Pakistan Versus India

The education rate and literacy indicators in Pakistan are better than those in India, a United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) report said on Wednesday.
The report claimed Pakistan’s infant mortality ratio per 1,000 live births was 62, compared to India’s 53 per 1,000 live births.
Meanwhile, the maternal mortality ratio in the country was 320 per 100,000 live births, compared to 450 in India.
As per details regarding education, the report said that in Pakistan, 32.3 percent male and 60.4 percent female above 15 years of age were literate. 23.1 percent male and 45.5 percent female above the same age were literate in India.
Gross primary enrolment ratio was 101 male and 83 girls in Pakistan, while it was 114 males and 109 females in India.
The report said that out of the above-mentioned figures, 68 male and 72 female managed to reach grade five in Pakistan, while in India the number was 59 male and 49 females.

Judging Pakistan

An article of faith in the West is that the al-Qaeda masterminds of the terrorist attacks of September 2001 — as well as terrorist bombings in Islamabad, Peshawar, and Karachi — have taken refuge in sanctuaries in Pakistan’s rugged western border areas. There is a related notion — equally common in the West — that Pakistani security forces make no effort to hunt down such murderers, who have also shed much Pakistani blood. So I would like to offer a few observations based upon my own experience in Pakistan. Not so many years ago, I was fortunate to visit South Waziristan. I will never forget the immense beauty of the rugged Pakistani mountain ranges between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a region that has much to teach the West about the manhunt for terrorists and miscreants who may in fact be hiding in these remote areas.

Picture this: valleys with walls so steep and narrow that the rotor tips of even the smallest helicopter would be snapped off during any attempt to land. Vault-like mountain hollows where not even a mule — let alone a truck or other wheeled vehicle — can enter. Narrow mountain footpaths, snaking through beautiful but impenetrable valleys, and along hair-raising mountain ledges and ridges. No roads. No infrastructure. Walled family compounds with turreted defensive positions at all four corners perched in high mountain passes.

The reader who can picture such conditions has actually begun to appreciate the challenges to a determined and capable army or frontier force — like Pakistan’s — whose objective is to find one man, or even one hundred men, across miles of such terrain.

Thinking about how the West perceives Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism on its own soil also brings to mind the case of one Eric Robert Rudolph. Accused of bombing the Atlanta Olympics, and an Alabama abortion clinic, this American terrorist disappeared into the mountains of North Carolina in 1998.

The Tarheel State’s beautiful blue mountain ranges are breathtaking and memorable, but in no way are they as rugged or challenging as the mountains in the Pakistan/Afghanistan border region. A comparison is not even close.

Moreover, in contrast to Pakistan’s mountains, miles of paved roads and marked fire trails through the North Carolina ranges and the Appalachians allow the use of the heaviest search vehicles and rotary wing aircraft. Yet five years passed before the US authorities were able to locate Rudolph and bring him to justice. In fact, his capture was almost completely a matter of chance.

One cannot help but wonder, then, about the intense pressure on Pakistan to find needles in the immense haystack of the Hindukush — a task that is several orders of magnitude more difficult than the five-year manhunt for Rudolph in America and other fugitives in the West.

The presence of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in Pakistan would be a scourge on that beautiful and friendly nation. Personally, I am convinced that the region would witness an immediate change in Western policy and behavior if bin Laden were produced — dead or alive. But until that day comes, it is only right that the world give credit to Pakistan for the sheer magnitude of the geographical challenges it faces in the hunt for terrorists on its own soil.

Likewise, the West should not forget what Pakistan has accomplished — at great human cost — against terrorists and foreign fighters in its rugged mountains. This is the result of determination, resourcefulness and ingenuity, brought to bear courageously in one of our planet’s most challenging landscapes.

By: Richard J Douglas
Richard J Douglas was US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counter-narcotics during the Bush Administration. He has visited Pakistan on multiple occasions. Reach him at

Message on Christmas

And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East,
And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man.
She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art Allah-fearing.
He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son.
She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste?
He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.
And she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place.
And the pangs of childbirth drove her unto the trunk of the palm-tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died ere this and had become a thing of naught, forgotten!
Then (one) cried unto her from below her, saying: Grieve not! Thy Lord hath placed a rivulet beneath thee,
And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee, thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee.
So eat and drink and be consoled. And if thou meetest any mortal, say: Lo! I have vowed a fast unto the Beneficent, and may not speak this day to any mortal.
Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing.
O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot.
Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the cradle, a young boy?
He spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet,
And hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I remain alive,
And (hath made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and hath not made me arrogant, unblest.
Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!
Such was Jesus, son of Mary: (this is) a statement of the truth concerning which they doubt.
It befitteth not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should take unto Himself a son. Glory be to Him! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.
And lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So serve Him. That is the right path.

Chapter 19 – Mary, Verses 16 to 36 from Qur’aan

Who Invented Windmill?

The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia , when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.