دن: نومبر 29، 2008

The Pakistan Connection پاکستان کا تعلق

The Pakistan Connection پاکستان کا تعلق

Evidence is still sketchy, but tensions are already rising between India and its nuclear-armed neighbor.

Ron Moreau and Sudip Mazumdar, NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE, Nov 27, 2008 | Updated: 2:25  p.m. ET Nov 27, 2008

Around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a band of 10 young armed militants zoomed up to a fishermen’s colony in Colaba, on the Mumbai waterfront, in inflatable Zodiac speedboats. Locals confronted them: unlike the dark-skinned Mumbai fishermen, who speak only Marathi, the regional dialect, the intruders were young, tall and fair-skinned and spoke Urdu with a northern accent. According to local press, the gunmen reportedly told them to mind their business, then gave a raised-thumb gesture, and splitting into small groups, walked off into two different directions. The fishermen reported the suspicious men to a police post nearby, but the tip-off failed to rouse the cops to action.

An hour later, the carnage began. Those gunmen and others, armed with automatic rifles and hand grenades, spread out across southern Mumbai and started shooting into crowds at several city landmarks. By midnight more than 100 people lay dead, including three of Mumbai’s top cops, one of them the head of the anti-terrorist squad. The series of well-coordinated and bloodthirsty attacks hit two of Mumbai’s flagship hotels, its main Victorian-era railway station, and several other soft targets in the city. Gunmen in both hotels took scores of hostages. The dead senior policemen were inexplicably standing exposed outside the spots where terrorists were holding hostages.

Even as Indian commandos worked to free hostages holed up in the hotels and elsewhere, attention quickly turned to who might have planned and staged the brazen attacks. Beyond those killed and wounded, one victim certainly looks to be the gradually improving peace process between India and Pakistan, nuclear-armed rivals who have fought three major wars between them. While no conclusive links between the Mumbai terrorists and Pakistan have yet been proved, initial reports are pointing to some level of Pakistani involvement. Police have arrested nine suspects, including one from the Oberoi hotel. They claim that preliminary interrogation reports reveal that some of gunmen were of Pakistani origin, and were well-trained in handling guns and explosives. They also carried photo credit cards.

A previously unknown jihadi group called the Deccan Mujahedeen quickly claimed responsibility. (Deccan refers to the great plains of central and southern India.) But security experts think the militants simply floated this name in order to confuse investigators. One of the alleged gunmen spoke to an Indian TV reporter by cell phone; the man did not have a south Indian accent, and in fact spoke Urdu with a Punjabi inflection. The caller told the TV station that he didn’t even know what the group’s demands were. During the conversation, he asked the TV anchor to wait and then could be heard asking a companion in the background: "Tell me, what are our demands?” Finally the man answered that they demanded that all "mujahedeen” in Indian jails should be freed and that "persecution” of Muslims should stop. The caller disconnected the phone when pressed for further information about their numbers and goals.

Despite the rather flimsy evidence pointing to Pakistan’s involvement, Islamabad is expected to come under extremely heavy Indian and international pressure once again to get tough with the extremist organizations that still operate rather openly inside the country. After past terrorist attacks Indian authorities have been quick to blame Pakistan and its shadowy Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI). This time, too, while the hotels still smoldered, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced in a nationally televised address that the assailants had "external linkages,” clearly a reference to neighboring Pakistan. He added that he would tell India’s "neighbors” that the use of their territory to attack India would not be tolerated. Many Indians were pointing a finger at the Pakistani jihadi group Lashkar-I-Taiba, which was formed in the early 1980s with the assistance of the ISI to promote an anti-Indian revolt in Muslim-majority, Indian-administered Kashmir.

New Delhi has long accused Lashkar, and by extension Pakistan, of being behind the long-simmering unrest in Indian Kashmir, as well as being instigators of terror attacks inside India. Indian officials, however, conveniently ignore the serious economic, religious, political and social causes of Muslim discontent in Kashmir as well as in much of India, which is home to more than 150 million Muslims, roughly equivalent to the population of Pakistan. There have been five similar attacks, albeit on a smaller scale with fewer casualties, across India in the last eight months. Security agency sources say that the government’s response to the attacks has been routine, if not incompetent, and that inter-agency rivalries and non-coordination often result in terrorists having a free hand. In addition, the police are notorious for using crude methods such as rounding up largely innocent Muslim youth and torturing them to extract information, tactics that alienate even moderate Muslim voices.

As a result, Islamic radicalism now seems to be becoming an increasingly serious threat to India just as it is in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Indeed, there may be enough dissatisfaction among Muslims in India to spawn a cadre of native, would-be jihadists who do not necessarily need external support to carry out terrorist attacks. Even so, the precise planning, stealth and coordination involved in the attacks may point to some external assistance, if not inspiration. Pakistan can certainly be faulted for not having dealt a deathblow to Lashkar and several other similar, ISI-assisted, Kashmir-oriented, jihadist outfits such as Jaish-I-Mohammad, a splinter group that was responsible for American journalist Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and beheading in 2002. Despite several much-ballyhooed crackdowns by former President Pervez Musharraf on Lashkar, Jaish and other such extremist groups, these radical organizations were never dismembered or decapitated. They went underground or kept on functioning under different monikers. Unlike Jaish and other Pakistani jihadi groups, Lashkar wisely did not become involved in military strikes against Pakistani security forces. As a result, the army and police crackdown was less harsh on Lashkar than it was on other extremist groups that were in open revolt against Pakistan after it moved to close the infiltration pipeline into Indian-occupied Kashmir in 2003.

To escape any of the government’s anti-extremist dragnets, Lashkar cleverly morphed into Jamaat ud Dawah, a so-called Islamic charitable group, after Musharraf banned it following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Today Jamaat ud Dawah openly solicits funds and recruits adherents in Pakistan, particularly in mosques, and has undertaken high-profile relief work in the aftermath of the deadly 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the more recent destructive tremor in Baluchistan, earning it an increased following. The group’s radical founder, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, is free and still openly preaches his sermons of hate despite occasional, and brief, stints in jail. Earlier this month, Saeed openly preached to a gathering of tens of thousands of faithful in Pakistan’s Punjab province. He called on Pakistan to halt the truck convoys supplying U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan through Pakistan, accused the Pakistani army of fighting the Pakistani people, called on U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to embrace Islam, declared that only by invading India would Pakistan get river waters that he claimed were being criminally diverted by India, and promised the jihad would continue until Kashmir was free from Indian rule.

Meanwhile, Jaish-e-Muhammad, like Lashkar, has established insurgent training camps in the tribal areas. And its leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, is said to be working closely with Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives in the tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Indeed, a spate of reports over the past year or so indicated that Kashmir-oriented Pakistani jihadi groups like Lashkar and Jaish had moved most of their camps and operational centers from Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, where they were born, to the safer environs of the tribal area where the Taliban and Al Qaeda hold sway. For the past few years the Pakistan Army and ISI had put these jihadi groups on a very short leash, not allowing them to infiltrate across the heavily mined and guarded Line of Control that separates the Pakistani- and Indian-controlled sectors of Kashmir. As a result, the bulk of the groups are thought to have shifted their main operational bases to the tribal area.

Lashkar, Jaish and other Kashmiri jihadi groups are believed to be involved in cross-border operations into Afghanistan to attack U.S. and coalition troops operating there. But from their new tribal-areas bases, they also get an opportunity to work closely with Al Qaeda planners operating in the region. Indeed these tribal havens are perfect places for Lashkar and other like-minded, anti-Indian groups to safely plan attacks and then communicate operational ideas to loosely affiliated jihadist groups in India, most probably via the Internet. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Taliban sources tell Newsweek, has never hidden his goal of sabotaging the Indo-Pakistani peace process, even though negotiations between the two countries aimed at establishing normal cross border traffic and trade and finding a solution to the Kashmir conflict are moving at a snail’s pace. Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s No. 2 man, is on the record saying he would like to promote an all-out conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. Ironically, the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan had just completed a round of successful talks in Islamabad on countering terrorism and drug trafficking, among other things, the day before the Mumbai attacks occurred.

Unfortunately, Pakistan does not seem to realize the full danger that these jihadist groups it once sponsored still pose to regional stability. The Pakistan military still seems to view the huge Indian army as an existential threat along its eastern border, perhaps a greater menace than the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban and the Kashmiri extremist groups. "(India) is a living threat,” says a senior Pakistan official. "You decide what is a threat by looking at the other person’s capability: what he can do in terms of troop formations and where those formations are deployed. The intention to go and attack somebody can change in an instant, so Pakistan is focused on India. While it is fighting the war on terror, (Pakistan) has not shut its eyes to the conventional threat.”

In view of India’s and Pakistan’s rather ineffective responses to terrorism at home, strikes by Islamic militants in India are unlikely to disappear. The fact that the Mumbai terrorists were trying to single out British and American citizens, and attacked a building housing some Jewish families, clearly points to an international dimension to this attack. It may not only be a twisted way to get revenge against the alleged maltreatment of Indian Muslims at home, but also to send a message to western powers like U.S. and the U.K., which are New Delhi’s close allies, to keep their hands off of India. The attacks further rattled India’s already shaky economy by scaring foreigners away from Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, and creating uncertainty in this formerly relaxed commercial hub.

The Mumbai attack, however, should make it clear to Pakistan and Indian–indeed to Washington and the region–that is essential for the two countries to work together ever more closely to combat this extremist threat before it derails the fledgling peace process and throws both countries back into the dangerous game in which they view each other as mortal enemies. That would be suicidal. Officials in both countries most probably realize the serious threat that a new round of mutual recriminations would pose to regional security. "It’s terrible, it’s tragic,” says the senior Pakistani official. "I hope we can work together to end this menace which affects us both. Nothing will be served by accusations or finger pointing,” he says. "That would only serve the terrorists who want to sabotage Pakistani-Indian relations.” That could very well have been the terrorists’ ultimate goal.

With Zahid Hussain in Islamabad

URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/171056

© 2008 

Important to avoid knee-jerk reactions: Pakistan

Saturday, November 29, 2008 1:17:00 AM

Important to avoid knee-jerk reactions: Pakistan

PTI – Press Trust of India – DNA India

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday expressed its readiness "to deepen its engagement with India, including on combating terrorism” but said it was "important to avoid blame game and knee-jerk reactions” with regard to the terror attacks in Mumbai.
 
Terrorism is a global problem that "needs to be combated in all its forms and manifestations through serious, sustained and pragmatic steps”, said a statement issued late on Friday night by the Foreign Office here.
 
"Pakistan is prepared to deepen its engagement with India, including on combating terrorism. It is, however, important to avoid blame game and knee jerk reactions,” the statement said.
 
 
The Foreign Office statement noted that Pakistan had strongly condemned the "horrific” terrorist attacks in Mumbai "at the highest levels” and President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had "conveyed to the Indian leadership our sense of shock and deep sorrow on the loss of life”.
 
The statement was issued hours after both Zardari and Gilani telephoned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and offered Pakistan’s assistance in probing the attacks. They also refuted comments by Indian leaders linking Pakistan to the attacks.
 
Gilani also accepted Singh’s request to send the chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence to India for sharing information on the Mumbai attacks.
 
The statement said the Director General of ISI will visit India in this regard.
 
"We are confident that the government of India will respond positively to Pakistan’s offer to cooperate in the investigation of the Mumbai attacks. It is in the interest of Pakistan and India to enhance multi-track cooperation in anti-terrorism,” it added.
 
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, currently visiting India for peace talks, has conveyed "in unequivocal terms” to the Indian leadership "the abhorrence and distress of the government and people of Pakistan at these dastardly attacks”, the statement said.
 
 
The statement also noted the telephone calls made to Singh by Zardari and Gilani, who "reiterated Pakistan’s strong condemnation and indignation on the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and expressed Pakistan’s readiness to extend every assistance and cooperation that the government of India may require in investigating these incidents”.
 
It said Pakistan had proposed "closer intelligence cooperation and meetings between the intelligence chiefs of the two countries”. Pakistan and India have established mechanisms of cooperation for combating terrorism, including a Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism (JATM).  

A meeting of the JATM held in New Delhi in October had decided to make the body "more effective”, the statement said.
 
Anti-terrorism cooperation is also part of the composite dialogue process. Both countries have broad-ranging cooperation on a range of issues related to terrorism, crime and drug trafficking. The meeting of the home secretaries of the two countries held in Islamabad during November 25-26 was "productive”, the statement said.
 
"It was decided that severe action will be taken against any elements involved in terrorist attacks,” it added.
 
The statement also said Pakistan was a victim of terrorism and had ongoing cooperation in combating terror with several countries of the world.

دہشت گردی کے لیے اسلحہ کراچی سے آیا، من موہن سنگھ

دہشت گردی کے لیے اسلحہ کراچی سے آیا ، ہمارے پاس ثبوت ہیں، من موہن کی وزیراعظم گیلانی سے فون پر گفتگو

Saturday, November 29, 2008روزنامہ جنگ 

اسلام آباد ( رپورٹ: … رؤف کلاسرا) بھارتی وزیراعظم من موہن سنگھ نے جمعہ کو پاکستان کے وزیراعظم سید یوسف رضا گیلانی کو براہِ راست بتایا کہ ممبئی کے دہشت گرد حملوں میں استعمال ہونیوالا اسلحہ کراچی سے کچھ پاکستانی عناصر نے بھجوایا تھا اور اس معاملے کو نمٹانے کیلئے آئی ایس آئی کے سربراہ کو فوری طور پر بھارت بھجوایا جائے۔ اپنے دفتر میں دی نیوز کیساتھ بات چیت میں وزیراعظم سید یوسف رضا گیلانی نے بھارتی وزیراعظم کیساتھ ہونیوالی بات چیت کی داستان سنائی کہ انہوں نے کس طرح ٹیلی فونک بات چیت کے دوران ایسی درخواست کی۔ آئی ایس آئی کے ڈائریکٹر جنرل کو جنرل پرویز مشرف کے دور میں 2 سال قبل ہونیوالے معاہدے کی روشنی میں بھارت بھیجا جا رہا ہے۔ معاہدے کے تحت دہشت گردی کے خلاف جنگ میں دونوں ممالک ایک دوسرے کی مدد حاصل کرسکتے ہیں اور معلومات اور انٹیلی جنس کا تبادلہ کرسکتے ہیں۔ گیلانی نے کہا کہ ممبئی حملوں کے سلسلے میں اظہار افسوس کرنے کیلئے وہ گزشتہ 2 روز سے بھارتی وزیراعظم سے رابطہ کرنے کی بھرپور کوشش کر رہے تھے، کیونکہ وہ پہلے عالمی رہنما تھے جنہوں نے ستمبر میں اسلام آباد میں میریٹ ہوٹل پر ہونیوالے حملے پر افسوس کا اظہار کیا تھا۔ گیلانی نے کہا، ”بھارتی عوام اور حکومت پر آنے والے کڑے وقت میں، میں بھی بھارتی وزیراعظم کو سب سے پہلے رابطہ کرنے کا تاثر دینا چاہتا تھا“۔ تاہم وہ بھارتی وزیراعظم سے ان کی عدم دستیابی کے باعث رابطہ نہ کرسکے۔ بالآخر جب جمعہ کو گیلانی رابطے میں کامیاب ہوئے تو انہوں نے بھارتی سرزمین پر دہشت گردی کے اس واقعہ کی مذمّت کی جس میں 100 سے زائد معصوم افراد کی جانیں ضایع ہوئیں۔ گیلانی نے کہا کہ بات چیت کے دوران، ایک موقع پر، بھارتی وزیراعظم نے انکشاف کیا کہ واقعے سے متعلق ابتدائی رپورٹ سے معلوم ہوتا ہے کہ کچھ عناصر نے کراچی سے بھارت اسلحہ بھجوایا تھا۔ اسلام آباد کی سیاسی حکومت نے بھارتی انٹیلی جنس ایجنسیوں کی مدد کیلئے فوری طور پر ڈائریکٹر جنرل آئی ایس آئی لیفٹیننٹ جنرل احمد شجاع پاشا کو بھارت بھیجنے کا فیصلہ کیا۔ ڈائریکٹر جنرل انٹر سروسز اینڈ پبلک ریلیشنز (آئی ایس پی آر) اور پاک فوج کے ترجمان میجر جنرل اطہر عباس سے تبصرے کیلئے جمعہ کی رات رابطہ کیا گیا تو انہوں نے کہا کہ آرمی کو کوئی آرڈرز موصول نہیں ہوئے اور جب تک دورے کے مقصد کی تفصیلات کیساتھ تحریری احکامات موصول نہیں ہوتے، اس وقت تک وہ کوئی تبصرہ نہیں کرسکتے۔ اس کے باوجود اسے رسمی کارروائی سمجھا جا رہا ہے کیونکہ آرمی چیف نے اپنی رضامندی ظاہر کردی ہے۔ وزیراعظم سے بات چیت اور صدر اور وزیراعظم کے سامنے رضامندی ظاہر کرنے سے قبل چیف آف آرمی اسٹاف جنرل اشفاق پرویز کیانی نے اپنے باوردی مشیروں سے مشاورت کی کہ پاکستان کو بھارتی وزیراعظم کی بات پر عمل کرنا چاہئے تاکہ دونوں ممالک کے درمیان بڑھتی ہوئی بد اعتمادی کو ختم کیا جاسکے۔ یہ پہلی بار ہے کہ بھارت نے دعویٰ کیا ہے کہ اس کے پاس اس واقعے میں پاکستانی عناصر کے ملوث ہونے کے ثبوت موجود ہیں اور اب انہوں نے آئی ایس آئی چیف سے تحقیقات میں مدد کی درخواست کی ہے۔ بھارتی وزیراعظم کی اس غیر معمولی درخواست پر ہمارے وزیراعظم، صدر آصف علی زرداری حتیٰ کہ آرمی چیف بھی ششدر رہ گئے کیونکہ کسی کو یہ معلوم نہیں تھا کہ اس پریشان کن درخواست پر کس طرح کا ردّ عمل ظاہر کیا جانا چاہئے۔ دونوں رہنما آرمی چیف کے جواب کا انتظار کرتے رہے کیونکہ انہیں معلوم تھا کہ یہ کوئی معمولی فیصلہ نہیں ہے اور صرف عسکری ہائی کمان ہی ہاں یا نہ کہنے کی پوزیشن میں ہوسکتی ہے۔ تاہم، دونوں رہنما ڈی جی آئی ایس آئی کو بھیجنے کے حامی تھے تاکہ کوئی بھی پاکستان کی جانب انگلی نہ اٹھا سکے۔ لاہور میں پریس کانفرنس کے دوران وزیراعظم گیلانی بھی یہی دلیل دے چکے ہیں کہ ”ہم کسی بھی طرح ملوث نہیں ہیں“۔ وزیراعظم گیلانی کیساتھ اپنی ٹیلی فونک بات چیت میں بھارتی وزیراعظم من موہن سنگھ کا خیال تھا کہ دونوں انٹیلی جنس ایجنسیاں معلومات کا تبادلہ کرسکتی ہیں اور اس دہشت گرد حملے کے اصل مجرموں تک پہنچنے کیلئے جائزہ لے سکتی ہیں، جس کی وجہ سے دونوں ممالک کے تعلقات کو صدر زرداری کی بھارتی اخبار کی ویڈیو کانفرنس کے دوران پیش کی گئی تجاویز کے فوراً بعد جھٹکا لگا ہے۔ 

 

پرنس کریم آغا خان سے گفتگو

Saturday » November 29 » 2008

Q and A with the Aga Khan پرنس کریم آغا خان کے ساتھ گفتگو

The global spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims holds forth on the state of the world

Don Cayo of Vancouver Sun columnist

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Vancouver, B.C.-11/25/08-His Highness the Aga Khan, the Iman (spiritual leader) leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims is greeted by Premier Gordon Campbell, then having a meeting and continuing to a luncheon. Here, he speaks at luncheon. Ian Smith/Vancouver Sun [PNG Merlin Archive]

CREDIT: Ian Smith/Vancouver Sun

Vancouver, B.C.-11/25/08-His Highness the Aga Khan, the Iman (spiritual leader) leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims is greeted by Premier Gordon Campbell, then having a meeting and continuing to a luncheon. Here, he speaks at luncheon. Ian Smith/Vancouver Sun [PNG Merlin Archive] Friday, November 28, 2008

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Following is a transcript of a conversation between His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims, and founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), and Don Cayo of The Vancouver Sun. The interview took place Nov. 23 in Toronto.

Sun: You’ve talked a lot about the failure of democracy, and you differentiate that very sharply from the failure of states. I’m interested in how you define this failure of democracy and its significance.

AK: The failure of democracy? Well, I think what we’re seeing in a number of countries is situations where the political process has moved forward and you have parliaments in place which are based on electoral processes that are more or less, often less, sound than one would want. You find governments which are not relating to parliament in a structured and creative way. You find parliaments where the quality of human resources is not what it might be. You find constitutions which are extremely difficult to interpret in practice, and where heads of state or heads of government consider it necessary to change these constitutions. And the nature of change itself is a problem.

So I think we’re going to go through a long period of search for new democratic formats in the developing world. I often give the example of Uganda with three monarchies. You say to yourself, how does a country remain a republic with three monarchies which it wants to recognize?

You have other countries where the level of authority of the provinces versus the centre becomes a major issue, and where the provinces have sought powers which the centre probably should have and doesn’t have. So you get the centrifugal forces in these countries in a sense making central national thinking extremely difficult to implement.

You get the difficulty in changing legislation. Many of these countries have inherited colonial legislation in one area or the other – particularly in, for example, education, economic institutions etc. They find it difficult to change that legislation.

Very often the background to that legislation is an attempt to control rather than to empower. So instead of the legislation coming into the public domain with the goal of enabling change, it’s actually very often drafted on the premise of control and centralization.

So I think that we are going to be seeing a large number of situation – you can think of Afghanistan, you can think of Kenya, you can think of Uganda, Eastern Europe, you see these situations all over the world. And I think it will require a lot of patience and wisdom and care to develop systems that are going to work, which do represent a consultative process which we all consider equitable and solid and good, that allow the processes of change in government to occur in an organized way, but that at the same time don’t create a situation where there is tremendous volatility all the time in the environment.

Because one of the problems is volatility in the environment in which institutions are trying to develop. That’s why yesterday, for example, I referred to the role of civil society, because civil society goes through government change. It’s not affected by these political processes.

I’m not challenging in any way the notion that these political processes are necessary. I’m simply saying I think it is important that the world look at these processes for what they are. They are difficult. They are complex. There is no historical record that you can refer to in many of these countries.

You have national forces which sometimes will play for or against regional arrangements. And these regional arrangements are becoming very, very important, because in our world there are very few micro-states that survive well. OK, you can refer to Singapore, you can refer to Hong Kong. But they’re the exception rather than the rule.

Therefore these small states need to come together so that they can insert themselves in a wider marketplace, etc.

So that’s really what I mean by the fragility of democracy.

Sun: I’m not sure how close the parallel is with a failed market economy and a failed democracy, but I think there is some overlap. And I think in a sense it’s the failure of a faux market economy and perhaps, in some cases, a failure of a faux democracy – that there was the vigorous election, which is that great trapping of a democracy, but there weren’t all of the checks and balances and messy little mechanisms that actually make it work.

AK: Without any doubt, without any doubt.

And I think the relationship between democracy and resources is a very sensitive one in the developing world. Even in the industrialized world it’s sensitive, but in the third world it’s even more sensitive – who is using what resources to achieve what goal?

And if elections take place and the outcome is not what people expect or like, suddenly there’s an issue – has democracy shown up the best? Well, that’s up to the population to decide. You can’t challenge that.

So these are situations which we’re learning about.

Sun: What’s the role of a functioning democracy like ours in terms of facilitating, fostering? What can we do beyond cross our fingers?

AK: Oh, I think you can do an enormous amount. I think you can do an enormous amount because first of all I think that you have, as far as I can tell, made a wise divide between the economics of the country and the politics of the country. You, generally speaking, have a situation where governments are concerned about the quality of the economy of the country and obviously coming out of the Soviet and the Cold War era that was very, very different.

So I think there is a respect for the notion that economic management today is a science, it’s not a political football. It’s a science and it must be run as a science and not run as a political football. That’s the first thing.

I think the second thing is that you have succeeded in creating a democratic context in which various groups feel comfortable. You have created a genuine pluralist society. And you have looked for leadership in all your groups. That leadership, which is very diverse in Canada, gives all these communities a sense of comfort that when they have a man or a woman of exceptional talent, the background is not going to come into cause. What’s going to come into cause is the performance of the individual for society. That’s very important.

If you look at African states or Asian states, you can see there are communities that have been totally marginalized whether they have competent individuals or not. So I think that’s a second issue which is very important.

I think the third issue is that at a certain stage national goals – where does Canada want to be in the community of nations – is extremely important. And it seems to me that there has been intelligent continuity in that issue, although it’s debated within Canada. But the fact is that you have achieved a certain position in the world community and it is very much my hope that you will continue to sustain that position.

So there’s an awful lot to learn from Canada. And, I’ve said to my friends here, sometimes you’re just too humble.

Sun: But we can’t take a cookie cutter of what we’ve done and impose that on another nation. How do we facilitate the transfer of the underlying principles?

AK: Sharing knowledge. Sharing information. Building institutional capacity across frontiers, between Canada and other parts of the world. Applying Canadian principles to what you do abroad. That is a very important thing.

It’s not how Canada sees its work abroad, it’s how people abroad see Canada that is the really critical issue. And I think sometimes all of us working in this part of the world have a sense of understanding of what Canadian identity means to these countries. It’s a very powerful and very singular identity, a very respected identity.

Sun: What’s the consequence of failure to do this and what’s the potential reward of success? How far can this go?

AK: Well, the failure means having parts of the world which are causes of concern, being unable to work their way out of that situation. Because that’s really the critical issue – how do these countries, these regions, work their way out of these difficulties? So the risk of failure is that these parts of the world will remain fragile, ill-governed, with weak economies. Internal stresses will become external stresses. They will start gaining a global dimension.

So the risk is very, very high. This is one area where I think one needs to look quite cautiously at the notion of risk management. Because risk management in foreign affairs seems to me to be one of the really necessary attitudes towards global affairs today.

The successes? The successes if you make it work are parts of the world which are unstable, are volatile, becoming more stable, more vigorous and eventually becoming competitive.

You need to accept – I think all of us working in development need to accept – that at certain stages these countries are going to become what are called newly industrialized countries. They will actually become competitors. But it doesn’t mean competition has to be unethical or disloyal or anything of the sort. You simply create a new dimension in which relationships take place.

So I think the downside is very, very serious. And the upside is encouraging and can be achieved.

If you think of countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, and you think back to the position of these countries 30 or 40 years ago and where they are today, there’s an enormous change.

Sun: The downside is really manifested sharply in a couple of countries you know very well – Afghanistan and Iraq. And I can’t imagine a Canadian who wouldn’t think it would have been better to have not had all those factors that contributed to the mess that’s there today. But we have troops in Afghanistan right now, and we have to do something next week, next month, next year. We have to either leave them there, or bring them out, or do something else while stumbling towards a better solution. How do we handle those interim challenges with the things that have already gone so seriously wrong?

AK: Well, I tend to think of Afghanistan as a number of countries, not one country. I tend to think of it as a series of provinces with different ethnic backgrounds, different levels of security and peace. Therefore what seems to me very important is not only to deal with the security issue where the security issue is severe, but to continue to build and build strongly and confidently in the other areas where reconstruction is taking place.

Reconstruction has its own dynamic at a certain stage. All of us are concerned in making it self-sustaining. Once it becomes self-sustaining, it tends to grow across divides. Because people look at what’s happening next door, village to village or province to province, and they ask themselves "Can we get there?” And if they say, "Can we get there?” they then open immediately the question of dialogue. And that is the basis of everything. The moment you don’t have dialogue, that really is the war. It’s Berlin.

Sun: Is it realistic to hope we can chip away incrementally, and if we deal effectively with the places where effectiveness is possible that success will spill over to the others?

AK: Our experience would say definitely yes, definitely yes.

There are a number of criteria. Obviously security is a key one, because development cannot take place in an environment of insecurity.

I think regionalism is another issue. Afghanistan has a very complex geographic situation with a number of countries around it which have their own interests in what happens in Afghanistan. Therefore building – for example like we’re trying to do now in the two Badakhshans – building regional stability which can come from outside the country into the provinces of the country is very important.

The same thing is true of the frontier with Pakistan, of course.

So I would say very, very definitely yes.

But I think one’s got to accept the notion that the tribal areas of Pakistan is a problem area which is not new. You see very often people look at that situation and they say, "This is a catastrophe.” But if you look back to history, that area in Pakistan has never been a governed area by the government of Pakistan. So what we’re talking about is gaining central control over an area of a country which was never governed. It was allowed to auto-govern itself. They have never benefited from the processes of development, and tribal forces have remained in place for decades and decades and decades. It’s one of the most frozen societies you will find.

Sun: So these are micro-states that aren’t drawn on the map?

AK: Yes, yes, these are the micro-states. Or micro-regions, because they’re really regions. Frontiers in that situation don’t mean anything, people just go across – they walk across, they drive across, they go across on horseback or on mule. They trade across frontiers. There is no customs, no immigration, no control.

Sun: In the two other primary religions that we’re familiar with here, you don’t get the same blending of the secular and the religious. I’m interested in the Muslim ethic of blending the work you do – the involvement you have in the affairs of the world, as well as in the spiritual affairs. Can you explain it to me?

AK: Well that really is one of the issues that was part of the roots of Islam when Islam was revealed.

The Prophet himself, peace be upon him, really was an individual who looked at the quality of life, of people who were Muslims. He didn’t only look at the issue of religious practice, he looked at the issues of security of his people. He looked at the issues of quality of life. He looked at the issue of poverty. He looked at the issues of marginalized groups etc. He looked at the issues of integration of communities that were not Muslim, that became Muslim.

So a lot of the things we see in the modern world in their own way were addressed at that time – in totally different circumstances, obviously.

But the notion of intersection between faith and world actually was part of the revelation of Islam, very much so. And I think every Muslim leader, every Imam, whether he’s a Sunni or a Shia, would confirm that that is the case. We don’t make that divide. And indeed there are schools of thought that say that line of thought would not be acceptable in Islam.

Sun: I don’t presume to know there’s religion behind what I see as a growing movement, but I do see blending of the ethical aspects of what you’re speaking of and business life in the broader society. We have the greed and all those things, but we also have huge new initiatives driven by people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Vancouver alone has two people giving a hundred million dollars each to international development. I’m interested because you seem to have pioneered this use of, if I can call it, business tools for social goals. Is that a fair description?

AK: Well, yes and no.

Let me first of all talk about the business tools and then I’ll come back to the other question.

I think for a long time there was a notion that development support, development activities, should not be measured because it was unethical to measure something which was done with a charitable attitude and all the rest. And I think since then what’s happened is that donor agencies – government, individual organizations, the World Bank amongst others – came to the conclusion they needed to understand what was the impact of what they were doing.

Understanding the impact doesn’t mean that it’s a commercial goal. It’s understanding the impact on the constituencies you want to help. If your programs of support are not doing what they should do, you need to know that. And you need to understand what’s going wrong, and you need to be able to correct it.

So you start off with, at least in a number of our programs, with a given constituency – a regional constituency or a national constituency, or a constituency of people. And you say, "This is the target I’m aiming at. Is the support that I’m going to give quantifiable?”

Now we’re actually looking at what I would call definitions of quality of life, because we actually think that that’s changed since the original World Bank criteria. We have a whole exercise under way at the present time to try to get a better handle on perceptions of quality of life seen from communities in the developing world rather than from an institution in the industrialized world.

So point number one – measuring doesn’t mean measuring for commercial purposes. It means measuring for the purposes of doing your work better than you might otherwise. And I have no ethical discomfort with that. Indeed, that measuring is done with the local communities, because they are the ones who are the best articulators of whether you’re achieving your goals or not.

And I think one of the lessons we’ve learned in this exercise is to listen – quite simply to listen and listen and listen and listen. The moment you become deaf in development activity, you’re out of the park.

To get back to the issue of ethics, I am very, very, very pleased that there is a sense of social ethics which is coming back into parts of the world that I thought had become so materialistic that they had lost notions of ethic. That they had lost notions of the unity of humanity and the fact that you couldn’t leave people, millions and millions of people at risk of ill health, of marginalization, of lack of security and these sorts of situations. I am very, very pleased to see that happen.

But it’s interesting to see how this notion of ethics is not yet, in my view, strong enough in education. I think in a number of situations national curricula at the school level, maybe even at the university level, are important. Many of the institutions in the industrialized world refer to moral reasoning, so the word "moral” is in there. But at one time I thought things were really becoming just too materialistic. And I think Bill Gates and other people around him have started to reverse that whole attitude.

Sun: I see, for example, that the Canadian International Development Agency is starting to focus on some of these issues of civil society that you’ve talked about frequently. But one thing that concerns me is the difficulty of measurement. If you have a program to immunize children, it’s easy to know your effect – you count the kids that got shots. But of you have a program to foster civil society, I’m not sure how you measure that and determine if you’re being effective. I’ve thought about this from the point of view of government, but obviously it must be of concern to an agency like yours as well.

AK: I agree very much. I think there are things that have to be measured with different criteria.

If you measure a healthcare program or an educational program, you can measure the degree of penetration of that program in a given constituency. What you can’t measure in quantifiable terms is whether a society that was conflictual in its composition has become a pluralist society. You can’t measure that.

But that’s where you get back to the notion of quality of life. Because you can measure that in terms of whether the quality of life of the individual, as seen by the individual or the community, has a sense of hope in the future that it wouldn’t have had in the past.

So I think there are two levels of measurement. One is the specific measurement of what you’re doing. The other is in the much wider definition of quality of life. And that’s where we’re looking at this issue of quality of life because we’re worried about it, frankly.

Sun: You’ve spoken of how important it is to pre-empt disaster rather than to react to it. And, of course, if you pre-empt it, it’s very difficult to measure what you’ve avoided.

AK: That’s absolutely correct, that’s absolutely correct.

What you can do is you can look at an individual situation, and you can predict hypothetically what might happen. But there’s no proof it would have happened if you don’t intervene.

The only thing you can do is you can say you’ve consolidated a given part of the world so that given part of the world is no longer a high risk area. And thank God in our globe there are areas of high risk which we know about which we can identify, and we need to go and look at them and work in them.

There are other areas which don’t need this sort of support. They’re extremely wealthy, they don’t have any major material problems. But there’s such diversity of difficulty, governance is a real issue in many cases.

Sun: When you measure quality of life, is there a universal yardstick?

AK: The World Bank tried to develop a criteria. Jim Wolfensohn and I actually discussed that in great depth because we were worried when Jim was president of the bank. We were worried about how much our institutions, our programs really understood about the nature of quality of life. And he launched a major program that resulted in a book which I think was called Voices of the Poor.

Voices of the Poor was an extremely important document – very intense, difficult to read but which repositioned the notions of quality of life as seen by populations at risk.

So I think the answer is yes, you can measure. But you have to measure with the criteria of the populations concerned. You can’t apply your own criteria, because if you do apply your own criteria you’re going to get it wrong.

There are social forces in the developing world which have been there for centuries. You can’t change them overnight and if you do change them overnight you create more trouble than you would otherwise.

Sun: There’s a category of what I broadly call good works that is never going to have a pay-off. I would cite, for example, Mother Theresa’s work in Calcutta. To give dignity to the poor and dying is not an economic proposition. In the Muslim ethic, in your world, is there a role for that sort of pure charity?

AK: Oh yes, very definitely.

Islam defines charity in many ways, and it doesn’t in any way challenge that form of charity.

What it says is that there are areas in society where charity has to have an impact on the way people become autonomous.

There are situations such as the one you’re referring to where people probably have no alternative. It is the end of life. They are marginalized. Very often they have no family around them. These, in the Islamic faith, also are people for whom we all have an obligation.

So that category of charity is absolutely respected and recommended and sustained, particularly, for example, in the case of orphans. "Orphans” is probably the major category in Islam for that sort of situation.

But then there’s the other attitude, which is to say if you can give to make an individual or institution autonomous – give them the capacity to be masters of their own destiny – that is referred to as the best form of charity. But obviously in the case you’re saying it wouldn’t apply.

Sun: There’s so much to do. How do you prioritize? How do you decide to tackle this wrong, but not that one today? Because you have to make choices.

AK: Well I think you have to categorize the nature of human life. So I think, in many cases, what we’re looking at is security. We’re looking at the quality of life in terms of the security of life. Therefore we have to be looking at issues of protecting people from threat, either human threat or natural threat. That’s obviously basic.

You’re looking at survival, which is food. Therefore you’re looking at food independence, and trying to get to a situation where people will always be able to feed themselves. That’s the next thing. So there are, I think from my point of view, levels of difficulty you have to address.

I think the third thing is that life is so complex, both at a given time and over time, that you’re looking at the need for multiple inputs. And you can’t always tell from one decade to the next what is going to be the need for those additional inputs.

If you go back to the colonial times, for example, the notion of a cultural identity was not a powerful force in society because it was the colonial identity that we were talking about rather than the identity of individual peoples. Today, the search for identity is extremely strong and getting stronger all the time. So that’s the sort of thing where you say to yourself, ‘Well, what does that mean? Does that mean identity against somebody or other people? Or is it identity because people want to belong to a particular community?’

So you then have to start asking yourself what are the consequences of doing that? What you try to do is make sure that if there is a search for identity it is within a pluralist context. [And] if it can be a development support, then that’s better because using cultural assets for economic development is a desirable goal.

So, frankly, I think that’s an issue of time. It’s not an issue of being able to say in 1960, I know what I’m going to have to do in 2010. Honestly, I don’t know that.

What I have to do is try and listen and learn and evaluate the forces at play and that changes over time. And thank God it does change over time.

Sun: You mentioned standing up for Canadian values, and I think certainly your own agency stands up for the values that are important to your religion. It strikes me that sometimes these conflict with local cultures and values. Take the position of women  – a lot of societies in various parts of the world have historically marginalized women. The development I favour, and you do, does not marginalize women. In fact, it’s the opposite. Is this a conflict with the existing culture?

AK: It can be, it can be. And it is changing.

It’s changing slowly because, I think, there is an undercurrent in some parts of the world of threat. I don’t necessarily understand it myself, but I think there is a sense of discomfort. There are societies, for example, where the educated woman will not find a husband because she’s educated.

So you need to be very, very careful in handling these things, because they can be a real boomerang if you get them wrong.

I think it is a process of change. I think it’s also a social issue. In many countries that I know, women do certain tasks and men do other tasks. That’s a traditional outcome of the economics of society. In rural communities the role of the woman is very, very different from urban communities, obviously. So there are a lot of criteria there and it’s a difficult problem. But it’s one that needs to be handled with immense care.

Sun: Should development agencies draw a line in the sand and say, "For these things we will not bend”? Is there a list of things that shouldn’t bend to the local cultural preferences?

AK: Yes, I think there are things one would like to see changed. But it’s not the issue of whether you want to see them changed, it’s a question of how you change them and the timeframe and the methods you use to do that.

You can handle it with tact and a sense of respect for traditions. You can allow society the time to make those changes. Or you can try to impose them.

But if you do try to impose them, you very, very often, as I said, get a very uncomfortable reaction.

You know it’s not just in issues such as this where we’re talking about the role of women. Look at the de-socialization of the ex-communist countries. Look at how long it’s taken to change people’s attitudes to individual initiative, to the management or otherwise of individual wealth versus state rights.

You don’t change the psyche of societies overnight. It can’t be done. And if you try to do it, you create very, very great discomfort.

So that’s where the notion of time comes in.

Sun: Do you have a sense of how long it will take to essentially deal with mass poverty if we get the policies and the approaches right? What kind of time-frame would we be talking in the best of all worlds?

AK: Fifteen to 25 years, something of that time-frame. And you’ll never get to the absolute bottom of it. That’s not realistic. What you will be able to do is reduce it to a level where you know that going further than that is simply not part of human society. There are always going to be people who are marginalized.

Sun: I differentiate between poverty, which we have everywhere, and mass poverty, which is a different phenomenon that we really don’t know here in North America.

AK: Well mass poverty. I’m thinking of food self-sufficiency. I’m thinking of shelter. I’m thinking of access to basic healthcare. I’m thinking of those sorts of things. That’s what I’m talking about when I say 15 to 25 years.

Because we’re worried about another form of poverty, which is lack of access. We’re beginning to sense the lack of access in society for the ultra-poor is one of the things that defines poverty from one generation to the next. People simply don’t have access to the social support systems that a normal individual would have. Therefore it’s not only material poverty, it’s actually quality of life poverty, and that is a dramatic situation.

Sun: I think I’ve also seen what I would also call poverty of aspiration – people who don’t know life could or should be better. And sometimes that leapfrogs into aspirations that are way beyond obtainable. So I don’t know how you deal with managing aspirations or building them in realistic ways.

AK: I think you’re right. The process of development does create new aspirations. And very often it has a backlash also. Because what it does is, it changes the nature of social structures. Traditional authority tends to be challenged. New forms of knowledge are resisted because they change society, so in that sense you’re absolutely right.

When these new forces come to play you very often get reactions which stymie that. And then the question is what do you do about it?

I think in our experience it’s been essentially generational. It’s gender and generation – those are the two things that condition those processes of change.

Sun: And you’ve found these can evolve in a realistic way?

AK: They can evolve, but you have to be patient. You have to let time play its role. You cannot force change in society. It’s been tried, let’s be frank about it. But I’m not sure it’s been very successful.

Sun: You’ve become in many ways a bridge between the Muslim and the non-Muslim world. Can we talk about the relationships between those two large groups, and the difficulties and the prospects for improvement?

AK: I think there are real prospects for improvement. But I think it’s a question of the two groups knowing each other better than they do at the present time, because if you don’t know the people you’re talking to and you don’t really understand the forces that are at play you cannot predict. You cannot look for areas of dialogue, and you cannot avoid areas where dialogue becomes impossible. So I think the first issue is what I would call the gulf or the crisis of ignorance, the clash of ignorance.

This ignorance is a source of very, very serious problems.

You can see it in Iraq. Frankly, much of the post-invasion of Iraq, many of the issues, were entirely predictable, Hundreds, if not thousands, of Muslim leaders would have told the Western world exactly what to expect when Saddam Hussein was eliminated.

That’s the sort of situation where predictability is absolutely critical. Because the single step of eliminating a regime is one thing, but then you live with the consequences. And you really have to think through very carefully the consequences of doing a thing like that. Certainly, from my point of view, that was a big, big, big failure.

So I would say the first thing is to understand the complexities of the Muslim world. The individualities of the communities in the Muslim world. The differences of interpretation of faith in the Muslim world. The relationship between faith and state, which is very, very sensitive in the Muslim world and where you see many, many formulae today which you no longer know in the Western world. Those formulae aren’t present in the Western world any more – that’s gone – [but] they’re still very present in the Islamic world.

Sun: When I look at the Western perceptions of freedom, which we value highly, I sometimes think we interpret it as the whole world should be free to be like us. Is that how we are seen from the other perspectives?

AK: I think that’s certainly one aspect – the feeling that the societies of the industrialized world are always right, and therefore what they get right should be the norm for everybody else. I think there are areas where we don’t agree with that.

We think freedom is important, of course. But we think that freedom really is not something that one has to take in the absolute. There is abuse of freedom. And when freedom is abused, what does it become?

Sun: License, I guess.

AK: Exactly. And that’s where parts of our world say "Stop!”

That boundary between freedom and the abuse of freedom is something which is driven by so many different notions of thought, faith, society, the whole thing.

Sun: But that comes into play in a large way as an impediment at times to the pluralism that you work so hard to foster.

AK: If pluralism means abuse of faith, I would agree with that. I think that’s something we would not want to see.

But I’m seeing a reaction. I may be wrong, but you mention the recurrence of ethics in Western society. Western society has its own means of correcting itself, and I think Western society is in the process of looking at that very, very great problem. Look what’s happening in the Anglican Church; look what’s happening in the Catholic Church. Faith institutions are dealing with very, very severe problems of freedom and abuse of freedom.

Sun: In Canada I think some of our success is the comfortable tolerance of letting people set different standards for themselves. So, yes, some people may choose license and other people choose some realistic guidelines, if you like, to exercise their freedom. Is that what you see as the goal for the broader society. or is it a little different from that?

AK: Well I think it’s difficult to impose a firm line. But I think that when you look at history, the history of humankind, you will find that when freedoms have become license, society tends to disaggregate. And I think that what we’re seeing in the Western world is that very issue on the table, and a reversal. I think there is a reversal under way.

Freedom doesn’t mean that if you want to abuse that freedom, whatever it is, you legitimize or impose that on others.

Sun: The clash of ignorance that you mentioned – how are we dealing with that? Or are we dealing with it? Are, first of all, Western countries and institutions making any inroads to deal with our side of that problem?

AK: Yes, you are. You are.

A number of forces are at play. Your educational institutions are recognizing the fact that they -quite logically, it’s not criticism – were born in a Judeo-Christian society or Judeo-Christian environment. That environment had nothing to do with the Islamic world – it wasn’t even aware of it at the time that these institutions came into existence. So I don’t think it’s up to us to turn round and point fingers. I don’t like that attitude at all.

What I do think is that these institutions must accept the fact we’re living in a different world, and the definition of an educated person today will be different from an educated person 100 years ago in Judeo-Christian society. So, fine, we have to encourage a better understanding, a better knowledge, of what’s happening.

What I would hope, however, is that the opening of this knowledge domain is not aimed at sustaining a particular attitude or interpretation of faith or culture from the Islamic world. The Islamic world is very, very pluralist and, to me, what is important is that the industrialized world should understand that pluralism.

There are so many forces at play that tend to make that difficult for you. First of all, you refer to the Muslim world – have you ever heard a Muslim refer to the Christian world?

Sun: No, perhaps not.

AK: So right there you have an amazing difference in attitude.

Sun: But I do hear references to the Western world.

AK: Ah, but that’s geographic. That’s not faith driven.

Sun: But it’s also cultural. We have something of a common culture and it is based on those Judeo-Christian traditions.

AK: Yes. But we don’t refer to the faith of the West, whereas in our case you’re referring to our faith.

Sun: But your faith does encompass both sides of the secular.

AK: Yes, and much of the Muslim world has wanted that. But that desire has been not only driven by faith, it’s been very often driven by political issues.

Sun: How about on the other side of the divide? Are there similar encouraging steps to understand our side?

AK: Yes. Yes, I think there is. And I think there is a desire to access knowledge from your world to improve quality of life. I think there’s some diffidence, that’s the right word, that if you open those doors too wide you’ll get the good, the bad and the indifferent. So the diffidence tends to reflect itself in saying, "Can I take what’s best and stop what we don’t like?” I’m not sure that’s very easy. I don’t think so.

But I think that we, on the other hand, have to tell you what we’re worried about. It’s the lack of confidence of expressing the issues. Because very often if we express issues, people look at us and say, "How can that be an issue for you?” But it is an issue.

Sun: If I can go back to the broad question of what’s wrong with the world and how to fix it. . . .

AK: That’s a terrible question to ask anybody!

Sun: And this is a terribly hard question I’m going to ask now. But if you look at what your hopes are for the world, and what your expectations are, how far apart are they?

AK: Well they’re closer together than they were in 1957. Very much closer, very much closer.

The world I became involved in 1957 was a very, very difficult world to work in, and the forces at play there were dramatic. Frankly, that’s all changed significantly. And I think that if you look at the developing world – I’ve said to the leaders of the community very often – our concern in terms of the institution is that the areas of the world we’re involved in should become areas of opportunity.

That’s the basic goal, is to make all these areas, areas of opportunity where people can have hope and confidence in improving quality of life with all the complexity that that is. That may be naïve; I hope it’s not.

Sun: It strikes me the success of your community in Canada is really the poster child, if you like, for Canadian immigration policy. Has it been as smooth an integration as I see from the outside?

AK: It has. It has been a remarkably smooth integration, one of the reasons being, I think, that there’s been complete openness over the issues on both sides. The original discussions that I had with Prime Minister Trudeau were very, very clear as to why he felt that Canada should welcome members of my community [and] why I wanted them to come to Canada. And that foundation has continued in time, and it has been built upon in a very significant way.

So I think it has been a good process. I understand the government has actually asked us to illustrate to them what we have been able to do on our side to make the process easier and more functional because they wanted to use some of our experiences as case study situations for other communities.

Sun: That’s interesting. Because if you look at subsequent communities that have come under difficult circumstances, I don’t know if there are any success to this degree, and some are troubling.

AK: Well there are a number of issues obviously that helped. The fact that the community had English as a language was, I think, a great facilitator, because when these communities came into Canada they were able to communicate very, very early on in the language of the country. So I think that was important. I think basic levels of education were important because people came in to Canada who already had a basic quality of education, although they came from Africa and other areas.

Where you get communities that are neither English-speaking and have no educational base whatsoever, or are essentially rural communities, then that must become more difficult.

Sun: One thing astonishes me when I look at many other groups who’ve left homelands under difficult conditions. They often look back with anger, with bitterness, with resentment which sometimes lasts for generations. You guys go back and help out!

AK: As I told you, our hope is that these countries will become countries of opportunity, and we’ve lived through some pretty difficult situations.

Sun: But is it the faith? Is it a plan? Is it a policy? What has allowed or fostered that sort of graciousness in your community, to look back not with anger and resentment?

AK: In a funny way I think many of the countries we have lived in have gone through a maturing process. They are coming out of a historical context which was theirs, and then they come into a new context and they move forward and they don’t necessarily understand when they get things wrong.

Look at Africa and look at the 60s and look at the one-party states and all of that. Look at the consequences of the Cold War on countries like Uganda and Tanzania, and you say to yourself, "What did the heads of state really have to choose from?” The West? The East? Or non-alignment? That’s all they had. They had to fall into one of those three categories. That’s not freedom. . .

I don’t think [our] communities [now] should envisage leaving these countries. You see, that’s one of the reasons why we’re concerned about where they’re going.

If you look at the Ismaili community – or in any other community that’s as diverse as this – it’s unrealistic to expect it. Hundreds of thousands of people will not be able to move from a country like Pakistan or India or Afghanistan to the West. That’s not realistic, and therefore we are actually committed to try to improve what happens there.

If it takes five years or 10 years, we just have to try and make sure it’s as good as possible and as quick as possible. But we can’t change the historic demography of the community. It is what it is.

There is more mobility, but what we’re really excited about is mobility of knowledge. That’s the thing we’re really excited about.

If you go back to 1957 the possibilities we had for mobility of knowledge were just about zero.

When my grandfather died, I think there were probably 10 members of the community who lived in the UK. There was no-one in Canada, no-one in the US. Now these communities are trampolines of knowledge, of service, which are absolutely amazing.

So that mobility of knowledge is fantastic – and it’s not one way. We can bring people from the developing world in to the Judeo-Christian world to try to help the Judeo-Christian world to do things it couldn’t do otherwise. Our centre in London, the ISMC (Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations) – these are fora.

We’re not going to change things overnight. It’s going to take time. But I think we have to try and ring-fence risk at the present time, which means identifying the areas of risk and trying to do something about it. Not easy.

But what’s very encouraging from my point of view is that this identification of risk is something I can talk to Western governments about.

An important thing is looking forward across time, rather than being in a reactive mode. The reactive mode is a tremendous liability. Being in an anticipatory mode changes the whole nature of things, and the longer you have to change things, the better chance you have of making it work.

Visit my blog on globalization here.  © Vancouver Sun 2008

مخترم قاریین اس گفتگو کا اردو متن بہت جلدآ پ کی خدمت میں پیش کیا جایے گا، لہذا روزانہ ویب ساییٹ دیکھتے رہیے۔ شکریہ

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پاکستان اپنا نمایندہ بھارت بھیجے گا، ایی ایس ایی کے سربراہ کو نہہں

Pak to send representative instead of ISI chief to Indiaپاکستان اپنا نمایندہ بھارت بھیجے گا، ایی ایس ایی کے سربراہ نہہں

29 Nov 2008, 0321 hrs IST, PTI

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday did an about turn on sending the Inter-Services Intelligence chief to India in connection with the probe into the 

terrorist attacks in Mumbai, saying a representative of the spy agency would be sent instead of him. ( Watch ) 

The decision was made at a late night meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the chief of the powerful army. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also joined the meeting, which was held at the presidency and continued past 130am (local time). 

"A representative of the ISI will visit India, instead of its Director General Lt Gen Shuja Pasha, to help in investigating the Mumbai terrorism incident,” a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s House said.

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 Modi says Pak has violated UN codeپاکستان نے اقوام متحدہ کے ضابطے کی خلاف ورزی کی ہے۔ مودی 

 

28 Nov 2008, 1010 hrs IST, PTI

MUMBAI: Holding Pakistan responsible for allowing use of its territory for carrying out the Mumbai attacks, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi  on Friday said Islamabad has violated the UN code on the use of land and sea routes for launch of terror strikes against India. 

"This is for the first time Pakistan has allowed use of sea routes to further terrorism against India,” Modi said at the Oberoi-Trident hotel in Mumbai, where operation is underway to flush out militants holed up there. 

He said Pakistan has violated UN convention on use of sea and land routes to launch attacks against India. 

"Terrorists have targeted US, British and Israeli citizens and made Mumbai a place that has been hit by international terrorism,” he said. 

Narendra Modi, who was present at the Trident-Oberoi hotel, said his government would give Rs one crore to the Maharashtra government to be dispersed to the kin of the deceased in the multiple terror attacks in Mumbai. 

Modi, who visited the residence of Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) Chief Hemant Karkare who was killed in the attack on Wednesday, said that the nation should join hands in the fight against terrorism.

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Mumbai attack: Pak role under scrutinyممبیی بم دھماکے : پاکستان کے کردار کی جانچ پڑتال کی جایے گی۔

27 Nov 2008, 2333 hrs IST, Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN

WASHINGTON: Strategic gurus and security analysts in the US and from across the world are examining Pakistan’s role in terrorism following yet another terror episode in India ending with fingers pointed at its widely-reviled neighbour. 

While initial reports from India suggested the Mumbai carnage was a localised attack by militant malcontents in India because of the "Deccan Mujaheddin” decoy that was used to claim responsibility, evidence cited by Indian army and security experts based on phone intercepts, nature of weaponry, mode of entry by sea etc., has quickly focused the attention on Pakistan. 

The statement by India’s normally cautious and restrained prime minister, Manmohan Singh, that groups based across the border, a thinly-disguised reference to Pakistan, has also galvanized the strategic and security community into examining Islamabad’s role in the region that has already been subjected to scrutiny in the past. 

"From a tactical perspective most terrorist attacks in India have been carried out through the use of improvised explosive devices planted on bicycles, motorcycles and cars, and triggered by timers or mobile telephones. In contrast, according to press reports, the attackers involved in the latest Mumbai violence were armed only with Kalashnikov assault rifles, principally, and hand grenades,” Jane’s Country Risk Daily Report noted in an assessment on Thursday that discounted an internal insurgent attack. 

The report also said the apparent focus on killing or capturing foreign businesspeople, specifically US and UK nationals, which has never occurred before, also suggested "a wider global anti-Western agenda.” This stands in contrast to the national issues that appeared to motivate Indian Mujahideen, it said. 

Experts also said the heavy weaponry, grenades, and the sustained attack pointed to intense training and planning beyond the scope of indigenous groups. 

Other intelligence experts and websites also zeroed in on Pakistan’s role in the region. "There have been reports from credible sources for years that Pakistani intelligence has used terrorist groups to conduct war-by-proxy against traditional rival India. With the latest horrific attacks throughout Mumbai, evidence continues to accumulate that may add new substance to such reports,” the website Washington Examiner noted. 

US officials and lawmakers refrained from naming Pakistan, but their condemnation of "Islamist terrorism” left little doubt where their anxieties lay. "It is often said that India and America have a natural bond as the two largest democracies. Today, we share a bond of a common enemy: what the 9/11 Commission identified as Islamist terrorism. Islamist ideology is spreading across South Asia, and must be stamped out,” California Congressman Ed Royce said. 

What has added potency to the latest charges against Islamabad is the Bush administration’s own assessment – leaked to the US media – that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI was linked to the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul some weeks back that killed nearly 60 people including a much-admired Indian diplomat and a respected senior defense official. 

This time, the US scrutiny is more intense because American, Israeli, and other western nationals appear to have been singled out during the carnage. Hundreds of Indians have died in dozens of terrorist attacks in India in the past two decades without Washington losing too much sleep over it. In fact, Indian officials have often complained in private that successive US administrations have been incredibly indulgent about Pakistan’s brazen involvement in fomenting terror in India, believing it would not touch the US. 

Part of the coddling goes back to US patronage of the ISI during the Afghan war. As a result, Washington has done little to bring to book Dawood Ibrahim, a terrorist charged with masterminding the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993 that took 258 lives, although Indian intelligence agencies have identified him as living in Karachi under ISI protection. 

The US has also said Dawood Ibrahim is linked to al-Qaida. While all major terror attacks in India are typically accompanied by knee-jerk charges from India and shrill denials by Pakistan, analysts point to mounting evidence that the Pakistan state, especially under its military, has done little to combat the scourge of terrorism. Several terrorist and extremist leaders such as Masood Azhar and "Prof” Hafeez Mohammed Saeed, continue to thrive in Pakistan, often under official patronage. Extremists openly preach terrorism in jihadi gatherings overseen by ISI. 

The Pakistani establishment has also dragged its feet on prosecuting Omar Saeed Sheikh, an accused in the Daniel Pearl murder because of his influential connections in the higher echelons of the ISI. Another terrorist Rashid Rauf, also known as the shoe-bomber, was killed last week in a US predator strike, months after he ‘escaped’ from Pakistani police custody while being escorted for a hearing. Western and Indian intelligence communities believe men like Sheikh and Rauf are protected by the ISI or rogue elements in the ISI. 

The Bush administration has pressed for a purging of the ISI of its rogue and extremist elements, but the new civilian government in Pakistan, which has made better relations with India a priority, is finding it hard to do it. Hard-line militaristic elements in Pakistan have fuming about the overtures made by both President Asif Ali Zardari and opposition leader Nawaz Sharief towards India. 

The Pakistani military, which controls the ISI, has resisted any attempt to make it subservient to the civilian government because the army uses it both as a fighting arm for its proxy war against India and also to spy on its own civilian government. 

Among the several question that security experts are grappling is the motive behind the latest attack and who stands to gain by it. The terrorists have notably not even raised the Kashmir issue for their action to be linked to the separatist cause. Nor did they attempt to extract any specific concession in exchange for hostages, other than to demand the release of "all mujaheddin,” according to one report. 

They seemed intent on causing mayhem and dying in the same suicidal jihadi manner that was evident in the attack on India’s parliament and on the Akshardham temple earlier in this decade. Their victims, besides the scores of people who died, included India’s booming economy and tourism, both of which was the envy of a troubled neighbourhood.

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