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Running away from the battlefield
Sir: Despite the fact that President George Bush got the US into the Iraq quagmire on the basis of flimsy and dubious intelligence, American disengagement from Iraq should not be even considered until the Iraqis have formed a government and a Constitution with which to govern the country as well as established a national army and police force.
The alternative is anarchy, civil war, and chaos, and a partition of the country. This will make Iraq a breeding ground for terrorist groups. The people who think that the US should simply quit Iraq by withdrawing its forces, need to explain how this decision will improve the present situation, keeping in mind the world’s reluctance to contribute adequate peacekeeping troops under the United Nations banner to replace the US occupation forces.
Pakistan and the League
Sir: In my opinion Chaudhry Rahmat Ali’s ‘Pakstan’ had caught the imagination of the masses several years before the Muslim League adopted it. An example of this was the pamphlet, Confederacy of India written by ‘a Punjabi’. ‘A Punjabi’, later revealed to be Mian Kifayet Ali, wanted to name his pamphlet ‘Pakstan’ but the Muslim League president had advised him to change the title. The Muslim League’s Lahore Resolution, authored by Sir Zafrullah Khan, had little in common with Rahmat Ali’s pamphlet. In fact, the Lahore Resolution was vague and was left open to wide ranging interpretations. For example, in April 1940, II Chundrigar told HV Hodson, the Reforms commissioner, that the object of the Lahore Resolution was not to create ‘Ulsters’ but to achieve ‘two nations ... welded into united India on the basis of equality’.
In 1936, Halide Edib, a Turkish author, wrote her famous book Inside India, which discussed the communal problem in India in some detail. The author has dedicated an entire chapter to Rahmat Ali’s ‘Pakistan demand’ and includes an interview with him. The Muslim League is mentioned in the passing as a platform for notable Muslims, which according to the writer, was being reorganised by Jinnah and Khaliquzzaman as a progressive Muslim party in support of the Congress.
YASSER LATIF HAMDANI
Sir: The extensive destruction and havoc caused by Katrina is distressing. It shows that even the world’s ‘supervisor’ is vulnerable in the face of nature. The people who have been worst hit by the hurricane are those who did not have the resources to get out in time. At this time of turmoil, it is the duty of every person to come forward and offer support. Muslim countries should show their humane side by offering help.
Sir: The state in which the poor Americans are living in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina reveals the lack of compassion and the incompetence of the Bush administration. US President George W Bush, who always boasts of his concerns for fellow Americans, has failed miserably in New Orleans. The hurricane wrought physical destruction. But it is a disgrace that the Bush administration took almost five days to mobilise disaster relief teams when all meteorologists had warned about the impending disaster days before. It is a disgrace that countless people are still stranded, without clean water and food a week after the hurricane hit the Gulf coast.
It is a disgrace that hundreds of state troopers and national guards have been deployed to protect property rather than help the poor who desperately need food and shelter. Instead of seeing scenes of doctors and nurses arriving, we only saw soldiers patrolling the streets, holding automatic weapons.
No roadside hospitals were set up to help the sick. Poor mothers were crying for food and medicine for their babies while soldiers went around looking for looters. Americans should be ashamed of the way Bush has handled this great tragedy in American history.
Sir: Why are we still debating whether to recognise Israel as a nation-state or not? As Foreign Minister Kasuri said in the meeting with Israel’s Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom the reason we should do this is so that we can see Al-Quds as the capital of Palestine and get Israel’s assurance that it will live in peace with the Palestinians. We respect and recognise all people of different religions and countries. Islam is a religion of peace — it teaches us to respect all people, irrespective of religion, cast, colour and creed. Muslims want to live in peace and harmony, with the people of other faiths as they have lived in the past.
Countries consider their natural interests supreme and adjust their interaction with the world accordingly. It is in the interest of Pakistan to open dialogue with Israel, if it wants to play a role in solving the Palestine issue. The Istanbul meeting is a step in the right direction — opening channels of dialogue between Israel and the Muslim World. The decision to accept the invitation to address American Jewish Congress by President Pervez Musharraf is right.
Sir: It is very alarming that it took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil and the next trillion will be consumed in just 30 years. Rapid industrialisation, increasing numbers of oil consumers, emerging economies and improvement in the people’s standard of living are reasons for this increase in consumption.
Experts say that in the next 20 years, the world will consume 40 percent more oil. We need to develop alternative energy means like solar energy, bio-fuels and windmills. New oil reserves are being discovered in places where extraction is very difficult for physical, economic and political reasons.
Emerging economies and developed nations may tackle the energy problem well but unfortunately the third world countries will bear the brunt. The government of Pakistan should take up this matter very seriously and try to produce more energy by constructing dams and windmills and utilising other means for producing cheap energy for its people.
Sir: “Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace” is the ‘in’ statement these days. Just about every politician has said something to this effect. Islam is a comprehensive system of life. It teaches us patience and perseverance but is more than just good manners and virtues. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was himself a warrior and an army commander whose military tactics coupled with divine assistance enabled the Muslims to neutralise the threat of the Kuffar in the battle of Badr and later led to Mecca’s conquest.
After the Prophet’s (PBUH) demise, the Muslim community carried out numerous conquests that enabled Islam to spread quickly in three continents. However, one needs to understand why Muslims are using terrorism and violence at present. One needs to look at the root causes.
The events in Palestine, Kashmir and Chechnya, coupled with the recent US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, has led to retaliations by Muslims and Muslim organisations in the form of terrorist attacks. Isn’t it clear that these bomb blasts and other attacks are just a reaction to the atrocities committed against the Muslims worldwide? Muslim leaders should adopt an aggressive stance and demand solutions to the problems plaguing the Muslim ummah.