Friday, February 22, 2008

The end of the West's 'Musharraf policy'?
By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

Perhaps the most encouraging feature of the Pakistan elections from the US, British and other Western points of view was the success of secular parties in resisting the spread of pro-Taleban influence.

Votes being counted in Pakistan

The election cycle has surprised the outside world

Those governments would agree with a commentator in the Pakistan Daily Times who said: "The return of the liberal and secular ANP [Awami National Party] and PPP [Pakistan People's Party] to North West Frontier Province heralds a promise of peace and stability denied to the hapless province during the reign of the MMA [religious parties].

"It is the rise of liberal democracy and not the ouster of President Musharraf per se by any confrontationist means that will help solve the problem of religious extremism in Pakistan."

It is ironic that the democracy called for by the US, Britain and others has now very much isolated the man they supported before, President Musharraf.

Divided results

But they would say that that is the nature of an election and that it must be welcomed. The system is bigger than one man.

The US called the election a "step toward the full restoration of democracy".

ANP supporters in NWFP
The West should take heart from the poll successes of secular parties

But one can expect that they will place less reliance on President Musharraf than before without wanting him to retire from the scene.

The Wall Street Journal summed up this shift in US policy away from supporting one man: "For the Bush administration, Monday's election means that it can continue [the] transition from what is often described as a "Musharraf policy" to a broader Pakistani one.

"It was never in America's interests to humiliate or isolate the Pakistani leader... But US interests in Pakistan are best served by cultivating democratic institutions and a vibrant civil society with its own interests in fighting Islamic extremism."


Much remains uncertain, given the divided results. A great deal depends on who will become prime minister and the eventual fate of Pervez Musharraf.

What can be said that is that, although the British and American hopes of getting Benazir Bhutto back into office failed because of a disastrous lapse of security, Pakistan seems to have come through the election cycle as it sometimes has in the past, by surprising the outside world and perhaps itself by sticking to the process.

The army under its new commander, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, has stayed in the background.

The question now is how far the army will pursue its anti-Taleban operations in the tribal areas along the Afghan frontier. That work is seen as a vital by Nato governments supporting Afghan President Karzai. How much will it depend on the atttiude of a new Pakistani government?

Overall, the results must give hope to governments worried about the influence of Islamic extremism inside the country, about the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons [though the US is quite confident about that] and about the ability of the Pakistani government to combat the Taleban elements operating across into Afghanistan.

But as so often in Pakistan's history, the stability of one moment is not necessarily a pointer to the long-term future.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dramatic rescue for Indian tiger

The tiger leapt powerfully to freedom

Enlarge Image
Forest guards in India have carried out the dramatic rescue of a pregnant tigress who had hidden in a palm tree after being chased away by villagers.

They tranquilised and then caught the Royal Bengal tigress that had strayed into a village near the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in eastern India.

The animal was released back into the wild after receiving treatment for minor injuries, officials say.

Tigers have been slowly disappearing from India, mostly because of poaching.

Kanti Ganguly, the Sundarbans affairs minister of the Indian state of West Bengal, told the Associated Press news agency that it took officials nearly 14 hours to tranquilise and catch the tiger on Monday.

He said the animal suffered only minor injuries from stones and burning sticks thrown at her by the frightened villagers in Deulbari, about 250km (150 miles) south of the state capital, Calcutta.

Released Royal Bengal tiger

The tiger quickly made for the safety of the forest

Guards nursed her wounds and then took her in a boat to be released deep inside a mangrove reserve on Tuesday.

Officials say that she was only freed after it was felt that she was fit enough to be released into the reserve.

The Sundarbans is a UN designated world heritage site.

It covers nearly 10,000 square kilometres (3,860 square miles) of marshlands and mangrove forests along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, straddling India and Bangladesh.

Correspondents say it is one of the few remaining natural tiger habitats in India.

Tigers have been slowly disappearing from the country because of poaching, a shortage of space, human encroachment on their territory and a lack of properly trained forestry guards.

Incidents of Royal Bengal tigers being attacked by villagers in the Sundarbans are also becoming increasingly commonplace.

The government says India's tiger population has dropped from nearly 3,600 five years ago to about 1,411 today.

Vipassana Research at Dhamma Giri
Read about Dhamma Giri S.N. Goenka Main Mediation Center and India's Long Course Center

Dhamma Giri PagodaBased in Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri, near Mumbai, India, the Vipassana Research Institute publishes literature & disseminates information related to Vipassana.

This web site provides information on the Vipassana Meditation Technique, as taught by S.N.Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
Vipassana is a universal, scientific method towards purifying the mind. It is the practical essence of the teachings of the Buddha, who taught
Dhamma - the Universal Law of Nature.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Practice Sage sex, remember mediators only have one partner, who they are married too or do not engage in any sexual practice at all.

This is an entertaining and educational video in Telugu on Condom usage, to prevent from sexually transmitted infections and HIV, from Nrityanjali Academy, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

China to the US: Take Our Women!

An interesting piece of history was discovered in a document that the State Department’s historical office released. It was a conversation transcript between China’s Chairman Mao Zedong and US Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

“You know, China is a very poor country,” Mao said. “We don’t have much. What we have in excess is women. So if you want them we can give a few of those to you, some tens of thousands.”

Mao circled back to the offer a few minutes later. “Do you want our Chinese women?” he asked. “We can give you 10 million.”

Kissinger noted Mao was “improving his offer,” and the chairman is on record then saying, “We have too many women … They give birth to children and our children are too many.”

“It is such a novel proposition,” Kissinger replied. “We will have to study it.”

The conversation occurred in 1973 in Beijing, China and as far as we could find… the promised10 million Chinese women were not given to the US.