The Good in You

The good you find in others, is in you too.
The faults you find in others, are your faults as well.
After all, to recognize something you must know it.
The possibilities you see in others, are possible for you as well.
The beauty you see around you, is your beauty.
The world around you is a reflection, a mirror showing you the person you are.
To change your world, you must change yourself.

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Pakistanis would like to see America stop its meddling

Eric S Margolis, a veteran American journalist, once wrote: “Anyone who still wonders why so many in the Muslim World hate the West needs to look no further than Pakistan, where, in the name of ‘democracy’ and ‘counterterrorism’ Washington and London are stirring a witches brew of dictatorship, intrigue and violence.”

Pakistan’s national concerns, be they short term or long term, ought to be aligned with none other than Pakistan itself. And, God forbid, if that is not the case then Pakistan is betraying its own national interest.

Let us be very clear. Pakistan shares no such commonalities with the US, nor has our relationship over the years developed on the basis of equality, equity or respect. The interest of United States, as reflected in its lethal foreign policy, is purely US-centric. It would be naïve for America to expect us to believe that in some way Pakistan’s national interest is accounted for in American policies. As seen through the eyes of a Pakistani, America’s relationship with Pakistan is purely that of a patron and client, whereby, through years of flawed policies, Pakistan has reduced itself to being a subservient rent state.

The source of anti-American sentiment is not Pakistani’s lack of acknowledgement and appreciation for America’s economic assistance, rather, our sense of resentment and deprivation is the result of the pound of flesh which America demands in return—that is, the sovereignty of our people..

America’s unaccountable and unquestioning generosity towards our military has made it resistant to democratic checks and has severely distorted the balance of powers between important state institutions, creating an air of conflict and mistrust between them. America pays military governments several million dollars a year and many more directly to our military, and in return it uses our military and our land to further its own political agenda in the region. On the one hand America professes the importance of democracy in Pakistan in which the ultimate sounding board is the will of the people, and on the other hand America has deprived the people of their power.

What better example of this than the current political crisis in Pakistan? Deny all it will, America has and continues to micro-manage our affairs. Despite all its hollow claims of supporting democracy and fighting terrorism, America continues to back autocratic, dictatorial, military rulers, and thereby increasing public alienation, social turmoil and political instability.

In the elections of 2008, the people of Pakistan gave General Musharraf and his cronies the order of the boot. In no uncertain terms, the message given by the people of Pakistan was that they no longer want a military rule which does not empower the people, and which does not put national interest first, and which is exceedingly obedient to foreign orders. Being seen as a close American ally cost Musharraf and his cronies heavily. However, once again, the will of the people was vetoed by America, and regardless of the fact that the majority of the people would like to see the back of Pervez Musharaf, he remains seated in the Presidency, probably sending thank you emails to President Bush every morning.

If America genuinely wants to help Pakistan, then it must show respect for the will of the people of this country. If the “war on terror” is really a war on terror and if America is committed to winning it, then the best thing it can do is help create a stable and moderate Pakistan. This can only be done if America distances itself from the governance of the country and alleviates the feeling of alienation and helplessness amongst the people by allowing them to play their rightful role in the political process.

Read this realistic analysis by clicking here
Written by: Alizeh Haider, a barrister and human rights activist currently based in the UAE.
Email: alizeh.haider@yahoo.com

A shameful reminder of damning crime statistics

As many as 260 women were gang-raped and 1,996 were raped in 2007, revealed statistics of the countrywide reported crime, which was submitted to the federal government.

In Punjab, 233 women were gang-raped and 1,509 were raped. In Sindh, 27 were gang-raped and 170 were raped. While, 152 were raped in the NWFP, 33 in Balochistan, 76 in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 20 in the Northern Areas and 36 in the AJK.

The statistics for the first quarter of 2008 showed 42 women were gang-raped and 428 were raped in the country, 28 gang-rapes took place in the Punjab and 14 in Sindh. The number of rapes in the Punjab this year was 330 as against 32 in Sindh. However, during the last three months, 25 rape cases were reported in the NWFP, three in Balochistan, 27 in the ICT, two in the Northern Areas and nine in the AJK.

Statistics on kidnapping during the first quarter of 2008 revealed that 140 people were kidnapped for ransom in the country. Of these, 47 incidents took place in the Punjab, 57 in Sindh, five in Balochistan, eight in the ICT and one in the AJK. While 2,600 cases of kidnapping and abduction, including 1,998 in the Punjab, 391 in Sindh, 112 in the NWFP, 41 in Balochistan, four in the ICT, two in railway, two in the Northern Areas and 50 in the AJK, were reported.

Figures show 23,144 vehicles were snatched or stolen in 2007. Of these, 13,527 cases were reported in the Punjab, 7,562 in Sindh, 729 in the NWFP, 614 in Balochistan, 537 in Islamabad, 17 in railway, 24 in the Northern Areas and 134 in the AJK. The data for 2008 show 6,229 vehicle-snatching cases were reported during the first quarter. Of these, 3,210 cases were reported in the Punjab, 2,453 in Sindh, 160 in the NWFP, 170 in Balochistan, 179 in the ICT, six in railway, eight in the Northern Areas and 43 in the AJK.

In 2007, 232 people, including 199 in Sindh, 24 in the NWFP, eight in the Punjab and one in the AJK, committed suicide, the report said.

It said 10,556 people were murdered throughout the country during the year 2007. Of these, 5,083 were killed in the Punjab, 2,277 in Sindh, 2,527 in the NWFP, 399 in Balochistan, 100 in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), seven in railway, 59 in the Northern Areas and 104 in the AJK.

In 2008, 2,540 people, including 1,170 in the Punjab, 612 in Sindh, 588 in the NWFP, 109 in Balochistan, 27 in the ICT, three in railway, five in the Northern Areas and 26 in the AJK, were killed during the first quarter.

In all, 5,485 people, including 3,288 in the Punjab, 930 in Sindh, 740 in the NWFP, 230 in Balochistan, 121 in Islamabad, three in railway, 40 in the Northern Areas and 133 in the AJK, died in road accidents in 2007. While during the first quarter of 2008, 1,097 people, including 645 in the Punjab, 187 in Sindh, 165 in the NWFP, 47 in Balochistan, 28 in Islamabad, eight in the Northern Areas and 17 in the AJK, were killed in road accidents.

Last year, 37 banks, including 15 in the Punjab, 20 in Sindh, one in the NWFP and one in the Northern Areas, were looted, while 11 incidents of bank robbery, including five in the Punjab and six in Sindh, were reported in the first quarter of 2008.

Looting of 79 petrol pumps was reported during last year. Of these, 37 took place in the Punjab, 41 in Sindh and one in Balochistan. Twenty-eight incidents of petrol-pump looting, including eight in the Punjab and 20 in Sindh, were reported so far from January to March, 2008.

In all, 3,211 incidents of highway dacoities and robberies were reported in 2007. Of these, 265 took place in the Punjab, 89 in Sindh, nine in the NWFP, 21 in Balochistan, one in Islamabad, seven in the Northern Areas and 23 in the AJK.

A total of 289,751 cases of street crimes, including dacoities, robberies, burglaries, thefts, drug dealing, bootlegging and carrying illegal weapons, were reported last year. While 76,974 cases of street crimes have been registered so far during the first quarter of 2008.

Published in The News

The King of Spices

Almost everyone knows that a dash of black pepper can add flavor to just about any dish. Black Pepper has been a covetous spice for thousands of years. It not only spices up food, but is also an excellent source of manganese, vitamin K, iron, and fiber. It also improves digestive disorders and keeps the intestines healthy.

The taste of black pepper alerts the stomach to secrete extra amounts of hydrochloric acid which helps to digestion. In fact, if our stomachs have a deficiency of this substance, then food will sit in our tummies long enough to give us heartburn and indigestion; when these putrid food particles are passed to the intestines, then a lot of unpleasant symptoms, like flatulence, may occur. So think of pepper as a type of aphrodisiac in that you won’t repel prospective mates.

Black pepper also contains remarkable weight loss properties – the outer layer of the peppercorn fuels the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slender, energetic, and even younger.

Of course not all peppers are created equal. While all peppers come from the same vine, different kinds result from harvesting the berries at distinct stages of the ripening and processing them in diverse ways. For example, green peppercorns are picked long before maturity in the green stage; white pepper comes from completely ripe peppercorns that have been picked close to maturity. And finally, black pepper come from berries as they are beginning to ripen from green to yellow and while still relatively immature. They are then boiled for a short time, and then dried naturally in the sun until they are perfect.

This “king of spices” is a produce of the East and comes from a plant that can grow more than 30 feet tall in tropical climates. It is mostly grown in Indonesia and India. Pepper sold in USA and some countries of Europe is a mixture from a variety of low-grade peppers bought at the lowest possible price.

A superior form of pepper comes from the Lampong district of South-eastern Sumatra, the center of pepper production in Indonesia. Lampong pepper berries tend to be smaller than those of Indian pepper, which gives it a finer flavor than other peppercorns. Lampong pepper is one of the one of the strongest and hottest black pepper with a powerful flavor.

Creation Explained

In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God’s great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream and Krispy Crème Donuts. And Satan said, “You want chocolate with that?” And man said, “Yes!” and Woman said, “and as long as you are on it, add some sprinkles.” And they gained 10 pounds and Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that women might keep the figure that men found so fair.
And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane and combined them. And woman went from size 6 to 14.

So, God said, “Try my fresh green salad.” And Satan presented Thousand-Island dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, “I have sent you heart-healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them.” And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and fried chicken steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then created a light fluffy white cake, named it “Angel Food Cake”, and said, “It is good”. And Satan then created chocolate cake and named it “Devil’s Food”.

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And the Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy centre into chips and deep fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald’s and it’s 99-cent Double Cheese Burger. Then said, “You want fries with that?” And Man replied, “Yes! And super size them”. And Satan said, “ It is good”. And Man went in to cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery. Then Satan created HMOs.