Ex-maid held over robbery – 29 Nov 2022

LAHORE: Naseerabad investigations police have arrested a domestic worker involved in a robbery in a house after one year of leaving the job. The prime suspect identified as Sadaf worked as a maid at the house. She had left the job a year ago to go back to her native town in Multan. The suspect being an employee knew all the details about the family and the house. She, with the help of her cousin, Abbas hatched a plan to loot the house. She barged into the house, stole cash and valuables worth over Rs2.4 million and fled. A case was registered against the unidentified suspects. Police on Monday arrested the suspects and were investigating the matter further. OUR CORRESPONDENT

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COP27: success conduces responsibility – 29 Nov 2022

Suffering nations, including Pakistan, demanded compensation for ‘loss and damage’

The Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers (V20) of 58 climate vulnerable economies and the Group of Seven (G7) launched the initiative of Global Shield against Climate Risks at the 27th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), also known as COP27. Previously, the core agenda of developed nations at the COP26 was to reduce the gap between the existing emission reduction plans and the emissions cut-off requirement so that the rise in the global average temperature can be limited to 1.5 degrees. At COP27, suffering nations, including Pakistan, demanded compensation for ‘loss and damage’ –formally known ‘polluters pay’ — to be part of the core agenda. Successfully, the nations at COP27 have agreed for the first time to include this topic on the formal agenda, especially after years of reluctance by richer polluters to accept open-ended responsibility and liability. The operational guidelines of these funds are not available. It is apprehended that these funds will carry FATF-type compliance mechanism from donors.

The developed countries have impliedly categorised these funds not because of financial and legal obligations but supporting vulnerable countries facing unavoidable threats from global warming. To examine this ‘loss and damage’ caused by climate change, a legal campaign has been launched by the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu to take advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to clarify what obligations governments have in order to protect their own populations and of others. Out of 200 countries, 86 countries gave support to this resolution to finalise a legal question and submit it before ICJ if they win a planned vote at the UN General Assembly in mid-December. Making it a human rights issue, the developing countries can open a legal-based future (climate Justice) negotiation by proposing what financial obligations countries have on climate change as well as the scale and magnitude of economic and non-economic losses. Now onwards, countries have to be more diligent in assessing Post Disaster Needs Assessment and identifying losses and damages. Environmental scientists have to devise technology-based adverse climate impacts strategy, financial losses and budgeting for climate negotiation under the UN legal framework.

In the past, the richer countries had promised providing $100 billion a year to help developing countries. An initial funding of more than 200 million dollars will be made available to seven affected countries — Pakistan, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Fiji, Ghana, the Philippines and Senegal — also called pathfinder countries. According to initial estimates from the World Bank, Pakistan immediately needs an amount of $53.5 billion.

The Global Shield Financing Facility will implement its agenda of financial protection by channeling grants to developing countries through World Bank projects or through projects prepared by other participating partners, including UN agencies and multilateral development banks. It will provide monetary assistance to integrated financial protection packages that offer coordinated and consolidated financial support to those powerless against climate shocks and calamities. These financial packages will encourage investments in climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Such packages will also enable private capital for better financial strength, by offering private financial solutions, including state-owned insurance and other risk transfer instruments such as catastrophe bonds. These state-owned insurance companies will cover loss of crops, livestock property and other goods and protect the state infrastructure, community and state assets.

Indeed, there needs to be great appreciation for all environmental scientists and countries like Pakistan who alerted the G7 and rest of world to take a swift action against climate change risks by inventing this term of ‘polluter pays’. However, the work does not cease here. Being one of the first beneficiaries of the Global Shield Financing Funding, Pakistan now has an ever-greater responsibility than before. This success will conduce great need for reformation and responsibility on domestic levels. As observed, the funding will work on a larger scale to create policy, reform and objectives; it does cover redressal of issues at grossroots level. The weaknesses at domestic level will remain indolent if Pakistan does not take urgent actions.

The COP forum does not cater to developing countries’ domestic inabilities to handle climate disasters, it rather focuses on impact of global warming due to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from advanced economies. As the main contributors of GHG emissions are the US, EU and China. Pakistan with less than 1% share has an insignificant contribution to the larger phenomenon of global warming and faced unfair burden on the economy evident from the recent floods that affected 33 million people across the country.

Pakistan is among the countries most vulnerable to climate disaster but least prepared to cope with it. Being in the limelight, Pakistan has to improve its existing environmental infrastructure to combat climate change and improved hazard identification and risk assessment. New competencies and silo-crossing abilities must be developed at all levels of governance. In North, Pakistan has a high range of Himalayas, Hindukush and Karakoram with largest reservoir of ice outside the polar region, ignoring the possibilities of glacial advance, fast glacial retreat and the issues that come with it. Pakistan has to make laws for Glacier Protection (GLPs) as the country has experienced erratic weather leading to flash floods, drought, glacial lake outbursts, scorching heatwaves and increased rainfall variability.

Pakistan needs to focus on developing legislation on illegal encroachment on river belts, canals and water courses; take legal and administrative actions against timber mafia; protect agriculture lands from private housing societies; take steps against harmful air pollutants; work on preserving world heritage and ancient civilisations (Indus Valley, Mohenjo Daro, Gandhara, Harappa); promote the need for use of more renewable energy; reduce the use of emission-producing vehicles; carry out large-scale tree plantation; and build water lakes and reservoirs for storage purposes. Moreover, Pakistan should also address the need for emergency management and advance preparedness. If not, the pressure group of G7 with their aid will now require results and answers.

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Gender-based violence – 29 Nov 2022

Pakistan remains one of the most unsafe countries in the world for women

It is a fact that Pakistan remains one of the most unsafe countries in the world for women. Due to increased reporting, heinous human rights abuses have come to the forefront, as statistics paint a grim picture that 32% of women experience violence in the country. This means that over 22,000 incidents of gender-based violence have been reported in Pakistan in the last six years. Due to the collective trauma that women have been experiencing, nearly half of women who experience abuse have never sought help or justice thanks to social stigma, coercion and lack of accountability.

While Islam provides adequate rights to women, gender-based violence against women in Pakistan is rooted in the patriarchal interpretation of religious principles. This is supported by the fact that there is a high number of violence by spouses and other male relatives, which often results in major physical injuries, life-long immobilisation, or even death. Conviction rates against perpetrators are deplorably low and the justice system has failed to protect the dignity of Pakistani women. To make it even worse, resources and services for survivors of violence remain scarce while healthcare personnel are inadequately prepared to deal with sensitive cases. In order to mitigate such trends, officials should fight against existing norms on a war-footing. Promoting awareness through different platforms in order to change the prevailing mindset seems to be the obvious route to take but has largely been ineffective. Therefore, innovative ideas must be brought to the table.

There are major legislative loopholes that have not been addressed due to resistance from politicians and religious leaders. Progressive politicians, who are able to support amendments with concrete evidence and justification, should be tasked to strengthen the legislative framework. Lastly, healthcare facilities must be provided and basic healthcare units set up in rural areas to help survivors cope. Implementation is severely lacking.

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A Covid winter? – 29 Nov 2022

With China posting record high Covid-19 infections this winter, and its citizens protesting its strict zero-Covid policy, there are legitimate fears of a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic. The disease is not over and the latest data show that there has been an upsurge in both new infections and deaths. This is not happening in any one region; from Asia to Europe and the Americas the trend is changing once again. The highest weekly upsurge has been in Japan and South Korea with nearly 700,000 new cases in Japan and around 380,000 new infections in South Korea. France has reported over 300,000 new cases in the past seven days whereas Germany, Brazil, USA, Italy, and Taiwan have detected over 100,000 new infections. These are not simple infections that do not claim lives; the US has recorded over 1,000 deaths in this past week while Germany and Japan have also reported over 800 deaths in the same period.

These reports show that the virus is still raging albeit with reduced intensity; it is still fatal and may consume many more lives if the world does not take it seriously. If still millions of people are getting infected around the world and thousands are dying from this infection, there should be no room for any complacency. Pakistan to date has recorded over 1.5 million infections and over 30600 deaths. Though this may look slightly better compared to other countries, there were over 5,800 active cases in the last week of November. There is hardly any doubt that Pakistan has performed better but no one should take this trend for granted. Covid-19 is a deadly disease and even the most developed countries found themselves at the mercy of its lethal impact in the past two years. However, there is good enough reason to understand that the world cannot afford to see a repeat of the lockdown days. Neither the economy, nor the infrastructures nor mental health can manage a return to whole cities locking down. This is why what we need is to ensure that the spread of the virus is stopped through vigilance: masking, some distancing, and vaccines.

Somehow, the vaccination campaign in Pakistan that was in full swing last year appears to have lost its momentum in the last few months. There is a need to educate people about the still persisting virus so that they get vaccinated at their earliest – and also get the booster shots which are also available. Especially in flood affected areas where health facilities are no more available any outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic may take a heavy toll. Mobile vaccination centres should also be dispatched to areas where displaced people have taken shelter.

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Election delay – 29 Nov 2022

OF recent, leaders from the ruling PML-N have been dropping hints about a possible delay in general elections after the incumbent government completes its term in August 2023.

The strongest signal in this regard came from Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, who told a TV channel that National Assembly elections could be delayed for six months to give `relief` to the masses. Meanwhile, the prime minister`s special assistant on overseas Pakistanis, while talking to journalists, went even further, predicting that the NA would be given an `extension` for another year. Add to this the fact that the finance ministry has been noncommittal about the release of Rs47bn to the ECP to conduct general elections, and the belief that the PDM government or at least the PML-N, the combo`s leading party is interested in inordinately delaying polls is strengthened.

It would be an understatement to say Pakistan stands at a delicate crossroads. Though a smooth change of command in the military has just been announced after much controversy, and, for now at least, fears about prolonged instability have lessened following the PTPs decision to call off its sit-in, the fact is that uncertainty still clouds the air, with the economy tanking in alarming fashion. In such a scenario, to call for delaying the elections beyond August is unjustified, and may only prolong the multiplicity of crises the nation is confronted with. Therefore, the ruling coalition has two doable choices before it: complete its term, or call early polls. Of course, if the PDM government chooses to stick to its guns and waits it out till August, it has the constitutional right to do so. Yet it is also true that its performance during the last seven months has left much to be desired, and inertia affects all key state institutions, while the PTPs lack of interest in attending Lower House sessions has rendered the NA without an effective opposition. Thus, as this paper has argued earlier, the best solution to this crisis may lie in early elections. Moreover, with the PTI ready to act on its threat of dissolving the KP and Punjab assemblies, the ruling coalition may want to prevent further chaos and uncertainty by announcing a feasible timetable for fresh polls. As for lack of funds for the ECP, it is the state`s job to provide the required money in order to pave the way for polls.

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Police see `honour` behind youth`s murder in Wazirabad – 29 Nov 2022

GUJRAT: Wazirabad police suspects an honourrelated issue behind the brutal murder of a youth who had gone missing three days ago and his mutilated, half burnt body was found in Rasul Nagar locality in Ahmed Nagar police precincts on Sunday.

A senior police official says the mobile phone of the victim was being unlocked for the call data and to know his location after being kidnapped.

A citizen, Rana Aslam, had lodged a complaint with Wazirabad police on Nov 26 that his 18-year-old son Rizwan Aslam had gone to a nearby village to drop his cousin on Nov 25, but did not return home.

On the complaint, the police registered a case against unidentified suspect(s) under section 365 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The police launched a search operation in the area, finding the youth`s mobile phone and the motorbike from different locations.

On Nov 27 (Sunday), a passerby saw a half-burnt body lying in the forest along the spur of the river Chenab and reported thematter to the police. The police took the body in custody that was later identified as of the missing youth, Rizwan.

Police say the deceased`s throat was slit and the body had cuts on its different parts. They say the killers also attempted to burn the body.

The body was shifted to Wazirabad Tehsil Headquarters Hospital, where an autopsy was conducted.

A team of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) also collected evidence from the scene, besides the samples of the body, for analysis.

Wazirabad Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Malik Aamir told Dawn that initial investigations point towards the possibility of an honour-related issue behind the murder as the victim was subjected to brutal torture.

Inspector Nadeem of Alipur Chattha police station is investigating the case.

The DSP said after recovery and idendñcadon of the body, section 302 of the PPC had also being inserted into the already registered kidnap case.

The deceased had done his matriculation a couple of years ago but could not continue studies.

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Young man shot at, wounded in targeted attack – 29 Nov 2022

KARACHI: A young man was shot at and wounded by armed assailants in what police suspected a targeted attack on main University Road near Safari Park on Monday morning.

Gulshan-i-Iqbal SHO Arshad Janjua said that Kamran, 26, was standing near a superstore when two men riding on a motorbike opened indiscriminate firing on him and rode away.

He suffered four bullet wounds and was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where his condition was stated to be stable.

The SHO said that the assailants specifically targeted him and fired multiple shots. He said the incident appeared to be motivated by some `girl issue`.

The wounded man was employed with a water tanker service as a driver.

`Car-lifter`held The Anti-Vehicle Lifting Cell of the police on Monday claimed to have wounded and arrested a suspect in an alleged `encounter` and recovered a stolen vehicle from him.

According to AVLC SSP MohammedAnwarKhetran, a police patrol during snapchecking spotted the stolen car in Shah Nawaz Goth in Manghipirandinanensuing encounter it arrested suspect Khalilullah alias Khalil in an injured condition.

He said that the wounded suspect had been arrested twice, in June and October, this year for his alleged involvement in car thef t. He was sent to prison but he was enlarged on bail recently, he added.

`Heis ahabitualoffender, the officer said, adding that he was involved in several incidents of car thef t.

Meanwhile, the body of an unidentified person, aged between 35 and 40 years, was found at a desolated place in Sohrab Goth.

The body was shifted to a hospital to ascertain the exact cause of his death.

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Unity in diversity – 29 Nov 2022

Every four years, the football world cup brings the world together. The euphoric bond transcends religious, ideological, political and time barriers. Messi, Mbappe, Neymar, Benzema and Mohammed Salah, artists in motion, mesmerize and enthrall fans as did football greats like Pele and Maradona.

At a mind-boggling 227.27 million viewers per day an estimated five billion people, nearly three fourth of humanity, shall view the Qatar World Cup matches this year.

This world cup, despite the fissures within, was promoted as a symbol of Arab solidarity and a bridge between the West and the Arab world. However, Qatar made it clear that it would not compromise on its religion, culture and traditions. The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy responsible for overseeing the Qatar World Cup said: “Everyone is welcome in Qatar. We simply ask for people to respect our culture”.

Not to be, Qatar was barraged for its anti-LGBT stance and human rights record. Some called to boycott the cup. So vicious was this onslaught that FIFA President Gianni Infantino had to speak out in defence of Qatar. In the rebuttal, he called out the stark hypocrisy and crass insensitivity of the West. He praised Qatar for taking “a few years to do what took Europe hundreds of years”. He also said: “What we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 before starting to give moral lessons”.

Despite the West’s bluster about LGBT rights, its members have been subjected to the worst kind of violence. Just last week, Anderson Aldrich opened fire in a LGBT nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five with 25 wounded. President Biden’s self-indicting lament was: “The LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence. Gun violence continues to have a devastating impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation and threats of violence are increasing”. Previously, 49 people were massacred and 50 wounded in an attack on Pulse Nightclub, again a LGBT hangout in Orlando.

Washington and Europe’s active promotion and endorsement of LGBT has triggered reactionary responses within their own countries.

Claiming to be human rights champions, Washington enacted many bills and resolutions that target migrants and refugees. We saw the inhuman plight of caged refugees as children, including infants, were cruelly separated from their wailing mothers. Europe, on its part, has seen thousands of these migrants drowning in the Mediterranean. Those who make it to their shores have been treated inhumanely and sent back to the very lands they fled from – so much for human rights and its godfathers.

The hypocrisy can also be gauged with Washington seeing nothing wrong in Qatar when it operates Al Udeid Air Base there. The largest US military base in the Middle East, it houses 11,000 US military personnel with a plane landing or taking off every ten minutes round the clock. Criminal hypocrisy has seen Washington targeting Qatar’s state-owned Al Jazeera. In April 2003 Tareq Ayoub, a 35-year-old reporter, was killed in a deliberate strike on Al Jazeera’s Baghdad bureau.

Fearing such a criminal act, Al Jazeera had written and provided the precise location of its office to US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a month earlier. The US also struck Al Jazeera offices and personnel in Basra and Kabul. In May this year, Washington abetted Israeli forces deliberately targeted and killed veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank city of Jenin. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged Israel to open a criminal investigation into the assassination; it has fallen on deaf ears.

Iraq was in the 7th year of its invasion, killing and maiming millions, when the US won the bid to host the 2010 world cup. Despite its genocidal military forays, the US has been entrusted to hold the 2026 football world cup, its second in 16 years. The dichotomy is also evident with Russia being banned by FIFA for its invasion of Ukraine. In Qatar, the West shall encourage show of support for Ukraine but condemn the same against Israel.

The mindset that we were colonized so that we could be civilized persists. The West responsible for the worst of atrocities and colonization is a hotbed of Islamophobia and xenophobic populism. These would-be torch bearers of humanity show utter contempt for the vast mosaic of religions, customs and convictions that govern cultures and societies across the globe. This mindset sees them imposing their morals, rules and preferences on what they have always disparagingly considered as the lesser mortals of this world.

We should be spared the hypocritical spiel and let football remain a global binder. It is the spirit and magic of this game that Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina was celebrated from Aleppo to Baghdad in an otherwise fractious Arab World. Even Yemen’s Houthis, at war with Saudi Arabia, rejoiced at the win. These images along with that of Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, whose country was blockaded by Saudi Arabia and its allies, with a Saudi flag draped round his neck is a sublime moment no military victory or blockade can ever achieve.

The key to a far better world can be found in the riveting Morgan Freeman Ghanim Al Muftah dialogue. Freeman asks, “How can we perpetuate harmony more and more”? Al Muftah replies, “With tolerance and respect, we can live together under one roof”.

Wars, ideological or military, are often waged on false beliefs; it is a horrendous trek. It is of paramount importance that we vie for, seek and nurture unity in diversity. This shall be the bedrock of a world united in peace, cohesion and mutual respect.

The writer is a freelance contributor. He can be reached at: miradnanaziz@gmail.com

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No more doctrines – 29 Nov 2022

Conventionally, the word ‘doctrine’ has two meanings. A doctrine can be “a set of principles or beliefs, especially religious ones”. A doctrine can also be “a statement of official government policy, especially foreign policy”.

Exactly 199 years ago, in his annual speech to the American parliament, US President James Monroe articulated the principles around which the United States would shape and define its sovereignty and relationship with the older, more entrenched world powers that had once colonized the lands that Monroe and his colleagues had been elected to govern. This came to be called the Monroe Doctrine.

There is no rulebook for what can legitimately constitute a doctrine, and what qualifies as lazy, incongruous ideas that someone has picked up from conversations at receptions, in airports and at conferences along the way. As many boomers have learnt (and many still have not) – thanks to the internet and wokeness – the grandness of ideas and personalities are often not what they seem. James Monroe may well have been a man of very limited intellect, low moral standing and he may even have been financially corrupt – but the enduring stature of the Monroe Doctrine has helped associate his name, through two centuries of historians and biographers, with American sovereignty. It turns out that a doctrine is not just the sum of its parts. It is the endurance and power of what it produces.

It would be nice to be able to say that Pakistan is turning the page today as a new chief of army staff (COAS) takes command in Rawalpindi. Such naivete may be forgivable for those with a memory that is shorter than six years. For all other Pakistanis, it is not only not possible to turn the page so easily, but it may also be objectionable to do so. For starters, to turn a page, one must be able to find it. The ‘same page’ that was advertised so breathlessly by both Imran Khan and those in Rawalpindi that helped make him prime minister in 2018 was ripped to shreds as Khan allowed the PMO and an orchestra of fawning sycophants get to his head.

Of all the politicians with whom the Pakistani people and many of the country’s soldiers have fallen in love with over the decades, none did so in the digital age. Tweets are like diamonds: forever. Turn the page? Not so fast. Not with members of the National Assembly (like Mohsin Dawar) being denied boarding on flights to conferences abroad, not with politicians being blackmailed and terrorized with obscenities of a most profound and disgusting nature, not with the proliferation of first investigation reports every time a journalist dares to question the very top of the Brahminical state in this republic. Turning the page should not be so easy.

As one is already willing to take great pains to accept, a doctrine need not be articulated in the Queen’s English, or the King’s, or even Sandhurst’s. Ideally, if you are presenting a set of disparate, multidisciplinary thoughts or aspirations, for us to award such amalgamations the stature of a doctrine should probably require references to a couple of doctoral dissertations, maybe a book, or two or three. I am told, by those that know better than me, that this is a snobbish, imperial notion of what qualifies as doctrinal. Fair enough. Let us accept what began in 2016 and ends today as the end of an era in which a specific “doctrine” was pursued. And let us also not be too stuck up about how doctrines come about. It was said, and thus it was!

The purpose of affording soldiers the self-confidence to articulate their own doctrines, in their own names, is to enjoy unmatched security and safety. Between 2001 and 2015, Pakistan fought and won a war. In 2016, the country was not tasked with winning a war. It was tasked with keeping and winning the peace.

Six years later, the vanquished enemy, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) isn’t so vanquished any more. Clearly, the terrorists believe in reincarnation. Those that would like to be lauded for their doctrines may or may not believe in reincarnation, but they are surely adherents to fantasy fiction. What else would explain an expectation of national gratitude when the nation must now contend, once again, with an enemy that had already been put down. Of course, the TTP we can blame on the Afghan Taliban. The same, ostensibly trustworthy brothers in arms that Pakistan resisted American pressure for two decades for.

To those that went along with the more aesthetically engaging fictions – like the magical powers of Imran Khan to cure Pakistan of all ills – the TTP reversal is not dissimilar to the return to power of a prime minister with the last name Sharif. Imagine that: a public discourse that equates terrorists with allegedly corrupt politicians. Speaking of which, one of the most important products of Pakistan’s nursery of great ideas and doctrines in the last half century? The PML-Q. Birthed from one of the umpteen efforts to break the Sharifs long before many current one-star generals had even begun their service to the nation, the best way for honourable and upstanding officers in the military to see the fruit of their institution’s handiwork in Pakistani politics is to take a long, hard look at the permanent and enduring contribution it has made to Pakistan and Gujarat in particular. Bravissimi!

In Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future trilogy, the notion of time travel is clarified as a set of choices. Once you alter the past, the present you occupy and the future you will land in, are all subject to path dependency. In short, there is no unscrewing the screws that have been screwed into place. Time and space are not a video game with unlimited credit. Volition is finite and has consequences.

Of course, consequences are easy for newspaper and television news people to conjure and conceive of. Saleem Shehzad, Mohammad Salahuddin, Wali Khan Babar and Arshad Sharif are no longer here to speak for themselves or anyone else. Others that do have lost their newspaper columns, lost their television shows, lost their jobs. Consequences for those that never face accountability for their decisions must be much harder a notion to come to grips with.

What is the corollary then for a post-doctrine Pakistan? If Back to the Future has taught us anything, it should teach us this: we cannot undo what has been done. There is not enough Samad Bond in all of Pakistan that can put Humpty Dumpty back together again. We are here and now, and it is a worse place than the country was in when this journey began in 2016. This is the kindest articulation of the political manipulation, public discourse contamination, electoral compromises and ingress into civilian matters that has manufactured the current polycrisis that Pakistan faces. It is not dissimilar to previous crises, and it is not one that condemns Pakistan permanently, but for all this we have good geopolitical fortune, great geography, massive size, and resplendent Pakistani diversity to thank.

What is the way forward for Rawalpindi? There was never a time or place for doctrines. That is not what we rely on our armed forces for. This is the finest assembly of fighting men and women on the planet. Constantly underfunded, constantly understaffed, constantly under equipped and constantly underappreciated. The last thing Pakistani national security needed was an almighty domestic entanglement. Six long years have left the country weaker and more vulnerable – both to the wickedness of Pakistan’s enemies and the fickleness and whims of its friends.

Politicians here are not dramatically better or worse than elsewhere. But even if they were the worst ones on the planet, their sorting out is for the people – not our soldiers, spies, airmen and seamen. It will take longer than six years to change lanes and get healthier as a nation. That is enough time for at least two chiefs to have come and gone. Each must be welcomed with the great warmth and reverence afforded to the office by a grateful nation, and each must leave, without an extension, without eight, nine-hour sessions with journalists, without dozens of foreign trips, or hundreds of call-ons by diplomats and humanitarians and bankers and technocrats and businessmen, and without the burden of the dirty, filthy, thankless world of Pakistani politics.

Let the armed forces be all that they can be: free of the toxicity of politics, free of people’s criticism, the very best of us all, above and beyond the humdrum of the daily new cycle. It is time to restore honour, dignity and reverence to the armed forces. The first step? Step away from politics and the public discourse.

May Allah bless the Pakistani military as it tries to chart this new path, InshaAllah.

The writer is an analyst and commentator.

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Punjab’s handicrafts attract foreigners – 29 Nov 2022

RAWALPINDI: President Pakistan Green Task Force, Dr Jamal Nasir, along with Director of Arts Council Waqar Ahmed here on Monday visited the Punjab Pavilion at the Lok Mela.

On the occasion, Assistant Director of Arts Council Muhammad Suleman briefed the guests about the artisans from Punjab. Waqar said each country had handicrafts, including carvings, embroidery, clothing and jewellery.

He added that each colour, style and design, with a unique symbol, represents the culture of a particular region based on the local skills of the people. By providing artisans with modern technology and training, Pakistan could earn valuable foreign exchange from handicrafts exports, Waqar said.

He informed that Pakistani handicrafts were famous worldwide, adding that at the International Dubai Expo, recently, Pakistani artisans surprised the world with their art. Director of Arts Council Waqa Ahmed said to access most of the international craft markets, “We need to adopt our strategies to promote our handicrafts worldwide by creating awareness, such as organizing handicraft exhibitions, using e-marketing channels and organising fairs at the international level.”

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