Tag Archives: Turkey

6 Surprises for a Pakistani at Istanbul

Hagia Sophia - Istanbul

Traveling teaches lessons that cannot be learned through books or teachers. Back in October 2013, I stepped out of Pakistan, all alone, for the first time and the feeling was quite similar to that of a young adult asked to find his/her own ways in an unknown maze. It was a journey undertaken to cover the second Turk-Arab Youth Congress at Istanbul, Turkey as a student journalist and to draft reports of the sessions conducted over there. Unlike exchange programs and other international fellowships, during which students travel in a group, I happened to be the only Pakistani leaving for the congress. It was excitingly scary to give myself a chance for self-exploration. At the same time it was a comforting thought that Pakistan has brotherly relations with Turkey. As soon as I landed at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, surprises started to embrace me one by one.

1-Green Passport received with a warm smile
I was amazed to encounter a pleasant smile at the airport as the officer stamped my passport and found out that I was coming from Pakistan. Our passport is stigmatized (usually) and doesn’t receive a positive glare in many parts of the world. A welcoming gesture wasn’t expected, but I was fortunate to find friendly signs right from the beginning of my adventure to explore Istanbul within a week.

2-Turks won’t let you drag your luggage for yourself
Yes! They simply won’t- no matter how much you assure them that you can easily drag your luggage. Even upon my insistence the logistical team of the congress and even the students who were a part of the administration asked me to let them drag my luggage. They go an extra mile to make sure that their scale of hospitality doesn’t get disturbed.

3-They are good at speaking German and Arabic
They are not well-versed in English and other than the native Turkish language they are more eloquent in German and can comprehend Arabic better off. Even at the airport, people find it difficult to speak English. This gave me an idea that shopping wouldn’t be an easy task due to the language barrier.

4-They don’t let you get bored
They accompany you and talk to you while you are waiting for either a vehicle or a person. Turks are curious to know about Pakistanis and Pakistan. The sad part is that most of them don’t know that Islamabad is in Pakistan, but they do know a lot about Islamabad (at least).

5-The traffic – it’s awful
The first thing that came across my mind while sitting in the van and traveling for good 2 hours to reach the hotel from the airport was that – why does the Chief Minister of Punjab want to make Lahore look like Istanbul? In my opinion, Lahore already looks like Istanbul when it comes to traffic jams during inter-city traveling.

6-While shopping it’s a must to visit everyone’s shop if you are a Pakistani (even window shopping)
The interestingly hilarious surprises came my way during shopping. While I was out in the city with one of my friends from Lithuania, I forgot to take off the name identity tag provided by the congress which included my name on it. Shopkeepers started calling out my name to invite me in their shops and that is the perfect pronunciation of my name, I’ve heard from any stranger so for! (Maybe because my name is an Arabic word, they were quite familiar with it) Anyhow, upon knowing that I am a Pakistani they started offering discounts and gave additional nuts along with Turkish tea at a cafe. Almost all the shopkeepers wanted me to visit their shops as soon as they knew about my nationality.

Above all, there was a thumbs up each time I said: “I am from Pakistan!” Istanbul startled me with its unprecedented hospitality along with the amazing feeling generated through the authentic smiles that brightened their faces upon hearing the name of ‘Pakistan’.


Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Random Scape


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A Passage to Peace: Global Solutions from East and West

Reviewed by: Fakiha Hassan Rizvi

Authors: Nur Yalman and Daisuka Ikeda 

Published by I.B.Tauris in 2009

Genre: Global Peace, Inter state relations

About the Authors
Nur Yalman 
is a Professor of Anthology and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. His area of interest  includes the religion and politics of South Asian, Central Asian, Middle Eastern countries and other Muslim societies.
Daisuka Ikeda is the President of Soka Gakkai International (Buddhist organization). Ikeda received the United Nations Peace Award in 1993 and has been awarded with more than 240 academic degrees.

This book is a profound and coherent dialogue on interesting global themes. The conversation between Ikeda (Japanese) and Yulman (Turk) unveils the intricate similarities that resonate among Asia’s powerful states. It’s an enticing rhetoric by the learned men, highlighting the societal, religious, cultural and humanistic values, common between Japan and Turkey. During the discourse, they also develop a consensus on mutual understanding, empathy, global governance and dialogue as the gateway to peace.
The book is divided into contents that fall under 10 broad categories:

1) Cultural Resonances
* The spirit of global citizenship
Ikeda and Yulman acknowledge each others’ command on various subjects of religion and culture. They start the dialogue through ‘respect’ for difference in opinion.

*Istanbul– where East and West meet
The financial hub of Turkey (Istanbul) is a unique cultural fusion of Persian, Arabian, Mongol, Greek, Russian, Balkan and East- European. It is located at a place where East meets the West. Ikeda tells Yalman that out of the 54 countries that he has visited, Turkey has a great impression on him. Yalman also regards Istanbul as the most exotic city in the world, only Bangkok can be compared to it.

*Spiritual siblings
Ikeda relates religious proximity with the colours in Japanese and Turkish flags. Japan with a red sun and white background and Turkey with a white crescent and star on a red ground. Yulman focuses on understanding minorities and diversity.

* Floral Preferences
Blossoming cherry tree represents Japan. Roses are related with Turkish poetry. Dutch were introduced to Tulips by Turks in the 16th century.

*Lively tradition of popular literature
Important Turkish writers include Yasar Kemal and Orhan Pamuk (Nobel Prize winner). Hikmet was controversial as he was considered as communist. Reflections of Islamic mystics like Rumi, Yunus Emre and other poets can be seen in the works of Man’yoshu (Collection of ten thousand leaves) and the Kokin Wakashu (Collected Japanese Poems from Ancient and Modern Times).

*Women in Society
Yalman tells Ikeda that covering the head is not a characteristic feature of Islamic societies, only. ‘Veiling is a demonstration of the idea that, as special, even sacred people, women need to be protected.’ Ikeda believes in gender equality to the extent that female subjugation fades.

*In the Marketplace
Ikeda described the price variation as an odd feature of Islamic economy, while Yalman explains that universal pricing is a negative feature of globalization. Ikeda relates this with the Japanese term benkyo-suru (to study) that also means ‘to offer discount’.

*Festivals in Funerals
Turkey is more agile in celebrating religious festivities like Eid, celebration at the end of Hajj. Ikeda tells about Lotus Sutra introduced by Japanese priest and philosopher Nichiren.

*Buddhism is Peace promoter
Ikeda considers religion as a liberator for human soul that directs it towards self-realization. He explains how Soka Gakkai thwarts religious authoritarianism by propagating a revitalized religion that is beneficial for the people. Yalman adds that Buddhism doesn’t have any history of coercion or domination by force, except when it was used at the hands of national or ethnic powers.

2) Loyalty to all Humanity
*Cultivating enduring amity ( goal of the dialogue)

*Dramatic starting point
Yalman traces down relations between Japan and Turkey to 19th century

*Linguistic similarities
Grammatical similarities, the ability of Japanese to learn Turkish fast and vice versa. Hopscotch, marble, kites and tops are used for playing by Japanese and Turk children.

*Land of many proverbs
Turkish proverb  ‘Lies last only as long as liars’ money. Japanese proverb ‘Time reveals the lie’.

* Resisting Imperialism
Both, Turkey and Japan have resisted imperialism

* The common good
Lack of good leadership is felt in the East as well as in the West. Vision, action and global citizenry should evolve to work for common good of humanity.

3) Peace Within and Without 
*Ataturk’s Reforms
Turkey’s endeavour to join the European Union and its cooperation with Europeans since Ataturk became the first president of Turkey.

*Separation of Religion and Politics
Yalman describes Turkish parliamentary system as a better one that presents a strong case for separating religion from politics.

* Education
As a tool for knowing each other, eliminating prejudices and ignorance.

*Global partnership
Overcoming differences in order to engender humanism at a global level through constructive dialogue.

4) Mutual Understanding For a Better World

5) Intercultural Communion 
* Dialogue as the solution
*The peril of stereotypes 
* The challenge of globalization

6) Empathy and our shared Humanity

7) Reviving Asian Humanism

8) Global Governance

9) Dialogue: the Magna Carta of civilization

10) New Paths for education

Critical Analysis 
The book has been written with a simple language, which supports its’ theme of mutual understanding. For the reader, it is not hard to imagine Ikeda and Yalman conversing with each other. A glossary at the end of the book leads to better understanding of the key personalities/terms in Japan and Turkey that are mentioned in the conversation. It’s an exemplary model of ‘dialogue’ for intellectuals around the world to follow. No where in the dialogue a disagreement was found. A smooth exchange of ideas, perceptions and opinions was neatly knitted for the reader, impelling him/her to admit the ‘power of the dialogue’. As harmony between the East and the West is dependent upon such dialogues, which aim at resolving differences instead of inflaming conflicts. 

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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Book Review


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New Turkish Politics, Arab Spring and the Role of Media – Lecture

Alper Y. Dede delivering the lecture in Hameed Nizami Conference room, Institute of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab

Alper Y. Dede talking to the students. Seated Right- A Turkish guest, Left – Prof. Dr. Ahsan Akhtar Naz (Director Institute of Communication Studies)

In a special lecture arranged at the Institute of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab, Alper Y. Dede (Turkish PhD scholar) explained the political evolution of Turkey, the foreign policy of Turkey in the context of Arab Spring and the role of media in purporting the transitions of the Arab World. The lecture was delivered in the Hameed Nizami Conference room of the Institute and was hosted by the Director of the Institute of Communication Studies (ICS), Prof. Dr. Ahsan Akhtar Naz.

Before starting off with the topic Alper admired the hospitality of the Pakistani people. He especially mentioned his predilection for the Pakistani food. He appreciated the Director of ICS, Prof. Dr. Ahan Akhtar Naz for arranging an important lecture keeping in view the contemporary ‘global politics’. Alper Y. Dede is an International Relations expert and his area of interest includes; state and society relations, Turkey-Egypt ties, Turkish foreign policy and comparative politics. Alper distinctly explained Turkish policies, Arab Spring and the role of media, later on he connected the distinct parts that aided the students to understand and learn. While elucidating the evolution of Turkish politics, Alper told the students that Turkey used to be a ‘Statist’ country (a term used in political science for countries where social and economic policy is controlled by the government to some extent). He said that the domestic problems such as education, social services remained unresolved till the 1980’s. According to Alper, the government at that time introduced economic liberalisation and a new class of businessmen (conservative and liberal) precipitated out in Turkey. In a geographical context, he stated that 30 % of Turkey’s land lies in the European continent and the rest in Asian continent. Istanbul, lies in the European portion and it is the hub of Asian Tigers (Anatolian Tigers) who represent the conservative class of businessmen. The economic progress of Asian Tigers helped them to establish their own institutions and media outlets, which made them powerful in domestic politics. However, Turkey’s ruling party (Justice and Development Party) drifted away from the conservative Virtue Party and gained popularity over a short period of time. Alper linked the dramatic change in Turkey with the election of 2002, during which Justice and Development Party took a sweeping victory.

His viewpoint about the Arab Spring endorsed the pivotal role of national, international and social media while covering the protests in the Arab World. “Assumption before Arab Spring was that political transition would be gradual, but the street protests starting from Mohmmad Bouzizi’s appalled the entire world,” said Alper. Y. Dede. He connected the variance in transitions of different parts of the world in terms of the media coverage. The Turkish Scholar believed that Syria and Libya banned reporting of events as the protests started. On the other hand, Tunisia and Egypt allowed it. Talking about the Turkish media, he opined that like many others media voices of Turkey were both hesitant and unprepared for the coverage of the Arab protests. The media reflected a mixed perception of optimism and pessimism. Alper told the students that Turkish foreign policy had been influenced by how the media presented the unfolding of events and much to his dismay the Turkish foreign policy in Syria had been unsuccessful. He was disappointed while telling the students that Syria is at the mercy of global powers like Russia, China, France, UK and the U.S (being the elephant in the room). However, Alper suggested that Tukrey could’ve adopted a better diplomatic course by serving as a mediator because foreign support existed for Syria (Russia and Iran). Alper predicted that Bashar al Assad is likely to stay in Syria for the next few months, at least!

The students keenly listened to his lecture, thanked him for imparting his knowledge and raised questions. The Director of the Institute of Communication Studies, Prof. Dr. Ahsan Akhtar Naz, in his final note, briefly discussed the history of Pak-Turkey ties in three phases. The Director told the students that Turkey and Pakistan had a historical relation starting from before the partition, during the Khilafat movement. The second phase was during the rule of General Ayub Khan when a Regional Cooperation for Development was established between Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The Director said that in his view the third phase revolves around the recent strengthening of economic cooperation between the ideologically bonded states. However, he suggested that Turkey should be more considerate while dealing with the Muslim countries, it can play a significant role through platforms like O.I.C (Organization of Islamic Conference). The Director admired the effective negotiations of Turkey to ensure the recent ceasefire between Israel and the Palestine. He expressed his gratitude towards Alper Y. Dede for enhancing the knowledge of the students and contributing towards the aim of maintaining friendly relations between Turkey and Pakistan, through such lectures.


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Memoirs of ‘Military rule’ in Turkey and Pakistan

The path cobbled by both, Turkey and Pakistan to engender democratic trends has been more or less the same. Pakistanis and Turks, paid a heavy price to triumph over authoritarian suppression. Recently, the Turkish premier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claimed that ‘the era of military coups is over’ for the Turks. His opponents might call it an exaggeration, but Erdogan considers ‘Turkey’ as an exemplary political set-up for Muslim countries around the world to emulate. He has a substantial justification for christening ‘Turkey’ as an ideal Muslim nation, fostering secularism, pursuing the most advanced form of democracy and curbing authoritarianism. The ruling Justice and Development Party, which came to power in 2002 has maintained Turkey’s decades-old secular system, but at the same time has curtailed the power of the military. The latest number of military officers entering into the prison is ‘326’. They are being charged for their fruitless efforts to derail democracy in 2003. The Pakistani leadership hasn’t been audacious enough to figure out the ‘belligerent generals’ in the military cadre. Those mighty boots, which enter into politics by legitimizing their actions, exercised free will as no one punished them for their transgressions. The longest-serving, elected civilian regime of Pakistan (Pakistan Peoples Party and its coalition partners) bade farewell to the ‘US-tamed’ dictator by giving him a ‘guard of honour’.

Four military interventions have hampered democratic systems in Pakistan and Turkey. However, the political evolution and constitutional development has been strikingly different for both the countries. The creation of Pakistan was itself a miracle and its sustenance turned out to be a greater miracle. Being a vulnerable nation fraught with innumerable challenges after the partition in 1947, Pakistan lost her indispensable leader. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah‘s demise provided an opportunity to the politicians for displaying their ‘lust for power’. A delay in the process of constitution-making followed by a lot of controversies allowed two key players to step into the political premises. The ‘clergy’ and the ‘army’ began to expand their influence in terms of penetration and dictate. A weak political management aided the army to become more independent as an institution. The proclamation of martial law and the abrogation of constitution was not a ‘hard-nut to crack’ under such circumstances.

General Ayub Khan, General Yahya Khan and General Zia ul Haq (from left to right)

President Muhammad Ayub Khan with his ‘Basic Democrats’ was the first one to propagate the idea that ‘democracy’ is a ‘luxury’ which Pakistan couldn’t afford. In 1958, the first military attaché’ to Washington, Brigadier Ghulam Gillani was instructed by General Ayub to acquire military equipment from Pentagon (without taking the foreign office into confidence). It was from this day that civilians weren’t credible enough to govern Pakistan or to put it in another way, ‘army’ alone had the right to decide high profile issues. The uneven and unjust economic development during Ayub’s era led to the creation of Bangladesh. Ayub was an epitome of self-indulgence. Politics of the downtrodden apparently came into light during 1971, but it was soon extinguished by ‘Operation Fairplay‘ in 1977. Charismatic Bhutto was placed under ‘protective custody’ and later hanged during the regime of General Muhamamd Zia ul Haq. Judiciary served as a compatriot for the second Chief Marital Law Administrator who called himself a ‘soldier of Islam’. The press was chained and political activities were disbanded by mutilating the constitution. Zia’s ‘Islamization’ had nothing to do with the enactment of Islamic principles, rather it was an attempt to gain the support of Islamic political parties and to remain in power. Zia’s miserable death in a plane crash paved the way for Nawaz Sharif and late Benazir Bhutto to take part in politics. During Benazir’s tenure, the military, by and large stood by her. Nawaz Sharif managed to make Pakistan a nuclear power, but the Kargil misadventure brought another military blow to Pakistan.

A new era began in Pakistan on October 12, 1999. General Pervez Musharraf (a Kemalist- inspired dictator), who got his mid-career training from Turkey declared himself ‘chief executive’. His regime was no different with regards to pattern and operation. Like the previous military interventions, Musharraf began with a call for ‘change’, ‘reform’ and a message of ‘hope’. By suspending parts of the constitution, he too stigmatised the corrupt politicians. Later on, like Ayub and Zia his hybrid democracy with a few turncoats legitimized his uniform. However, what made his situation different was Pakistan’s role in the war against terrorism and the media boom that was triggered by him. The cry for accountability was loudest during his tenure, but ended silently with the malfunctioning of NAB (National Accountability Bureau). The historic ‘judicial activism’ in 2008, finally ousted General Musharraf with the help of civil society and a vibrant media.

The history of democracy in Turkey has not been without its ups and downs. Turkey was transformed into a Republic by Mustafa Kemal (‘Ataturk’- King of the Turks, the honorific surname bestowed upon him by Turkish parliament) in 1923. It became a successor state of Ottaman empire. The transition in 1923 from monarchy to republic marked a profound political, economic and social transformation for Turkey. Western concepts of democracy, human rights and the responsibility of the state had been infused over there. The years from 1923 to 1946 brought institutional, political and cultural preparation for democracy. It was a time of radical changes in legislation, in education and in the administrative structure of the state. The Second World War briefly interrupted this political evolution, but national elections were held for the first time in 1946. In 1950, the voters elected an opposition party and the Government changed hands, thus ending the one-party system.

The first decade after 1950 was marked by violent antagonism between political parties and popular unrest. This led the way for the first coup in 1960 when the army arrested all members of the ruling Democrat Party and put them on trial. The leaders of the coup made General Cemal Gürsel, who had not taken any role in the coup, head of state, prime minister and the minister of defence upon completion of the military take-over. The democratic process restarted in 1961. The political confrontation was aggravated by social confrontations and economic recession. The Chief of the General Staff, Memduh Tağmaç, handed the prime minister a memorandum, really amounting to an ultimatum by the armed forces. It demanded “the formation, within the context of democratic principles, of a strong and credible government, which will neutralize the current anarchical situation and which, inspired by Atatürk’s views, will implement the reformist laws envisaged by the constitution”, putting an end to the “anarchy, civil strife, and social and economic unrest”. If the demands were not met, the army would “exercise its constitutional duty” and take over power itself, which it did in 1971. In 1973, Ecevit, won an upset victory. Nevertheless, the same problems highlighted in the memorandum re-emerged. From 1980 to 1983 the Turkish Armed Forces, headed by Chief of the General Staff General Kenan Evren ruled the country through the National Security Council, before democracy was restored. After 17 years, a ‘postmodern coup’ was installed. Çevik Bir, one of the generals who planned the process said that “In Turkey we have a marriage of Islam and democracy. The child of this marriage is secularism. Now this child gets sick from time to time. The Turkish Armed Forces is the doctor, which saves the child. Depending on how sick the kid is, we administer the necessary medicine to make sure the child recuperates”.

By contrasting the Turkish and Pakistani military interventions it becomes obvious that Pakistan has endured longer spells of dictatorship without any formal ‘memorandums of warning’ to the elected governments. The Turkish courts have even convicted elderly leaders of Turkey’s 1980 military coup, Kenan Evren and Tahsin Sahinkaya. On the other hand, in Pakistan, the former President and Chief Executive, Pervez Musharraf is giving long interviews on private channels of electronic media. Recently, the present Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had high-level engagements with the Russian political leadership. This is sufficient to gauge the ‘extent’ to which the army is still rooted in the political nexus of Pakistan. It is largely due to the military’s ‘political and economic predatoriness’. Funds like ‘Fauji Foundation’ and ‘Armed Forces Mutual Assistance Fund’ still remain unquestionable. The Indian-threat has permitted the increase in defence budget, which lends financial autonomy to the Pakistani military. Another fresh scam in which retired military generals accused of being involved in a multi-billion embezzlement of National Logistics Cell (NLC) is being dealt by the General Head Quarters (GHQ). This makes it clear that the military has its own courts for dealing with its generals through self-devised rules. Fair trial of law-violators in Pakistani military can precipitate the army out of the political equation. Memoirs of military rule in Turkey teach Pakistan that the weakening of military tutelage over political regime is possible, only through the shrinkage of military’s influence on ‘organs’ of the state.

The verbal content of this post was originally published in the November issue of Jahangir’s World Times

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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in International Affairs


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One Nation, Two States, Antagonistic Economies

The proximity of the spiritually bonded states, often reckoned to be a single nation has continued for more than half a century now. Both, Pakistan and Turkey have engaged into amiable political relations for the past six decades. It is noteworthy that during the massive Earthquake of 2005 and the catastrophic floods of 2010, Turkey was the first country to extend a helping hand towards Pakistan. However, with the changing waves in the arena of global and regional politics, diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Turkey are devoid of an economically symbiotic relationship. The significant geo-political status of these two states also account for the criss- crosses that marked the diplomatic pathway which leads to the maintenance of regional balance of power rather than reinforcement of ties. Transition of governments has also led to major re-orientations in foreign policies of the two countries. Turkey’s geographic location designates the central position to it among the Balkans, the Caucus, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. Similarly, Pakistan is considered the gateway of Central Asia, West Asia and South Asia, holding ethnic affiliations with all kinds of nationalities leading Pakistan to be a strategically pivotal actor in the South Asian region.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) (AK) party might have felt a little less impressive victory in 2011 than that in the elections of 2007. On the other hand, a dictatorially mutilated Pakistan witnessed a faint wave of democratization in 2008 alongside a faltering economy. Pakistan encountered the open-ended foreign policy of the 11 year old centre-right conservative JDP. The Turkish leader in his second joint sitting of Pakistani parliament, was cognizant of the hostile political environment prevailing in Pakistan, the reason he stressed upon ‘political consensus’ and the role of ‘constructive opposition’. While linking both these politically mature traits with economic progress he ensured Turkey’s support for ‘fighting terrorism’. Pakistan and Turkey are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in order to curb terrorism, ties are strengthening, but Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product growth is decreasing along with this while Turkey is witnessing an increase in the GDP growth (+9%). The rise in inflation in Pakistan is followed by a decline in inflation in Turkey. Despite this the Turkish premier expressed his desire for a joint investment in a third country during his recent visit to Pakistan. It is often believed that the post 9/11 economic cooperation between both the countries was mainly due to Turkey’s interest in Pakistan’s unravelling economy which had a lot of potential and the inflow of financial aid was a key target for Turkish companies.

The recent agreements signed between the Government of Punjab and Turkish companies has opened a new channel for economic cooperation. Turkey’s ability to construct some of the finest dams in the world is not being considered in comparison to Pakistan’s hydro-electric potential. Focus is inclined towards projects like solid-waste management, transport and communications, which tend to benefit the investor. The BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System) seems to be an unsustainable gift by the Mayor of Istanbul (Kadir Topbass) – for whose drive in the bus with the Chief Minister, Punjab was brought to stand-still for a day. There is no assurance that these agreements would continue with the change in government in Punjab.

Being a Friend of Democratic Pakistan and at the same time enjoying membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Erdogan had supported the resumption of NATO supplies after the November 26 attack on Salalah check post, that is contrary to the aspirations of the masses and stance adopted by Pakistan’s foreign office after the attack which claimed the life of 24 Pakistani soldiers. His mention of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan by 2014 called for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned Afghanistan without any allusion towards stability in the border regions of Pakistan. In a competitive international stage, the progress of countries is measured by their economic stability and prosperity. Bilateral ties that are governed by soft-power exchange may strengthen the bond between two states, but cut at the roots of symbiotic economic cooperation. In the case of Pakistan and Turkey, the ties have resulted in ‘one nation, two states, but antagonistic economies’.

The verbal content of this post was originally published in Jahangir World Times, July 2012.


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