Monthly Archives: July 2005

Suicide bombing phenomenon

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

SUICIDE bombers have attacked London twice in the past month. Baghdad is the scene of such attacks on practically a daily basis. Yet not much is known about suicide bombers. It is only now that scholars have begun exploring this subject. This is a positive development because, on the basis of their research, these scholars are exploding many myths. Hopefully, they will succeed in educating and informing not only the people better about them but also the governments in the West.

The latest book on the subject to hit the market is Dying to Win: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism by Robert Pape, assistant professor at the University of Chicago. Pape has collected a storehouse of information on the 462 suicide bombers who made headlines by their successful missions from 1980 to 2004. By analyzing demographic data, the psychology of the terrorists and their ideological and political motives, Pape has drawn interesting and valid conclusions.
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REVIEWS: Why they took separate paths?

Reviewed by Zubeida Mustafa Partition & Convergence by Prof Jamal Naqvi, an eminent scholar, is a most thought-provoking book. While its focus is said to be South Asia in the 21st century, it is actually a summing up of the … Continue reading

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London bombings: the day after

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

AS THE dust settles on London’s horrific suicide bombings, there are many concerns being expressed. At the international and the political level, this act of some perverted individuals, said to be linked to the Al Qaeda and its affiliates’ network, is seen from the perspective of the war on terrorism.

The question being asked is whether this war, spearheaded by the US and supported by a number of other governments including Pakistan’s, is succeeding in its mission. So many terrorist attacks have occurred in the wake of 9/11 — Bali, Madrid, Morocco, Istanbul and now London — that the focus has shifted more towards an analysis of the failure or success of the anti- terror strategy.

A serious attempt is being made once again to analyze the factors that have spawned the terror phenomenon, especially in view of the fact that many of the explanations given have, over a period of time, proved to be quite off the mark. The new phase of exploration and rationalization as reflected in the press and the electronic media in Britain and the US appears to have prompted analysts and policymakers to revise their understanding of the terrorist’s mind and motives. The main reason for this change is the emergence of, what the British media terms, “home grown” terrorism.

Until now, it was widely believed that if the intelligence agencies could figure out Al Qaeda’s military strategy and stop terrorists from entering the targeted states, they could easily pre-empt fresh attacks. Hence the focus was on stringent immigration laws, airport checks and physical search and surveillance. Now it is being realized that there are other factors that contribute to the rise of terrorism and need to be addressed and rooted out as well.
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Population day thoughts

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

JULY 11 was world population day — a day of introspection on where the human race is heading. In Pakistan, we have plenty of soul-searching to do given our rapidly increasing population and its far-reaching impact on every sector of national life. In 50 years, the population has galloped from 33 million to 152 million to make Pakistan the seventh most populous country in the world.

It is now recognized that one of the causes — not the only one — of the country’s economic backwardness, poor education level and social underdevelopment is the population factor. The government now claims that the population growth rate came down to 1.9 per cent in 2004-2005 — at one time it was three per cent. According to the official sources in Pakistan the total fertility rate (TFR), that is the average number of children a woman has in her reproductive years, has come down from 4.8 in 2000-01 to 4.07 in 2004-05.
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Elitist approach to education

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

THE chapter on education in the Pakistan Economic Survey 2004-05, released in June, is ‘question-provoking’, if one is allowed to use the term. It says the right things about the importance of education for change in society and the progress of the masses.

The goals of the government spelt out are also very inspiring, that is if you believe them. It says that the “Government of Pakistan has adopted this sector (education) as one of the pillars for poverty reduction and benefit of masses. Government is fully committed to provide best Educational Facilities to its people in the minimum possible time.” (Reproduced without editing).
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REVIEWS: Enter the peace actors

Reviewed by Zubeida Mustafa As the nature and style of warfare has changed over the years with the development of new technologically advanced weapons, the concept of security has also changed. If nations are now fighting total wars, they are … Continue reading

Leave a comment | Posted in Book Reviews, International Politics, War and Peace |