31/05: Sharon Stone's follyHow foolish can a person be? Or even so heartless as to trying to gain political mileage out of a catastrophe?
It goes to show how dumb (in the stupid sense) people can be. I wrote about the Chinese earthquake previously on my blog here and expected that such a tragedy would bring people across the world together in helping China. In fact, I didn't even knew of Sharon Stone until she opened her moth to say that the earthquake in China might be bad karma due to China's alleged treatment of Tibet. And I quote her:
"I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else,"..."And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?" - source
Does she also think that Katrina was a result of bad karma from the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan where millions of lives have been lost due to American policies? Or maybe Basic Instinct 2 with $70 million production cost resulted in less than $6 million in ticket sales is also due to karma?
I applaud the Chinese nation who unanimously condemned Stone and are trying to hurt her where it hurts the most: monetarily. Many Chinese cinemas (under UME Cineplex) have refused to show movies in which she has performed (and will perform in the future) and Christian Dior advertisements featuring Stone's image were also dropped from all ads in China amidst the public uproar. Even on previous controversial issues (e.g. cartoons of Prophet Muhammad), I have urged the people from not partaking in violent protesting. Instead, boycotting the products and making the perpetrators suffer economic loss is the best way to go around showing your protest. After all, in a capitalist world, what hurts most is an economic loss.
I also learned today that she has apologized for her comments but I strongly believe that the apologies are not sincere and are just the result of bad publicity she is getting now. So, for what it counts, her apologies are falling on deaf ears across China. After all, slapping deliberately and then saying 'sorry' is just not enough. I urge the Chinese government and the people to keep implementing the economic boycott where Sharon Stone is concerned.
What the US government sends the Pakistani government is mostly payment for expenses that Pakistan has already incurred in deploying and maintaining troops on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Last I read, a couple weeks back, Pakistan has over 100,000 troops deployed on that border - far higher than the total number of ISAF/NATO forces inside Afghanistan. Does the US government and particularly the US Senators creating all this noise over this issue think that stationing such a large number of troops on that border is cheap?
If so, they should consider the expenses of the NATO/ISAF forces inside Afghanistan which are far lesser in number but still have higher expenses than those reimbursed to Pakistan. They must not forget that Pakistan is a developing nation that doesn't has such large amounts of funds to invest in maintaining troop presence on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In fact, there was very little troop presence on that particular border before the war on terror started. Thousands of Pakistani lives have been lost in this war for American interests- one of the reasons amongst a whole pile of reasons for the Pakistani publics disenchantment with America.
It is sad and disheartening to see the frequent mention of ISAF/NATO casualties across the border in Afghanistan but practically no mention of Pakistani lives lost right across that border on the Pakistani side when both sides are fighting the same war. Is the life of a Pakistani soldier so worthless?
On that note, I leave you with a thought provoking article from Dawn. I have marked specific parts of interest in bold.
‘Pakistan gets less than half of what it spends’: Anti-terror efforts
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON, May 27: What Pakistan gets as reimbursement for its efforts to combat militants along the Afghan border is less than half of what it spends, diplomatic sources say.
Under a programme known as the Coalition Support Fund, the US military reimburses Pakistan for terrorism-related operations, particularly by the army and the air force.
A US Government Accountability Office report issued last week said that of $5.8 billion in US support for anti-terrorism efforts in the Fata between 2002 and 2007, about 96 per cent had gone towards reimbursing the Pakistani military, three per cent on border security and one per cent on development aid projects.
Talking to Dawn, sources said the $5.8 billion Pakistan received from the CSF was reimbursement of what the country had already spent.
“It is not easy to deploy 100,000 troops in a troubled area,” said one diplomatic source. “Look, how the Americans are spending billions of dollars on maintaining troops in Iraq. If the Americans feel that the Iraq war is draining their resources, imagine how it affects Pakistan.”
25/05: Cheapest Air KillThe narrative below describes how PAF was the first air force to destroy a fighter without using even a single bullet. A PAF air controller hacked the VHF of the IAFs jet and then misguided him thus he crashed.
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The morning of 7th December was quite hazy, particularly at lower altitudes where the dust of Punjab plains mingled with the moist, cold air, giving the sky murky appearance. It was just four days since the 1971 Indo-Pak war had broken out. While the PAF was conserving its air effort in the early stages of war, IAF's intensity of air operations was building up at a fast pace.
Flight Officer Man Mohan Singh was ferrying a Gnat from Halwara, to beef up a detachment of No 2 Squadron at Amritsar where these aircraft were deployed to perform air defense duties. As Mohan was nearing home, the controller at Amritsar Radar asked him to delay his landing while a pair of Su-7s took off. After holding off for few minutes, Mohan resumed a northerly heading for the base. All of a sudden, the controller frantically shouted on the radio to announce the presence of interceptors in the Gnat's rear quarters!
Squadron Leader Farooq Haider, a veteran of the '65 War, was sitting as the duty controller in No 403 Radar Squadron which was located in the outskirts of Lahore. Watching the radar scope intently, he had picked up a blip as it approached Tarn Taran, south of Amritsar. With the adversary nearing its home Base, Farooq had to act fast. He commenced the interception with steady instructions on the radio.
"Your target now over Tarn Taran, heading 360; do not acknowledge."
"Target 20 (degrees) right, five (miles), turn hard left 360, do not climb; do not acknowledge."
" Target 12 o' clock, two (miles), go full bore; do not acknowledge."
"Okay, target is one mile ahead..."
25/05: This side of PakistanDisclaimer: The credit for this article lies with Tals Diaz and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I am posting this here for informational purpose only.
By Tals Diaz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite.” –William Blake
“We are going to sky, who wants to come with us? We have gone to heaven, we have been the friends of the angels, And now we will go back there, for there is our country.” –Rumi, Sufi poet
MANILA, Philippines—From afar, they looked like vultures circling over prey. As we moved closer though, we saw them for what they really were—majestic eagles, hundreds of them, circling languidly over the terracotta-stained houses lining the streets of Karachi.
Truly, there are things that need to be seen up close to gain a much better perspective.
Mention the name Pakistan and immediately you evoke feelings of fear and awe. For you could say that the country has had its lion’s share of bad publicity. Largely due to a West-centric media, its PR portfolio reads like an eternal caveat: a nuclear-powered, hardline Islamic nation under tightfisted rule—certainly not the winning combination to inspire an entry in the “Must See Places on Earth” traveler’s list. Add 9/11 to that wicked equation, when Pakistan had become a victim of its own geography since the US focused its ensuing War on Terror on neighboring Afghanistan, and you’ll most likely dismiss the country as a dangerous land.
The only thing more dangerous, I believe, is perception that is bloated as truth.
So what is the story behind the headlines?
Any way, the thing I noticed most frequently associated with this error code is that just before it occurred, one of the hard disk drives in my computer system made a clicking sound which usually signifies hard disk failure. This lead me to check the hard disk drives extensively via disk check utility in Windows (chkdsk [drive]: /r) and some times, the utility reported bad sectors. Clearly, something fishy was going on.
I consulted Microsoft's KB articles and the help site resources for this error without any fruitful results. I searched on various forums and the suggestions to solve this error revolved around removing ZoneAlarm firewall software when clearly, this was a hardware error.
The plethora of random suggestions were very confusing and seemed more an attempt to guess at the solution rather than making an informed choice.
However, the recent earthquake in China has shaken me out of my stupor and taken me back to the haunting memories of the earth quake in Kashmir in 2005. You can read my posts about it here and here.
It is said that a single picture speaks a thousand words. Look at these 50,000 words and see for yourself what shook me out of my stupor.
In this time of need of our Chinese brothers and sisters, I extend my deepest condolences for the loss of life that they have experienced. We, as Pakistanis, will remember our Chinese friends in our prayers and good wishes. May the souls of those who suffered and lost their lives in this earthquake rest in peace. Amen.
Relationships are turn asunder by death and injuries and times like these are the true test of human resilience. I am sure the Chinese nation will pull through the difficulties and make a new better path for themselves. Fortunately, the Chinese government has responded decisively and quickly without need of external prompting. This is extremely fortunate and speaks in itself for how much China has undergone a transformation for the better.
In all, I would ask the Chinese people to remain steadfast and have patience for loved ones lost. Remember the fond memories and symbolize the dead with those memories. Once again, my deepest condolences for your losses and the destruction incurred due to this natural calamity.