Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sri Lanka Would Not have Defeated Terrorism Without Pakistan’s Support: President Mahinda Rajapaksha

The Pakistani Parliamentary delegation led by Dr Nafisa Shah, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and Chairperson of National Commission for Human Development paid a courtesy call on the President of Sri Lanka H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees in Colombo.
Other members of the delegation included the Speaker of Pakistan’s Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan and Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah. The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka H.E. Seema Ilahi Baloch also accompanied the Pakistani delegation.
Dr Nafisa Shah conveyed appreciation of the Pakistani Government, Parliament and people to the Honorable President for the hospitality extended by people and the Government of Sri Lanka towards the Pakistani delegation.
She also commended the arrangements made by the Sri Lankan Government for organizing the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in an impressive manner.
She said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are historically bonded in a relationship of trust, mutual respect and deep friendship which is manifested at all the phases of their histories.
The Sri Lankan President H.E Mahinda Rajapasha noted that Pakistan extended unflinching support to Sri Lanka during the 3 decade internal conflict and immensely helped in the elimination of the menace of terrorism from the Sri Lankan soil.
He said that Sri Lanka would not have eliminated the scourge of terrorism without the help and support of Pakistan. He said that Pakistan has proved to be a true friend of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Government as well as public has deep affection for Pakistan.
The two sides agreed to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and stressed upon the need to work closely in the regional and global context.
The 22 member Pakistani Parliamentary Delegation is currently visiting Sri Lanka to participate in the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference in Colombo which is scheduled to be held from 11th to 15th September 2012 in Sri Lanka.

Pakistan greatly value its relations with Sri Lanka: Dr Nafisa Shsh

The Pakistani Parliamentary delegation which is currently visiting Sri Lanka to participate in the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference in Colombo paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament Hon Chamal  Rajapaksa today at the BMICH Colombo.
The delegation was led by Hon Dr Nafisa Shah, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and Chairperson of National Commission for Human Development. Other members of the delegation included Speakers of Punjab and Sindh Assemblies, senators and Members of parliament.
The High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Sri Lanka HE Seema Illahi Baloch, and Deputy Speaker of Sri Lanka Chandima Weerakkody were also present on the occasion.
Dr Nafisa Shah thanked the government and the people of Sri Lanka for the warm welcome and the hospitality extended towards the Pakistani delegation. She also appreciated the arrangements made by the Sri Lankan Government for organizing the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.
 She appreciated the Sri Lankan government’s success on eliminating the menace of terrorism which resulted in bringing back normalcy to the country
Emphasizing that the Government and people of Pakistan greatly value relations with Sri Lanka, she said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy commonality of views on regional and international issues and coordinate their positions at all forums including United Nations and SAARC.
She underscored the need for enhanced exchange of Parliamentary delegations between the two countries to promote people-to-people contacts. Such visits will help promote greater cooperation between the two Parliaments, she said. She also emphasized the need for further strengthening the linkages between women parliamentarians of Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Ahmed Khoro expressed satisfaction over the volume of trade between two countries which has been doubled from US$ 140 million to around US$ 300 million in the last four years. He hoped that the figure of US$ 1 billion in bilateral trade will be achieved in near future.
The Speaker of Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan said that the people and Government of Pakistan are really grateful to the Sri Lankan Government for sending the team of medical personnel to help combat and control the spread of dengue virus.
The Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament Hon Chamal  Rajapaksaunderscored the importance that Sri Lanka attaches to the special bonds of affinity that exist between the two countries, based on the rich historical and cultural interactions as well as the shared aspirations of people for peace, progress and prosperity.
The Deputy Speaker of Sri Lanka Chandima Weerakkody appreciated the support extended by the Pakistani Government for extending unflinching support to Sri Lanka during the 3 decade long internal conflict which immensely helped in the elimination of the menace of terrorism from Sri Lankan soil.
The two sides agreed to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries and stressed upon the need to work closely in the regional and global context.
At the conclusion of the meeting the Pakistani delegates presented traditional shawls (Ajrak) and souvenirs to the Hon Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament

Pakistan unanimously re elected to the vice chair of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for a 2nd consecutive term

Dr. Nafisa Shah, Member National Assembly of Pakistan andChairperson of the National Commission for Human Development has been unanimously re-elected by the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as the Vice Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for a 2nd  term.
The reelection of Dr Shah took place during the 58 Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conferences at Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The Association’s supreme authority is the General Assembly which is constituted by the delegates to the annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conferences. The business and activities of the CPA are managed by an Executive Committee, which reports to the General Assembly.
The Executive Committee of CPA comprises of all region of the Commonwealth including Africa, Australia, Caribbean, the British Isles, India, Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific.
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association comprises parliaments of 54 countries together with the provincial parliaments with more than 170 legislative bodies as its members.
Dr Shah was elected for a term of one year in 2011 and now will serve as vice chair for a second consecutive term.
Pakistan was represented at the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference from 11th to 15th September 2012 in Sri Lanka by a 22 member Pakistani Parliamentary Delegation with the representation of Senate, National Assembly and Provincial assemblies of Pakistan.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Drone Attacks will Disrupt Pak-US Relations

Courtesy:- Sajjad Shaukat 

Pak-US relations deteriorated in 2009 when as part of US espionage network, hundreds of the American CIA spies entered Pakistan under the guise of diplomats who began anti-Pakistan activities through their affiliated militants bysupervising and guiding them. 
On many occasions, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) helped in stopping the secret movements of the CIA spies who were traveling in vehicles, covered with black mirrors—showing themselves as diplomats. Sometimes weapons were also snatched from them. On the information of ISI, Pakistan’s establishment expelled several so-called diplomats, operating in the country. On the other side, US withheld $800 million in military aid to punish its military and ISI.

Besides, American top officials pressurised Pakistan to set free American national, Raymond Davis who killed two Pakistani nationals in Lahore on January 27, 2011. In fact, Davis was also an under-cover secret agent of CIA who entered Pakistan in guise of diplomat. 

After the May 2 raid, Pak-US ties further worsened when in violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and without informing ISI, while setting aside intelligence cooperation, US Special Forces killed Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad. The relations between the two countries almost reached point of no return when the US-led NATO’s deliberate air killed 25 soldiers on Pakistan Army border posts on November 26, last year. In this regard, by rejecting US pressure tactics; Pakistan’s civil and military leadership took strict measures such as suspension of NATO supply to Afghanistan, vacation of Shamsi Airbase and boycott of the second Bonn Conference on Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Pak-US diplomats continued their negotiations to repair the damaged ties between both the countries. In this connection, America was more interested in resumption of NATO transport route across Pakistan as earlier as possible because it is cheaper than that of Central Asia. Besides, NATO decided the withdrawal of their troops in 2013 from Pakistani side. In this respect, Pakistan remained firm on its stand for US apology in relation to the Salala checkpost incident, which American top officials had flatly refusing. 

With the formal apology from the US regarding Salala event, Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) on July 3, allowed reopening of the NATO supply lines across Pakistan to Afghanistan.

It is of particular attention that even a few days before and after the reopening of NATO supply route, drone attacks continued on Pakistan’s tribal areas. These predators’ strikes were commenced by President Bush, accelerated by President Obama. In the past few months, the CIA-operated unmanned aircraft, killed more than 70 people in North Waziristan.

During his visit to India and Afghanistan, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has repeatedly pointed out that drone attacks would continue on safe havens of terrorists in Pakistan. Even President Obama has defended these strikes on FATA under the pretext of American so-called counterinsurgency programme.

It is mentionable that recently, Pakistan’s political and religious parties conducted rallies, processions and long march regarding the resumption of NATO transport routes, especially drone attacks. In this scenario, the US policy of liberalism and democracy could badly fail, giving a greater incentive to the fundamentalist and extremist elements in Pakistan. In this context, the fresh wave of drone strikes has thwarted the recent efforts of militants and Pakistan government for peace talks, and provoked the tribal people, resulting into more recruitment of militants in FATA. Such a flawed policy has brought about more subversive acts inside the country. In this connection, the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has intensified acts of sabotage in Pakistan.

In this backdrop, with the full approval of the civil and military leadership, the Director General of ISI, Lt-Gen. Zaheerul Islam will visit America on August 1 and will meet CIA Director David Petraeus. It is the first time in a year that any Pakistani high-ranking officer like the ISI Chief will visit the US. 

Reliable sources disclosed that the Chief of Pakistan’s superior intelligence agency will emphatically ask his American counterpart to evolve some framework to end predators’ strikes on Pak tribal areas—the thorniest aspect of Pakistani-US relations. He will raise the question that unmanned aerial attacks are violation of the international law, and sovereignty of Pakistan, challenging a relationship that can actually accomplish a lot more on the ground than we are doing today in eliminating terrorism. He will especially indicate that these strikes are proving counterproductive to anti-terrorism efforts.

While pointing out public backlash inside Pakistan against the unmanned aircraft, DG ISI will make it clear that such American strikes are increasing resentment among the people.

Notably, quoting an official, AFP revealed that during his meeting with CIA Director David Petraeus, DG IS Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam would say, “We need this precision strike capability to avoid collateral damage and its political fallout. The idea is that the US develops the target and tells us, and we destroy it ourselves.” 

During his negotiations with David Petraeus, while talking on the other related issues, ISI Chief would discuss new mechanism for intelligence sharing and counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries.

It is pertinent to note that in a debate with Douglas Lute, President Obama’s top adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman called on July 28 for an end to the CIA drone strikes ahead of an intelligence summit in Washington between the two countries. She added, “We will seek an end to drone strikes and there will be no compromise on that.” 

Earlier Sherry Rehman stated on July 6 that Pakistan and the US were set to resume broader talks on other issues in the wake of an agreement to reopen NATO supply routes. She remarked, “I certainly think, it opened the door to many other issues…both sides can use this opportunity to build a path to durable ties.”

While, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has repeatedly pointed out that Pakistan would continue talks with the US over drone attacks.

However, intermittent attacks by the US spy planes on tribal regions will cause drastic impact on the US war on terror. These strikes will undermine international efforts of stability both in Afghanistan and Pakistan including peace dialogue with the Afghan militants, jeopardising American interests, while the foreign forces seek complete withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. In this respect, US top officials, particularly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have repeatedly said that America needs Pakistan’s help not only for peace process with the militants, but also for stability in Afghanistan in the post-2014 scenario.

Nevertheless, the much awaited meeting between the spy masters of Pakistan and the US will be of greater significance at this critical juncture, when both the countries are trying to further minimise distrust between them.

In these terms, during the meeting with his counterpart, DG ISI Lt-Gen. Zaheerul Islam will take a firm stand especially on the drones’ issue as he has full backing of the Pakistani government in this respect. 

If despite his talks with CIA Director David Petraeus, predator’s strikes on FATA continued, these could create a greater impediment in settling other issues between Pakistan and America. Ultimately, drone attacks will disrupt Pak-US relations, even taking them to the point of no return. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Biometrics in Afghanistan The eyes have it

Courtesy:-   The Economist 

EVEN as the dining room smouldered, soldiers moved about taking fingerprints and scanning eyes of the corpses of Taliban fighters. The ghoulish ritual followed an attack, on June 21st, on a restaurant beside Qargha Lake in Kabul. After the scans, the information was compared with a biometric database.
Gathering such data, even from the dead, is now standard practice in the Afghan war. Soldiers learn that usable scans can be harvested as late as six hours after death, depending on the heat. Investigators were confident of finding a match at Qargha Lake, and did so. Their success underlines the growth of the database and the ambition of those behind it.
In this case an unnamed suicide-bomber had been scanned two years earlier, in Logar province, because he was looking suspicious, said Lieutenant-Colonel Mohammad Anwar Muniri, who leads the Afghan programme. However, he was not detained. A list of “martyrs” released by the Taliban after the attack in Kabul confirmed he was from that province.
His details could equally have got into the database in other ways. Few of Afghanistan's 30m people have a birth certificate, a second name or can read. Yet America's army and the Afghan government have collected digital records of more than 2.5m of them. Anyone arrested or imprisoned, or who seeks to join the army or police, is scanned. So are those, such as labourers, who attempt to get into a coalition military base. Each is checked against watchlists of suspects. Last year biometric machines were also put at all border crossings. In hotly contested areas any “fighting-age males”, meaning those between 15 and 70, may be scanned compulsorily.
Some patrols call all men from a village out of their homes and line them up by a mosque to be logged. At other times buses are stopped arbitrarily and all the men are taken off and scanned.
Elsewhere such intrusions would have caused an outcry. But few Afghans, so far, have protested. American officers praise the technology as a helpful counter-insurgency tool: if opponents can be identified, they can be separated from the wider, law-abiding populace. They cite examples of its usefulness. Nearly 500 Taliban prisoners tunnelled out of Kandahar's Sarposa prison last year, but they had previously all been scanned. Within a month 30 had been recaptured because of random biometric checks.
The data are passed on beyond Afghanistan, to America's army, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Agreements to share data exist with dozens of allied countries. American soldiers in Ghazni once described scanning a dead insurgent, then two days later getting a call from the CIA to say that his record matched someone first scanned in Iraq.
Yet as the system grows, so do worries about it. It is involuntary and shrouded in secrecy. It is easy to come across Afghans who claim that they were wrongly denied foreign visas or jobs after a biometric scan flagged up their presence on some watchlist. Evidence held against them is rarely divulged, nor is it clears how they can challenge it.
“There is a vetting process to be put on a watchlist,” says Sergeant-Major Robert Haemmerle, of the American army's Afghanistan biometrics programme. “It's not just a matter of ‘I don't like this guy'. There is a deliberate policy and process to ensure that people's rights are respected, that it's not abused.”
Yet those policies and processes are kept classified by NATO and America's Defence Department. Jennifer Lynch, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group based in San Francisco that keeps a watch on how digital technology encroaches on civil freedoms, also questions the quality of the data. She fears that scans done quickly in the field, or by inexperienced technicians, could lead to cases of mistaken identity.
Neither Afghan nor American officials have described their ultimate plans for the project, nor whether they want to log the whole population. Talk of a new national identity card has fallen quiet. But the more people who are scanned, the more powerful the database becomes.

Pakistan in the role of Asian glue

Courtesy:-  Shahid Javed Burki

In terms of providing for the economic well-being of its citizens, Pakistan, today, is the poorest performing economy in south Asia. It is not doing well when its performance is measured in terms of a variety of economic and social indicators. It has had a declining rate of growth for almost 50 years. The trend started in 1965, when Pakistan fought a brief war with India over the issue of Kashmir. But punctuating this declining growth trend were a few spurts, each lasting for about three to four years. All of these occurred during military rule and all were associated with large foreign capital flows.

The military leaders were able to access foreign aid since it was consequent upon subscribing to America’s strategic interests in the area around Pakistan. The military rulers had more degrees of freedom to work with foreign governments. They did not feel they needed to be constrained by public opinion. As can be gauged from Pakistan’s difficulties with the US in 2011-12, a democratic government has to take people’s views into account while fashioning foreign policy. As a recent survey by the Pew Research Centre revealed, a very large proportion of people in Pakistan view the US unfavourably compared with other countries in Asia.
Pakistan’s current economic downturn has been extremely severe, lasting longer than any other in its history. It has lasted for five years and is likely to persist for a while. One way of dealing with this situation is to completely reorient the country’s approach to economic development. It needs to focus more on developing strong links with the Asian nations in its neighbourhood rather than continue to seek a close relationship with the US. For some time now, Pakistan has been attempting to negotiate a free trade arrangement, FTA, with the US. That is an impractical approach since Washington has signed FTAs with mostly small nations such as Panama. These countries could be given tariff-free access since they did not pose much threat to America’s domestic industry. For a large country such as Pakistan with one large sector — textiles — the path to an FTA will be slow and will not be particularly rewarding. Instead, this may be a good moment to think about going Asian.
Given Pakistan’s current chaotic situation in both politics and economics, it would be rather presumptuous to suggest that the country could act as the glue for binding different parts of Asia, a large continent, which is now on the move. Several analysts have suggested that the 21st century will be the Asian century; that the extraordinary combination of demography, the role of the state and recent economic history will take Asia forward. The 19th century was the century of Europe and the 20th that of America. This was now the turn of Asia. According to this line of thinking, Asia could, in the not too distant future, overtake both Europe and America in terms of the respective sizes of the economies of these three continents. There is enough dynamism in Asia for several scholars to be comfortable with the thought that such a repositioning of the continental economies is inevitable. However, the pace of change could be quicker and the result more definite if the various Asian countries, large and small, could work together and enable the continent to become a well-connected economic entity with strong inter-country links. Such an outcome could become possible if there was the political will to act on the part of Asia’s large countries. In this context, Pakistan’s role could be critical even when its own economy is very weak at this time.
Some analysts have suggested that rather than one Asia there were, in fact, two Asias, one dominated by China, the other by India. The question was whether the two Asias would converge into a loosely-bound economic entity, or diverge — each part going its own separate way — developing separate economic and political systems and pursuing different goals. There were just too many systemic differences between these two parts of Asia for them to meld together. The state systems in the two anchor economies, China and India, were so different that working together within a common policy framework would not be a practical proposition. China was a highly centralised state. In India’s evolving political system, federating states possessed considerable autonomy, a trend that was weakening the centre. Political systems were also different. China was able to orchestrate regime change in a fairly orderly manner; a process in which it was engaged in now for more than a year and will reach a well-choreographed finale in the spring of 2013. However, the transfer of power in India occurred through elections and the formation of governing coalitions was not always a smooth process. The two countries were headed in quite different directions. Divergence was the more likely outcome.
However, it is, perhaps, even better to think in terms of not one or two Asias but about four rather different parts. This further division of a geographic entity that many would like to see merge into one cohesive economic system certainly complicates the thinking about the future. But looking at Asia from this perspective is more practical and makes it easier to handle the making of public policy. It also makes Pakistan a central player. I will pick up this subject next week.

Media in the line of fire

Courtesy:- Mohammad Jamil

Over the past two centuries the media have contributed to the promotion of democracy and making it stable throughout the world. In early 17th century, when printing machine was invented, the only role of the print media was to inform the people. Symbolically, media are considered as the fourth pillar of the state; nevertheless constitutionally the Parliament, Executive and Judiciary are the pillars of the state, and their powers and responsibilities are outlined in the Constitution. As to the media's role in the modern state, there are two schools of thought  one stating that media should transcend the role to inform, and should educate and mould public opinion as well. But the other one subscribes to the view that it should only inform the people; uphold objectivity and shun partisanship. Media in the past had played prodigious role during Pakistan movement in uniting the Muslims of the subcontinent. And it was because of this unity that Muslims of the undivided India were able to carve out a separate homeland for them under the leadership of the Quaid-i-Azam. But there is nothing to write home about what they have been doing during the last six decades.

Since February 2008 elections elected government at the helm, and all pillars of the state are engaged in a sort of turf war, trying to have authority and control transcending the powers and authority defined in the Constitution. Though the media could only derive its 'powers' from the Articles of the Constitution regarding freedom of thought and speech, it has no constitutional role in a democracy. However, the media has come in the line of fire since some of the media men, who had all praise for the judiciary and have been vocal because of tacit support from the judiciary, had focused and highlighted the Arsalan Iftikhar case. In fact, there was a glib talk by politicos and media about democracy, but the question remains whether is Pakistan a democracy. The answer is that it is not; it is in fact authoritarianism and plutocracy. It has to be said that democracy cannot blossom in the suffocating ambiance of feudalism. Feudalism is not an economic system; it is stagnant mentality, which has permeated most of the institutions of the state. 

Jagirdars, waderas, sardars and so-called pirs want power and prestige by deliberately keeping the public illiterate and backward, so that no one can challenge their writ. Because of their corruption, lawlessness, spiraling inflation and poverty, degeneration has crept into all strata of society; and media is no exception. Last month, two-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in its verdict on Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar's case remarked: "The ethic and legal framework of the media requires fairness and objectivity; it requires that journalists conduct due diligence before reporting any news so that rumours and insinuations are filtered out, particularly in matters of grave significance such as ones arising in this case". Rumours also abound that 19 senior journalists of Pakistan allegedly were paid handsome amounts by the Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz. In this regard a video was also shared on website Youtube, showing an off-the-record conversation between television anchors of a local channel. 

The footage made public some shocking revelations, including the fact that the entire interview was planted. It has yet to be investigated whether journalists and anchorpersons did receive those amounts from Malik Riaz, however, some of the alleged recipients are said to be living beyond their means. One can view that some anchorpersons in the TV Talk appearances as hosts at their TV channels also invited as analysts and guests in other TV channels. They unleash avalanche of blistering censure against the corrupt individuals and agencies in Pakistan. But today their reputation is on the line. It is a steep downfall that cannot be rescaled through explanations on their part. Today, the media is in the line of fire, and its halo is disappearing. During proceedings of recently held three-day judicial conference organized by Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, the participants among other things agreed that "there should be no media trial and the media should not be allowed to encroach upon the space of the judiciary". 

It is true that print and electronic media in Pakistan have played an important role in creating awareness among the masses and exposing scandals of corruption and graft. However, they exceeded the limits, and once under scathing criticism, they are trying to evolve the code of conduct for themselves. In September 2011, Supreme Court Bar Association held three-day conference in which one of the topics was 'Justice and impunity: Its portrayal by media'. All participants agreed that there should be no media trials, and the media should not be allowed to encroach upon the space of the judiciary, and this trend must be discouraged. Participants from India had also raised this concern and said that media should not be allowed to impose their opinions at the pre-trial stage as this undermines the rule of law. If media is to become a credible source, it should provide reliable and accurate information, and has to work with utmost diligence to offer reports and comments objectively. Analysts should present their analysis, which should be unbiased and free of prejudices. 

William G. Pollard had said: "Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit." However, credibility of media as a source of information is of paramount importance. 

It has to be mentioned that all dictators were given legitimacy by the then apex court and also supported by the politicians, who were in turn vaulted into power by the establishment. Media persons were not behind in this race, as they eulogized dictator and contributed to making the dictator popular. When during the course of time, the dictator became weak and unpopular because of flawed policies, they started criticizing him. It is because of these aberrations that the country seems adrift on its own momentum, with no direction and with no administrative stewardship. Having that said, media men, be it a reporter or an analyst, should uphold objectivity and shun partisanship. 

Unfortunately, one can find some reporters and columnists that do not adhere to this basic norm and ethic not only in Pakistan but also in the US. A poll released by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in July 2009 had revealed that nearly two-thirds of Americans think the news stories they read, hear and watch are frequently inaccurate. 

That marked the highest level of skepticism recorded since 1985, when this study of public perceptions of the media was first done. The survey had polled 1,506 adults on the phone in late July 2009. In Pakistan, there are indeed patriotic elements in the media, who comprehend the issues in their true perspective and dispel the impression of present state of despondency, conspiracy theories and misperceptions. Today, the nation is confronted with gigantic challenges, both external as well as internal. 

Internally the nation is hopelessly entangled in vicious terrorism. To extricate the nation out of this quagmire, Pakistan needs tall leaders with a good set of brains and creative thoughts, which unfortunately we don't have.