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IT’S NOT THE TALIBAN, ITS THE FEUDALS STUPID; To Defeat The Taliban, Pakistani Feudals Must Die

 

Feudalism in Pakistan

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The Feudalism in Pakistan (Urdu: زمینداری نظام zamīndāri nizam) has a stranglehold on the economy and politics of the nation. The feudal landlords have created states within a state where they rule their fiefs with impunity. The landlord’s influence spans over the police, bureaucracy and judiciary. The majority of the politicians in Pakistan are themselves feudal landlords.

The Bhuttos’ is one of the richest families of the subcontinent, The Bhuttos own around 40,000 acres (161874000 m² or 161.874 km²) of land in Sindh and assets worth billions of dollars.

Throughout history, feudalism has appeared in different forms. The feudal prototype in Pakistan consists of landlords with large joint families possessing hundreds or even thousands of acres of land. They seldom make any direct contribution to agricultural production. Instead, all work is done by peasants or tenants who live at subsistence level.

The landlord, by virtue of his ownership and control of such vast amounts of land and human resources, is powerful enough to influence the distribution of water, fertilisers, tractor permits and agricultural credit and, consequently exercises considerable influence over the revenue, police and judicial administration of the area. The landlord is, thus, lord and master. Such absolute power can easily corrupt, and it is no wonder that the feudal system there is humanly degrading.

The system, which some critics say is parasitical at its very root, induces a state of mind which may be called the feudal mentality. This can be defined as an attitude of selfishness and arrogance on the part of the landlords. It is all attitude nurtured by excessive wealth and power, while honesty, justice, love of learning and respect for the law have all but disappeared. Having such a mentality, when members of feudal families obtain responsible positions in civil service, business, industry and politics, their influence is multiplied in all directions. Indeed the worsening moral, social, economic and political crisis facing this country can be attributed mainly to the powerful feudal influences operating there.

Although the system has weakened over the years through increased industrialization, urbanization and land reforms such as those introduced by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, oligarchs still hold much power in the politics of Pakistan due to their financial backing, rural influence and family led politics which involves whole families to be in politics at any one time and cross marriages between large feudal families to create greater influence. Many children of feudal families are also argued to take up bureaucratic roles to support family agendas.

To begin with, the Pakistan Muslim League, the party laying Pakistan’s foundation 53 years ago, was almost wholly dominated by feudal lords such as the Zamindars, Jagirdars, Nawabs, Nawabzadas,Mansabdars, Arbabs, Makhdooms, and Sardars, the sole exception being the Jinnahs (merchants and lawyers) and the Sharifs(industrialists). Pakistan’s major political parties are feudal-oriented, and more than two-thirds of the National Assembly (lower house of the legislature) is composed of this class. Besides, most of the key executive posts in the provinces are held by them.

Through the 1950s and the 1960s the feudal families retained control over national affairs through the bureaucracy and the armed forces. Later, in 1972, they assumed direct power and retained it until the military regained power recently. Thus, any political observer can see that this oligarchy, albeit led by and composed of different men at different times, has been in power since Pakistan’s inception.

Since the Obama administration currently appears reluctant to ditch George W. Bush’s wrongheaded policy in Afghanistan, Pakistan should distance itself from the U.S., which may be planning a very long stay in Afghanistan. But Pakistan must also put its own house in order.

Second, Pakistan has to uplift its underprivileged areas, which are the main breeding grounds for the militancy. Unemployment, poverty, lack of quality schools, massive corruption, a low standard of living, and the millennia of debilitating feudalism have accelerated the Talibanization of the country. One reason why so many people have joined various Taliban groups in the Swat Valley — an area that is home to 1.3 million people with fertile land, orchards, vast plots of timber, and lucrative emerald mines — is that the Taliban have successfully exploited the profound differences between wealthy landlords and their landless tenants. The Taliban seized power from about 50 big landlords who ruled the Swat Valley and then organized the long-suffering peasants into armed bands. The entire landowning clique fled the Valley, and the Taliban offered the economic spoils to the landless peasants of Swat Valley.

Now is the time to end the feudal landlords’ domination of Pakistan, which has put workers and peasants in a subservient position and kept the middle class out of the highest circles of power.

Pakistan military has decided to deal with the Taliban Frankenstein.

The world was wondering what Pakistan was doing, until it launched a full-scale military offensive last week to halt the Pakistani Taliban, which had taken control of districts only 100 kilometers from the capital.

Pakistanis were glued to their TVs, shocked to see troops of the group known as the neo-Taliban advance unhindered toward Islamabad, set on recreating the Stone Age state their namesakes had established in Afghanistan in the 1990s.

But is it really so? Well, in some ways it is. Over the years, Pakistan has let the situation fester, allowing extremist and terrorist groups to sprout like mushrooms. The country’s chronic socioeconomic problems have left the downtrodden masses three choices: flee the country for greener pastures in foreign countries, become criminals at home, or join militant organizations that promise a better life, at least in the hereafter. When people don’t have the opportunity to live with honor, many choose to at least die with honor.

However, Pakistan’s military offensive against the Taliban will only solve the problem temporarily.

First, Pakistan has to free itself from the fatal U.S. embrace that has damaged the country greatly. For instance, the U.S. has given Pakistan $11 billion in assistance since September 2001, but the U.S. “war on terror” has cost Pakistan $35 billion, according to Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf’s advisor on finance, Shaukat Tareen.

Moreover, Pakistan’s unholy alliance with the U.S. has radicalized its citizens and exacerbated the terrorism and militancy problems in the country once known for its tolerant peace-loving society.

Feudalism and the Taliban are Pakistan’s evil twins.

Pakistan has to finally eradicate feudalism to end extremism and enter the modern world.

Pakistan must introduce land reforms, build a more vibrant middle class, reduce poverty, improve the education system, build roads, implement infrastructure projects, and establish industry in order to give people more opportunities for a better life. Otherwise, feudalism and intelligence agencies will only create more Frankenstein monsters in the future, long after the Taliban forces are gone.

The writer is a Tehran Times journalist based in Tehran.He can be reached at gj.tehran@gmail.com.

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Tearful President Obama calls for action after school shooting: Pakistani Americans have a heavy heart, children belong to us all!

At least 27 children and adults killed in US school shooting

 
 

 

 

NEWTOWN: At least 27 people, including 18 children, were killed on Friday when at least one shooter opened fire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, CBS News reported, citing unnamed officials.

If confirmed, it would be one of the worst mass shootings in US history. It comes after a series of shooting rampages in the United States this year that have killed multiple victims.

The principal and school psychologist were among the dead, CNN said.

The shooter, an adult, was dead and two handguns were recovered from the scene, NBC News reported without citing a source.

There were unconfirmed reports of a second shooter after witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots, CBS reported.

Sandy Hook Elementary School teaches children from kindergarten through fourth grade – roughly ages 5 to 10.

“It was horrendous,” said parent Brenda Lebinski, who rushed to the school where her daughter is in the third grade.

“Everyone was in hysterics – parents, students. There were kids coming out of the school bloodied. I don’t know if they were shot, but they were bloodied.”

Television images showed police and ambulances at the scene, and parents rushing toward the school. Parents were seen reuniting with their children and taking them home.

“This is going to be bad,” a state official told Reuters, requesting anonymity because the scope of the tragedy remained uncertain. All Newtown schools were placed in lockdown after the shooting, the Newtown Public School District said.

Lebinski said a mother who was at the school during the shooting told her a “masked man” entered the principal’s office and may have shot the principal. Lebinski, who is friends with the mother who was at the school, said the principal was “severely injured.”

Lebinski’s daughter’s teacher “immediately locked the door to the classroom and put all the kids in the corner of the room.”

Danbury Hospital, about 11 miles (18 km) west of the school, had received three patients from the scene, a hospital spokeswoman told NBC Connecticut. The mayor of Danbury, Mark Boughton, told MSNBC: “They are very serious injuries.”

A girl interviewed by NBC Connecticut described hearing seven loud “booms” as she was in gym class. Other children began crying and teachers moved the students to a nearby office, she said.

“A police officer came in and told us to run outside and so we did,” the unidentified girl said on camera.

One child was carried from Sandy Hook Elementary School by a police officer, and the child appeared to have been wounded, the town’s weekly newspaper, the Newtown Bee, said on its website.

Connecticut State Police said its officers were at the scene with local police but provided no additional details. The emergency call to police occurred at 9:41 a.m., state police said.

An individual answering the phone at the Newtown Police Department declined to comment.

Newtown, with a population about 27,000, is in northern Fairfield County, about 45 miles (70 km) southwest of Hartford and 80 miles (130 km) northeast of New York City.

Sandy Hook is one of four elementary schools in the district.

The United States has experienced a number of mass shooting rampages this year, most recently in Oregon, where a gunman opened fire at a shopping mall on Tuesday, killing two people and then himself.

The deadliest attack came in July at a midnight screening of a Batman film in Colorado that killed 12 people and wounded 58.

 

 

 

 

Tearful President Obama calls for “meaningful action” after school shooting

 
Video

3:38pm EST

 
 
U.S. President Barack Obama wipes a tear as he speaks about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, during a press briefing at the White House in Washington December 14, 2012. REUTERS-Larry Downing
U.S. President Barack Obama wipes a tear as he speaks about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, during a press briefing at the White House in Washington December 14, 2012. REUTERS-Yuri Gripas
 
 
 
 
Family members embrace near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire on school children and staff in Newtown, Connecticut December 14, 2012. REUTERS-Adrees Latif
 

 

WASHINGTON | Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:09pm EST

(Reuters) – Choking up and wiping away tears, President Barack Obama said on Friday that “our hearts are broken” for the victims of a deadly shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school and called for “meaningful action” to curb gun violence.

“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” Obama said during a somber televised appearance in the White House briefing room just hours after one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

Pausing to collect himself as he expressed “overwhelming grief” as a parent, Obama deplored the “heinous” attack by a heavily armed gunman who killed at least 27 people, including 20 children and himself, at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Obama, who has responded to previous shooting massacres by citing the need for a national conversation about gun violence, again stopped short of calling for tougher gun-control laws, considered politically risky in a country known for its flourishing gun culture.

But, little more than a month after his decisive re-election to a second term, he suggested that in the aftermath of Friday’s tragedy he might be open to considering a less cautious approach.

“As a country, we have been through this too many times,” Obama said, ticking off a list of recent shootings.

“And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” he said, in an apparent reference to the influence of the National Rifle Association, a powerful pro-gun lobby, in Congress.

Obama avoided making direct calls for gun control during his bitterly fought campaign for a second term, which he secured in the November 6 election.

But New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who co-chairs a coalition of mayors on gun-control policy, urged the Democratic president to tackle the issue despite likely opposition from Republicans who control the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today,” Bloomberg said in a statement

Outside the White House gates, about 200 people rallied Friday evening in favor of gun restrictions. “No more lives shattered by gun violence,” read one placard.

PA– — USE IN PARTISAN BICKERING

Meantime, partisan bickering in Washington, divided as much as ever before by a battle over a looming “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts, was put on hold on Friday amid mourning for the dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Obama ordered flags at federal buildings to be lowered to half-mast and he canceled an official trip to Maine scheduled for Wednesday. There was no immediate word from the White House on when the president might visit Connecticut to console grieving families.

“Our hearts are broken today, for the parents, and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of the adults who were lost,” Obama said, his voice cracking with emotion.

“Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain,” he said.

Obama, who has two young daughters, looked grim when he entered the briefing room, and he paused and blinked hard after mentioning the ages of the dead children – from 5 to 10 years old.

“I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do,” he said.

Obama raised a finger and dabbed at the corner of his eye on several occasions. While speaking, he set his jaw several times. At the end of his statement, there was a tear visible below his left eye and that side of his face was slightly wet.

Obama has issued public statements before in the aftermath of shooting massacres.

Following the killing of six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in early August, he said such incidents should prompt soul-searching by all Americans.

But when asked then whether he would push for further gun-control measures in the wake of the shootings, Obama said only that he wanted to bring together leaders at all levels of American society to examine ways to curb gun violence.

The president has said he supports the reinstatement of a ban on assault weapons sales, but he did little in his first term to advance it.

Asked about gun control on Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that the immediate aftermath of the Connecticut shooting was not the right time for policy debates.

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Editing by Peter Cooney, David Brunnstrom and Paul Simao)

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LET’S SHARE A LAUGH : “Artificial Insemination – or Wilbur Smith and the Rhino.

“Artificial Insemination – or Wilbur Smith and the Rhino.

A factual account by Wilbur Smith.

 

The plight of the  Black Rhinoceros is, of course, due mostly to the value of its  horn and the ferocious poaching that this engenders. However, a contributory factor to the declining rhino population is the  animal’s disorganized mating habits. It seems that the female  rhino only becomes receptive to the male’s attentions every three years or so, while the male only becomes interested in her at the  same intervals. A condition known quite appropriately as “Must”.

 

The problem is one of synchronization, for their amorous inclinations do not always coincide.

 

In the early  Sixties, I was invited, along with a host of journalists  and other luminaries, to be present at an attempt by the  Rhodesian Game and Tsetse Department to solve this problem of  poor timing. The idea was to capture a male rhino and induce him  to deliver up that which could be stored until that day in the distant future when his mate’s fancy turned lightly to thoughts of love. We departed from the Zambezi Valley in an  impressive convoy of trucks and Land Rovers, counting in our midst none other than the Director of the game department in  person, together with his minions, a veterinary surgeon, an  electrician and sundry other technicians, all deemed necessary to make the harvest.

 

The local game scouts had been sent out to scout the bush for the largest, most virile rhino they could  find. They had done their job to perfection and led us to a beast at least the size of a small granite hill with a horn on his  nose considerably longer than my arm. The trick was to get this  monster into a robust mobile pen, which had been constructed to  accommodate him.

 

With the Director of the Game Department  shouting frantic orders from the safety of the largest truck, the  pursuit was on. The tumult and the shouting were apocalyptic.  Clouds of dust flew in all directions, trees, and vegetation were destroyed, game scouts scattered like chaff, but finally the Rhino had about a litre of narcotics shot into his rump and his mood became dreamy and benign. With forty black game guards heaving and shoving, and the Director still shouting orders from the truck, the rhino was wedged into his cage, and stood there with a happy grin on his face.

 

At this stage, the Director  deemed it safe to emerge from the cab of his truck and he came amongst us resplendent in starched and immaculately ironed bush  jacket with a colourful silk scarf at this throat. With an  imperial gesture, he ordered the portable electric generator to be brought forward and positioned behind the captured animal.  This was a machine, which was capable of lighting up a small  city, and it was equipped with two wheels that made it resemble a roman chariot.

 

The Director climbed up on the generator to  better address us. We gathered around attentively while he explained what was to happen next. It seemed that the only way to  get what we had come for was to introduce an electrode into the  rhino’s rear end, and to deliver a mild electric shock, no more  than a few volts, which would be enough to pull his trigger for him.

 

The Director gave another order and the veterinary surgeon greased something that looked like an acoustic torpedo  and which was attached to the generator with sturdy insulated wires. He then went up behind the somnolent beast and thrust it up him to a full arms length, at which the Rhino opened his eyes very wide indeed.

 

The veterinary and his two black assistants now moved into position with a large bucket and  assumed expectant expressions. We, the audience, crowded closer so as not to miss a single detail of the drama. The Director still mounted on the generator trailer, nodded to the electrician who threw the switch……and chaos reigned. In the subsequent  departmental enquiry the blame was placed squarely on the  shoulders of the electrician. It seems that in the heat of the moment his wits had deserted him and instead of connecting up his apparatus to deliver a gentle 5 volts, he had crossed his wires and the Rhino received a full 500 volts up his rear end.

 

His reaction was spectacular. Four tons of rhinoceros shot six feet straight up in the air. The cage, made of great timber  baulks, exploded into its separate pieces and the rhinoceros now very much awake, took off at a gallop.

 

We, the audience, were no less spritely. We took to the trees with alacrity. This was the only occasion on which I have ever been passed by two journalists half way up a Mopane tree.

 

From the top branches we beheld an amazing sight, for the chariot was still connected to the rhinoceros per rectum, and the director of  the game department was still mounted upon it, very much like Ben Hur, the charioteer.

 

As they disappeared from view, the rhinoceros was snorting and blowing like a steam locomotive and the Director was clinging to the front rail of his chariot and  howling like the north wind, which only encouraged the beast to greater speed.

 

The story has a happy ending for the following day after the director had returned hurriedly to his office in Salisbury, another male Rhinoceros was captured and caged and this time the electrician got his wiring right.

 

I  can still see the Rhinoceros’s expression of surprised gratification  as the switch was thrown. You could almost hear him think to himself. “Oh Boy! I didn’t think this was going to happen to me for years”.

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Why Wacky Is Good In Defence of Mad Scientists

Why Wacky Is Good

In Defence of Mad Scientists

Photo: Tesla's Laboratory

Publicity photo of a participant sitting in Nikola Tesla’s laboratory in Colorado Springs circa 1900.

Public Domain

By Patrick J. Kiger

In the annals of inventing, ingenuity and eccentricity often seem to go hand in hand. Many of history’s most brilliant, creative technologists—from Leonardo da Vinci, who inscribed notes in mirror reverse in his notebooks, to Nikola Tesla, who was fond of using his own body as a conductor in public science demonstrations, to American rocketry pioneer Jack Parsons, who practiced magic when he wasn’t developing rocket fuels—have been more than a little wacky. You’d think that by this point, we’d understand that and take our geniuses’ idiosyncrasies in stride. Instead, as a society we often seem more afraid than anything of our sometimes slightly kooky visionaries in lab coats, reviling them as “mad scientists” and suspecting that their underlying ambition is either to conquer the world or to destroy it—or, perhaps ideally, conquer it and thendestroy it.

Where does our misguided revulsion towards off-center genius come from? At the core of the stereotype, there is at least a little truth, since scientific virtuosos do occasionally get into strange, troubling stuff. The great physicist Isaac Newton, for example, also dabbled in alchemy and the occult; his experiments with the dark arts led to mercury poisoning, which eventually drove him to a mental and physical breakdown. Others merely are quirky, such as Charles Steinmetz, the diminutive genius who perfected the electrical generator, who as a child kept black widow spiders and rattlesnakes as pets, and gave himself the middle name Proteus, after the shape-shifting Greek deity.

But in addition, we’ve been conditioned to suspect geniuses of being malevolent characters by decades of stereotypical deranged researchers in movies, dating back to the first celluloid version of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, made in 1910 by Edison Studios. (That the studio’s founder and namesake had his own moments of questionable sanity—he once staged the public electrocution of an elephant, in an effort to sabotage a rival scheme for electrical generation—makes this somewhat ironic.) Fritz Lang’s 1927 film classic Metropolis featured the evil scientist Rotwang, whose disheveled coiffure and wild-eyed, crazed demeanor became the template for generations of movie mad geniuses. In the 1960s, we were unnerved by perhaps the creepiest of James Bond villains, the icy, sociopathic Dr. Julius No, whose ingenious black-gloved metal prosthetic hands ultimately led to his demise (in case you haven’t seen the movie, we won’t spoil the ending with the particulars). The mad scientist stereotype has become so extreme that it’s even been parodied, perhaps most deftly by Peter Sellers’ crazed ex-Nazi polygamy-touting scientist in the black comedy Dr. Strangelove, and by Mike Myers’ cryogenically-preserved Dr. Evil in the Austin Powersmovies, with his creepy laugh and gleeful efforts to extort “One Million Dollars!” from the world’s nations.

In reality, of course, most scientific geniuses don’t menace the world with dangerous inventions; If anything, they’re more likely to create oddball inventions such as the Segway. (The latter was the brainchild of perhaps the most gifted inventor of our time, Dean Kamen, who inventions include the infusion pumps that allow diabetics to dispense with the inconvenience of periodic insulin injections.) But we’d do well to consider the possibility that genius may be inextricably, inherently intertwined with some degree of madness. This 2007 Daily Mail article details geneticists’ recent discovery that the DARPP-32 gene, which enhances the brain’s ability to think by improving the prefrontal cortex’s information processing, can also possibly exacerbate schizophrenia.

Courtesy: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/mad-scientists/in-defense-of-mad-scientists/

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YAADAIN : DEW DROPS OF MEMORIES

To Times Gone By

To Lost Moments

To Precious Memories

To Those Who Were Not Meant to Be

To Silent Tears and Broken Hearts

To Childhood Sweethearts

To First Love

So Pure,

Caught in the Splendor of Galactic Cloud of a starry Night

To Mystical Magical Thoughts of First Loves Lost

To Morning Dew on Verdant Grass

To Singing Larks

To City Lights

To Azure Lights in Crystal Chandeliers

To Cloudy Peaks

To Rainy Nights

To Passionate Love

But, Not consumed

To Symphonic Nightingales

To Treasured Lives

To Dreams Unfulfilled

And,

All They Are,

Just Gentle Waves in the Oceams of  My Memories,

O’  So Near, And Yet So Far

They All come Aglow, On Sleepless Autumn Nights, 

My heart laments and whispers,

Where art thou, O’Where art thou,

And as I face my destiny’s end,

My fiery passion, a distant memory,

My silent thoughts are all I have.




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