Trees and Us


There are two things about trees and us. For one, we do not know our indigenous species. And that may be because all of us have come from Arabia, Turkey, Iran or Central Asia. We first blighted this land with eucalyptus to such an extent that so called educated people do not know that it is an alien from Australia. Now we are disfiguring it with cornucorpus, rubber tree, asoka and whatever else we can import from any old place.
The other thing that we simply lack is the acumen to see the connection between trees and ecology. So where we should be planting indigenous banyan, pipal, and neem trees – to name a few – we have diseased the land with useless species that give neither shade nor fruit nor sanctuary to our fast dwindling avian friends.
Mind you, once the song of the birds is gone, we will die from a loneliness of the soul.

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A TREE THAT MAY IN SUMMER WEAR

A NEST OF ROBINS IN HER HAIR;

A TREE THAT LOOKS AT GOD ALL DAY,

AND LIFTS HER LEAFY ARMS TO PRAY

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by Salman Rashid

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In 1914, Alfred Joyce Kilmer wrote a poem titled Trees: I think that I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest/ Against the earth’s sweet-flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day,/ And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear/ A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain;/ Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me,/ But only God can make a tree.

But we in Pakistan think that is hogwash. The Express Tribune issue of May 9 carried a news item about the cutting down of seven trees in Jinnah Supermarket, Islamabad. It detailed that the builder of a new plaza did not agree with the ugly view (as reported) that these 40-year-old trees presented to the plaza. I ask you! We are told that the Capital Development Authority only acted after the trees were destroyed to suspend the official concerned and impose a fine of Rs50,000 per tree.

There are two things about trees and us. For one, we do not know our indigenous species. And that may be because all of us have come from Arabia, Turkey, Iran or Central Asia. We first blighted this land with eucalyptus to such an extent that so-called educated people do not know that it is an alien from Australia. Now we are disfiguring it with cornucorpus, rubber tree, asoka and whatever else we can import from any old place.

The other thing is that we simply lack the acumen to see the connection between trees and ecology. So where we should be planting indigenous banyan, pipal and neem trees — to name only a few — we have diseased the land with useless species that give neither shade nor fruit nor sanctuary to our fast dwindling avian friends. Mind you, once the song of the birds is gone; we will die from a loneliness of the soul.

But the lout in Islamabad is no exception. About 18 years ago, a house was built in K Block, Model Town, Lahore. It being a corner plot, there were eight magnificent biri patti trees along the boundary. All were chopped down. As the process was afoot, I paused to take up the issue with the perpetrators. They — simple workers — said the owner wanted his house to be seen from outside. Of course, who wouldn’t when they have a façade of bathroom tiles! Even today, a couple of stumps still remind me of once beautiful spreading trees.

In 2003 or thereabouts, a new road connected Thokar Niaz Beg with WAPDA Town. It swung past a clump of three handsome pipal trees about opposite the electric grid station in Johar Town. Then it was a single two-way road. In 2004, its second track was planned. I hurried to photograph the pipal trees because I knew they figured nowhere in the grand scheme of the morons who rule our miserable lives. Sure enough, the trees, those magnificent heroes who purified the air we breathed and who sequestered the carbon that we madly generated so that this world could still be liveable for us, were brutally cut down. There was no question of anyone even considering giving the road a little swing to one side in order to let the trees live. They disappeared from sight and memory. Today, they exist only in a set of 35mm transparencies in my collection.

Come with me to my ancestral village Uggi. On the highroad to it from Jalandhar city, amid carefully tended fields of whatever may be in season, the road suddenly divides in two. There in the middle of it stands a lovely pipal tree. I joked with my kinsman Bakhshish Singh who was driving me home to Uggi: “Cut it down, you fool. It has no business in the middle of a road”.

An aghast Bakhshish stopped the car. He turned around to look me straight in the eye. “Never ever must you talk of destroying a tree,” he said. “Here we value trees more than we value human life. They are our truest friends who only do us good; and they ask for no recompense.”

So what really went wrong with us?

The writer Salman Rashid is  Fellow of Royal Geographical Society. His travel writing appears regularly in leading English language journals and he is the author of eight travel books including The Apricot Road to Yarkand and jhelum: City of the Vitasta.
You might also like:
1.My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan 2.Birds of Lahore – Sustainers of City’s Biodiversity 3. Muhammad (S.A.W.W), A Pioneer of Environment
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Published in: on 31/05/2012 at 11:21 pm  Comments (10)  
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Washington’s Hypocrisies


The US government is the second worst human rights abuser on the planet and the sole enabler of the worst–Israel. But this doesn’t hamper Washington from pointing the finger elsewhere.
The US State Department’s “human rights report” focuses its ire on Iran and Syria, two countries whose real sin is their independence from Washington, and on the bogyman- in-the-making–China, the country selected for the role of Washington’s new Cold War enemy.
Hillary Clinton, another in a long line of unqualified Secretaries of State, informed “governments around the world: we are watching, and we are holding you accountable,” only we are not holding ourselves accountable or Washington’s allies like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the NATO puppets.
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US POLICY: RUNNING WITH THE THE HARE, HUNTING WITH THE HOUNDS

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by Paul Craig Roberts

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The US government is the second worst human rights abuser on the planet and the sole enabler of the worst–Israel. But this doesn’t hamper Washington from pointing the finger elsewhere.

The US State Department’s “human rights report” focuses its ire on Iran and Syria, two countries whose real sin is their independence from Washington, and on the bogyman- in-the-making–China, the country selected for the role of Washington’s new Cold War enemy.

Hillary Clinton, another in a long line of unqualified Secretaries of State, informed “governments around the world: we are watching, and we are holding you accountable,” only we are not holding ourselves accountable or Washington’s allies like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the NATO puppets.

Hillary also made it “clear to citizens and activists everywhere: You are not alone. We are standing with you,” only not with protesters at the Chicago NATO summit or with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, or anywhere else in the US where there are protests. (ref)

The State Department stands with the protesters funded by the US in the countries whose governments the US wishes to overthrow. Protesters in the US stand alone as do the occupied Palestinians who apparently have no human rights to their homes, lands, olive groves, or lives.

Here are some arrest numbers for a few recent US protests. The New York Daily News reports that as of November 17, 2011, 1,300 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested in New York City alone. FoxNews reported (October 2, 2011) that 700 protesters were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. At the NATO summit in Chicago last week, 90 protesters were arrested (Chicago Journal).

In the US some protesters are being officially categorized as “domestic extremists” or “domestic terrorists,” a new threat category that Homeland Security announced is now the focus of its attention, displacing Muslim terrorists as the number one threat to the US. In September 2010, federal police raided the homes of peace activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. The FBI is trying to concoct a case against them by claiming that the peace activists donated money to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. As demanded by Israel, the US government has designated the PFLP as a terrorist group.

In Chicago last week, among the many arrested NATO protesters with whom the State Department does not stand are three young white americans arrested for “domestic terrorism” in what Dave Lindorff reports was “a warrantless house invasion reminiscent of what US military forces are doing on a daily [and nightly] basis in Afghanistan.” If the US government, which stands with protesters everywhere except in America, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Palestine, can make this into a terrorism case, the three americans can be convicted on the basis of secret evidence or simply be incarcerated for the rest of their lives without a trial.

Meanwhile the three american “domestic terrorists” are being held in solitary confinement. Like many of the NATO protesters, they came from out of town. Brian Church, 20 years old, came from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Jared Chase, 27, came from Keene, New Hampshire. Brent Betterly, 24, came from Oakland Park, Florida. Charged with providing material support for terrorism, the judge set their bail at $1.5 million each.

These three are not charged with actually throwing a Molotov cocktail at a person or thing. They are charged with coming to Chicago with the idea of doing so. Somehow the 16 federal intelligence agencies plus those of our NATO puppets and Israel were unable to discover the 9/11 plot in the making, but the Chicago police knew in advance why two guys from Florida and one from New Hampshire came to Chicago. The domestic terrorism cases turn out to be police concoctions that are foiled before they happen, so we have many terrorists but no actual terrorist acts.

Two other young americans are being framed by their Human Rights Government. Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, of Chicago is charged with “falsely making a terrorist threat,” whatever that means. His bail was set at $750,000. Mark Neiweem, 28, of Chicago is charged with “solicitation for explosives or incendiary devices.” His bail is set at $500,000.

This is human rights in america. But the State Department’s human rights report never examines the US. It is a political document aimed at Washington’s chosen enemies.

Meanwhile, Human Rights america continues to violate the national sovereignty of Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan by sending in drones, bombs, special forces and in Afghanistan 150,000 US soldiers to murder people, usually women, children and village elders. Weddings, funerals, children’s soccer games, schools and farmers’ houses are also favorite targets for Washington’s attacks. On May 25 the Pakistani Daily Times reported that Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Ali Khan strongly condemned the drone attacks: “We regard them as a violation of our territorial integrity. They are in contravention of international law. They are illegal, counter productive and totally unacceptable.”

The US reportedly funnels money to the Iranian terrorist group, MEK, declared terrorists by no less than the US State Department. But it is OK as long as MEK is terrorizing Iran. Washington stands with MEK’s protests delivered via bombs and the assassin’s bullet. After all, we have to bring freedom and democracy to Iran, and violence is Washington’s preferred way to achieve this goal.

Washington is desperate to overthrow the Syrian government in order to get rid of the Russian naval base. On May 15 the Washington Post reported that Washington is coordinating the flow of arms to Syrian rebels. Washington’s justification for interfering in Syria’s internal affairs is human rights charges against the Syrian government. However, a UN report finds that the rebels are no more respectful of human rights than the Syrian government. The rebels torture and murder prisoners and kidnap civilians wealthy enough to bring a ransom.

NATO, guided by Washington, went far outside the UN resolution declaring a no-fly zone over Libya. NATO in blatant violation of the UN resolution provided the air attack on the Libyan government that enabled the CIA-supported “rebels” to overthrow Gadhafi, killing many Libyan civilians in the process.

Under the Nuremberg standard (principle VI.a.i), it is a war crime to launch a war of aggression, which is what Washington and its NATO puppets launched against Libya, but, no sweat, Washington brought Libya freedom and democracy.

Assassinating foreign opponents is the West’s preferred diplomacy. The British were at ease with it, and Washington picked up the practice. In his book, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Cambridge University historian Piers Brendon, the Keeper of the Churchill Archives, reports from the documents he has at hand, that in the build up to the “Suez Crisis” in 1956, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden told Foreign Office minister Anthony Nutting, “I want him [Nasser, Egypt’s leader] murdered.”

Brendon goes on to report: “Doubtless at the Prime Minister’s behest, the Secret Intelligence Service did hatch plots to assassinate Nasser and to topple his government. Its agents, who proposed to pour nerve gas into Nasser’s office through the ventilation system, were by no means discreet.” The secret agents talked too much, and the scheme never came to fruition.

Last week in Malaysia a war crimes tribunal found George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes II, Jay Bybee, and John Choon Yoo guilty of war crimes. (ref)

But don’t expect Washington to take any notice. The war crimes convictions are merely a “political statement.”

Paul Craig Roberts has been Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. Roberts earned his fame as co-founder of Reaganomics. He is also a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Scripps Howard News Service, who has testified before congressional committees on 30 occasions on issues of economic policy. He is a critic of Israel, and calls Gaza “the world’s largest concentration camp”.

More from Paul Craig Roberts on Wonders of Pakistan

1. The Global War on Terrorism 2. Does The West Have A Future? 3.Brewing a Conflict with China 4. Washington Leads World Into Lawlessness 5. Empires Then and Now 6. The Outlook for the New Year [in two parts] 7. Is the War on Terror a Hoax? [in two parts] 8. The latest orchestrated threat and the end of history 8. The Critics of 9-11 Truth. Do they have a Case
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More subas? — I


The rumour that President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to announce the formation of new provinces on August 14 is bogus. The president, even if he so wished, cannot do it because he is not authorised to do so. Factually, it is all about politics e.g. there is the problem over the concept around which the three-stage exercise of delimitation, delineation and actual demarcation would/should take place.
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz says the exercise must not be conducted  on ethnic basis because that would serve to deepen the ethnic fault lines. That”s one way of looking at it and the sentiment cannot be faulted per se. But if one maps the ground, it becomes clear that the demand is essentially ethnic.
We have two overt expressions of it Sraiki and Hazara Subas and we have the more covert MQM demand which manifests itself in the party’s support to ethnic groups asking for their own units.

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ITS ALL ABOUT POLITICS 

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by Ejaz Haider

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Do we need more provinces? Yes, we do. Could we please have a few more tomorrow, or a week from now? No, we can’t.

The challenge lies precisely in doing what needs to be done but which, for a host of reasons, will be resisted by various groups and parties, not because most oppose the carving out of more provinces but because each group has interests in the carrying out of such an exercise that run against those of the other group(s).

To put it another way, the very reasons for which some of the group/parties want more provinces are the reasons which would make this process difficult instead of facilitating it. The additional problem would of course be resistance from those groups that do not want more provinces — Sindhis losing Karachi; the Lahore-centred Nawaz League that would not want its political base diluted; the Baloch who claim all of Balochistan and so on.

The rumour that President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to announce the formation of new provinces on August 14 is bogus. The president, even if he so wished, cannot do it because he is not authorised to do so. Article 239 (4) of the constitution is very clear about the procedure for altering the limits of a province and adds another layer to any such constitutional amendment by bringing in the provincial assembly, two-thirds of whose members must assent before such an amendment can be sent to the president for his final approval.

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It’s all about politics, however, before it becomes legal. The first problem is the concept around which the three-stage exercise of delimitation, delineation and actual demarcation would/should take place. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz says the exercise must not be conducted on ethnic basis because that would serve to deepen the ethnic fault-lines. That’s one way of looking at it and the sentiment cannot be faulted per se. But if one maps the ground, it becomes clear that the demand is essentially ethnic. We have two overt expressions of it — Seraiki and Hazara subas — and we have the more covert MQM demand which manifests itself in the party’s support to ethnic groups asking for their own units.

I asked Ahsan Iqbal how the PML-N would like to map this. He mentioned the former state of Bahawalpur. Sure, I said, prodding him on to give me some more examples. But he couldn’t. In fact, the Bahawalpur factor is interesting because there has been an internal fault-line in southern Punjab between the Riyastis and the Seraikis. However, Ayesha Siddiqa, who has recently done a survey, told me that while 60 per cent of the respondents said they wanted their own province, “their reasons for the demand related to better governance”.

Siddiqua’s take is that given the financial viability, or inviability, of the Bahawalpur suba, it would be much better to opt for a Seraiki suba. The same sentiment was expressed to me by Mohsin Leghari, a PML-Q MPA. Leghari, like Siddiqa, said that this dormant fault-line is being artificially revived and is part of the PML-N’s political strategy. He also gave the example of the ruckus in the Punjab Assembly on August 11 when an MMA member from Mianwali got up to ask for a resolution for a Thal suba.

“The PML-N doesn’t want to come out openly against more provinces because that will be politically disastrous so they are now resorting to muddying the waters for a viable Seraiki sooba,” says Leghari.

This is to be expected. Just like the Sindhis would not want to lose Karachi in any future delimiting of Sindh, the PML-N doesn’t want its power centre in the Punjab diluted. And it can resort to the tactics it is using and also mount serious arguments against the whole exercise while agreeing to have as many provinces as can be made on — its buzzword — ‘administrative’ rather than ethnic basis.

In a newspaper statement, Mian Nawaz Sharif has proposed that if the government (read: the Pakistan Peoples Party and its allies) is serious about creating more provinces, it should set up a National Commission for this purpose which can bring together, for consultation, all the interested parties. While Babar Awan has already dismissed the idea, saying there is no provision in the constitution for such a commission, the fact is that some senior PPP leaders agree that if and when it comes to this, and the PML-N presents a formal proposal in this regard, a commission can be set up and its terms of reference worked out.

“Such a commission doesn’t by its formation violate any constitutional provision especially if it is to be a consultative body which can do the spade work before the issue is taken to the assemblies,” said one senior PPP leader who asked that he not be named.

https://i2.wp.com/imgcdn.nrelate.com/image_cache/topics.onepakistan.com.pk/9a6dd3205e1f0752043a029bab3de1f1_thumb_Ejaz-haider.jpgThe writer was a Ford Scholar at the Programme in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at UIUC (1997) and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Studies Programme. Presently he is op-ed editor of Daily Times and host of Samaa TV’s programme “Siyasiyat”. He can be reached at sapper@dailytimes.com.pk

Related Posts:

 1. The dangers of new provinces 2. What if Punjab is too large? 
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this report / article / Op-Ed are the sole responsibility of the author or the source from where this material has been taken. These may not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author (s) or the source. WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statement / s contained in this post.

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Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults. 
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
 

Clinton Bares All


Clinton finally brings the secret military/State Dept. covert operations out into the open. This is the logical outcome of a process started long ago, during the Reagan Administration, when Congress put restrictions on the CIA’s shadow wars in Central America. It was then that this so-called “smart policy” began, thereafter, all of the CIA’s illegal operations were contracted out to private interests. Hillary’s baby, “the Conflict Bureau”, grew out of Reagan’s NED [National Endowment for Democracy]. These hearings uncovered the inner workings of a new State Dept. entity, which was intended to take over many of the CIA’s operations. 
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HILLARY FINALLY BRINGS BUREAU OF SPY/DIPLOMATIC LIAISONS OUT OF THE CLOSET

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by Peter Chamberlin

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Clinton finally brings the secret military/State Dept. covert operations out into the open (SEEClinton Goes Commando, Sells Diplomats as Shadow Warriors).  This is the logical outcome of a process started long ago, during the Reagan Administration, when Congress put restrictions on the CIA’s shadow wars in Central America.  It was then that this so-called “smart policy” began, thereafter, all of the CIA’s illegal operations were contracted out to private interests.   Hillary’s baby, “the Conflict Bureau,” grew out of Reagan’s NED (National Endowment for Democracy).   The new bureau of State Dept. activism was originally called the “Office of Public Diplomacy,” as first revealed in the Congressional Iran/Contra Hearings.  These hearings uncovered the inner workings of a new State Dept. entity, which was intended to take over many of the CIA’s  operations.

Private corporations and benefactors were solicited to form patriotic partnerships with the military, to be overseen by a hierarchy of diplomats.  These partnerships turned-out to be privately funded criminal enterprises, which were organized to implement Administration policies.  The objective of these enterprises was to destabilize nations by turning the people against their own governments.  This was to be done primarily through diplomatic largess, as opposed to the use of military force.  A veritable river of cash and other economic incentives began to pour into the hands of poor people and local criminal networks.  The people’s loyalty would be bought, as would the criminals’ silence, as well as the local bureaucrat’s complicity.  The louder that those who received their newfound wealth boasted of their good fortune, the more envious the rest of the people would become.  All forces would contribute to the primary mission of destabilization.

Perhaps the most important acquisition that the beneficent diplomats could make would be that of the voices of established local journalists and newsmen, who would be the primary agitators of the class struggle between the haves and the have-nots.  In Muslim countries, the most important acquisition would likely be local religious authorities and devotees, who could be used to further agitate long-simmering local religious squabbles, such as that between Sunni and Shia.

Through the “smart” interplay between the various news-generating sources at their disposal, the aggressive diplomats could actually take over popular dialogues and generate “new news” (propaganda).   By using their local and national players to dominate popular opinion-making, diplomats could successfully replace the ongoing national narratives with new false narratives, which were used to bring the thinking of the people in line with the Administration’s will for them.  The overriding purpose was to generate national revolutions by first creating a false perception of an ongoing revolution within the minds of the people.   The people were made to believe in an inevitable national revolution by hiring locals to stage revolutionary attacks (terrorism) on key targets, at critical junctures in the molding of the national debate.  The contracted newsmen spread the story of the ongoing revolution far and wide, while the newsmen who could not be bought are deceived with selective leaks from anonymous government sources.  The revolutionary (terrorist) acts are timed so as to validate the doctored news reports.

Today the diplomatic meddlers have networks of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to assist them with the process of spreading the “pork” locally and creating new false narratives which mirror the latest fashionable lies being peddled by Washington’s other sources.  You see the process most completely in the fate suffered by Libya, or Syria, or that visited upon the people of Iraq.  At the end of the “smart” process is nothing but war and local devastation giving the US and NATO military a foot in the door.   For this the national governments are blamed by the manipulated, agitated, radicalized and weaponized masses.

Hillary is extremely proud of her smart operation, her “Silk Road” to hell.

More from Peter Chamberlin on Wonders of Pakistan

1. Whirling Dervish and TAPI Politics 2. Shaitan is smiling in Balochistan 3. Investing Your Future In a Poison Peace Process 4. Understanding Reality From Deception in the War on Terror 5. Smashing Greater Central Asia-Part One [in three parts] 6. Washington’s Silk Road Pipe Dream
Peter Chamberlin is an op-ed writer and a blog editor. Peter has been very active against all types of wars since 1982. He has been writing letters to newspapers and magazines, as well as recalcitrant national leaders, speaking-out against war, nuclear war, and the impending violent collapse of the Western empire (that is now at hand). Chamberlin has had several hundred letter-to-editors printed in this time. peterchamberlin@naharnet.com
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author (s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statement / s contained in this post.

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

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Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

The Quaid and the Significance of Pakistan


All renowned historians, right from Gibbon to Toynbee, agree on one focal point, that nations fall when they stop thinking as a nation– when they loose confidence in their pride  and they fail to self respect. With sall in their thinking, the very first symptom that afflicts such people, such communities is the indifference, the apathywhich they have over their nation’s resilience. Doubts are caste on Leader’s vision and they start eulogising the opponents of their founding father /s.
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THE PSEUDOS AND THE QUAID

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by Nayyar Hashmey

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All renowned historians, right from Gibbon to Toynbee, agree on one point, that nations fall when they stop thinking as a nation. Or when they loose confidence and pride as a nation or they fail to self respect. The very first symptom of such fall is the affliction that befalls such people, such nations, such communities is the indifference, the apathy which they have over their nation’s resilience. Doubts are cast on their leader’s vision and they start eulogising the opponents of their founding father / s. (more…)

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