ATP Poll: What Will be the Impacts of 2006?

Posted on December 23, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll, Politics, Society
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Adil Najam

Its time to take stock of the year 2006. Its also time for another ATP Poll.

We did think of doing something around a ‘Person of the Year’ theme and I even thought of a few possible candidates (here, here and here). But that seemed too obvious, and more likely to turn into a popularity contest rather than a thought-provoking discussion.

Instead, we want to focus on the following question:

WHICH EVENTS AND TRENDS FROM 2006 ARE MOST LIKELY TO LEAVE A LASTING IMPACT ON PAKISTAN POLITICS AND SOCIETY?

Our desire is to have the focus not just on what has happened in 2006, but in the implication of what happened in 2006 on the FUTURE of Pakistan. The emphasis is clearly on the future, and we hope to have a good discussion on why, which trend will impact the future of Pakistan, how.

(An explanation of what we mean by each choice is given below; because of a cache plug-in your vote may not appear in the results immediately.)

{democracy:2}

Unlike previous ATP Polls (on women rights, Gen. Musharraf’s future, past leaders, and Gen. Musharraf’s performance), the challenge here is not in phrasing the question but in figuring out possible options for the answer. Since we do not have the technological ability to allow readers to add their own options, we have narrowed down the list to the following ten key events and event-related trends. We are sure other things that could have been added to this, but without wanting to make this too long, too unwieldy or too broad, we have decided upon the following possible events and trends as answer choices. (Some of are very directly related to a specific event but signifying broader underlying trends; others are broader trends that relate to a collectivity of multiple smaller events.)

Movement on Pakistan-India relations (also here and here), especially including recent moves by Pakistan on Kashmir and related improvements in Pakistan-India relations.

Hiccups in Pakistan-USA relations (also here), including Pres. Bush’s visit to India and Pakistan and Gen. Musharraf’s visit to USA.

Frictions in Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, including the re-rise of Taliban.

The killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti (also here) and the continuing unrest and volatility in Balochistan.

Signs of an impending break-up of the Mutihadda Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), including over the resignation issue.

Positive economic trends, including rise of foreign investments in Pakistan (including for high visibility projects like the Centaurus), strength in some service sectors like telecommunication and banking, etc.

Negative economic trends, including rise in cost of living, inflationary pressures, stock-market controversies, etc.

Continuation of sectarianism and sectarian violence, including various attacks during first part of the year.

The passage of the Womens’ Rights Bill (also, here and here) and related events signifying a change in role of women in society (here, here and here).

Changes being brought into education curriculum and other educational reform, including how other communities and religions are portrayed within historical and other texts.

If you do want to influence the results, please, by all means ask your friends to also vote. Feel welcome to use the ‘Email’ button at the very top to send to your friends.

Voting is anonymous; as it should be. This is, of course, not be a very scientific poll, but it will at least give us a sense of what this community � the ATP cohort � thinks. Do vote, but please vote only once (even if you are smart enough to beat the system somehow).

47 Comments on “ATP Poll: What Will be the Impacts of 2006?”

  1. Daktar says:
    December 24th, 2006 12:53 am

    I think you list is a fairly good one. Not sure if I can add anything to it. Maybe the Charter of Democracy, but that went nowhere. However, am surprised that a possible MMA breakup (which will probably happen) is on the list. If it happens, not sure how it could have any real impact on the future of Pakistan.

  2. Samdani says:
    December 24th, 2006 3:37 am

    The deepest and long lasting changes will probably come from the Women’s Protection Bill. It is far from complete or fully satisfactory, but a first and important step.

    If the curriculum reform takes root, that will also have long term impacts, but it is too early to say right now.

  3. PatExpat says:
    December 24th, 2006 6:35 am

    With we being so dependent on US, the major impacts would come from FUTURE hiccups in US-Pakistan relations and the US backed War on Terror in Afghanistan.

    It was US who pushed Mushi to get the Women’s bill approved who otherwise is on record for saying that women claim that they have been raped to get foreign nationality or in case of Dr. Shazia stating that the accused captain did not do it even before the commencement of trial (did he get a revelation?). Such a person can never be champion of women’s rights and to any one who believes otherwise, well, what can I say.

    Secondly, the education reforms are not our own undertaking. As always, it was again a US backed initiative where major focus is on modifying Islamiat textbooks which is clear from Condi Rice’s statements. By the way, DAWN has written extensively on the failure of “parha likha Punjab” policy of the government.

    Since all this time when we have been flooded with US money and have been its most “allied ally”, we were not able to establish a significant manufacturing or technological enterprise (rise in price of real estate, stock market, or increase in consumer finance to sustain comfortable lifestyle is no barometer of economic development). Harping on positive can also have a backlash like the Shining India campaign on BJP and we are nowhere near the economic achievements of India.

    Musharraf and MMA made for strange bedfellows as both needed each other. MMA was supposed to break up from day 1. It has been remarkable achievement on behalf of Mullah’s that they kept their alliance for so long. Its more than any other secular party could achieve. Anyway, elections are due next year so don’t expect much impact from it either way.

    Bugti killing, negative economic trends, waziristan issue and sectarian violence if not handled properly can have a long lasting impact.

    This was my $0.02.

  4. meengla says:
    December 24th, 2006 1:04 pm

    I voted for ‘Kashmir initiative..’ one. Looks like 2007 will see some kind of compromise between Pakistan and India. This alone can have far-reaching impact on virtually all other issues: Democracy, military power, Baluchistan violence, economy, Talibans in FATA….

    May be it is my wishful thinking that 2007 will see some compromise but events/offers/proposals certainly point to the new stage in India-Pakistan relationships where going back to increased hostilities will not look like an appealing option to the Establishment in both countries.

  5. Moeen Bhatti says:
    December 24th, 2006 1:25 pm

    Adil: I voted for Hicuups in USA-Pak. relation but honestly, when I read your posting, the automatic thinking I had was that how can ANYTHING ever change anything in Pakistan? Pakisrtan has seen so much, marshallaws, surrender of her Army in 71, breakup of her half part, jokers sitting in assembalies, misuse of the name of the religion etc etc. Lets ask this question to ourselves: did anything ever change anything?No. People have same attitudes, law is a joke, inflation is higher, constitution is a joke, corruption is a norm; education, health, freedom, even pure drinking water are the last priorities; I can go on and on. So answering your question honestly, no incident in 2006 will have any impact on the future. Analyze the data of the last 60 years and you guys will agree with me.

  6. Eidee Man says:
    December 24th, 2006 3:16 pm

    I voted for the women’s rights bill; our constitution is flaky and its enforcement is worse. But, these things do have an impact and I hope it slowly undoes some of the wrongs of the Zia era.

    The thing to look for in 2007 will be how the politics shakes out. Call me a foolish optimist, but I really do hope the king party makes some sort of alliance with mainstream parties like PPP. Sure, they are all corrupt but the coming together (even if just temporarily) of mainstream parties will definitely be better than the current situation of mullahs of MMA and terrorists of MQM exercising mafia control over the country.

    And yeah, here’s to a world cup victory in 2007!

    Yes, I know I’m an eternal optimist…you should be one too!

  7. Daktar says:
    December 24th, 2006 5:45 pm

    Maybe there are too many choices here. I agree that the women’s Bill can bring in long term positive change but the most danger in the immediate term is from the Bugti death and the situation in Baluchistan. It has to be handleed very very carefully.

    I did not vote for it but the inflation and cost of living issue is also very serious for ordinary Pakistanis.

  8. Ghalib says:
    December 24th, 2006 6:41 pm

    i voted fer teh sectorian violence tht plagues the society religious ethnic feudal n military!

  9. MQ says:
    December 24th, 2006 7:05 pm

    I have a feeling Bugti’s murder and the events in Balochistan are likely to cast a long shadow over future events in Pakistan. Read Cowasjee’s latest column in Dawn here: http://dawn.com/weekly/cowas/cowas.htm

  10. Daktar says:
    December 24th, 2006 7:10 pm

    Here is what Mr. Cowasjee has to say on Baluchistan:
    http://www.dawn.com/weekly/cowas/20061224.htm

  11. Eidee Man says:
    December 25th, 2006 2:43 am

    Here’s something that will have a big affect on the future of Pakistan, especially in ’07: word is that organized thugs of MQM are going door-to-door in middle-class areas in Karachi such as the apartment complexes near Gulshan-e-Iqbal and are “registering” people. I.e., they ask for names of family members and then threaten them not to participate in the upcoming elections….because MQM plans to cast their votes for them!!

    I hear a lot about corruption at the federal level….sadly, no one seems to care about the pathetic state at the provincial level.

    It is because of these reasons that Karachi has a known thug as its governor; yes, he’s the same guy who was receiving welfare from the British government not too long ago…

    Benazir, Nawaz, and Musharraf have their issues with money, corruption, etc etc….but heck, I doubt any of them ever resorted to mass-killing.

  12. December 25th, 2006 3:02 am

    By way of update, this in today’s Daily Times:

    ISLAMABAD: The new English curriculum for primary and middle classes will include chapters on gender equality, peace and ethics and values. It will also include themes such as patriotism and national pride, dignity of labour, crisis awareness and management, and health, safety and drug education.

    “The new curriculum of English language will enable young students to be independent and lifelong learners to better adapt to the ever-changing local and world society,â€

  13. TURAB says:
    December 25th, 2006 4:01 am

    this is the beginning of empowerment of the 50percent of poppulation, WOMEN! The sky is going to be the limit with immense oppertunities and development with the women increasing their productivity along side the men

  14. ayesha says:
    December 25th, 2006 4:35 am

    My vote goes to the changes in curriculum. Primarily because, the sort of changes that are being enacted that will counter our society’s xenophobic tendencies to a large extent. The impact those changes will leave on our society in the long term would be most momentous. But, it will take a while to undo the rot.

    A close second was the WPA. Yes, it would have a great impact but it would not be quite as widespread as the impact of fixing our syllabi.

  15. Ahsan says:
    December 25th, 2006 4:42 am

    Dear Adil Najam,

    Your list of events of 2006 is complete but I am afraid that events of this year or of recent years are ineffective to the future of Pakistan. Pakistan’s future has been decided at a very early stage during the Period of Liaqat Ali Khan. In a simple word it is ISLAMIC.

    This Islamization of Pakistan was sealed by a Democratic and Secular leader in 1973 by the Fundamental Law of Pakistan. According to this Constitution the state of Pakistan yields its power to Allaah and binds its people to exercise its power in the limits prescribed by Him.

    Once it is accepted that a State is Islamic, the State as an independent and sovereign entity ceases to exist. It is Islam which governs the State as a sovereign power in the name of Allah. Islamic Government is not an independent Government. It has to apply the Islamic Rules and Laws.

    So, under this guidence of Islamic Constitution the future is not ours to decide. The events of 2006 are insignificant for the future of Pakistan.

    Ahsan

  16. December 25th, 2006 6:05 am

    Adil bhai I think you forgot a very main factor “Musharraf’s Uniform” which he promised to “take off” in 2007. I think the uniform factor will play an Important role. We might see new allies due to this uniform factor because as we know .The general will not getrid of his uniform because Agar molvi masjid se nahi nikalta[Ref:Dr sher Afgan] tu Dictator uniform nahi chorta jab tak k wo mar na jaye ya maar na dia jayee.

    As far as your link about cource. from the link it sounds great and very appropiate but did they bother to reveal the SOURCE of this syllabus? I mean our “Educated” Minister Mr Qazi who don’t even know # of Siparys in Quran, once declared that Islam would be in Islamiat only so question is which religion or model will be followed to teach such lessons? because wht I see that now west is consulting Quran and Islam for moral lessons and scientific research so what would be left for policy makers to teach our kids. This is something which I think will never be answered by concerned people because they dont know themselves what are they going to implement. They are doing what they are being ordered by others. Intresting stuff!

  17. December 25th, 2006 6:37 am

    The list fairly covers all the major issues, but it would be good idea to randomize the list on each visit. You can see the effect of not randomizing the options from the results.
    cheers,

  18. Ibrahim says:
    December 25th, 2006 8:14 am

    Salamalikum,

    Eidee Man: I agree that Ishratul Ibad is a thug now, and he was an APMSO thug at DOW then. I know MQM quite well, better than most. Although my immediate family was never very supportive of MQM, many relatives were quite involved. So, I know a lot of bad and good about MQM. I also am from the largest unit sector (188) in Karachi and have seen a lot of thug activities. But, I’ve to say that this thing you’re talking about MQM going door-to-door and registering people sounds like a false rumor. MQM doesn’t need to force anyone in Karachi. It can carry Karachi in elections any day. The only place this rumor can be true is Landhi, Faisal Colony/Malir area because of MQM Haqiqi but even then I think this is completely false news because Haqiqi is almost finished. When did you last hear about Afhaq Ahmed and Aamir Khan in the news?

    I voted for haqooq-e-niswaan bill but also wanted to vote for curriculum change. Both are just the beginning of erasing the Islamic identity of this country. They are the two most damaging things that will impact Pakistan significantly. This will lead to a generation that is ignorant of Islamic rules, an intellectually wandering generation because it would’ve lost its identity. Referring to Adil Najam’s post about curriculum changes in The Daily News, the students will be taught a curriculum that would fit the hippies of ’60s and ’70s in the US.

  19. December 25th, 2006 12:09 pm

    Two points on the structure, related to the above.

    1. The list was originally ordered by current votes (both in the question and the answer). I have changed it so it is now in the original order (international relations, domestic politics, social policy) in both the statement of the question and the answer. This makes reading the answers slightly more difficult, but you are right it makes the question less ‘leading’.

    2. I did think o fthe ‘uniform’ issue immeidately and was going to put an option on ‘democractic impetus’ (including the uniform debate, Charter of Democracy, Open Letters, etc.). Eventually decided against it since it seemed that this MAY be a story of 2007 but is not yet a story of 2006. At least that was my sense and reasoning.

  20. razahaider says:
    December 25th, 2006 1:39 pm

    The optimist in me votes for the impending breakup of the MMA, which will accelerate social development in Pakistan and catalyze some much needeed and welcome changes.

    However, the pessimist part of me votes for friction with Afghanistan and hiccups in relations with the US, which could have a very dangerous and destabilizing influence on the country

  21. December 25th, 2006 7:04 pm

    All of us who voted here are optimists, including myself. Poor souls who actually, in our weak moments, think that something meaningful in Pakistan can really change in 1 year.
    It would be fantastic to look back at this poll at the end of 2007.

  22. Eidee Man says:
    December 25th, 2006 8:03 pm

    [quote comment="19797"]Salamalikum,

    Eidee Man: I agree that Ishratul Ibad is a thug now, and he was an APMSO thug at DOW then. I know MQM quite well, better than most. Although my immediate family was never very supportive of MQM, many relatives were quite involved. So, I know a lot of bad and good about MQM. I also am from the largest unit sector (188) in Karachi and have seen a lot of thug activities. But, I’ve to say that this thing you’re talking about MQM going door-to-door and registering people sounds like a false rumor. MQM doesn’t need to force anyone in Karachi. It can carry Karachi in elections any day. The only place this rumor can be true is Landhi, Faisal Colony/Malir area because of MQM Haqiqi but even then I think this is completely false news because Haqiqi is almost finished. When did you last hear about Afhaq Ahmed and Aamir Khan in the news?
    [/quote]

    Ibrahim, thanks for your post; it’s great to see that we agree in principle. I don’t doubt that MQM can win a number of seats in Karachi without any problems; but all of the stories I hear compel me to think that they (or a specific group within their party) have not changed their fundamental approach of fear and intimidation. For instance, I personally know of at least 5 good, honest (you can tell from their lifestyle that they dont have much) government servants who were intimidated into transferring to other departments. One of them was told by his “superior” that his position had a specific price; i.e., they would hire whoever would pay their price. Pressures like this caused him to basically run for his life and sure enough, within a month, someone “purchased” that position. What’s more, that position has seen around 6 different people in a short span of 18 months…my acquaintance was there for around 8-9 years through various governments.

    Among the many examples, there was the case with Karachi Nazim Naimatullah Khan. I’m not a fan of the MMA, but this guy was genuinely doing good work and had support from many, many people. Before the (s)election, he actually went on TV and said to everyone that he would lose miserably because the MQM had launched a mafia-style campaign against him….sure enough, our only nominee of “World Mayor of the Year” lost his position.

  23. Samdani says:
    December 25th, 2006 11:59 pm

    I am happy that people are voting for curriculum changes as an important event. I did not vote for it but am having second thoughts now. If they do turn out to be real then their impact will ve truly meaningful and long-term.

  24. December 26th, 2006 1:23 am

    [quote post="484"]vote for curriculum change. Both are just the beginning of erasing the Islamic identity of this country. They are the two most damaging things that will impact Pakistan significantly[/quote]

    I have said enough about Hudood law here therefore I would rather answer your syllabus part. No, I completely disagree with you. The syllabus never played a major part in Pakistani society where education system is very scattered, that is, you learn at home via your parents,daddi dada etc who are part of a joint family system,y0u learn things in your mohalla, you learn things at offices, even shopkeepers in Pakistan often give you awesome moral tips which is very alien concept in West. Due to such scattered or parallel learning sources, official syllabus in Pakistan never made any significant impact and the best example of my case is Zia era where most of syllabus got Islamic and National TV got islamized but the fact is that it didn’t leave any influence and today most of members here who are 25 of age got education in that *Islamic* era of Zia and they preach about secularism and other stuff and most of them got educaton in institutes like Karachi University,PUnjab University, NED,DOW, UET etc.

    Obviously their secularist belief were not orginiated due to syllabus of 80s and they learnt it by other means.

    Similarly, dictator Musharraf who is a big fan & follower of Kemal Ataturk who is willing to make this country a clone of turkey is walking on similar path like Zia;thoughts are different but strategy is same,maybe it’s because great dictators think alike? anyway, whatever is the reason I don’t see much influence of syllabus[even if secular syllabus last for next 10-20 years]. Those who wants to follow the true Islam, not the one given by Zia or Mush, will follow it anyway and would give similar teachings to their kids already mentioned scattered education system in Pakistan/South east asia so even if kids are taught something wicked at schools, they would be corrected by their elders.

    The other reason I think that syllabus change will not make difference is 1)Internet Era 2)current situation about ‘war on terror’. Now if you ask a kid of age 5-7 years old about things like Bush,Iraq or war on terror, he does answer sensibily. The kids do know who is Hasan Nasurullah and how he defeated Israel. This is something which I couldnt imagine in my childhood. So I think it’s a “Too late” decision by Mush regime.

    Ibrahim, Most prolly you are worried that you might not be able to hear such cases but again I would say that I am not worried at all. Islam is like a rain water, no matter whatever steps you take to stop it, it finds its way anyway and current world situation does prove it. Could anyone imagine that a woman and journalist like Yvonne Riddley who was an alcholic and “Aaiyaash” woman would become a Muslim and the most amazing thing is that she became muslim after she was captured by Taliban who are cursed even by our people. Read her book “In the hands of Taliban”, its like a big slap on the faces of those who keep cursing Taliban without knowing any reality.

    So I would rather suggest you to tht instead of “getting worried”, do something to implement your thoughts. I myself is in field of I.T and I have already taken first step and I got a very positive response by muslims AND non-muslims and many muslims got motivated and they re willing to contribute, now I with another Pakistani forming a team to go to next step to educate ignorant muslims about the religion via IT and Technology medium as it would help me as well to getrid of my born ignorance about Islam. Just keeps your hopes hight, that’s it.

  25. Ibrahim says:
    December 26th, 2006 3:19 am

    Adnan,

    I appreciate your advice. Yes, I completely agree with you that curriculum has had little to no impact, and I do firmly believe that. I myself can hardly remember things from Islamiat except couple of historical anecdotes. But, the reason I wrote about curriculum change was not because its actual effects but because of what it means symbolically. The curriculum has been drastically changed and you’ve heard merely a peep about it. I’m afraid what else will be done. I stated earlier that it’s just a beginning but the lack of worry from people on the underlying principle (not the actual change) is what is troublesome. Exactly as you said, Pakistan is on its way to become another Turkey, if Musharraf has his way. So, I’m looking at curriculum change symbolically–what it means rather than what effects it will have!

  26. Azmat Ullah says:
    December 26th, 2006 11:27 am

    I think the most important event of 2006 will happen in 2007.

    Musharraf WILL remove his uniform and BB will return.

    2007 will be the defining year.

  27. December 26th, 2006 12:59 pm

    [quote post="484"]Musharraf WILL remove his uniform and BB will return[/quote]

    None of them will happen. Specially the uniform thingie.

  28. Samdani says:
    December 26th, 2006 1:36 pm

    This wardi business is, of course, the story of 2007. The odd thing is that nothing in 2006 gives us a clear sense of where it is going. Seems like it is sure that the wardi is NOT coming off. But is there a compromise about to happen, maybe with BB’s and PPP’s return and some losening of Musharraf’s control.

    I not know, but my guess is that he is in no mood to give up any control. Whether thee is a deal with PPP or not.

  29. Akif Nizam says:
    December 26th, 2006 2:11 pm

    I would vote for the change in curriculum; the rest are just fleeting issues the likes of which happen all the time in Pakistan’s checkered history. Not that a change in curriculum in something unusual for us; but it has a longer life cycle than the other factors on the list.

  30. Akif Nizam says:
    December 26th, 2006 2:14 pm

    [quote post="484"] Pakistan is on its way to become another Turkey, if Musharraf has his way.[/quote]

    If only we were so lucky!!!

    I agree more with what Azmat Ullah said that it may be the year of the return of BB.

  31. Eidee Man says:
    December 26th, 2006 8:36 pm

    [quote comment="20473"][quote post="484"] Pakistan is on its way to become another Turkey, if Musharraf has his way.[/quote]

    If only we were so lucky!!!

    I agree more with what Azmat Ullah said that it may be the year of the return of BB.[/quote]

    Funny, but I do hope that the next year brings about a revival of mainstream political parties.

    BTW, is your name real…or is it a play on Adil Najam… :)

  32. December 27th, 2006 1:16 am

    Given the discussion above, the following news, from Daily Times today, seems relevant by way of update:

    Shujaat and Benazir meet in Dubai, discuss 2007 elections

    ISLAMABAD: In an unexpected political development, Pakistan Muslim League (PML) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto met in Dubai on Tuesday and exchanged “pleasantriesâ€

  33. PatExpat says:
    December 27th, 2006 1:29 am

    For those of you who praise Turkey, have you ever been to Turkey. Except for the urban areas in the Western parts, Turkey is relatively poor and religiously inclined even after more than half a century of Kemalist politicians. Despite that, there has been a strong revival of islamists – the current AK party.

    And if you follow Turkish politics, there is conflict appearing between the popularly elected AK party and the country’s president and the army (vanguards of secularism) who are trying to prevent them for implementing their laws.

    And what if few years down the line, we have a strong islamist government, (seems unthinkable now but it happened in Turkey after more than half a century of secularists) would we accept it (like the Turks have done) or would we request someone in uniform to jump in with his uniform and push through secular politics or block islamist policies.

    After Kemalization, they are moving back to islamization. I hope this aspect is also acceptable to all those praising Turkey.

  34. December 27th, 2006 2:42 am

    [quote post="484"]Shujaat and Benazir meet in Dubai, discuss 2007 elections[/quote]

    Is Shujaat visiting for Dubai Shopping festival? :>

    He might have seen BB busy in shopping for Zardari so he would have thought k lagay hatoun siyasat bhe hojayee

  35. December 27th, 2006 8:18 am

    Education reform will have the longest shadow in my opinion on our collective destiny.

    Pakistan’s syllabi were destroyed through deliberate distortion in the 1980s- funded by American Dollars and University of Nebraska aimed at transforming Pakistan from a simple Muslim Majority State to a stauncly ideological and militarised hardline Islamic state as bullwark against communism … thank god the current syllabus being introduced is not ideological… but realistic. If American dollars are funding it then it is ironic… maybe Americans have suddenly realised that their course of action in the past was probably not the right one.

    In any event I am glad someone has had the courage to undo the poisonous legacy/by product of the 1980s war against USSR.

  36. December 27th, 2006 8:26 am

    On Turkey I’d like to say that it has become fashionable to describe AKP aka the Justice and Development Party as “Islamist” simply because they – like the Christian democrats of Europe- are proud of their faith.

    By that standard … even Kemal Ataturk himself, with his fervent cry of Jehad and Muslim solidarity during the Turkish War of Independence, would be a greater Islamist than AKP.

    The Turkish ruling elite in the first few decades after the demise of Kemal Ataturk sought to cement his legacy and excesses were committed. But today they’ve brought their nation to a point, where even the so called “Islamist” AKP is completely and wholeheartedly committed to Turkish Secularism (separation of Church and State) and complete freedom of religion. Infact, in many ways AKP are even more secular in the European Sense than the Kemalist Elite because the AKP has loosened the state’s stranglehold on religion.

    If AKP and its leadership is “Islamist”, then no one has any objection to their kind of Islam.

  37. Akif Nizam says:
    December 27th, 2006 9:25 am

    [quote post="484"]BTW, is your name real…or is it a play on Adil Najam… [/quote]

    lol…..even though I’m a big fan of Mr. Najam, I wouldn’t go so far to change the name my parents gave me. No, it is my real name but an interesting observation on your part nonetheless.

  38. Daktar says:
    December 27th, 2006 11:40 am

    You say in the other post and here that you thought of making Saira Amin (air force sword of honor winner) as the Pakistani-of-the-Year. Interesting choice but I think for 2006 it has to be Bugti very clearly.

  39. PatExpat says:
    December 27th, 2006 2:24 pm

    YLH,

    I dont know who do you mean when you say that no one has objection to AKP kind of Islam. Because Turkish Army, President, western media and EU is against that kind of Islam. Though I am still intrigued by your phrase “kind of Islam” but then this is not the post to discuss “kind of religion”. On freedom of religion: You are not allowed to pray, maintain a beard and wear headscarves in public offices and universities.

    You and I both know what Musharraf and others refer to when they talk about Kemal Ataturk. Its definitely not Islamists they are talking about.

    By any definition, Kemal was a nationalist and would be turning in his grave upon finding that he has been labelled as an islamist.

  40. PatExpat says:
    December 27th, 2006 2:49 pm

    On educational reforms, Zubeida Mustafa has written an excellent article in Dawn

    http://www.dawn.com/2006/12/20/op.htm#2

    [quote post="484"]…our education planners want that children should be taught subjects like science and maths in English so that they can compete at the international level. But is it not going too far to attempt to teach a child of five various mathematical concepts in a language to which his only exposure has been through TV ads. He would never be able to understand it. At the most he would memorise whatever the teacher tells him… By switching over to English, our education planners will ensure that the child never learns to think for himself.

    The second problem worrying the education minister in Islamabad is the polarisation in society caused by some children studying in English medium schools and others being the products of schools that use Urdu as the medium of instruction. No one would deny that this polarisation is the bane of Pakistani society today. But it needs to be pointed out that a class divide is being created more by the disparity in the quality of education being imparted in the elite private sector institutions and the government schools. It is not the language but the academic quality that makes the difference.

    When the government switches over to English as the medium for the teaching of science and mathematics the condition of the government schools will deteriorate further because the majority of their teachers do not know enough English. They will be teaching their students poor stuff in poor English. How that will remove the polarisation is not at all clear.

    The basic truth that has still to gain recognition in our education circles is that the standard of education is to a very large extent determined by the quality of pedagogy. Good teachers produce good and accomplished students. A good teacher is one who not only knows his subject. He also has mastery over the language in which he communicates and has communication skills as well.[/quote]

    All this is a farce to remove reference to Jihad, vice and virture, two nation theory, islamic ideology etc from Islamiat and Pakistan Studies textbook which most of us don’t remember after passing the exams.

  41. December 28th, 2006 1:45 am

    Article by Kamily Hyat (28 December, 2006) from The News that relates directly to the theme of our Poll. Interestingly, she present a generally positive prognosis on the year 2006. Excerpt (Full article here):

    It is not always easy to find good news in the country — and indeed, predicting doom is something of a national pastime. But as 2006 draws to a close, there is some cheer in the winter air… Long-awaited changes in the national educational curriculum remove at least a portion of the distorted bias woven into school texts. The new books, likely to be introduced from the next academic year, offer some hope of a change in mind-set — with sweeping amendments made in books for history and Pakistan Studies, according to educationists who have reviewed the altered texts… Also welcome as evidence of desire to brighten the national reality is the promise of a possible revision of the blasphemy laws… Of potentially more far reaching consequence that the news on the domestic front are the welcome signs that the Indo-Pakistan peace process, stalled after the Mumbai bomb blasts of July 2006, is off to a new start…. There is also other good news in the air. Responding with uncharacteristic courtesy and speed to writings about the death blow delivered to the ‘Basant’ festival by the ban on kite-flying, the Punjab government has extended reassurances that ways are being found to ensure the province’s most colourful festival can take place… And of course, as always, the ability of ordinary people to survive in increasingly tough times, to find new ways to sustain themselves and their families, always brings some cheer.

  42. December 27th, 2006 11:51 pm

    Dear PatExpat,

    I am afraid either you didn’t even bother to understand what I was saying or you are not as aware of Turkish political scene and history as you claimed.

    Nowhere have I called Kemal Ataturk, who I consider one of the greatest secular leaders the Muslim World has produced, an Islamist but rather that AKP is not Islamist. Read on. He was the father of modern Turk nationalism… but how that came about is also a fact… Turk Nationalism was secularised 1924 onwards but was in essence during the war of independence the question of the identity of Anatolian Muslims. This was the basis of the ultimate exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey as a result of the treaty of Laussane… all Greek-speaking Muslims became Turks and all Turkish speaking Christians became

    The point I was making was that if AKP with its acceptance of the principle of the separation of church and state and the very secular Turkish constitution is hardly “Islamist” as you described it. AKP is not Islamist. It is merely the equivalent of European Christian democrats.. a more or less secular political party hyphenated by some form of religio-cultural identity. Next you are going to tell me that Mahatir Muhammad and Abdullah Badawi of Malaysia are Islamists…

    When I say I have no problems with AKP’s form of Islam, it is because AKP’s form of Islam is the direct result of the policies of the Turkish Republic which has resulted in rationalisation of Islam to an extent that even the most religious of the Turks accepts Secularism as a state principle.

  43. TURAB says:
    December 28th, 2006 2:29 pm

    on the discussion of turkey and pakistan what a coincidence that hnour killings are widely and openly practised in both the countries… what a positive influence made in the name of islam?

  44. December 29th, 2006 1:01 am

    Another review of 2006 appears in The News today (29 Dec.) by Nasim Zehra. Read full article here. Excerpts:

    Throughout 2006 President General Pervez Musharraf led the call for ‘moderation’ in Pakistani politics and society. In the closing weeks of 2006 he also shepherded state institutions and the parliament to take concrete steps like the passage of the Women’s Protection Bill (WPB) and the introduction of an additional bill to end illegal, unconstitutional and unIslamic practices against women including domestic violence. A long overdue revision of the school curriculum took place to broaden historical and cultural horizons and to remove the language handicap the Urdu medium students face that impedes their academic and professional development. While credible democracy is still missing, on the ideological plane there is an overall spirit of tolerance and inclusion that the Musharraf-controlled state and official politics is displaying.

    Interestingly the media, the state, the government’s allies including the PML-Q and the MQM, the mainstream opposition party PPP and civil society groups are all promoting the alternative tolerant discourse. Yet the unresolved question of democracy, human rights and anti-terrorism policy sharply divides these groups with the opposition parties, the media and the civil society confronting the government over issues of democracy, human rights and anti-terrorism policy. As things stand these issues trump the common denominator of a tolerant political worldview. Hence the common space of ideological reorientation is insufficient to earn the government sustained and widespread support.

  45. Ghalib says:
    January 3rd, 2007 12:21 am

    well curriculum chage makes me laff!the thing that needs change is Pakistan Studies but alll we talk about is the poem on abu bin adam does that make u fanatic??? Mush entering the Kargil War the 1971 war and facts? the Zia era mishaps?these need change not islamiyat that even in Zia era was mere a suject worth 50 marks and 50 pages!8 surahs 4 caliphs life of muhammad the Ghazwats wat else is there?now they introducing ethics a real laff!Woman bill i guess the people who voted for it shud keep in mind Dr Shazia and Mukhtaraan Mai and the involvement of the countries Angel Army Chief!!we still think women will be empowered?just be mere displays of songs dances couple of pictures?
    SECTORIANISM the division by our own army inti so called Kargil Moderates and Taliban fanatics,the ones creating ambiguities in Religion,the ones giving false hopes and grounds to women in the name of equality!the issue is not even uniform becoz Mush himself know the days hes outta it his own army is gonna alienate from him the same PMLs the Patriots will be sitting with their real partners the Princes of Saudia and the Dutchess of Dubia!its all division thts been created just to previal and the people that matter are being crushed or being raped or being put behind bars!!!!

  46. January 3rd, 2007 8:03 am

    [...] All Things Pakistan puts up a poll to find which events and trends from 2006 are most likely to leave a lasting impact on Pakistan politics and society. See the results to find out the winners. Shirazi of The Light Within lists top ten posts of the Pakistan blogosphere. [...]

  47. Samdani says:
    January 27th, 2007 10:31 pm

    Just came back here thru search to see how many people had voted for sectarian violence as the big story. With the savage attack in Peshawar it takes on new importance. With the global politics what it is, this has potential to really tear us apart.

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