Imperialism is evidently one such monster: Whenever it is chased off, it slips into another, seemingly benign, form in order to re-insinuate itself and ultimately smother its hosts. It used to be ‘civilising the savages’; now it comes as ‘development’.
Madhusree Mukerjee gives great insight in Himal. Mukerjee’s new book exposes the myths behind India’s ‘growth miracle’, and looks for ways out of the ecological and social devastation of the current neoliberal model.

In the early 1990s, when India needed a loan, the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) used the opportunity to impose constraints on its domestic policies. These ‘structural adjustments’, followed by India’s entry into the World Trade Organisation, remodelled the country’s economy to conform with the profit-making imperatives of international and domestic corporations. The result has been enormous wealth for a few – which has trickled down to an extent in cities and towns – but a disaster for rural areas, in which two-thirds of the Indian people reside.
India’s forests and villages supply the land, water, minerals and other natural resources necessary for industrialisation, commodity trading, toxic waste disposal and corporatised agriculture. The poor are being robbed, often at gunpoint, of the very environs in which they live. “What we see is actually a well-disguised form of imperialism, sophisticated enough to leave room for the national … elite to share the spoils of exploitation with the dominant classes in industrialised nations,” explain economist Aseem Shrivastava and ecologist Ashish Kothari in their meticulously documented treatise.
Read this. It’s important.

(via mehreenkasana)

Colonial rule projected western science as the ultimate source of knowledge and western values as supreme. Stereotypes of oppressed non-western women had their counterpart in the male, rational western culture, coming to their rescue, both metaphorically and literally. Unfortunately, these stereotypes became so entrenched in the psyche of post-colonial nation builders that they and even third-world feminist activists confuse development with “westernization.” The fallacy of such an assumption becomes clear when one takes a glance at the realities of everyday life where crimes against women and poverty and marginalization of the masses is exploding in the most urban metropolises with the highest exposure to modernization and globalization. Urban India is replete with rising incidences of crimes against women. Conservative supporters of westernization would attribute such malaise to “tradition.” But rational thought points to globalization, with its emphasis on material values, consumerism and “trashing” of traditional knowledge. Globalization has eroded the traditional resource base as well as the knowledge and power associated with it.
Globalization and modernity in India: A gendered critique by Subhadra Mitra Channa (via sitaronse)

Forever relevant.

(via mehreenkasana)

The collective conscience of [the Pakistani] society is still not dead.
Dr. Farzani Bari, director of the Department of Gender Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad and a rights activist, writes about the lessons learned from the Kohistan women episode.

The media brought the incident to public notice. Civil society swiftly reacted by protesting and demanding an inquiry into the incident. Political representatives (Bushra Gohar from the ANP in particular) took personal interest in the matter and demanded that the local administration provide information on the incident. The federal government agreed in no time to provide all the logistical support in the shape of helicopters for investigating the matter. The Chief Justice of Pakistan promptly took suo motu notice and sent a fact-finding mission, which included human rights activists and civil society representatives, to the area. We have proven through this collective response that the Pakistani nation qualifies to be in the comity of civilised nations.

[…]

[T]he best thing is that the strong reaction by the judiciary, politicians, administration, media, human rights activists and CSOs has sent a clear signal to the rest of the country and to Kohistan in particular, that these jirgas are unconstitutional and that decrees of killing people will not be tolerated by the state and society.

Brilliant. And kudos to the Pakistanis who raised their voices for these women.

(via mehreenkasana)

mehreenkasana:

The 20-minute short film revolves around the idea of assessing social, psychological and economical affects on people from the tribal areas of Pakistan. The film identified problems that families face after becoming victims of drone missiles.

Hypocrisy in American policy. Evident and thriving. More power to these young Pakistanis.

A study recently conducted by Regional Women Empowerment Project of Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) reveals that 74 per cent of marriages of Chitrali girls with people from other districts, specially in Punjab, turn out to be fake. It says that the trafficking of girls is done for exploitative domestic servitude, while there has been ample evidence of using such girls in the abhorrent prostitution trade. The study reveals the regrettable fact that if a woman becomes victim of trafficking, she compromises with the situation due to the fact that her family would not accept her back due to the stigma. About grooms from other districts, it says that majority of them are above age 50 and already married, and introduce themselves as high government officers or land and business owners.
Study reveals trafficking of poor Chitrali girls - Zahiruddin for Dawn (via mehreenkasana)
A parliamentary commission in Pakistan is demanding an end to U.S. drone attacks inside the country and an apology for deadly U.S. air strikes in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The demand to end drone strikes was one of the first read out by the commission.
Democracy Now! Update.

Valid demand by the commission in Pakistan. However I’m just a little concerned to see there is no mentioning of an apology demanded for the hundreds of civilian deaths caused by the drone attacks.

(via mehreenkasana)

mehreenkasana:


Displeased Pakistan Supreme Court gave out a stern message to Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence on Thursday: “You need to take this out of your mind that you [ISI and MI] are superior and others [civilians] are inferior.”
Counsel of ISI and MI Raja Irshad was reprimanded as the apex court of the country remained unsatisfied with the replies submitted to the court today by the agencies in the Adiala missing prisoners’ case.
Headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the three-member bench said that the replies submitted to the court do not justify under which law the civilians were picked up by agencies and kept in detention for more than a year. “Who gave you the right to hound people?” questioned the chief justice.
“You are so insensitive to the human loss that the families of the missing persons have suffered lately because of you. This is a big allegation against you [ISI and MI] – there is a hue and cry throughout the country that you abduct people and after some days, their abandoned bodies surface,” said Chief Justice Chaudhry.
[…]
“You’re an arsonist. You have set Balochistan on fire,” said Chaudhry while referring to the agencies and the situation in Balochistan.
(Continued here - This is a very important read)

Bolded quotes for emphasis. This is an extremely bold initiative taken by the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the ISI and MI - both agencies notorious for hounding civilians for airing criticism against the establishment and interference by the army in state politics - in various provinces. Mentioned in the report, the Chief Justice said that the agencies have become “insensitive” to the issues and referred them as the “biggest violators” of the country’s law and order.
Calling a spade a spade once in a while takes gut. Commendable indeed.

mehreenkasana:

Displeased Pakistan Supreme Court gave out a stern message to Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence on Thursday: “You need to take this out of your mind that you [ISI and MI] are superior and others [civilians] are inferior.

Counsel of ISI and MI Raja Irshad was reprimanded as the apex court of the country remained unsatisfied with the replies submitted to the court today by the agencies in the Adiala missing prisoners’ case.

Headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the three-member bench said that the replies submitted to the court do not justify under which law the civilians were picked up by agencies and kept in detention for more than a year. “Who gave you the right to hound people?” questioned the chief justice.

You are so insensitive to the human loss that the families of the missing persons have suffered lately because of you. This is a big allegation against you [ISI and MI] – there is a hue and cry throughout the country that you abduct people and after some days, their abandoned bodies surface,” said Chief Justice Chaudhry.

[…]

You’re an arsonist. You have set Balochistan on fire,” said Chaudhry while referring to the agencies and the situation in Balochistan.

(Continued here - This is a very important read)

Bolded quotes for emphasis. This is an extremely bold initiative taken by the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the ISI and MI - both agencies notorious for hounding civilians for airing criticism against the establishment and interference by the army in state politics - in various provinces. Mentioned in the report, the Chief Justice said that the agencies have become “insensitive” to the issues and referred them as the “biggest violators” of the country’s law and order.

Calling a spade a spade once in a while takes gut. Commendable indeed.

mehreenkasana:

“It really aggravates me that the media is using their power to intrude and invade our privacy, often with no good reason,” said Mehreen Kasana, a 22-year-old American-educated blogger from Lahore, who wrote a widely circulated protest against the Samaa TV show.

For Many in Pakistan, a Television Show Goes Too Far by Declan Walsh

AW YEAH

The ethos of my faith urges that unless I am perfect in my moral conduct, I have no right whatsoever to point my finger at anyone for anything. Whatever is done is left between the individual and their conscience. Hell, no one ever told me to demand for someone’s nikah-nama when they’re sitting together. It doesn’t concern me or you or anyone else. Sometimes I am ashamed to be from the same faith when I see people like you dictating immaculate morality for others. Furthermore I am mortified as a Pakistani when I see wardens of rectitude making dangerous spectacles of common citizens simply to boost hits on their show or to become shining role models for people of equally disappointing, mediocre thinking.
My open letter to Maya Khan calling her out on her invasive moral policing as she chased a young couple in a park for “sinning”. This got published in Express Tribune. Looks like people are angry. Good. (via mehreenkasana)
mehreenkasana:


New Year’s gift: Obama signs bill freezing aid to Pakistan
HONOLULU: President Barack Obama signed a sweeping US defense funding bill on Saturday which includes new sanctions on financial institutions dealing with Iran’s central bank, and curtailing up to $850 million in aid to Pakistan. The bill was signed despite concerns about sections that expand the US military’s authority over terrorism suspects and limit his powers in foreign affairs. 
The massive defense bill Congress passed on earlier in December freezes 60 per cent of the $850 million aid, or $510 million, until the US defense secretary provides lawmakers with assurances that Pakistan is working to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs). US lawmakers say that many Afghan bombs that kill US troops are made with fertiliser smuggled by militants across the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan.
“The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it,” Obama said in a statement, citing limits on transferring detainees from the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and requirements he notify Congress before sharing some defense missile information with Russia as problematic.
(continued)

Meanwhile general consensus in Pakistan:

Because: “It’s well-known that most of the aid given by the US to Pakistan does not benefit the ordinary Pakistani. The aid is conditional upon using American consultants and equipment, which (together with other charges) amount to about 70 per cent of the total aid amount. From the rest, a good chunk is siphoned away to private bank accounts, leaving about 10 per cent for the common man.” While the Pakistan Economic Growth Program Evaluation states how most of the US Aid is flawed. Here are some reality-based contradictions regarding the entire US Aid debate.

mehreenkasana:

New Year’s gift: Obama signs bill freezing aid to Pakistan

HONOLULU: President Barack Obama signed a sweeping US defense funding bill on Saturday which includes new sanctions on financial institutions dealing with Iran’s central bank, and curtailing up to $850 million in aid to Pakistan. The bill was signed despite concerns about sections that expand the US military’s authority over terrorism suspects and limit his powers in foreign affairs. 

The massive defense bill Congress passed on earlier in December freezes 60 per cent of the $850 million aid, or $510 million, until the US defense secretary provides lawmakers with assurances that Pakistan is working to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs). US lawmakers say that many Afghan bombs that kill US troops are made with fertiliser smuggled by militants across the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it,” Obama said in a statement, citing limits on transferring detainees from the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and requirements he notify Congress before sharing some defense missile information with Russia as problematic.

(continued)

Meanwhile general consensus in Pakistan:

Because: “It’s well-known that most of the aid given by the US to Pakistan does not benefit the ordinary Pakistani. The aid is conditional upon using American consultants and equipment, which (together with other charges) amount to about 70 per cent of the total aid amount. From the rest, a good chunk is siphoned away to private bank accounts, leaving about 10 per cent for the common man.” While the Pakistan Economic Growth Program Evaluation states how most of the US Aid is flawed. Here are some reality-based contradictions regarding the entire US Aid debate.