In Pakistan combating corruption is priority

Which or these must be a priority in a country such as Pakistan: fighting corruption or combating terrorism? asked Hassan Younes in an opinion piece for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.

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Which or these must be a priority in a country such as Pakistan: fighting corruption or combating terrorism? asked Hassan Younes in an opinion piece for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan. "This question has acquired some relevance following the recent decision by the Supreme Court in Pakistan, which cancelled the 2007 decree that granted amnesty to many of those suspected of corruption. Accordingly, the judicial authorities are expected to indict a number of politicians and influential people close to the current president, Asif Zardari, who still enjoys immunity." Many opposition figures are calling for stripping Mr Zardari of his presidential immunity on the grounds that he was detained for charges of embezzlement of public money and his election was unconstitutional. Amid these developments, the recent deadly attacks in Lahore came as a foretaste of what the security situation would look like. "Thus, is it wiser to turn the page on corruption issues in view of the security challenges facing the country or to move forward in this process?" Terrorism, for the most part, is a by-product of corrupt regimes. Therefore, Pakistan needs to sanction those responsible regardless of the present security challenges. In this sense, terrorism cannot be eradicated without getting rid of its cause: corruption."

"Right after the foiled attempt to down a plane over the city of Detroit, a search has been launched to track the teacher of Umar Abdul Mutallab: Anwar al Awlak who turned the young Nigerian into a terrorist. He was also accused of instructing Nidhal Hassan to carry out the Fort Hood massacre," remarked Abdul Rahman al Rashed in an opinion article for the London-based daily Al Sharq al Awsat. These latest events marked the beginning of a shift in focus. The emphasis now is more on al Qa'eda's thinkers than on its militants. And after the long years of war on terror, it has become clear now that al Qa'eda is an intellectual threat more than an organisational one. While there is much to be done on the ground to fight terrorism, the priority should, however, be given to eradicate the extremist ideology and its theoreticians. These are at the core of al Qa'eda and the reason it continues to exist and revive itself by recruiting more members and raising funds. It seems that the war on terror did not end after the former US president George W Bush departed, nor was terrorism contained after scores of Guantanamo detainees were released. All these reasons and others confirm the idea that al Qa'eda is an extremist ideological project of a larger scale, which should be fought by targeting its thinkers and the cyber world they use to circulate their venomous thoughts.

"While the world is suffering from rising poverty, powerful countries have entered a deadly race to develop new and more destructive weaponry," noted the UAE newspaper Al Khaleej in its editorial. "At the same time, these very countries pretend to negotiate a new deal to replace the START 1 arms treaty involving the US and the former Soviet Union that expired early this month. At the bottom-line, in fact, the US and Russia would like to reduce the outdated arsenal with one that is more sophisticated." So why are superpowers fiercely competing to produce new and costly arms systems, while there is an agreement to strike a deal in the future? "First, it is probable that the whole negotiation efforts are not genuine and hide the real intentions of the stakeholders. Second, the new deal is less likely to prevent major producers from developing new weapons but only to set mechanisms for destroying old ones." If superpowers seek to further update their arsenals, then less powerful countries should be concerned about their future. The powerful countries should rather think of other solutions to strike a balance of terror. The real threats come from climate catastrophes, poverty and hunger, leading to violence that cannot be countered by weapons. What the world needs to do is to channel huge armament budgets to confront these challenges.

The attack that targeted a vehicle in the southern suburbs of Beirut last week was not aimed at the Islamic movement alone, wrote Subhi Zuaitar in a comment piece for the Saudi newspaper Al Watan. "The time and place of the incident were significant in that they coincided with the first anniversary of the Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip and they revealed the fact that there were insiders working for Israel who could hit far inside sanctuaries of Hizbollah."  Irrespective of the losses caused by the attack, and of the information leaked by Israelis, it seemed that the real aim went beyond targeting Osama Hamdan, the official representative of Hamas in Lebanon. The attack represented a security breach and thus put into question the feasibility of the security zones established in Lebanon. The blast should be a reminder to all about the thousands of houses destroyed in Gaza by the Israelis last year and should raise international awareness about the crimes against civilians that were reported by Judge Goldstone. * Digest compiled by Mostapha Elmouloudi