Showing posts tagged as "Pakistan"

Showing posts tagged Pakistan

23 Jun
Education Reform in Pakistan
Islamabad/Brussels  |   23 Jun 2014
To combat religious extremism and sectarian violence, Pakistan must reform its education sector by boosting resources to public schools and updating the school curriculum to improve quality and remove divisive and discriminatory narratives.
Long underfunded, Pakistan’s system of public education has been further devastated by militant violence and natural disasters. Passed in 2010, the eighteenth constitutional amendment mandated compulsory education for all children between the ages of five and sixteen and devolved much of the education system’s management from the centre to the provinces. But more than nine million children do not receive a primary and secondary education, and quality of instruction varies widely between both genders and rural and urban areas. Madrasas and religious schools, many of which propagate religious extremism and sectarian hatred, seek to fill the gaps. In its latest briefing, Education Reform in Pakistan, the International Crisis Group examines the dysfunctional public education system and underlines the need to reform the curriculum and hold schools and teachers to acceptable standards.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
Although its law requires Pakistan to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of five and sixteen, millions are still out of school, the second highest number in the world.
The quality of education in the public school sector remains abysmal, failing to prepare a fast growing population for the job market, while a deeply flawed curriculum fosters religious intolerance and xenophobia.
Poorly regulated madrasas and religious schools are filling the gap of the dilapidated public education sector and contributing to religious extremism and sectarian violence
The state must urgently reverse decades of neglect by increasing expenditure on the grossly-underfunded education system – ensuring that international aid to this sector is supplementary to, rather than a substitute for, the state’s financial commitment – and opt for meaningful reform of the curriculum, bureaucracy, teaching staff and methodologies.
“Before the eighteenth amendment was passed, school curriculums reflected an overly centralised state’s priorities, emphasising national cohesion – within a rigid ideological framework – at the expense of regional and religious diversity” says Samina Ahmed, South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser. “Provincial governments can now reform deeply flawed curriculums that contribute to political, regional and religious intolerance, but there is also the risk that education programs will differ radically among provinces”.
“Pakistan needs to take bold steps to tackle its education crisis”, says Jonathan Prentice, Acting Asia Program Director. “Millions of children are still out of school, and the quality of education for those enrolled remains poor. This is more than a question of the rights of children, vital though that is; ultimately, it goes directly to the state’s ability to combat extremism. Decades of neglect can only be reversed by overhauling Pakistan’s academic curriculum and education bureaucracy”.
FULL REPORT

Education Reform in Pakistan

Islamabad/Brussels  |   23 Jun 2014

To combat religious extremism and sectarian violence, Pakistan must reform its education sector by boosting resources to public schools and updating the school curriculum to improve quality and remove divisive and discriminatory narratives.

Long underfunded, Pakistan’s system of public education has been further devastated by militant violence and natural disasters. Passed in 2010, the eighteenth constitutional amendment mandated compulsory education for all children between the ages of five and sixteen and devolved much of the education system’s management from the centre to the provinces. But more than nine million children do not receive a primary and secondary education, and quality of instruction varies widely between both genders and rural and urban areas. Madrasas and religious schools, many of which propagate religious extremism and sectarian hatred, seek to fill the gaps. In its latest briefing, Education Reform in Pakistan, the International Crisis Group examines the dysfunctional public education system and underlines the need to reform the curriculum and hold schools and teachers to acceptable standards.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • Although its law requires Pakistan to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of five and sixteen, millions are still out of school, the second highest number in the world.
  • The quality of education in the public school sector remains abysmal, failing to prepare a fast growing population for the job market, while a deeply flawed curriculum fosters religious intolerance and xenophobia.
  • Poorly regulated madrasas and religious schools are filling the gap of the dilapidated public education sector and contributing to religious extremism and sectarian violence
  • The state must urgently reverse decades of neglect by increasing expenditure on the grossly-underfunded education system – ensuring that international aid to this sector is supplementary to, rather than a substitute for, the state’s financial commitment – and opt for meaningful reform of the curriculum, bureaucracy, teaching staff and methodologies.

“Before the eighteenth amendment was passed, school curriculums reflected an overly centralised state’s priorities, emphasising national cohesion – within a rigid ideological framework – at the expense of regional and religious diversity” says Samina Ahmed, South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser. “Provincial governments can now reform deeply flawed curriculums that contribute to political, regional and religious intolerance, but there is also the risk that education programs will differ radically among provinces”.

“Pakistan needs to take bold steps to tackle its education crisis”, says Jonathan Prentice, Acting Asia Program Director. “Millions of children are still out of school, and the quality of education for those enrolled remains poor. This is more than a question of the rights of children, vital though that is; ultimately, it goes directly to the state’s ability to combat extremism. Decades of neglect can only be reversed by overhauling Pakistan’s academic curriculum and education bureaucracy”.

FULL REPORT

8 Apr
Policing urban violence | Tariq Khosa
While political, ethnic, religious and socio-economic tensions contribute to conflicts, escalating urban violence is largely a product of poor governance, inappropriate security policies and neglected police reforms.
This is the crux of a recent report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG). “The police are demoralised and paralysed by political interference, and a lack of adequate resources and political support,” says Samina Ahmed, ICG’s South Asia project director. “But they could become effective if properly authorised and given institutional and operational autonomy.”
The recommendations are timely and deserve immediate attention at the federal, provincial and district levels of government. Similarly, the legislature, executive and judiciary must not only contribute to improving governance but also display a vision for ensuring that the criminal justice system upholds the rule of law by encouraging police officers, prosecutors and judges who are honest and efficient. This may entail massive purges to weed out the corrupt and the callous.
FULL ARTICLE (Dawn)
Photo: lukexmartin/flickr

Policing urban violence | Tariq Khosa

While political, ethnic, religious and socio-economic tensions contribute to conflicts, escalating urban violence is largely a product of poor governance, inappropriate security policies and neglected police reforms.

This is the crux of a recent report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG). “The police are demoralised and paralysed by political interference, and a lack of adequate resources and political support,” says Samina Ahmed, ICG’s South Asia project director. “But they could become effective if properly authorised and given institutional and operational autonomy.”

The recommendations are timely and deserve immediate attention at the federal, provincial and district levels of government. Similarly, the legislature, executive and judiciary must not only contribute to improving governance but also display a vision for ensuring that the criminal justice system upholds the rule of law by encouraging police officers, prosecutors and judges who are honest and efficient. This may entail massive purges to weed out the corrupt and the callous.

FULL ARTICLE (Dawn)

Photo: lukexmartin/flickr

14 Mar
Policing becoming increasingly perilous in Karachi | The News International
From his home off a dirt road cluttered with trash in Pakistan’s teeming city of Karachi, policeman Didar Ahmed’s son shows the bloodstained jacket his father was wearing when gunmen cut him and three colleagues down in a hail of bullets last month.
Ahmed’s brother Gulzar looks at the bullet-riddled garment with a blank stare. He recalled how days before his brother’s death, they had talked about the rising dangers of police work as officers increasingly come under attack by criminal gangs and militants from the Taliban.
“He was sitting here and told me: ‘The situation in the city is deteriorating so if something happens to me, you take care of my kids and family,’” Gulzar said.
Ahmed was one of 44 police officers killed during the first two months of the year in the country’s largest city, a particularly violent start to the year for the police. The force was already reeling from 166 officers killed last year -roughly one every other day and a four-fold increase from just five years earlier.
FULL ARTICLE (The News International)
Photo: colincookman/flickr

Policing becoming increasingly perilous in Karachi | The News International

From his home off a dirt road cluttered with trash in Pakistan’s teeming city of Karachi, policeman Didar Ahmed’s son shows the bloodstained jacket his father was wearing when gunmen cut him and three colleagues down in a hail of bullets last month.

Ahmed’s brother Gulzar looks at the bullet-riddled garment with a blank stare. He recalled how days before his brother’s death, they had talked about the rising dangers of police work as officers increasingly come under attack by criminal gangs and militants from the Taliban.

“He was sitting here and told me: ‘The situation in the city is deteriorating so if something happens to me, you take care of my kids and family,’” Gulzar said.

Ahmed was one of 44 police officers killed during the first two months of the year in the country’s largest city, a particularly violent start to the year for the police. The force was already reeling from 166 officers killed last year -roughly one every other day and a four-fold increase from just five years earlier.

FULL ARTICLE (The News International)

Photo: colincookman/flickr

27 Jan
ICG urges Pakistan to withdraw talks offer to militants | AMIN AHMED
The International Crisis Group (ICG) has urged the Pakistani government to withdraw the offer of talks with militants and instead develop a coherent policy framework rooted in strengthening of civilian law-enforcement institutions to tackle militancy.
“The state must adopt a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards all forms of militancy, and negotiations with [the banned] Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan without preconditions or a roadmap are unwise,” the Brussels-based Crisis Group said in a report released on Thursday.
“Such a strategy is bound to fail, as have successive military-devised peace deals with tribal militants in recent years that only expanded the space for Jihadi networks in Fata, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and countrywide,” the report said.
The group suggested that Pakistani policymakers must acknowledge and address socio-economic disparities that lead to crime and militancy in urban centres. Stemming the spread of urban violence requires efficient, accountable, civilian-led policing.
FULL ARTICLE (Dawn)
Photo: SeHi/flickr

ICG urges Pakistan to withdraw talks offer to militants | AMIN AHMED

The International Crisis Group (ICG) has urged the Pakistani government to withdraw the offer of talks with militants and instead develop a coherent policy framework rooted in strengthening of civilian law-enforcement institutions to tackle militancy.

“The state must adopt a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards all forms of militancy, and negotiations with [the banned] Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan without preconditions or a roadmap are unwise,” the Brussels-based Crisis Group said in a report released on Thursday.

“Such a strategy is bound to fail, as have successive military-devised peace deals with tribal militants in recent years that only expanded the space for Jihadi networks in Fata, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and countrywide,” the report said.

The group suggested that Pakistani policymakers must acknowledge and address socio-economic disparities that lead to crime and militancy in urban centres. Stemming the spread of urban violence requires efficient, accountable, civilian-led policing.

FULL ARTICLE (Dawn)

Photo: SeHi/flickr

23 Jan
Policing Urban Violence in Pakistan
Islamabad/Brussels | 23 Jan 2014
Jihadi and criminal violence is wreaking havoc in Pakistan’s provincial capitals, eroding stability and public confidence in the government’s ability to restore law and order and enforce the writ of the state, while exposing Pakistan’s religious minorities to ever intensifying confessionally-driven violence.
In its latest report, Policing Urban Violence in Pakistan, the International Crisis Group looks at the drivers of deadly violence in the four provincial capitals - Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar - and identifies ways to confront it. While political, ethnic, religious and socio-economic tensions play into the hostilities, the escalating violence is largely a product of poor governance, inappropriate security policies and neglected police reform. Extremist groups and criminal gangs exploit the state’s failure to provide basic services, economic opportunities and the rule of law to establish recruitment and patronage networks. To restore stability, there is an urgent need for – along with a mix of political and economic measures - thorough reform of the urban policing system.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
The federal and provincial governments should develop a coherent policy framework, rooted in providing good governance and strengthening civilian law enforcement, to tackle the jihadi threat and criminality. Countering jihadi networks also requires coordination and collaboration between the governments’ law enforcement institutions.
Instead of relying on the military or paramilitary forces to restore order, the provincial governments should modernise and reform the police, guaranteeing that officers confronting terrorist and criminal gangs have adequate security and operational autonomy.
Islamabad and the provincial governments must prevent any militant jihadi organisation from fundraising, recruiting and otherwise operating freely in all four provinces and the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). They must disband all state-supported militias and take action against political party members, paramilitary personnel and others providing logistical, financial or other support to militant groups or criminal gangs.
The federal government should not negotiate with tribal militants that do not first renounce violence and commit to abiding by the constitution.
“Police are demoralised and paralysed by political interference and lack of adequate resources and political support, but they could become effective if properly authorised and given institutional and operational autonomy”, says Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group’s South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser.
“Negotiations with tribal militias without preconditions or a clear roadmap are unwise and can only expand the space for jihadi networks countrywide”, says Jonathan Prentice, Crisis Group’s Chief Policy Officer. “Instead, the state must adopt a policy of zero tolerance toward all forms of militancy”.
FULL REPORT

Policing Urban Violence in Pakistan

Islamabad/Brussels | 23 Jan 2014

Jihadi and criminal violence is wreaking havoc in Pakistan’s provincial capitals, eroding stability and public confidence in the government’s ability to restore law and order and enforce the writ of the state, while exposing Pakistan’s religious minorities to ever intensifying confessionally-driven violence.

In its latest report, Policing Urban Violence in Pakistan, the International Crisis Group looks at the drivers of deadly violence in the four provincial capitals - Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar - and identifies ways to confront it. While political, ethnic, religious and socio-economic tensions play into the hostilities, the escalating violence is largely a product of poor governance, inappropriate security policies and neglected police reform. Extremist groups and criminal gangs exploit the state’s failure to provide basic services, economic opportunities and the rule of law to establish recruitment and patronage networks. To restore stability, there is an urgent need for – along with a mix of political and economic measures - thorough reform of the urban policing system.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • The federal and provincial governments should develop a coherent policy framework, rooted in providing good governance and strengthening civilian law enforcement, to tackle the jihadi threat and criminality. Countering jihadi networks also requires coordination and collaboration between the governments’ law enforcement institutions.
  • Instead of relying on the military or paramilitary forces to restore order, the provincial governments should modernise and reform the police, guaranteeing that officers confronting terrorist and criminal gangs have adequate security and operational autonomy.
  • Islamabad and the provincial governments must prevent any militant jihadi organisation from fundraising, recruiting and otherwise operating freely in all four provinces and the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). They must disband all state-supported militias and take action against political party members, paramilitary personnel and others providing logistical, financial or other support to militant groups or criminal gangs.
  • The federal government should not negotiate with tribal militants that do not first renounce violence and commit to abiding by the constitution.

“Police are demoralised and paralysed by political interference and lack of adequate resources and political support, but they could become effective if properly authorised and given institutional and operational autonomy”, says Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group’s South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser.

“Negotiations with tribal militias without preconditions or a clear roadmap are unwise and can only expand the space for jihadi networks countrywide”, says Jonathan Prentice, Crisis Group’s Chief Policy Officer. “Instead, the state must adopt a policy of zero tolerance toward all forms of militancy”.

FULL REPORT

25 Oct

Day 2 of the Global Briefing has come to an end. We began with an intense discussion on Syria and wrapped up with parallel sessions on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Sudan.

30 Sep
Deadly Bomb Hits Pakistan | Nathan Hodge
A bomb ripped through a busy marketplace in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Sunday, killing at least 40 people and injuring dozens of others, hospital officials said, in the latest bloody attack to hit Pakistan after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif proposed peace talks with the Taliban-led militants.
Jameel Shah, a spokesman for Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital that was treating many of the victims, said that Sunday’s bomb went off in the vicinity of a police station near the Qissa Khawani bazaar. It occurred just one week after twin suicide bombings targeting a Sunday church service in Peshawar claimed over 80 lives.
FULL ARTICLE (Wall Street Journal)
Photo: DVIDSHUB/Flickr

Deadly Bomb Hits Pakistan | Nathan Hodge

A bomb ripped through a busy marketplace in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Sunday, killing at least 40 people and injuring dozens of others, hospital officials said, in the latest bloody attack to hit Pakistan after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif proposed peace talks with the Taliban-led militants.

Jameel Shah, a spokesman for Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital that was treating many of the victims, said that Sunday’s bomb went off in the vicinity of a police station near the Qissa Khawani bazaar. It occurred just one week after twin suicide bombings targeting a Sunday church service in Peshawar claimed over 80 lives.

FULL ARTICLE (Wall Street Journal)

Photo: DVIDSHUB/Flickr

19 Sep
Parliament’s Role in Pakistan’s Democratic Transition
Islamabad/Brussels  |   18 Sep 2013
In its latest report, Parliament’s Role in Pakistan’s Democratic Transition, the International Crisis Group examines the challenges facing a legislature still striving for full democratic sovereignty. In the midst of a security crisis, lingering extremism and a weakening economy, its authority is tested from many directions. Yet, the opportunities to consolidate democracy are real and legislative tools to address institutional challenges are more sophisticated than ever.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
The experience of the thirteenth National Assembly (2008-2013) demonstrated that threats to democracy from an interventionist military, ambitious judiciary and unreformed bureaucracy continue. The second phase of the democratic transition, now underway, offers opportunities to entrench parliamentary democracy.
The new parliament must remove constitutional distortions put on the books by past military regimes, particularly Islamisation provisions that continue to undermine its authority. Parliament also needs to exercise more oversight of the executive branch, including the security apparatus.
Parliamentary standing committees should enhance their capacity to oversee the budget and legislation, lead inquiries into government performance, hold officials to account and engage civil society in the legislative process. But for parliament to fulfil its potential, its members will require much more research, analytical and technological support.
The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should reinforce parliamentary sovereignty by ending practices that circumvent the legislature. The opposition will be better placed to regain power eventually if it behaves as an effective government-in-waiting in parliament, presenting alternative policies, budgets and other legislation, rather than merely obstructing ruling-party proposals and bills.
“The recent reforms, particularly the eighteenth constitutional amendment that removed many of the distortions of the Musharraf military regime and enhanced fundamental rights, have strengthened parliamentary democracy but failed to remove some of the constitutional distortions of the past”, says Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group’s Senior Adviser and Project Director for South Asia. “To become more dynamic and assume its role as a co-equal branch of government, the new parliament should build on its predecessor’s steps, putting itself at the centre of the domestic and foreign policy debate”.
“By consolidating the gains of the past five years and enacting long overdue legislative reforms, the new parliament can take a vital part in sustaining Pakistan’s democracy”, says Jim Della-Giacoma, Crisis Group’s Program Director for Asia. “However, if the ruling party and its parliamentary opposition use the legislature as a forum for settling political scores, those gains will soon be lost, as will the prospects of the country continuing to move along the democratic path”.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARYPhoto: ~MVI~ (warped)/Flickr

Parliament’s Role in Pakistan’s Democratic Transition

Islamabad/Brussels  |   18 Sep 2013

In its latest report, Parliament’s Role in Pakistan’s Democratic Transition, the International Crisis Group examines the challenges facing a legislature still striving for full democratic sovereignty. In the midst of a security crisis, lingering extremism and a weakening economy, its authority is tested from many directions. Yet, the opportunities to consolidate democracy are real and legislative tools to address institutional challenges are more sophisticated than ever.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • The experience of the thirteenth National Assembly (2008-2013) demonstrated that threats to democracy from an interventionist military, ambitious judiciary and unreformed bureaucracy continue. The second phase of the democratic transition, now underway, offers opportunities to entrench parliamentary democracy.
  • The new parliament must remove constitutional distortions put on the books by past military regimes, particularly Islamisation provisions that continue to undermine its authority. Parliament also needs to exercise more oversight of the executive branch, including the security apparatus.
  • Parliamentary standing committees should enhance their capacity to oversee the budget and legislation, lead inquiries into government performance, hold officials to account and engage civil society in the legislative process. But for parliament to fulfil its potential, its members will require much more research, analytical and technological support.
  • The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should reinforce parliamentary sovereignty by ending practices that circumvent the legislature. The opposition will be better placed to regain power eventually if it behaves as an effective government-in-waiting in parliament, presenting alternative policies, budgets and other legislation, rather than merely obstructing ruling-party proposals and bills.

“The recent reforms, particularly the eighteenth constitutional amendment that removed many of the distortions of the Musharraf military regime and enhanced fundamental rights, have strengthened parliamentary democracy but failed to remove some of the constitutional distortions of the past”, says Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group’s Senior Adviser and Project Director for South Asia. “To become more dynamic and assume its role as a co-equal branch of government, the new parliament should build on its predecessor’s steps, putting itself at the centre of the domestic and foreign policy debate”.

“By consolidating the gains of the past five years and enacting long overdue legislative reforms, the new parliament can take a vital part in sustaining Pakistan’s democracy”, says Jim Della-Giacoma, Crisis Group’s Program Director for Asia. “However, if the ruling party and its parliamentary opposition use the legislature as a forum for settling political scores, those gains will soon be lost, as will the prospects of the country continuing to move along the democratic path”.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Photo: ~MVI~ (warped)/Flickr

24 Jul
Despite promises to talk, new Pakistan PM gets tough on insurgents | Maria Golovnina and Mehreen Zahra-Malik
Almost 200 people have been killed in rebel attacks in Pakistan since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to power last month, advocating peace talks with the Pakistani branch of the Taliban.
Sharif’s tougher line signals that Pakistan’s powerful military still has the upper hand in policy-making, despite hopes that the government would have a larger say after he came to power in the country’s first transition between civilian administrations.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)
Photo: International Security Assistance Force Media/Flickr

Despite promises to talk, new Pakistan PM gets tough on insurgents | Maria Golovnina and Mehreen Zahra-Malik

Almost 200 people have been killed in rebel attacks in Pakistan since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to power last month, advocating peace talks with the Pakistani branch of the Taliban.

Sharif’s tougher line signals that Pakistan’s powerful military still has the upper hand in policy-making, despite hopes that the government would have a larger say after he came to power in the country’s first transition between civilian administrations.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Photo: International Security Assistance Force Media/Flickr

19 Jul
Govt says in process of appointing envoys to US, UK | Mariana Baabar
“We will see these two posts fill up very soon,” says one official who also confesses that he is clueless about the choices of the government. The Foreign Office too is in the dark and so far no consultations have taken place, nor recommendations requested.
FULL ARTICLE (The International News)
Photo: US Department of State/Wikimedia Commons

Govt says in process of appointing envoys to US, UK | Mariana Baabar

“We will see these two posts fill up very soon,” says one official who also confesses that he is clueless about the choices of the government. The Foreign Office too is in the dark and so far no consultations have taken place, nor recommendations requested.

FULL ARTICLE (The International News)

Photo: US Department of State/Wikimedia Commons