Stealing a Life …


Paris attacks are harrowing. Brings a shiver down my spine. I am not exaggerating my state of mind. Whenever innocents die I am forced to recall the words from my favourite book “The Kite Runner”:

“…there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft…when you kill a man, you steal a life…you steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness…there is no act more wretched than stealing…a man who takes what’s not his to take, be it a life or a loaf of naan…I spit on such a man. And if I ever cross paths with him, God help him…”

A horde of Muslims have been concerned about how the horrendous attacks in Paris will bring a bad name to Muslims, again. I am not sure how to answer this. More or less the same number of people are concerned about how western media is actively reporting the Paris carnage and how Facebook is sympathising with the French community by rolling out an application that can merge your profile picture with the French flag to become a unique profile picture on your profile. They are arguing that such a sympathising gesture is only bestowed on the western people and the terrorism affectees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and others are always snubbed and which is a discrimination and selective-sympathy. It is true. But I guess it is more true that Muslim states are so feeble and incompetent today that their internal differences owing to sectarianism and weakness owing to corruption have led them to this situation and because of that Muslim community is given little or no significance in a world dominated by western democracy, culture and economy. Nature has it that only the strong survives. Justice is subjective and the mighty rules.

I find it sound to put a French flag (even though I haven’t put one on my profile yet but I support those who have) on the Facebook profile and sympathise with the French community ignoring any ifs and buts here. I mourn on the loss of innocent lives in Paris and my heart bleeds for every single soul lost in Paris attacks and all such terrorist attacks anywhere in the world.

Power comes with the responsibility and responsibility requires courage to befit the position you are responsible for. It would take courage for Muslim community to enjoy the pinnacle of the same power western world is enjoying today without being irresponsible.

I don’t know if this terrorism anywhere in the world will ever stop. It unfortunately doesn’t seem to end. I though certainly hope for the terrorism to be dealt with at least more responsibility!

Is Afghanistan the Drug’istan for Nato?


Afghanistan's yearly opium output accounts for more than 90 per cent of the global supply. Photo Courtesy: Express Tribune

Afghanistan's yearly opium output accounts for more than 90 per cent of the global supply. Photo Courtesy: Express Tribune


Published at Express Tribune Blog


The heavy cultivation of opium in Afghanistan is known to all of us. The pertinent question then is: why has Nato been unable to control this opium cultivation in the nine years of its occupation?


According to a recent article on TIME titled “Is NATO to Blame for Russia’s Afghan Heroin Problem?” Russia has lambasted the US and NATO for not doing more to stop little baggies of heroin from getting into the hands of Russia’s youth.


Russia further alleged that “NATO has fueled drug production by refusing to destroy Afghan poppy fields, which it stopped doing last year in the hope of winning the support of opium farmers.”


“In its way, Russia is making an important point. Between 2005 and 2009, Afghanistan’s yearly opium output jumped from 4,000 to 7,000 tons, and it now accounts for more than 90% of global supply, according to the United Nations. Russian state statistics say that opiates such as heroin and morphine kill around 30,000 Russians every year, three times more than the total number of Soviets killed during their 10-year war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.”


But the question stays the same: who will control this illicit drug cultivation and its trafficking and how will it be coped? Will the US led Nato forces and CIA will slash down the opium cultivation? Seriously?


Hordes of news reports regarding the Afghan opium cultivation have been highlighted on the media lately. Nearly all of them blame US led Nato for not doing enough to undermine the opium cultivation. Of late, a report in the New York Times surfaced. It said:


“Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency.”


Ahmed Karzai, however, denied this news, saying that “he cooperated with American civilian and military officials, but did not engage in the drug trade and did not receive payments from the CIA.”


Simultaneously, American officials also acknowledge that the relationship between Mr Karzai and the CIA is wide ranging.


Whatever the case maybe, one’s doubt on the role of Nato in dealing the opium cultivation is valid.


Nato believes that the March offensive in Marjah redoubled the crackdown on drug traffickers with the aim of cutting the Taliban off from their main source of funding. Meanwhile, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): “a mystery disease infecting opium poppies in Afghanistan could cut this year’s illicit crop in some areas by up to 70 percent. The disease has led authorities to expect a ‘significant’ reduction in opium production this year.”


UNODC further said that the output of opium could fall by up to 25 percent.


According to the above explanations, the Marjah operation as well as the disease infecting opium poppies, the natural inducement, must bring a significant reduction in opium cultivation this year. Stats on it will be cleared up in the near future.


The solution to reduce the illegal opium cultivation is quite simple in my view. The impoverished people of Afghanistan cultivate opium not because they enjoy doing it or they consider it some sort of a redemptive act. They cultivate it to get money to buy food to feed their families. Opium is cheaper than the food many Afghan families consume. According to a blog at New York Times: “The poverty in the region (Badakhshan) is so consuming that parents blow opium smoke into their children’s noses to soothe the pangs of hunger.” The solution to end all of this is to overhaul the country’s infrastructure. Instead of spending billions of dollars on the war in Afghanistan, the United States must spend richly on humanitarian work. Humanitarian work, it seems, has nowadays become a sole job of NGO’s and private humanitarian organizations rather than the respective governments.


In Pakistan, a horde of people die each year due to the drug abuse. During the time of former President Musharraf regime, the then Health Minister stated that Afghanistan’s opium trade is sabotaging the efforts of Pakistan in controlling the spread of HIV in the country, particularly amongst the injection drug users. To be sure, drug trafficking and drug abuse directly affects


Pakistan’s internal security as well as its social stability. It ought to be dealt with iron hands.


Being a Pakistani, I’d also like to ask the government of Pakistan as to what role it is playing to limit the Afghan drug cultivation and its trafficking? According to some analysts, around a quarter of Afghanistan’s opium production is shipped through Pakistan from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan region. Pakistan government has all the right to question the ability and legitimacy of Nato in regards to the Afghan opium cultivation and trafficking.


Despite the fact that the government of Pakistan has taken some measures to cope with the drug trafficking issue, the trafficking is still prospering in Pakistan and feeding problems of drug addiction and the prevalence of HIV.


Does this not substantiate the fact that the government should do “a lot more” and not just “more” in this regards?

$1 Trillion Worth Mineral Deposits In Afghanistan



The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan. According to senior American officialdom, the mineral deposits are enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself.


An internal Pentagon memo states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.”


In the words of one of my American friend after she read this news:

Why they (American officialdom) even bother telling this to us is a mystery. It’s not like they need our approval anymore. They’ve made that abundantly clear.


From the same purview, it could be a justification for us, American, to stay there in Afghanistan, forever to “protect” these resources.


It seems that United States will hardly be leaving Afghanistan now, not until the time deposits are completely dug and transported — maybe partially — out of Afghanistan.


On the other hand, the news is perhaps not so shocking. According to Huffington Post:


Just visit the public web site of the U.S. Geological Survey and read the press release “Significant Potential for Undiscovered Resources in Afghanistan Released: 11/13/2007 10:00:00 AM” and you will find the following: “Afghanistan has significant amounts of undiscovered non-fuel mineral resources according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s 2007 assessment . . . Estimates for copper and iron ore resources were found to have the most potential for extraction in Afghanistan. Scientists also found indications of abundant deposits of colored stones and gemstones, including emerald, ruby, sapphire, garnet, lapis, kunzite, spinel, tourmaline and peridot. Other examples of mineral resources available for extraction in Afghanistan include gold, mercury, sulfur, chromite, talc-magnesite, potash, graphite and sand and gravel.”


To be sure, Afghan Talibans will take a keen interest after the final revelation of these massive deposits. This remains unclear what will come next. Maybe the Afghan Talibans will show more resistance than ever before, and maybe they’ll tilt towards some sort of peace deal. The latter one seems highly unlikely to transpire. In any case, the deposits solely belong to the people of Afghanistan. It’s the prerogative of people of Afghanistan to benefit from the $1 trillion worth mineral deposits. It sure will help to overhaul the war-torn country’s infrastructure. US has no right to “steal” the mineral deposits. If anything, “steal” is a better word in the case of United States of America.


My personal message to POTUS Mr. Obama is:


Please spend a little more time in nipping off the poppy etc. drug crops in Afghanistan, and a little less time looking for minerals. Thank you.

Action & Consequences



Something out-of-the-way. Few days back when NATO announced a major offensive in the southern Afghanistan in an area call Marja, there was a donnybrook mobilizing everywhere regarding the civilian casualties. American officialdoms said the civilian casualties in this major offensive is inevitable. And see, this is what happened: an errant American rocket strike on Sunday, 14th Feb 2010, hit a compound crowded with Afghan civilians, killing at least 12 people, including 5 children.


On Monday, 15th Feb 2010, NATO officials said an airstrike, unrelated to the Marja operation, killed five civilians and wounded two others. They were mistakenly believed to be planting roadside bombs in Kandahar province.


But somehow at this point in time US has taken the notice of civilian casualties and in order to avert the civilian casualties, today U.S. curtailed the use of airstrikes in assault on Marja.


Since this is something I again term as out-of-the-way, I thought I must share it. Simultaneously I just don’t think that in war the action should ever be divorced from the consequences. This is a war — a useless too — and civilian casualties are inevitable in the light of the situation. May the self proclaimed Godfather of Democracy and Justice realize it sooner than later.

The Godfather Of Democracy & Justice


Detainee Abuse

Detainee Abuse


In any country, the lion’s share of independency is always withheld by the respective government even though the country is said to be a modern democratic country. When we witness such an unjust specially on the name of ‘greatest national interest’, it means we’re deprived of our rights. This time it’s not directly the Pakistan or Pakistanis deprived of their rights. On this opportunity related to the Justice Department of US, the de facto greatest national interest is about the detainee abuse that the photos of detainee abuse wouldn’t be released in as much as, and as said by President Barack Obama, it could whip up anti-American sentiment overseas and endanger US troops abroad, mostly in Afghanistan and Iraq. It should be noted that absolute majority of the detainees are foreigners and not the US citizens.


In a wake of organized demands by American Civil Liberties Union from the US Justice Department, the Federal Law has recently been modified in the mid of November 2009 on the name of greatest national interest. The new Federal Law, as stated by the High Court of US, says that the detainee abuse pictures would be withheld by the US Government.


The country that is said to have been a high-mettled supporter of democracy and justice and thus preaching the rest of the world to promote democracy and justice has itself been convoluted in the breaching of its own set of rules and collection of laws. This is what we call an apex hypocrisy that is blotted out on the name of de facto greatest national interest.


As the President Barack Obama said that the pictures of detainee abuse would give a rise to anti-American sentiment overseas, I ask: even withholding the pics, does the government of US could help itself subduing the voice of all those who raise their voice against the atrocities of US for a de jure reason? From another point of view, a host of Pakistanis — supporter of enlightened modernization — presume that having anti-American views makes one a Jamat-e-Islami activist, a fundamentalist or an extremist. But the Ghairat Brigade of Pakistan, sometimes or rather often snub the fact that 52% of Americans, contemporarily, want all their troops back home — the troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Ghairat Brigade of Pakistan wouldn’t call American Civil Liberties Union as extremist, fundamentalist or Jamat-e-Islami propagandist. But endorsing the cause of American Civil Liberties Union i.e. raising voice against the atrocities of American Government would make a Pakistani one of these three: Jamat-e-Islami activist, a fundamentalist or an extremist. This is how we’re — the Illah MashaAllah Ghairat Brigade of Pakistan.


So far, the American Civil Liberties Union has said that it’ll continue fighting for the photos’ release. I’m supporting the cause of ACLU and raising the voice against the heinous crimes the Government of America commits. You may call me a Jamat-e-Islami propagandist, a fundamentalist or an extremist. I really don’t care.