Friday, August 22, 2008

Musharraf departs - A relief with mounting challenges

Raja G Mujtaba

Every sun that rises has to set. Likewise every person in power has to leave. Lucky are those who leave with honour and grace. Some are so unfortunate that they fail to read their humiliation and assume that they were the saviours and messiahs.

Parvez Musharraf has been the unfortunate one who fell in his own trap. He got power intoxicated little too quick, he deviated from his announced agenda in the very first year of his takeover. Today he has been abandoned by his masters, friends and so called admirers and supporters. Each has their own views to distance themselves from the falling dictator who lost complete sense of direction when he was at his peak.

In February 2000, I had almost one to one meeting with General Muhammad Aziz, the then Chief of General Staff at his residence. He tried to give assurance that Musharraf will not stay a day longer than required but who was to determine if he was no longer required, General Aziz had no satisfactory answer to that. Today after almost nine years Parvez Musharraf was still not willing to relinquish his office. What a colossal damage that he has inflicted to the state, it’s institutions and people would be assessed by history.

His total switchover to the West came as a rude shock to the entire nation but he went about wielding his fists as the only person who was sane and rest were just a bunch of nincompoops. The atrocities that he committed against the innocent people would never be forgotten. His support to America in holding Afghanistan made our western border highly volatile, more insecure than our borders with India. This also gave an opportunity to all those players like India, Israel, US etc to destabilise Pakistan. Once our strategic depth was now a hostile land. It is for this reason that we are facing all the problems in FATA, NWFP and elsewhere in the country. Even the minions like Hamid Karzai show eyes to Pakistan and grind their teeth.

America, who derived the maximum benefits through Musharraf in the region, was the first to dump him like a waste paper that had no more utility. This was followed by almost all the major countries of the west. All provided him lip service with the diplomatic jargons and nothing beyond that .

Underlining how the West has already moved on, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered "deep gratitude" for Musharraf's decision to join the U.S.-led fight against extremists following the Sept. 11 attacks, saying he "served as a good ally of the United States, granting him asylum is not on our cards.

Javed Jabbar, a technocrat and a politician, a school time friend of Parvez Musharraf said, “Parvez Musharraf had lost the track of the national priorities; his personal interests came in the fore in the very first year of his rule. This shift in his policy and personality forced me to resign from his cabinet.”

Immediately as he announced his resignation, Pakistan's stock market and currency both rose strongly on hopes the country was bound for political stability. The commentators were expecting more rallying on Tuesaday.

"Today we have buried dictatorship for ever," Gilani, Pakistan’s Prime Minister said in a special sitting of parliament. “Pakistani stocks jumped more than four percent on the news of Musharraf's resignation,” added Gilani.


Sharif's spokesman, Ahsan Iqbal, said Monday, "The crimes of Musharraf against the nation, against the judiciary, against democracy and against rule of law in the country cannot be forgiven by any party or individual,"

Musharraf claimed in his TV address yesterday that he had always kept the national interest above his personal interest. Nothing could be further from truth. One would like to ask him whether he was thinking of the national interest when in the face of his dismissal order he violated the constitution and his oath of honour and overthrew a democratically elected government on October 12, 1999.

Was he guided by the national interest when he held a rigged referendum to perpetuate himself in power? Did the national interest prick his conscience when he forced the intelligence agencies to rig the 2002 general election and distort the democratic process in the country?

Gen Moin ud Din Haider, a senior and a friend of Musharraf also had similar views. Gen Haider had been the interior minister in Musharraf’s cabinet that deviated from the laid down objectives. Haider was sorry for Musharraf who missed the opportunity to make a positive name in history.

In cities across Pakistan, crowds gathered to celebrate, some firing automatic weapons into the sky. People were seen offering prayers of thanks in front of the parliament house.

Talat Masood, a former army general turned political analyst, forecast the coalition would find compromises for both the presidency and the judiciary, partly because neither wants to tackle the country's problems alone.

He further said, "It's a huge challenge and they cannot face it individually. It's very important for them to work together and I think they know that," he said.

Gen Asad Durrani, a former DG ISI and spokesman of the Ex Servicemen Society has demanded a trial of Parvez Musharraf.

Talking over telephone to General Hamid Gul, also a former DG ISI and an ardent Islamist said that the political future depends on as to how the ruling collation would involve the other parties like APDM, MQM to face the new challenges. Here he also said that the role of Army would play would be a major factor in shaping the future.

About the three likely candidates to fill the slot of the president, Hamid Gul said; “If Zardari wants to further strengthen his hold over the party and the national politics, then it would be Faryal Talpur, Zardari’s sister, If American interests are to be watched then it would be Asfandyar Wali, another strong contender for the slot is Mahmood Khan Achakzai.” “However if the grievances of Baluchistan have to be redressed, then it should be Atta Ullah Mengal,” said General Gul.

The immediate challenges that face the nation are, the restoration of judiciary, price control of various daily use commodities, availability of electric power and reduction on the dependence of the imported fuel.

Imran Khan when contacted by scribe to have his views about the post Musharraf scenario, he said, “All depends if the judges are restored.”

Finally, will the PPP-PML-N alliance hold? It’s an unnatural alliance between the arch rivals; hence forth they would be on clash path for their bigger goals. Now Parvez Musharraf is out, there is nothing that can hold them together for a long time. PPP would grapple to take a shot at Punjab while PML-N would realign it’s azimuth for Islamabad. If the judiciary issue and the nomination of the presidential candidate are not settled amicably the honeymoon would be over.

It’s a testing time for Pakistan, it's the real time for the Intellectuals and opinion makers to build a situation of normalcy depict a national cohesion. Politicians have to rise above the party or personal interests, demonstrate unity of thought pave the way for a strong Pakistan based on its ideology. Our foreign and internal policies must be a true reflection of our Islamic character, anything short of that would constitute a constant struggle that may spill into an anarchy the signs of which are more than glaring.

raja.mujtaba@gmail.com

Opinion Maker

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Should Musharraf be accorded a safe passage?

Musharraf is left with no options but to quit. All those who were on his side have abandoned him, may be high but not dry as yet.

Any institution or a force that would try and negotiate a safe passage for Musharraf would not go down well with people in general and those who have been directly hit by Musharraf regime in particular.

At no cost Musharraf should be allowed a safe passage, let’s stop here to make fun of our own land and people. Let the law take it's course, why should we allow the viceroy of the foreign powers let go escort free?

Those who are trying to broker his safe passage, can they replace the losses of the poor innocent people who have been killed, maimed, tortured, humiliated, jailed, transported to G,Bay and other secret places around the world.

Who would compensate for the thousands of innocent lives in Lal Masjid? These poor students, mostly girls were killed at the behest of Musharraf even after a deal had been brokered. Why, were they less humans?

If army only wants to step in just to save an ex chief who has been a criminal, a war mongerer, a die hard lover and supporter of the Jews, who has worked relentlessly to sow all the seeds of discord in Pakistan. A person who challenged the Islam loving and other Allah fearing people, people who wanted to see the rule of Shariah as unacceptable to him and he launched army against them, does he deserve any symphathy?

Who transported Dr Afifa Siddiqi, who allowed the rapers of Dr Fauzia at Sibi a safe passage after that trecherous crime?

Army remains our national pride, did he not create a hatred for the army amongst the minds of the people? Army's graph had never been so low with the people as it went down now. Has he not destroyed or tried to destroy every institution of ours? All for the person of Parvez Musharraf, so people still think that he deserves any sympathy or soft corner?

Who will pay for the blood of 50 or so people killed in Karachi on 12th May 2007? Who will pay for the blood of soldiers killed in Kargil just for his misadventure?

The list is long that can not be summarised here.

All those who are trying to give him a safe passage would stand answerable before Allah for all the crimes that he committed just for his whims.

Not only he but all those who were responsible and his associates in these heinous crimes must also be tried.

The blood of my people is very precious; no one can be allowed to play holi with it.

Wake up everyone wake up, we all would be answerable to Allah for keeping our mum.

Opinion Maker

raja.mujtaba@gmail.com

Monday, July 21, 2008

Anti--Terrorist Activities in Pakistan

Anti--Terrorist activities in Pakistan Pakistan is the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons, a nuclear proliferator, the Taliban’s chief patron, and a sponsor of jihadis in Kashmir.Since their rout in Afghanistan, bands of Muslim ‘extremists’ have found safe havens in Pakistan’s northern districts, as well as Quetta and Karachi. More ominously, last July, the Taliban challenged the authority of the state in Pakistan’s capital. Yet, there has been little talk in Washington or Tel Aviv about adding Pakistan to the ‘axis of evil.’ This is the Pakistani paradox. This paradox has a simple explanation. In Pakistan, the US had effected regime change without a change of regime. Almost overnight, following the attacks of 9-11, the US had drafted the Pakistani military to wage war against Muslim extremists. The US had gained an army: and Pakistan’s military dictators had gained longevity. Yet, could the Pakistani military deliver on its promise to fight the Taliban and Al-Qaida? At first, it appeared that it was succeeding. General Musharraf boasted that Pakistan had collected $50 million in exchange for extremists handed over to the US. These losses, however, did not deter the extremists from regrouping; and before long they were attacking NATO forces in Afghanistan from bases inside Pakistan. As NATO casualties rose, the US ratcheted its pressure on Pakistan. And by August 2004, the Pakistan had deployed 100,000 troops to guard its frontier with Afghanistan. The extremists now began targeting Pakistani troops. In September 2006, in the face of rising losses, Pakistan pulled out its troops from Waziristan in return for a Taliban promise not to mount attacks from bases in Pakistan. It was an improbable truce. In reality, the Taliban had ‘liberated’ Waziristan. The US was unhappy about the truce. And with good reason: Taliban attacks in Afghanistan began to rise after the truce. Since then, US has been ratcheting its pressures on Pakistan to hunt down the extremists operating out of bases along its northern frontier. In Pakistan, the insurgents are Muslim nationalists. They are drawn mainly from Pashtun peasants, but they enjoy broad support among the peasants as well as the middle classes all over Pakistan. On the other side, about a fourth of Pakistan army consists of Pashtuns; and mid- and low-ranking officers are middle-class in their origin and orientation. Only the top military brass identify firmly with the elites. In Pakistan, the boundary between the opposite camps is not as firmly drawn as in Latin America. As a result, as Pakistan army escalates the war against its own people, this boundary has been shifting, shrinking the support base of the military elite. If this is the irreversible dynamic behind the US-inspired counterinsurgency, it is unlikely that Pakistani elites can long sustain their decision to fight America’s war against Muslim nationalists. Recent events support this prognosis. As the military has escalated its offensive, its reputation has plummeted. Hundreds of soldiers have surrendered or, more likely, defected. General Musharraf has rescinded corruption cases against Benazir Bhutto to court her party; but this has eroded the standing of her party. How is this ‘civil war’ likely to end? In one scenario, at some point, an alliance of Muslim nationalists – the fighters and their allies in the army and civil society – will enforce their own regime change, and create an Islamist Pakistan. This will end the civil war, but not Pakistan’s troubles. Instantly, US and Israel will clamor for a regime change of the hard variety: through covert operations, air strikes, invasions, and civil wars. As these events unfold, the US may well decide to start a war against Iran. This can only advance the timetable for an Islamist take-over in Pakistan. When that happens, the US and Israel will be engaged in a major war along an Islamic arc stretching from Lebanon to Pakistan –and perhaps beyond, to the north and the east.

Countering Exremism in Pakistan


COUNTERING EXTREMISM IN PAKISTAN

RISING EXTREMISM IN PAKISTAN IS WIDELY IDENTIFIED AS A HARD CORE ISSUE. THE RELIGION-DRIVEN EXTREMIST IDEOLOGY & AGENDA HAS BECOME A SORE POINT FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION IN PAKISTAN.A STRONG & EFFECTIVE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN PAKISTAN WILL HELP TO ENSURE THAT THE COUNTRY STEERS TOWARDS A PATH OF ENLIGHTENED MODERATION,STABILITY AND PROSPERITY.EXTREMISTS FORCE THEIR OWN SET OF RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL IDEAS ON OTHERS.THIS EVENTUALITY OCCURS WHEN A GROUP OF PEOPLE DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE SUPERIOR STANDING OF OTHER PARTY'S POINT OF VIEW AND OVERLOOK THE SHORT COMINGS IN THEIR OWN IDEAS & BELIEFS.WHEN SIMPLE ARGUMENTS DOES NOT WORK THAT GROUP BECOMES VIOLENT & AGGRESSIVE.HUMANITY HAS SUFFERED A LOT DUE TO EXTREMISM BECAUSE ITS BRUTALLY AFFECTS THE SPIRIT OF HUMAN CREATIVITY AND PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE. LACK OF EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES IN PAKISTAN HAS CONTRIBUTED TOWARDS THE DEVELOPMENT OF EXTREMIST IDEOLOGY THAT HAS FUELED TERRORISM. MADRASAS MUST BE NATIONALIZED. THEY SHOULD BE MONITORED FOR THEIR EDUCATIONAL, RELIGIOUS AND EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES.KEEPING WEAPONS, ESPECIALLY HEAVY WEAPONS AT MADRASSAS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED AT ANY CASE. A FOOL PROOF MECHANISM MUST BE ADOPTED TO COUNTER EXTREMISM.
Countreing extremism is a complex issue created by our own stupid and foolish rulers. Numerous measures are needed to be taken to fight this issue:- 1- Establishment of an effective system of social justice. 2- Mass education in the norms of human behaviour and conduct. I would recommend that this be based on the Islamic teachings. Almost all the civil societies in the world have adopted the Islamic social system minus its system of Belief & worship. The core of all constitutions of the world is Islamic in nature. Why should we abohr it just for showing ourselves as enlightened moderates! Why should we abdicate from what is inherently ours for some silly reasons. 3- To identify the root causes of extremism. 4- To work out a comprehensive plan for eradicating the root causes so identified. 5- To start implementing this plan in all sincerity


The Concept of Jehad in Islam




The Concet of Jehad in Islam :Major(R)Khalid Nasr

The word Jihad comes from the root word jahada, which means to struggle. At the individual level, jihad primarily refers to the inner struggle of being a person of virtue and submission to God in all aspects of life.
At the collective level, jihad can take various forms, such as: 1. Intellectual Jihad, which comprises of the struggle to convey the message of God to humankind and to combat social evils through knowledge, wisdom and dignified discourse. As the Glorious Qur’an says: "Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, "I am of those who bow in Islam”? [Al-Qur’an 41:33]
2. Economic Jihad, which comprises of economic measures, and spending from one’s means to improve the living conditions of the poor and the downtrodden.
3. Physical Jihad, which involves collective armed self-defense, as well as retribution against tyranny, exploitation, and oppression.
Thus the concept of Jihad is vast and comprehensive. Admittedly, it’s the last category of Jihad that is a cause for concern to many, and which we shall explore in detail.
PHYSICAL JIHAD
Jihad on the battlefield, in the Islamic perspective, is the last resort, and is subject to stringent conditions. It can be waged only to defend freedom, which includes freedom of faith. The Glorious Qur’an says: “To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;- (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, "our Lord is Allah". Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure…” [Al-Qur’an 22:39-40]
Moreover, the Qur’an says: “And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? - Men, women and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!” [Al-Qur’an 4:75]
Thus the conditions of physical Jihad are clearly defined in the Qur’an.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Although Islam permits Jihad on the battlefield under the conditions mentioned above, the rules of engagement reflect Islam’s inherent inclination towards peace:
No aggression towards civilians
Military conflict is to be directed only against fighting troops and not against civilians, as the Glorious Qur’an says: “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors” [Al-Qur’an 2:190]
As far as the non-combatant population is concerned such as women, children, the old and the infirm, etc., the instructions of the Prophet are as follows: "Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman" "Do not kill the monks in monasteries" or "Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship." During a war, the Prophet saw the corpse of a woman lying on the ground and observed: "She was not fighting. How then she came to be killed?" Thus non-combatants are guaranteed security of life even if their state is at war with an Islamic state.
Upholding Justice
The ravages of war are not an excuse for Muslims to engage in any form of cruelty or violation of human rights. As the Qur’an says:
“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” [Al-Qur’an 5:8]
It is forbidden under Islamic law, to ill-treat prisoners of war or to deny them the essentials of life, including medical treatment.
Respect for religious freedom
Physical Jihad cannot be waged with the objective of compelling people to embrace Islam. The Glorious Qur’an says:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion” [Al-Qur’an 2:256]
“If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe!” [Al-Qur’an 10:99]
Accept peace
If the enemy offers peace, it should be accepted even at the risk of possible deception. The Glorious Qur’an says: “But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things)” [Al-Qur’an 8:61]
CAN TERRORISM BE COMPARED TO JIHAD?
Terrorism is usually defined as ideologically motivated indiscriminate violence that targets civilians, with the intention of inspiring terror in order to achieve political ends. Although this definition ignores the reality of state terrorism, it is clear that terrorism has no place in the noble concept of Jihad. Even Jihad that involves physical conflict is the very antithesis of terrorism, as is clear from the following differences:
1. Jihad can be launched only by an established authority as a policy in order to deter aggression. Terrorism, on the other hand, is committed by individuals or groups that have no legitimacy to speak for the majority. When terrorism is committed by states, it usually depends on misleading the masses. 2. Jihad is limited to combatants while terrorism involves indiscriminate killing of civilians. 3. Jihad, when the need arises, is declared openly, while terrorism is committed secretly. 4. Jihad is bound by strict rules of engagement while terrorism is not bound by any rules.
CONCLUSION
It is clear from the foregoing discussion that Jihad is a vast concept that encompasses various spheres of activity, all directed towards the betterment of self and society. Regardless of how legitimate a cause may be, Islam does not condone the killing of innocent people. Terrorizing the civilian population, whether by individuals or states, can never be termed as jihad and can never be reconciled with the teachings of Islam.



Ambition : A Key to Success

Ambition---A Key to Success :Major ®Khalid Nasr
“A fire in the belly doesn't light itself. Does the spark of ambition lie in genes, family, and culture--or even in your own hands? Science has answers.” JEFFREY KLUGER
Not only do we struggle to understand why some people seem to have more ambition than others, but we can't even agree on just what ambition is. "Ambition is an evolutionary product," says anthropologist Edward Lowe at Soka University of America, in Aliso Viejo, Calif. "No matter how social status is defined, there are certain people in every community who aggressively pursue it and others who aren't so aggressive."Dean Simonton, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis, who studies genius, creativity and eccentricity, believes it's more complicated than that. "Ambition is energy and determination," he says. "But it calls for goals too. People with goals but no energy are the ones who wind up sitting on the couch saying 'One day I'm going to build a better mousetrap.' People with energy but no clear goals just dissipate themselves in one desultory project after the next."
Assuming you've got drive, dreams and skill, is all ambition equal? Is the overworked lawyer on the partner track any more ambitious than the overworked parent on the mommy track? Is the successful musician to whom melody comes naturally more driven than the unsuccessful one who sweats out every note? We may listen to Mozart, but should we applaud Salieri? Most troubling of all, what about when enough ambition becomes way too much? Grand dreams unmoored from morals are the stuff of tyrants--or at least of Enron. The 16-hour workday filled with high stress and at-the-desk meals is the stuff of burnout and heart attacks. Even among kids, too much ambition quickly starts to do real harm. In a just completed study, anthropologist Peter Demerath of Ohio State University surveyed 600 students at a high-achieving high school where most of the kids are triple-booked with advanced-placement courses, sports and after-school jobs. About 70% of them reported that they were starting to feel stress some or all of the time. "I asked one boy how his parents react to his workload, and he answered, 'I don't really get home that often,'" says Demerath. "Then he handed me his business card from the video store where he works." Anthropologists, psychologists and others have begun looking more closely at these issues, seeking the roots of ambition in family, culture, gender, genes and more. They have by no means thrown the curtain all the way back, but they have begun to part it. "It's fundamentally human to be prestige conscious," says Soka's Lowe. "It's not enough just to be fed and housed. People want more." Humans often report the same kind of temperamental determinism. Families are full of stories of the inexhaustible infant who grew up to be an entrepreneur, the phlegmatic child who never really showed much go. But if it's genes that run the show, what accounts for the Shipps, who didn't bestir themselves until the cusp of adulthood? And what, more tellingly, explains identical twins--precise genetic templates of each other who ought to be temperamentally identical but often exhibit profound differences in the octane of their ambition?
National Cancer Institute. But that still leaves a great deal that can be determined by experiences in infancy, subsequent upbringing and countless other imponderables. Some of those variables may be found by studying the function of the brain. At Washington University, researchers have been conducting brain imaging to investigate a trait they call persistence--the ability to stay focused on a task until it's completed just so--which they consider one of the critical engines driving ambition. It's impossible to say whether innate differences in the brain were driving the ambitious behavior or whether learned behavior was causing the limbic to light up. But a number of researchers believe it's possible for the nonambitious to jump-start their drive, provided the right jolt comes along. "Energy level may be genetic," says psychologist Simonton, "but a lot of times it's just finding the right thing to be ambitious about." Simonton and others often cite the case of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who might not have been the same President he became--or even become President at all--had his disabling polio not taught him valuable lessons about patience and tenacity.
Is such an epiphany possible for all of us, or are some people immune to this kind of lightning? Are there individuals or whole groups for whom the amplitude of ambition is simply lower than it is for others? It's a question--sometimes a charge--that hangs at the edges of all discussions about gender and work, about whether women really have the meat-eating temperament to survive in the professional world. Both research findings and everyday experience suggest that women's ambitions express themselves differently from men's. But even if something as primal as the reproductive impulse wires you one way, it's possible for other things to rewire you completely. Two of the biggest influences on your level of ambition are the family that produced you and the culture that produced your family.
There are no hard rules for the kinds of families that turn out the highest achievers. Most psychologists agree that parents who set tough but realistic challenges, applaud successes and go easy on failures produce kids with the greatest self-confidence (see box). What's harder for parents to control but has perhaps as great an effect is the level of privilege into which their kids are born. Just how wealth or poverty influences drive is difficult to predict. Grow up in a rich family, and you can inherit either the tools to achieve (think both Presidents Bush) or the indolence of the aristocrat. Grow up poor, and you can come away with either the motivation to strive (think Bill Clinton) or the inertia of the hopeless. On the whole, studies suggest it's the upper middle class that produces the greatest proportion of ambitious people--mostly because it also produces the greatest proportion of anxious people.
When measuring ambition, anthropologists divide families into four categories: poor, struggling but getting by, upper middle class, and rich. For members of the first two groups, who are fighting just to keep the electricity on and the phone bill paid, ambition is often a luxury. For the rich, it's often unnecessary. It's members of the upper middle class, reasonably safe economically but not so safe that a bad break couldn't spell catastrophe, who are most driven to improve their lot.
Humans not only make peace with their beta roles but they also make money from them. Among corporations, an increasingly well-rewarded portion of the workforce is made up of B players, managers and professionals somewhere below the top tier. They don't do the power lunching and ribbon cutting but instead perform the highly skilled, everyday work of making the company run. As skeptical shareholders look ever more askance at overpaid corporate A-listers, the B players are becoming more highly valued. It's an adaptation that serves the needs of both the corporation and the culture around it. "Everyone has ambition," says Lowe. "Societies have to provide alternative ways for people to achieve."
Ultimately, it's that very flexibility--that multiplicity of possible rewards--that makes dreaming big dreams and pursuing big goals worth all the bother. Ambition is an expensive impulse, one that requires an enormous investment of emotional capital. Like any investment, it can pay off in countless different kinds of coin. The trick, as any good speculator will tell you, is recognizing the riches when they come your way.

A Guide for Creative Thinking




Creative Thinking:Major (R)Khalid Nasr
Einstein once said, “Every child is born a genius.” But the reason why most people do not function at genius levels is because they are not aware of how creative and smart they really are.
Let’s start off with the definition of creativity. The best definition of creativity is, simply, “improvement.” All you have to do is develop the ability to improve your situation, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. All great fortunes were started with ideas for improving something in some way. In fact, an improvement needs to be only 10 percent new or different to launch you on the way to fame and riches. The Creative Process: There are four parts of the creative process: 1.There is preparation, where much of the work is done. 2.There is cerebration or rumination, where you turn the matter over to your subconscious mind. 3.There is realization, where the idea or ideas come to you. 4.And finally, there is application, where you work out the creative idea and turn it into something worthwhile. Of the four, preparation seems to be the most important, and it involves gathering the right data and asking the right questions. Suggestions: Your success in life will be determined largely by the quantity of ideas that you generate. It seems that the quality of ideas is secondary to the quantity and that if you have enough ideas, one or more of them will turn out as a good idea. 1.You can begin building your creative muscles with focused questions. Some that you might think of are the following: What are we trying to do? How are we trying to do it? What are our assumptions? What if our assumptions are wrong? All improvements begin with questioning the current, existing circumstances. If you are not making progress for any reason, stop and think, and begin asking yourself the hard questions that will stimulate your mind to consider other possibilities. Asking focused questions-hard questions that penetrate to the core of the matter-is the real art of the creative person. The next step is to have the courage to deal with all the possible answers. Once you have come up with a possible solution, ask yourself, “What else could be the solution?” If your current method of operation were completely wrong, what would be your backup plan? What else would you or could you do? What if your current procedure or plan turned out to be a complete failure? Then what would you do? And what would you do after that? All of those questions will force you to think further and come up with better answers.
2.The second way to build your mental muscles is with intensely desired goals. The more you want something and the clearer you are about it, the more likely it is that you will generate ideas that will help you to move toward it. That is why the need for clearly written goals and plans for their accomplishment is repeated over and over. Any intense emotion, such as desire, stimulates creativity and ideas to fulfill that desire. And the more you write down your goals and plans, and review them, the more likely it is that you will see all kinds of possibilities for achieving those goals.
3.The third generator of creative-thinking muscles is pressing problems. A good question to ask is “What are the three biggest problems that I am facing in my life today?” Write the answer to this question quickly, in less than 30 seconds. When you write the answer to a question in less than 30 seconds, your subconscious mind will sort out all extraneous answers and give you the three most important ones.
When you have your three most pressing problems, ask yourself, “What is the worst possible thing that can happen as a result of each of these problems?” Then ask yourself, “What are all the things that I can do, right now, to alleviate each problem?” If you have a problem that is worrying you for any reason, think about what you could do immediately to begin alleviating that concern. This is a prime use of your creative powers. Keys to success in creative thinking: 1.The first key to success in creative thinking is clarity. Take the time to think through, discuss and ask questions that help you to clarify exactly what you are trying to accomplish and exactly what problems you are facing at the present moment. Just as fuzzy thinking leads to fuzzy answers, clear thinking leads to clear answers.
2.A second key is concentration. Put everything else aside, and concentrate single-mindedly on focusing all your mental powers on solving one single problem, overcoming one particular obstacle or achieving one important goal. The ability to concentrate on a single subject without diversion or distraction is a hallmark of the superior thinker.
3.A third key is an open mind. The average person tends to be rigid and fixed in his thinking about getting from where he is to where he wants to go. The creative thinker, however, tends to remain very flexible and open to a variety of ways of approaching the problem. The average person has a tendency to leap to conclusions and determine that there is only one way to achieve a particular goal. The superior thinker, on the other hand, tends to be more patient and willing to consider a variety of options before moving toward a conclusion.
There is one other creative concept that can be very helpful when it is used in combination with what we have already discussed, and it is called the “limiting step.” The Limiting Step : In relationships and misunderstandings between people, there is almost invariably a sticking point or subject area that needs to be resolved in order to bring about harmony again. Your job is, first, to identify this limiting step and then, second, to find a way to alleviate the difficulty to the satisfaction of everyone involved.
You are a genius, and you were born with the potential for exceptional creativity. But creative abilities are latent. They are like muscles that grow with use. You can increase your creative powers by using them, over and over, in every situation, deliberately and specifically, until creativity and a creative response to life is as natural to you as breathing in and out is. There are very few things that you can do that can have a more powerful positive impact on your entire life than becoming excellent in creative thinking.


Democracy & Delusion

Democracy and Delusion :Major(R)Khalid Nasr There appears to be an unchallengeable consensus that the spread of democracy throughout the world would bring about a lasting solution to the problem of war. In defense of his attempts to transform Iraq, President Bush has argued that "peace is gained as justice and democracy advance." To the extent that the political left in America disagrees with the Bush policy, it is over the military means the administration has employed – very few challenge the premise that democracy can transform war-torn regions into zones of peace. This premise is based on the historical claim that democracies do not go to war with one another. But the historical record on which this claim rests is fairly narrow. Most modern democracies did not come into existence until the twentieth century, and many of these did not become fully established except under a very particular set of circumstances arising after World War Two which facilitated cooperation: the great powers had suffered enormously, there was widespread fear of nuclear war, and a fear of Soviet expansionism. In this context, the U.S. was widely perceived as the defender of the West and its common cultural heritage. All of these factors granted a moral legitimacy to U.S. power, which allowed the U.S. to exercise its power to uphold global stability and encourage the growth of transnational institutions, which led to the long post-World War Two peace between democracies. The contrast between this particular set of circumstances and the circumstances of the Middle East is striking. Rather than being rescued from war and external threats by a reluctant U.S., as was Europe, Iraq was subjected to a preemptive war and a botched occupation. It is widely perceived in the Middle East that the U.S. went to war because of Iraq’s large oil reserves – and there is a little truth in this perception, even if it is not the whole truth. In addition, rather than dealing with a set of countries with a common cultural heritage, the Middle East is a veritable arena for a "clash of civilizations," with the U.S. and Israel being viewed as imperialist Western intruders into Islamic lands. For these reasons, the U.S. does not currently have the same perceived moral legitimacy in exercising leadership in the Middle East as it did in the West after World War Two. Indeed, opinion polls have shown repeatedly that while large numbers of people in the Middle East have a favorable view of American democracy and liberty, they resent U.S. foreign policy, and this resentment has only increased as the U.S. has become more militarily involved in the Middle East and moved ever closer to the government of Ariel Sharon. Indeed, Middle East liberals have expressed their concern that open U.S. support for liberal dissidents in Muslim countries only casts suspicion on the dissidents and undermines their cause. Historically, there is no evidence that the rule that "democracies don’t fight each other" applies to the Middle East. The democratic institutions of the Jewish community in Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s did not prevent Jewish attacks upon British troops trying to maintain order in the region in the years before Israeli independence, nor did it prevent a democratic Lebanon from going to war against Israel in 1948. Over thirty years later, when Israel invaded Lebanon, Israel tried to set up a friendly Christian-dominated government in that country that would have permanently shut out Lebanon’s Muslim majority from power. Indeed, one can make a case that it is unelected elites in Islamic countries who are more inclined to be friendlier, or at least less hostile, to the U.S. and Israel. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 65 percent of Pakistanis and 55 percent of Jordanians held a favorable view of Osama Bin Laden; fortunately this populist support for a terrorist is not likely to be translated into official policy as long as authoritarian governments persist in those states. However, a recent article in the New Republic bemoaned the fact that the declining influence of secular military officers and rising influence of popularly-elected rulers in Turkey has resulted in a significant cooling of relations between Israel and Turkey. This should not be surprising, since 63 percent of Turks say they sympathize with the Palestinians in the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is true that the spread of democracy may contribute partly to peace, by making governments more accountable and checking the plans of the overly-ambitious. However, democracy cannot overcome all rivalries based on clashing national interests, religions, and social identities. No better proof of this can be found in the recent claims of some prominent neoconservatives that France should be considered a "rival, perhaps even an enemy of the United States" – this despite the fact that France is indisputably a democracy. Those who insist that the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East is the way to peace should be careful what they wish for.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Morality & Ethics in Islam


Morality and Ethics in Islam : Major(R) Khalid Nasr
Islam is a comprehensive way of life and morality is one of the cornerstones Islam. Morality is one of the fundamental sources of a nation's strength, just as immorality is one of the main causes of a nation's decline. Islam has established some universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, which are to be observed in all circumstances. To uphold these rights, Islam has provided not only legal safeguards, but also a very effective moral system. Thus, whatever leads to the welfare of the individual or the society is morally good in Islam, and whatever is harmful is morally bad. Given its importance in a healthy society, Islam supports morality and matters that lead to it, and stands in the way of corruption and matters that lead to it. The guiding principle for the behavior of a Muslim is "Al `Amal Assalih" or Virtuous Deeds. This term covers all deeds, not only acts of worship. The Guardian and Judge of all deeds is Allah (SWT) Himself. The most fundamental characteristics of a Muslim are piety and humility. A Muslim must be humble with Allah and with other people: "And turn not your face away from people (with pride), nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not each arrogant boaster. And be moderate (or show no insolence) in your walking, and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the voice (braying) of the ass." Muslims must be in controls of their passions and desires. A Muslim should not be vain or attached to the ephemeral pleasures of this world. While most people allow the material world to fill their hearts, Muslims should keep Allah (SWT) in their hearts and the material world in their hand. Instead of being attached to the car and the job and the diploma and the bank account, all these things become tools to make us better people. "The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, but only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart" [Quran: 26:88-89] Principles of Morality in Islam Allah (SWT) sums up righteousness in verse 177 of Surat Al Baqarah: "It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness (the quality of ) the one who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; who spends of his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, to the needy, to the wayfarer, to those who ask and for the freeing of slaves; and who is steadfast in prayers, and gives Zakah (Alms); and those who fulfill their covenants which they made; and who are patient and perseverant in poverty and ailment and throughout all periods of fighting. Such are the people of truth, the pious." This verse teaches us that righteousness and piety is based before all else on a true and sincere faith. The key to virtue and good conduct is a strong relation with Allah, who sees all, at all times and everywhere. He knows the secrets of the hearts and the intentions behind all actions. Therefore, a Muslim must be moral in all circumstances; Allah is aware of each one when no one else is. If we deceive everyone, we cannot deceive Him. We can flee from anyone, but not from Him. The love and continuous awareness of Allah and the Day of Judgment enables man to be moral in conduct and sincere in intentions, with devotion and dedication: "Indeed, the most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is the most pious." Then come deeds of charity to others, especially giving things we love mention the Hadith of lan tanaalu-lbirra hatta…. Acts of worship, prayers and Zakah (mandatory alms), are an integral part of worship. A righteous person must be reliable and trustworthy. Finally, their faith must be firm and should not wane when faced with adversity. Morality must be strong to vanquish corruption: "And Allah loves those who are firm and steadfast." Patience is often hardest and most beautiful when it's against one's own desires or anger: "And march forth toward forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious. Those who spend (in the way of Allah) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon people; verily, Allah loves Al-MuhsinĂ»n (the doers of the best deeds). " These three acts are among the hardest things for most people, but they are also the key to forgiveness and to paradise. Are they not the best, those who are able to exercise charity when they are in need themselves, control when they are angry and forgiveness when they are wronged? This is the standard by which actions are judged as good or bad. By making pleasing Allah the objective of every Muslim, Islam has set the highest possible standard of morality. Morality in Islam addresses every aspect of a Muslim's life, from greetings to international relations. It is universal in its scope and in its applicability. Morality reigns in selfish desires, vanity and bad habits. Muslims must not only be virtuous, but they must also enjoin virtue. They must not only refrain from evil and vice, but they must also forbid them. In other words, they must not only be morally healthy, but they must also contribute to the moral health of society as a whole.
"You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah; and if the followers of the Book had believed it would have been better for them; of them (some) are believers and most of them are transgressors." [Quran: 3:110] The Prophet (PBUH) summarized the conduct of a Muslim when he said: "My Sustainer has given me nine commands: to remain conscious of God, whether in private or in public; to speak justly, whether angry or pleased; to show moderation both when poor and when rich, to reunite friendship with those who have broken off with me; to give to him who refuses me; that my silence should be occupied with thought; that my looking should be an admonition; and that I should command what is right."
Let us practice the teachings of Islam in the Islamic Rebulic of Pakistan




Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Religion Stressing Peace

The religion stressing peace :Major(R)Khalid Nasr
Islam has been derived from salamti i.e peace. Perhaps it is the only religionhaving its origin in the concept of peace. For example, Muslims are under obligation to wish peace whenever they see each other during the day or at night. The conventional way of wishing in Islam is As-Salaam-o-Aleikum i.e may Allah bestow peace & his protection on you; which in turn is responded as Wa-Aleikum-us-Salaam ie. may you also live & prospper under divine protection. It is a simple & straight relifion emphasising the role of peace in human & animal life.It has been enjoined upon all Muslims not to render any physical/bodily harm to any human being; unless he/she has harmed others physically/bodily. This is strictly in accordance with the modern theory of deterrence from crime while dealing with the system of Crime & Punishment in a given Society. Recognising the freedom of conscience, Islam has given liberty to all human being living within the territorial limits of a Muslim State to adopt practise and follow the religion of their own choice without accepting any external pressure.
Similarly Jihad is obligatory under circumstances of an armed aggression to life & property. The right of self-defence has all along been universally accepted, and Islam is no exception in this case either.All the Wars during the lifetime of Holy Prophet were defensive in nature without allowing aggression in any case.
It has also been preached forcefully that one' belief in Islam is doubtful, unless his existence is acknowledged as unharmful to others----no discrimination between Muslims & non-Muslims has been made. We all know and Christian powers in Europe recognise that Muslim defenders were humane, whereas so many atrocities are attributed to crusaders who didn't spare their other christian brethren & sisters. One could easily allude to the notorious chastity belts for women when crusaders left for the so called crusades.
One also knows that Renaissance started after the fall of Constantinople, when Muslim knowledge of Science & Technology was discovered by Europe through sheer accident. Islam was the fountain of knowledge, when Christians in Europe were walking on their fours.
Today Islam is being blamed for terrorism, when Muslims are engaged in defending their own life & property against the Western aggression on false pretexts of terrorism whereas it is they who are committing unparallelled & unequalled atrocities even on Muslim Women & Children throughout the World (even in Chichniya in Europe despite the fact that chichniyans belong to their own white race).
In addition to above, they would be well-advised to remember that that all human are fallible; and muslims are not an exception to this universally acknowledged human trait. Whereas Islam is a religion providing a code of conduct for Muslim, the latter are fallible human beings not essentially coming upto the islamic ideals. So the two are to ben seen separately; and failing of Muslims, if any, are not to be attributed to Islam as a religion. This is the message for today.


An Insight on Masjid

An Insight on Masjid :Major(R)Khalid Nasr We will begin by dealing with the word masjid from both the linguistic and legal points of view. The Arabic word for "mosque" is masjid. Discussing with the word masjid from a linguistic point of view al-Zarkashi says:
Masjid from a linguistic point of view Linguistically, it comes on the scheme of maf`il with a kasrah [i.e. the 'i' of masjid] which is ism makan [i.e., name of location] for prostration, while with a fathah [i.e., masjad] it is a masdar. Abu Zakariyya al-Farra' [a famous grammarian] said: Every verb coming on the scheme of fa`ala [in the past form] yaf`ulu [in the present form] like dakhala yadkhulu [which means "to enter"] admits the form maf`al with a fathah as a noun or masdar without distinction like in dakhala madkhalan. There are some nouns that were bound to take a kasrah on the second letter of its root like masjid, matli`, maghrib, mashriq and others, thus making the kasrah a sign of the noun, and some Arabs may say it with a fathah. Indeed, masjid and masjad, and matli` and matla` were all narrated. He said: Putting a fathah in all these forms is admissible even if we did not hear it before. He said in Al-Sihah: Masjad with a fathah refers to one's forehead which is the place involved in prostration.[3]The Arab grammarians classify masjid as "ism makan", i.e., "name of location"; it indicates the place where an action takes place. Masjid being derived from the root sa-ja-da (to prostrate), it means "place of prostration". Since a place of worship is a place where believers prostrate to God, "masjid" is a general term to designate any place of worship without any religious distinction. Later, this word was used to designate Islamic places of worship in particular, i.e., the mosques.The Prophet's night journey was from "the inviolable place of worship" (al-Masjid al-Haram) to "the farthest place of worship" (al-Masjid al-Aqsa). The former is certainly located in Makkah, but what about the latter? The reference to Allah blessing its surroundings (... whose precincts We did bless) suggests a location in the "Holy Land" (cf. 21:81; 7:137; 34:18). Neal Robinson states: The [Muslim] tradition which identifies it [i.e., al-Masjid al-Aqsa] with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem makes admirable sense in view of the fact that the 'place of worship' (masjid) whose destruction is evoked in v. 7 [i.e., 17:7] is clearly the Temple.[4]This view is also shared by many western scholars.[5]As it was mentioned earlier that masjid refers to a place of prostration without any religious distinction; an excellent example of the usage of the word "masjid" referring to a non-Islamic sanctuary can be seen in the verse 17:7. The verse describes briefly the destruction of the masjid in Jerusalem (i.e., the Temple) by the enemies of Children of Israel. Allah says in the Qur'an that the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem was a punishment was inflicted upon the Children of Israel for their tyranny and arrogance.Now that the linguistic issues are clarified, let us now turn to the legal issues (i.e., Islamic Law) concerning the word masjid. Al-Zarkashi says:
Masjid from a legal point of view From a legal point of view it refers to every place on earth since the Prophet - peace be upon him - said: "The earth was made a masjid for me" which is a particularity of this ummah. This was said by the Qadi `Iyad because the previous nations used not to pray except in the places they were sure of their pureness whereas we were allowed to perform the prayers in any place not known to be impure.[6]Further he emphasizes:
Since prostration is the most honourable act in prayer because of the nearness of the servant to his Lord, the name of the location was derived from it. This is why we call it masjid [location of sujud / prostration] and not marka` [place of ruku` / inclination].[7]In summary, masjid from a linguistic point of view means a "place of prostration" without any religious distinction. From a legal point of view the word masjid in shari`ah constitutes every place on earth that is fit for prostration. In other words masjid does not designate a building but only a "place of prostration"; the place may or may not have the building. In support of the argument, we quote hadith #323 in Sahih al-Bukhari that has already been mentioned by al-Zarkashi: Muhammad Ibn Sinan, i.e., al-`Awqi told us, Hushaym told us; and Sa`id Ibn an-Nadr told me, Hushaym informed us that Sayyar informed us, Yazid, i.e., Ibn Suhayb al-Faqir told us, Jabir Ibn `Abd Allah told us: The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "I have been given five things which were not given to any amongst the Prophets before me. These are: 1. Allah made me victorious by awe [by His frightening of my enemies] for a distance of one month's journey. 2. The earth has been made for me [and for my followers] a "masjid" [Arabic: a place for prostration] and a means of purification. Therefore, my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due. 3. The booty has been made halal [lawful] for me [and was not made so for anyone else]. 4. Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation exclusively but I have been sent to all mankind. 5. I have been given the right of intercession [on the Day of Resurrection].[8] So, according to this hadith, any place on the earth is a masjid for Muslims. Therefore, whether there was a building or not when the Prophet made his heavenly trip, it is the location of the "Farthest Mosque" that is intended by the verse and not a building per se because the location where it lies was blessed by God as mentioned in verse 17:1 "the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless". Therefore, no one can claim that the word "masjid" in the Islamic terminology refers necessarily to a building. Imam Ibn Hajar confirms this opinion in Fath al-Bari (his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari) : (the earth has been made for me a "masjid") means a place for prostration, i.e., prostration is not restricted to any particular place of the earth. It may also be a metaphor of a construction built for prayer. This is due to the fact that once prayer is authorized everywhere on earth it becomes like a mosque for that purpose. Ibn al-Tin said: "The earth has been made for me a masjid and a means of purification" both were given to the Prophet, peace be upon him, while it was only a place for worship for others and was not a means of purification, because Jesus used to walk around and pray whenever prayer was due. Al-Dawudi said likewise before him. It was also said that they [the previous generations] were authorized to perform prayer in places known for sure to be pure, whereas this ummah is authorized to pray anywhere on earth except in the places known for sure to be impure. The strongest opinion is that of al-Khattabi who says that earlier nations were authorized to perform prayer in special places like synagogues and churches. This is confirmed by the wording of the narration of Ibn Shu`ayb "And before me people prayed in their churches." This is a controversial[?] wording but the specificity was established [??]. This is supported by the narration of al-Bazzar from the hadith of Ibn `Abbas similar to the present hadith which includes "Prophets did not pray until they reached their chamber".[9] Before we close this issue, one should realize that verse 17:1 also speaks of "The Sacred Mosque" which is in Makkah around the Ka`bah. Did a building for the mosque exist there in the time of the Prophet? The answer is that the Ka`bah was there but there was no building for the mosque. This further adds to the argument that the word masjid in this verse refers to a place of performing the prostration and does not imply the presence of a "building" in the modern understanding.The above understanding of the word masjid as a place of worship not building per se is also well supported by archaeological and historic evidence.

It is worth noting that the Prophet disliked extravagance and impressive architecture in buildings, especially mosques. The relative simplicity of early mosques is in fact a historical example of how the Prophet's Companions diligently followed his wishes. The word masjid from a linguistic point of view refers to a place of prostration without any religious distinction. From a legal point of view the word masjid in shari`ah constitutes every place on earth that is fit for prostration, whether or not it is a building.




US Idea of a Democratic Zone of Peace

US Idea of a Democratic Zone of Peace :Major(R)Khalid Nasr
Despite the growing polarization between left and right in American politics, there appears to be an unchallengeable consensus that the spread of democracy throughout the world would bring about a lasting solution to the problem of war. In defense of his attempts to transform Iraq, President Bush has argued that "peace is gained as justice and democracy advance." To the extent that the political left in America disagrees with the Bush policy, it is over the military means the administration has employed – very few challenge the premise that democracy can transform war-torn regions into zones of peace. This premise is based on the historical claim that democracies do not go to war with one another. But the historical record on which this claim rests is fairly narrow. Most modern democracies did not come into existence until the twentieth century, and many of these did not become fully established except under a very particular set of circumstances arising after World War Two which facilitated cooperation: the great powers had suffered enormously, there was widespread fear of nuclear war, and a fear of Soviet expansionism. In this context, the U.S. was widely perceived as the defender of the West and its common cultural heritage. All of these factors granted a moral legitimacy to U.S. power, which allowed the U.S. to exercise its power to uphold global stability and encourage the growth of transnational institutions, which led to the long post-World War Two peace between democracies. The contrast between this particular set of circumstances and the circumstances of the Middle East is striking. Rather than being rescued from war and external threats by a reluctant U.S., as was Europe, Iraq was subjected to a preemptive war and a botched occupation. It is widely perceived in the Middle East that the U.S. went to war because of Iraq’s large oil reserves – and there is a little truth in this perception, even if it is not the whole truth. In addition, rather than dealing with a set of countries with a common cultural heritage, the Middle East is a veritable arena for a "clash of civilizations," with the U.S. and Israel being viewed as imperialist Western intruders into Islamic lands. For these reasons, the U.S. does not currently have the same perceived moral legitimacy in exercising leadership in the Middle East as it did in the West after World War Two. Indeed, opinion polls have shown repeatedly that while large numbers of people in the Middle East have a favorable view of American democracy and liberty, they resent U.S. foreign policy, and this resentment has only increased as the U.S. has become more militarily involved in the Middle East and moved ever closer to the government of Ariel Sharon. Indeed, Middle East liberals have expressed their concern that open U.S. support for liberal dissidents in Muslim countries only casts suspicion on the dissidents and undermines their cause. Historically, there is no evidence that the rule that "democracies don’t fight each other" applies to the Middle East. The democratic institutions of the Jewish community in Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s did not prevent Jewish attacks upon British troops trying to maintain order in the region in the years before Israeli independence, nor did it prevent a democratic Lebanon from going to war against Israel in 1948. Over thirty years later, when Israel invaded Lebanon, Israel tried to set up a friendly Christian-dominated government in that country that would have permanently shut out Lebanon’s Muslim majority from power. Indeed, one can make a case that it is unelected elites in Islamic countries who are more inclined to be friendlier, or at least less hostile, to the U.S. and Israel. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 65 percent of Pakistanis and 55 percent of Jordanians held a favorable view of Osama Bin Laden; fortunately this populist support for a terrorist is not likely to be translated into official policy as long as authoritarian governments persist in those states. However, a recent article in the New Republic bemoaned the fact that the declining influence of secular military officers and rising influence of popularly-elected rulers in Turkey has resulted in a significant cooling of relations between Israel and Turkey. This should not be surprising, since 63 percent of Turks say they sympathize with the Palestinians in the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is true that the spread of democracy may contribute partly to peace, by making governments more accountable and checking the plans of the overly-ambitious. However, democracy cannot overcome all rivalries based on clashing national interests, religions, and social identities. No better proof of this can be found in the recent claims of some prominent neoconservatives that France should be considered a "rival, perhaps even an enemy of the United States" – this despite the fact that France is indisputably a democracy.

US Role in Promoting Democracy

U.S.Role in Promoting Democracy : Major(R)Khalid Nasr USA is posing herself to be the greatest supporter of Democracy.“More than two centuries ago, bold and courageous visionaries pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in signing the Declaration of Independence. Guided by ancient and eternal truths, our forefathers proclaimed to the world that liberty was the natural right of all mankind …. It was the desire for freedom that inspired our Founding Fathers, and it is the belief in the universality of freedom that guides our Nation,” President Bush says in his 2008 Independence Day greeting. The success of the United States’ great experiment has been and continues to be inspirational to many, but there’s an argument to be made that its success hinged as much on rich natural resources and relative isolation as on its “bold and courageous visionaries.” Setting aside the question of whether the U.S. version of democracy can be replicated elsewhere, what can or should the United States be doing to encourage democracy around the world? Christopher Coyne, writing in the January February 2008 Cato Policy Report advocates “a principled position of nonintervention and free trade.” Drawing on those same forefathers cited by Bush, Coyne says, “If you go back to the Founding Fathers of America – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams – all of them enunciated a position of economic ties with all and political ties with none.” In the same article, Tamara Cofman Wittes suggests an alternative approach to nonintervention, “a menu of tools” that include “advice and training for political activists and political leaders; networking among human rights activists and political entrepreneurs; technical training for governments and government parties; financial and other forms of support for civic groups that are working to inculcate liberal values in their local environment.” Separately, in her book Freedom’s Unsteady March, America’s Role in Building Arab Democracy, Wittes writes, “A proper understanding of America’s role and its limits is necessary to transform a comfortable and only-when-convenient idealism into a sustainable and effective policy.” A common man in Pakistan is wondering what role USA is playing in the establishment of a democratic syste in Pakistan. USA has her own vested interest in Pakistan there fore still suppoting Musharaf against the will of the people of Pakistan.