Marvi Memon Program

October 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Uncle E’s “Evil Quad” Stopping Pakistan Spring

Houston TX–“We need a Naya Pakistan, a New Pakistan”. This was the theme of the presentation of former Member of Pakistani Parliament Marvi Memon, as she spoke in front of a large gathering of guests invited at the Junior League by the World Affairs Council and Shehzad Bashir. Ms. Memon talked about the relations between USA and Pakistan at an all-time low.

Marvi Memon served in the National Assembly of Pakistan from March 2008 to June 2011. She resigned from her party and parliament sighting the corruption and incompetence in those around her and frustration with the system. She has recently launched a movement for rights and is galvanizing Pakistani’s to reject old politics and embrace clean politics.

She aspired: “Pakistan Spring may not reach the 90% of the population living under Uncle E’s “Evil Quad” (feudal, bureaucrats, army, and religious extremists), but if each one of young  people with access to social networks reaches out to at least 10 countrymen with no access, the message can become widespread.”

In a recent article, Ms. Memon has written that we dream of a Pakistan where all provinces will be woven together, as one country by just equitable power and resource sharing, and respect for each others’ diversity. Where the principles of federation are practiced versus just stated. Where the provinces will come together because of the ethos of Pakistaniyat that is non-existent today; this ethos was built on ‘unity, faith, discipline’ and humanitarian values.

Where each district’s natural and human resources are recorded, projected, increased, harnessed for the district, for the province and then for Pakistan. Where development occurs as a result of the need for standardized services versus political influence. Where development works together with climate change challenges.

A Pakistan which will cater for the backwardness of certain geographical areas by intelligent use of quota systems bringing all of Pakistan at par within a stipulated timeframe.

Where there will be food security, energy security, and water security for all. Where the local government delivers clean water, sewerage lines, electricity, gas, schools, healthcare centers and all civic amenities at standardized quality and rates across Pakistan.

A Pakistan which will give the poor safety nets on merit, instead of making them beggars. Which will promote higher education, vocational training and provide a link between education and employment.

A Pakistan which will reduce external interference, protect its sovereignty and move out of the aid trappings into self-sufficiency. Which will identify the enemies of Pakistan and either neutralize them through negotiation or eliminate them through force. Which will enforce the writ of State, disallow private militia, extend crackdown on criminal gangs inside political parties, and be tough on separatist forces. Which will not allow its territory to be used for launching attacks on other countries, nor will it allow them to launch strikes inside its own territory by having better writ of State. Which will rid Pakistan of the foreign occupying neo-colonial forces fast.

A Pakistan which will make headway in resolving all outstanding neighboring disputes (including Kashmir) and spread peace within and without, with zero tolerance for double games. Which will promote the economic network of dependencies and encourage healthy bilateral economic ties with all strategic partners. Which will concentrate on resolving all disputes with its neighbours, so that economic efficiencies are eliminated, and more education, more health, and more trade become regional buzz words.

A Pakistan which will ensure that the military will be under Parliament. A military which will maintain nuclear deterrence and a respectable versus overbearing conventional force after the government has made progress towards resolving its outstanding disputes. Where the military will have all provinces equally represented, where its professionalism ensures a steel defense for Pakistan’s borders, and where its cuts ensure contribution to social indicators.

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Indo-Pak Talks: Positive Move

June 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Nilofar Suhrawardy, TMO

NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding the fact that India and Pakistan are still a long way off from settling their disputes over several important issues, including the Kashmir-problem, they must be credited for adopting a cordial diplomatic approach towards each other. This is marked by recent Indo-Pak meeting, between foreign secretaries of the two countries, being viewed as “positive.” The amiable note on which the meeting was held between Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Islamabad is marked by their addressing a joint press conference and issuing a joint statement (June 24).

Without sidelining the “complexities” in Indo-Pak relationship, after the meeting, Rao told media persons: “We are inspired by our goal of the eventual normalization of the India-Pakistan relationship and the resolution of outstanding issues through peaceful, sustained and serious bilateral dialogue.” Spelling out India’s vision of bilateral ties with Pakistan, Rao asserted: “The ideology of military conflict should have no place in the paradigm of our relationship in the 21st century. Indeed, this relationship should be characterized by the vocabulary of peace,” in the interest of “our peoples” and “in an atmosphere free of terror and violence.” She described the meeting, spread over two days, as “positive” during which the two sides had “constructive and substantive discussion.”

“We have had a very productive and constructive engagement which was forward looking and imbued with a sense of purpose,” Bashir said. He pointed out: “I must underscore here that the quality of the engagement really matters and we have every reason to be satisfied with that quality.” Earlier, while welcoming Rao, Bashir said: “We welcome her for many reasons. It was some years ago that we started a process and I think that process is now well on its way.”

The comments made by both Rao and Bashir are suggestive of India and Pakistan’s keenness to continue their dialogue process with the aim of improving their bilateral ties. This is further highlighted by certain points included in the joint statement. The bilateral talks on peace and security, including confidence building measures (CBMs), Jammu & Kashmir as well as promotion of friendly exchanges were, according to the statement, “held in a frank and cordial atmosphere.” The two sides “reiterated their intention” to continue “the dialogue process in a constructive and purposeful manner.” They discussed the issues in a “comprehensive manner” and both sides “emphasized the importance of constructive dialogue to promote mutual understanding,” the statement said. This suggests India and Pakistan’s intention to backtrack from their stand of firing verbal missiles at each other, particularly on issues they entertain different stands on. This is further supported by their reference to the Kashmir-problem in the joint statement.

They “exchanged views” on Kashmir and “agreed to continue discussions in a purposeful and forward looking manner with the view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences,” according to the statement. This suggests that continuing dialogue on Kashmir is their priority and neither India nor Pakistan wants to the stall the bilateral dialogue process despite their entertaining differences on Kashmir. This is further supported by their agreement to consider measures for “strengthening and streamlining the existing trade and travel arrangements across the Line-of-Control (LoC) and propose modalities for introducing additional cross-LoC CBMs.” A meeting of a working group on Cross-LoC is expected to be held this July, the statement said.
The statement on terrorism too indicates a major change in India and Pakistan’s diplomatic stand towards each other. Refraining from blaming each other, they agreed that “terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security.” They “reiterated firm and undiluted commitment” to “fight and eliminate this scourge in all its forms and manifestations.” Besides, they agreed on the “need to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism.”

Defeating apprehensions of their being any nuclear tension between India and Pakistan, they decided to consider mutually acceptable measures to discuss implementation and strengthening of existing nuclear and conventional CBMS to “build trust and confidence and promote peace and security.”

India and Pakistan expressed satisfaction on progress made on finalization of Visa Agreement, which will “help liberalize visa regime” and “facilitate people-to-people, business-to-business and sports contacts,” the statement said. They also discussed measures to promote cooperation in various fields, which include, “facilitating visits to religious shrines, media exchanges, holding sports tournaments and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other.” In addition, they agreed that “people of the two countries are at the heart of the relationship and that humanitarian issues should be accorded priority and treated with sensitivity.”

The foreign secretaries are scheduled to meet again in New Delhi, ahead of the meeting Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers, which is expected to take place this July in the Indian capital city. Undeniably, the two foreign secretaries’ comments and the joint statement indicate the seriousness of India and Pakistan to improve their bilateral ties at various levels. Now, it is to be watched whether this “constructive” approach is seriously retained for a substantial period or not!

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