Sunday, October 23, 2011

Something We Can Learn From The Saudis

Yesterday, when the news poured of the death of Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Sultan bin Abdulaziz, 80, who died of cancer in a New York City hospital, a question came to my mind: Why NYC when I heard the Saudis have some of the best healthcare facilities in the Middle East?

My question was answered on the same day, when I read that his brother, King Abdullah, 85, was receiving critical medial care at the King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh. The king was discharged from hospital on the same day his half-brother died and was shifted to his palace to continue medical treatment at home.

The king has been to foreign hospitals for critical surgery but has used Saudi hospitals for all other types of surgeries. Generally, senior Saudi officials do not travel abroad for minor medical treatment. Their own hospitals and doctors are good enough. A large number of Saudi and foreign doctors run these hospitals.

There are two huge medical complexes in Saudi Arabia: the King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh, the capital, and the King Abdulaziz Medica City in Jeddah on the Red Sea.

The Saudis have also developed world-class hospitals in the private sector that attract much of Middle East's 'medical tourism.'

Education is another area where the Saudis have done well. Up to 50 modern universities exist in a country of almost 25 million people. Almost half of the students are girls. In some Saudi regions the girls surpass boys in college admissions. The illiteracy rate in 2009 was 13%, which is not bad.

Saudi Arabia was a very backward place in 1932 when it was declared a kingdom.

Its first modern university was launched in 1957. The latest one opened doors in 2010.

Much of Saudi Arabia's achievements are buried under unwarranted and politically motivated criticism in the English-language American and US media that dominate internationally. But there is a lot to the kingdom behind  the smokescreen.

P.S. In Pakistan, almost the entire Pakistani political elite, which is a closed-circle mafia in many ways, lives abroad, banks abroad, resides abroad, and receives all medical treatment abroad. It comes to Pakistan only when it is its turn to rule.  The alleged dictatorships of the Gulf are far better than our fractious, violent and fake democracy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hillary Clinton's Quick Wit

This comes with years of training and practice but I really liked this accidental video of Mrs. Clinton in Kabul hours before she flew in to Islamabad, the world's closest capital to Kabul [a lot of people don't know this].

For those in the television news business, the video here shows the AP crew preparing to tape and 'feed' the interview back to their reporting station via satellite. So the tape is running but the interview has not started.

The cameraman and the producer probably didn't expect to get this unusual scoop: America's foreign minister caught giving her raw reaction to hearing about Gaddafi's death.

For me, two things make this short video very interesting.

One is that you don't see government officials at her level giving their natural reactions to hardcore news. If not for this chance video, we would have read somewhere that US State Department released a carefully worded statement by Mrs. Clinton on Gaddafi's death.

Not here.

Here we have a senior government official humanized. Like the rest of us, she gets the news on her cell phone and then reacts naturally.

The other thing that really caught my attention, and is the reason why I am sharing the video, is Mrs. Clinton's professionalism that is on display here.

Here she is, the foreign minister of major world power, sitting with journalists. She gets a major breaking news. And how does she react? She's calm and reasoned. Someone tries to drag more out of her but she is very matter-of-factly, saying there have been false alarms before. She avoids any displays of bravado considering that her country was in armed conflict with the now dead Libyan.

That's what really attracted me.

Gotta go now. Reading many reports on the just concluded visit of Mrs. Clinton and her high-powered delegation. A lot of info in the public domain. I also have reports from a couple of our reporters and sources talking to  Some really exclusive stuff. For example, there was a somewhat tense moment during Mrs. Clinton's closed-door meeting with senior Pakistani diplomats at the Foreign Office. And there are some very juicy details about how Mr. David Petraeus, CIA chief, known here as 'chief anti-Pakistan propagandist', was treated by Pakistani officials, and some details about how the Zardari government surrendered our state-run media to Mrs. Clinton's media handlers to use to dish out US propaganda without being countered in any way, and there are many polite ways of doing it, like ensuring some people representing your side are invited to TV events addressed by Mrs. Clinton. Didn't happen. More on this in a few hours as we finish sifting through the piles of info.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Twitter Is Infested With Indians Spreading Hate Against Pakistan

Pakistan is a fascinating country that has generated a lot of interest. Many jobless researchers, journalists and documentary filmmakers have made a career out of becoming self-styled 'Pakistan experts': on women issues, religious schools, Islam, ISI and Kashmir. Recently, no less than the US government has turned to Sufism, not out of love for Islamic mystical orders but in the hope of pitching one group of Pakistani Muslims against another to serve American goals in our region.

So, interest in Pakistani issues is widespread and profitable. But when a large number of people from a particular country do nothing online except demonize another country, then we are confronting an organized propaganda effort. And when these hatemongers claim they are not obsessed with everything Pakistan and pretend to be the world's biggest democrats and liberals, then you know why this issue is important.

Several of our volunteers and interns working at, the Pakistani nationalist political lobbying group, are reporting something interesting. Many of them run our Twitter account @paknationalists. One of the interns, Majeda, emailed me with the following observation:

"After spending a month updating the Twitter account of PakNationalists, I noticed a strange trend. I found a large number of Indians updating and commenting on Pakistan. Some using names and others nameless. And I found unanimity in their views and direction, united in spreading hate and anti-Pakistanism. It's as if they are all one person or working for one organization. Could it be that Indians have a propaganda department funded by New Delhi and tasked with highlighting negativities and insinuations about Pakistan? Or is it simply the case of too many hateful Indians out there who are obsessed with Pakistan?  They deny this when you confront them but hating Pakistan is a constant theme on Indian television. They do this in their films, it's in their statements, in the fact that 60 Pakistanis believed Indian claims of peace and traveled to India in 2007 but were burned alive aboard a train by hateful Indians. [In contrast, not a single Indian visitor to Pakistan ever faced anything except legendary Pakistani hospitality].  Indians on Twitter avoid discussing anything Indian. They ignore endless Indian problems like massive poverty and disease, female infanticide, rising Hindu terrorism, and mass graves in Indian-occupied Kashmir. The chief suspect in the genocide of 2,000 non-Hindu Indians over 3 days nine years ago is yet to be indicted. There's so much in India to keep everyone busy. But these Indian hate campaigners won't discuss any of this. Talk to them and they'll cynically say the mass graves belong to terrorists, or that the 2,000 murdered Indians were Pakistani agents and so the genocide was justified."

Majeda's perceptive observations don't end here. She went on in her report to explain how a few Pakistani bloggers including some working for mainstream Pakistani media react to this organized Indian campaign on Twitter. These Pakistani journalists, she wrote, refuse to see how organized the Indians are on social media in spreading hate against Pakistan and Pakistanis. What's worse, these few Pakistani journalists often endorse and promote anti-Pakistan propaganda in the name of liberalism and ignore how many of these hateful Indians are religious extremists in their views and posts.

I have a Twitter account @AQpk and use it often. I spent the past three days verifying the observations of Majeda and our other social media team members. I can second her observations.

My only reaction is this: Pakistani tweeple should question these hateful Indians. Don't get into arguments with them. They are not there to exchange opinions. They have one agenda and that's spreading disinformation on Pakistan. Instead of arguing, confront them with issues India faces and ask them to mind their own business. Tell them to react to:

  1. Mass graves of Kashmiris killed by India's occupation army. Ask them about 21st century's first genocide, in 2002, where 2000 Indians were killed in just three days for believing in the wrong religion.
  2. Remind them of how Hindu extremists burned an Australian priest and his two underage boys alive not far from New Delhi as Indians stood by watching the priest's under-ten boys burn in flames.
  3. Ask them what India is doing about being the world's Number One country in female infanticide in the world [killing baby girls at birth because it's not a boy]. India is also Number One in the world in female underage marriages. Also ask them about India's position as home to the world's biggest concentration of poverty, hunger and disease, according to various UN records. 

Many of these insecure and hateful Indians come online using fake Pakistani identities, using words such as Pashtun, Punjab and Balochistan. They try to use regional Pakistani languages to create differences.

It is important that Pakistanis see this organized Indian work against Pakistan and react to it. We need to raise this issue to answer those - Indians and Americans - who claim India wants peace but Pakistan is a hurdle. The Am-Brit media in particular conceals negative news out of India because of US and UK's strategic goals of installing India as an Anglo-American slave soldier in Asia assigned to fight future Am-Brit wars.

We want peace but we can't achieve it as long there are so many educated Indians out there intent on spreading hate.

UPDATE: This discussion cannot be complete without reading two more brief yet interesting posts:

How Hateful Indians Operate Against Pakistan - Read it at


Hateful Indians At It, Again - Read it at