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Monday, August 10, 2009

Tahir Kamran, chairman department of History, Government College University, Farrukh Saleem, BOOK REVIEW: Sartaj Aziz on ‘excessive’ leaders —by Khale

The News on Sunday: A lot of reports are coming in the media on the increase of militancy in South Punjab. Is there any historical context of this perception?

Tahir Kamran: Yes, it has a historical background. It started with Rashemi Romal Movement in Punjab. Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi, who was born in Sialkot, played a central role in it. Sahranpur in UP, New Delhi and South Punjab were important centres of Deobandi activism. Much is written in Amir Rana's book on Jihadi movements. Then there is a significant role of Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan who was among the first batch of students from Dar ul Ulum Deoband (est.1867) and was the one who started Deobandi activism in the region. He also founded Jamiat ul Ulma-i-Hind. Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi was his student and was profoundly influenced by him. To my reckoning, Ubaidullah Sindhi was the first Deobandi Alim who cast some influence on South Punjab. The other phase was the setting up of Majlis e-Ahrar and its activism against Ahmadis in the 1930s. The down-hill slide for Ahrar started by 1935, when the issue of Masjid Shaheed Ganj flared up and Ahrar had an ambivalent stance regarding it. Ahrar had a short lived political life, but its influence was quite long lasting. Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the founder of Sipah i- Sahaba had Ataullah Shah Bokhari as a source of inspiration. One must bear in mind that Bokhari was also settled in Multan, a centre of South Punjab. Another cause of religious/sectarian extremism in the area is the Partition in 1947. The Deobandi mosques and madrassas which were mostly set up in Jalandhar and Ludhiana, were relocated in the South Punjab after Partition. Many seminaries were opened in Multan, Okara, Cheehawatani and Bahawalpur etc. Because a chunk of such elements settled in South Punjab, that is why many seminaries like Khairul Madaris and Qasim ul Ulum were opened there. So, after 1947 this phenomenon really got a substantial push.

The cost of electricity from Rental Power Projects (RPPs) stands at Rs14.65 per kilowatt hour. Compare this with Rs11.77 per kilowatt hour from new Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and Rs11.26 per kilowatt hour from existing IPPs. The bottom line is that the RPPs are 24 per cent more expensive than the new IPPs and 30 per cent more expensive than the existing IPPs.Yes, Pakistan is short on power. But consider this: one, WAPDA's thermal power stations have a capacity of 3,580 MW and in June 2009 these power stations produced 2,715 MW -- a 25 per cent shortfall. Two, the existing IPPs have a net dependable capacity of 5,509 MW and in June 2009 these IPPs produced 4,726 MW -- a 15 per cent shortfall. Three, the two existing rental power projects have a capacity of 264 MW and in June 2009 they produced 198 MW -- a shortfall of 25 per cent. That's an accumulated shortfall of 1,714 MW -- a shortfall that can immediately be turned into power. Dr Farrukh Saleem

Every time Mian Sahib rebuffs Sartaj, he is proved wrong by events. Why does he do it? The answer may be his distrust of the rational mind and preference for loyalty rather than sincerity. BOOK REVIEW: Sartaj Aziz on ‘excessive’ leaders —by Khaled Ahmed

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Green Shoots in Palestine II
For the first time since Oslo, there is an economic-security dynamic emerging on the ground in the West Bank that has the potential to lay the foundations for a Palestinian state.

NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF How to Recharge Your Soul
Following these 10 easy steps will help you and your family overcome “nature deficit disorder,” avoid bears and recharge your soul with ease this summer.


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