neighboring Afghanistan. But he faces pressure to balance the local crack-down down on militants and his support for United States which recently led a controversial assault against rebels in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

I’ve been impressed by some of the things he has said about the challenges that Pakistan faces, about the centrality of fighting terrorism, about the fact that the terrorism fight is Pakistan’s fight and also his very strong words of friendship and alliance with the United States,” Condolezza Rice said. AP (09/07/09,Ahmad, M.)

Washington is closely concerned with the future of Pakistan with its arsenal of nuclear weapons. With the power to scrap the parliament and appoint army officers, Zadari heads the civilian-military committee which oversees Pakistan’s nuclear arms. It remains to be seen how much influence Zadari has over the powerful military and the citizenry. Photo Credits: S@jj@ad; Maxi_Leo)=0=

Corrosive Love, Disfiguring Revenge

August 18, 2008

In some cultures, like in Pakistan, some boys whose proposals for marriage are rejected take revenge by throwing acid to their object of love. In some cases, the reason for the acid throwing is simple as a parent who doesn’t want a girl-child. It’s mind-bending to realize that this tragic incidents still occur in the 21st century.

The resultant irreversible chemical burn and its hypopigmented scars are as disfiguring as one sees the face of Najaf Sultana, 16, who went through 15 plastic surgeries since she was 5 years old to lessen cicatrization. It is with the help of a humanitarian group called Depilex Smileagain Foundation in Lahore. The group lists 240 girls like Najaf who are provided rehabilitative emotional and physical assistance to overcome such inhumane treatment of women. (PCredit:AP/Morenatti,E)=0=