Watch my latest interview on “Genocide against the minorities in Pakistan” – @fispahani
My New interview clips on Pakistan ‘s religious minorities. (Muslim & Non-Muslim)
http://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/farahnaz-ispahani-religious-intolerance-pakistan … _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Highlights from Day 2 | 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival
“The country is becoming more diverse, and the Republican Party can and should do better. We have more responsibility to attempt to do better among nonwhite voters, which includes Indians, Norwegians, and grumpy people.” —Karl Rove
“Every elected leader should spend at least a year running a big, high-volume restaurant. Because there’s no margin for enemies.” —John Hickenlooper
“What democracy does is it opens up societies, opens up voices, and people who were have nots have a chance to become part of the haves.” —Farahnaz Ispahani
“We’re definitely on our way to becoming a multi-planet species.” —David Limonadi
Religious Intolerance in Pakistan and the Plight of Religious Minorities
In recent years, Pakistan—a Sunni Muslim majority country with Shia Muslim, Christian, and Hindu minorities—has been convulsed by sectarian violence. More than 2,000 people have been killed in sectarian attacks since 2008, and last year sectarian killings rose by more than a fifth from 2012. Farahnaz Ispahani, a Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar and former Pakistani parliamentarian and journalist, will discuss the roots of Pakistan’s sectarianism and her broader Wilson Center project—an analysis of Pakistan’s policies toward its religious minority populations (Muslim and non-Muslim) since independence. n recent years, Pakistan—a Sunni Muslim majority country with Shia Muslim, Christian, and Hindu minorities—has been convulsed by sectarian violence. More than 2,000 people have been killed in sectarian attacks since 2008, and last year sectarian killings rose by more than a fifth from 2012. Farahnaz Ispahani, a Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar and former Pakistani parliamentarian and journalist, will discuss the roots of Pakistan’s sectarianism and her broader Wilson Center project—an analysis of Pakistan’s policies toward its religious minority populations (Muslim and non-Muslim) since independence.
For pushing tough love for their troubled country.
Former Pakistani officials | Washington
Husain Haqqani and Farahnaz Ispahani have spent their careers fighting the slow-motion radicalization of Pakistan — even as it became increasingly obvious that the deck was stacked against them. The husband and wife, now in self-imposed exile in the United States, were two of Islamabad’s most prominent interlocutors with Washington as jihadists spread throughout Pakistan’s tribal areas and Osama bin Laden was discovered a mile away from the country’s version of West Point. Now, after a career defending Pakistan’s deeply unpopular ties to the United States, Haqqani is beginning to think it’s time for a geopolitical divorce.
“If in 65 years, you haven’t been able to find sufficient common ground to live together, and you had three separations and four reaffirmations of marriage, then maybe the better way is to find friendship outside of the marital bond,” Haqqani, a scholar of the Pakistani military, said in August. Ispahani, meanwhile, has tried to push Pakistan toward a frank discussion of its internal demons. The real struggle in Pakistan, she wrote this year, is “the systematic elimination” of anyone who stands up to the country’s generals, who have created “a militarized Islamist state.” She found out what standing up to them means in Pakistan’s parliament, where she was a leading voice calling for the repeal of the country’s notorious blasphemy laws — an explosive cause that has cost several of Pakistan’s leading liberal politicians their lives at the hands of Islamist killers.
Their outspokenness has had its own cost: Haqqani was forced to resign as Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington and was hauled before a Pakistani court over allegations that he had sought U.S. help to head off a possible military coup, while Ispahani was stripped of her seat in parliament, ostensibly because she holds dual U.S.-Pakistani nationality. Instead of convincing Washington to rush to their aid, however, they’re trying to convince Pakistanis that their true struggles can’t be won by burning American flags. As Ispahani tweeted recently: “Stop blaming the world — look inside.”
August 10, 2011
PPP MNA and Media Advisor to Co-Chairman PPP President Asif Ali Zardari, Farahnaz Ispahani has congratulated the minority communities on the occasion of Minority Day on 11th August. ‘The day is being celebrated to show our love and respect for minorities; understand their issues and look to finding solutions.’Farahnaz Ispahani asserted that for a happy, progressive and peaceful Pakistan it is essential that we give equal rights and opportunities to members of minority groups.The Basic International Human Laws, as right to live, exist; to have a family; to property; to Free Speech; to safety from violence; equality of both males and females; women’s rights; to a fair trial; to be a citizen of a country; to vote; to think freely; to believe and practice the religion a person wants; to peacefully protest (speak against) a government or group; to a Health care (medical care); to Education; to Eat/drink must be granted to minorities, and all citizens of Pakistan. She said.Miss Ispahani further said that the Pakistani flag is a symbol of inter-faith harmony and PPP pledges to carry on determined struggle for the promotion of peace and minorities rights. It’s a symbol that must unite all the people, despite their origin, cast, belief, social class.It is matter of great honor for the Pakistan Peoples Party to have introduced Minorities Day and to have given minorities recognition, she said. We are following in the footsteps of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and other party leaders who gave their lives for a better Pakistan – Late Governor Salmaan Taseer and Late Minister Shahbaz Bhatti are among their number. However, we as a party and as a nation must do much more and very rapidly to stop the onslaught of the growing extremist mindset in our midst.The dehumanization-andde-sensitization of Pakistan and the majority of Pakistanis due to decades of military interventions has led to a mind-set that looks at those of a different religion as lesser.”Our struggle doesn’t stop here, we still have a long way to go to ensure equal status in all realms of life for our minority sisters and brothers’
stated Farahnaz Ispahani.
“Two years of strategic dialogue” to improve relations between the countries. Hussain Haqqani
As Pakistani mangoes made their way to Chicago with their unique fragrance and sweet flavor, the country’s ambassador to the United States voiced the hope that export of the King of Fruits would help bolster trade and broader bilateral relations between the two nations.Ambassador Husain Haqqani traveled to Chicago to introduce mangoes from the first Pakistani shipment that landed here Friday.“We have successfully completed the process which involved a lot of stages….we went about methodically, identifiying the various steps to make this push for mango export to the U.S. see light of the day,” Haqqani said, referring to the two-year process that enabled export of the fruit from Pakistan to the United States.
Hussain Haqqani presided over the mango party, which he said was the culmination of “two years of strategic dialogue” with the late ambassador Richard Holbrooke and others officials about ways they could improve relations “relatively easily.”
Member National Assembly Farahnaz Ispahani, Pakistani consul generals, Pakistani-American businessmen and Americans from Chicago attended the event.
“I have tasted Alphonsos and there is no competition,” said Farahnaz Ispahani who is member of Pakistani Parliament, the wife of Ambassador Husain Haqqani and the Pakistan Presidential spokesperson. “The soil in Pakistan produces the sweetest mangoes in the world and once Americans taste Pakistani mangoes in all their depth and flavors they’ll never turn back. They’ll forget Alphonsos and any other mangoes.”
The event exhibited how the mangoes can be used in various recipes, drinks, salads , ice creams and attracted a large number of Chicagoans including Pakistani-Americans.
The Pakistani envoy said President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani particularly wanted to introduce and spur commerce of the popular fruit, which can symbolize improvement and expansion in Pakistan-U.S. relations, the ambassador noted.
Speaking metaphorically, the ambassador said the problems between the two countries in the larger perspective could also be solved if “we identify the problems and then go for their solution in an organized and persistent manner.”
Americans consume mangoes worth more than $ 250 million every year and the country holds immense promise for Pakistani exporters.
Toni Periwinkle, Cook County Board President, welcomed the arrival of Pakisani mangoes to Chicago and said the fruit will introduce Pakistan to Americans and help promote understanding between the people of two countries.
Zaheer Pervez Khan, Pakistani Consul General in Chicago, said the Pakistanis in the city and local people are thrilled to find popular Pakistani fruit in their midst.
Meanwhile, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, said the United States and Pakistan have worked closely to open this new market to mango growers in Pakistan and make additional choices available to U.S. consumers.
Irradiation treatments allow USDA to facilitate the safe importation of mangoes from Pakistan while protecting U.S. agriculture from harmful pests and diseases.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved the importation of commercial shipments of fresh mangoes from Pakistan in August 2010.
According to the Department, the mangoes must be treated with specified doses of irradiation at an APHIS-certified facility to ensure that plant pests of quarantine significance do not enter the United States. Irradiation treatment may be applied prior to or upon arrival into the United States.
July 5 — a day to condemn dictatorship: Farahnaz Ispahani
* PPP MNA says democratic ideology of ZAB lives on in the shape 1973 Constitution, which promises a democratic, participatory and pluralistic future for the people of Pakistan
Islamabad July 4: 5th July will always be remembered as a black day in the history of Pakistan when in 1977 a dictator tried to extinguish the flame of democracy, trample the constitution and silence the voice of the oppressed, said PPP MNA and President’s Media Adviser Farahnaz Ispahani.
In a statement issue here Monday she said that the day reminds us how Pakistan’s first popularly elected Prime Minister, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and members of his cabinet were arrested under the order of General Zia, the then Chief of Army Staff.
Ms. Ispahani said that the democratic ideology of ZA Bhutto Shaheed lived on in the the shape the 1973 Constitution that promises a democratic, participatory and pluralistic future for the people of Pakistan. While most Pakistanis today condemn the usurper look upon their eras as dark ages of Pakistan.
She reminded that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave a unanimously appproved Constitution of 1973, according to which concurrent list should have been abolished within 10 years, giving autonomy and rights to the provinces. But successive dictatorships damaged the spirit of the federation. Now according to the real spirit of Constitution of 1973, the present government have given full autonomy to the provinces by abolishing 17 federal ministries and transferring of all powers. The empowerment of provinces was a dream of Shaheed Bhutto eventually fulfilled by the government of PPP, founded by him, Ms Ispahani said.
Ms Ispahani said that Shaheed Bhutto laid the foundation of Pakistan’s first steel mill which was an initiative to build up Pakistan industrially. The second Islamic Summit inaugurated in Lahore was aimed at bringing Islamic countries on a single platform. Heads of States of most of the 38 Islamic countries attended the Summit. The way Bhutto rose and introduced Pakistan around the globe politically, remains a unique feat, historically speaking.
Recognition for Pakistan’s nuclear capacity also belongs to Shaheed Bhutto. The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant was started by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at the end of 1972 when he was president but, prior to it, as minister for fuel, power and national resources, he played a vital role in creating the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. He also established the Kahuta facility, said Ispahani while applauding Shaheed Bhutto’s efforts.
Miss Ispahani further said that Z A Bhutto introduced the Economic Reform Order, Land Reforms, Labour Policies in which workers could participate in profits, were steps towards eradicating poverty from the country. Old age pensions and group insurances were given to retired persons in order to make their lives comfortable. Institution of National Book Foundation, Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad and Allama Iqbal Open University are the landmark foundations of Z A Bhutto to educate the nation as per international standards. Identity Cards for Citizens, Establishment of Port Qasim Authority, and establishment of NDFC are also to the credit of ZA Bhutto Shaheed.
Highlighting Z A Bhutto’s personality, Farahnaz Ispahani said, Shaheed Bhutto was also a champion of human rights, especially the rights of women. His democratic regime had a very positive and liberal attitude towards women. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, all government services were opened to women, as were education opportunities at all levels.
Shaheed Bhutto had the courage of his conviction to risk his life rather than compromise or seek the appeasement of a dictator, Miss Ispahani stated. “We all need to consult his thought and political ideology again and again to seek solutions for our problems today”, she concluded.
Remarks of Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari during Polio Eradication Program with BISP Partnership
Reiterating her firm commitment to eradicate Polio from Pakistan, Ambassador for Polio Eradication Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari today emphasized upon the need for collective partnership and volunteerism in order to completely banish Polio from the country especially among the marginalized and poor in the far flung areas.
This she said today at Aiwan-e-Sadr while addressing a gathering at a special function to mark the partnership of BISP with the polio eradication program in the country.
During her remarks, she said that unfortunately Pakistan was among few countries which was still not completely polio free and this crippling disease continues threaten opportunities for the children. She said that despite challenges we are committed to banish polio from Pakistan.
Ms. Aseefa said that partnership with BISP was aimed at taking the polio eradication program to the marginalized and poor in the far flung areas. She complimented BISP and all those who made the launch of this initiative possible.
She also complimented all national and international organizations and bodies that were helping to eradicate polio from the country. She appreciated and thanked international partner agencies, specially acknowledging the contributions of Gates Foundation to saving Pakistani children from polio.
She said that the Polio Eradication Initiative was, first launched by the government of her mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. “Indeed the Lady Health Workers Programme and Polio Eradication Initiative were both launched by her Government.” She was the first Prime Minister to have personally administered polio drops, to a Pakistani child and that child was no other than me- standing here before you. She said.
She said that she feels honoured that the UNICEF nominated her as the Ambassador for Polio Eradication. “Being the first child to be protected and as Ambassador for Polio Eradication I feel it is my duty to save the less fortunate from the horrors of this disease.” She remarked.
Ms. Aseefa said that due to her studies she could not personally attend last year’s event of polio eradication in the Presidency. But, she continued, in her message she promised deep commitment to carry forward the mission of her great mother. She said that her standing here before the gathering today was a testimony of that commitment.
She said that Pakistan has come a long way from 1994, when the polio eradication campaign was first launched formally. She said that since then polio cases have come down significantly which at that time were more than 30,000. However, she said, we are not yet completely polio free. “Our aim is to make Pakistan completely polio free.” She said. “We aim that no child lives in the fear of being crippled for life.” She said.
Ms. Aseefa stressed upon the need for producing polio vaccines within the country and hoped that Pakistan-China MOU on cooperation in manufacturing of vaccines would also be extended to manufacturing of polio vaccines in Pakistan for nation wide anti polio programs.
Emphasizing upon child health being the collective responsibility of all, she said that it was a matter of great pleasure to learn that sectors outside the health were also playing a positive role. “We need this spirit of partnership in the country at this critical time.” She said. “Let us make a determined effort that no child who should get polio drops, will be missed out.” She continued.
She said that we are mindful of the challenges polio campaign has been facing. But, she continued, no challenge was too big to stop us from saving our children for polio and ridding the world of this disease. “We cannot be the last country to eradicate polio.” She said.
Ms. Aseefa said that some extremists have opposed polio eradication plans. But in Pakistan of the Quaid-i-Azam and Quaid-i-Awam we cannot allow extremists to stop us from carrying forward the welfare agenda, she said. “With democracy taking roots, these forces are bound to fail.” She remarked.
She said that diseases know no borders and mankind has a collective responsibility towards children of the world. Together, she emphasized, we must strive to ensure that tomorrow’s world is free of this scourge.
ISLAMABAD, June 17: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights has recommended that the heads of law enforcement agencies should be held responsible in the cases of extrajudicial killings.This was announced by Riaz Fatyana, who heads the NA body, at a press conference. Other members of the committee were also present at the Press Club.“We have also recommended that the government should include human rights as subject during training of police, Rangers and other civil law enforcement agencies,” he said.“Human rights situation in the country is shameful and pathetic. There is an urgent need for joint efforts by me dia, parliamentarians and the judiciary to improve it.” He said a sub-committee has been formed to compile an investigative report on law and order and human rights violations in the country.This committee will be headed by MNA Farahnaz Ispahani and present its report in 15 days.Mr Fatyana expressed grave concern over the incidents of Kharotabad, killing of Sarfaraz Shah in Karachi, murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad and other incidents of human rights violations.MNA Javed Hashmi asked the government to remove legal complications from the notification to constitute an independent judicial commission to probe Shahzad’s murder.http://epaper.dawn.com/ArticleText.aspx?article=18_06_2011_153_008
Collective efforts to address our economic troubles are the need of the hour. Farahnaz Ispahani
Unless Pakistan expands its tax base and sustainable economic growth is achieved with resources generated within the country, it is mere fantasy to say that any of the provinces would be able to execute development projects without external financing, said Farahnaz Ispahani the Media Advisor of President of Pakistan.
Expressing her views on the budget 2011-12, PPP’s MNA Ms Ispahani said that it is ironic that populist rhetoric and slogans like ‘the budget offers no relief to ordinary people’ are being bandied about instead of solid analysis while discussing the government’s budget priorities. She further said that “the federal budget for 2011-12 has been presented amidst difficult and adverse economic circumstances. It is, given the prevailing situation, as positive and realistic a budget as possible. The country needs to expand revenue generation and expand the tax net to lay the foundations of sustainable economic growth.”
Highlighting the Punjab Government’s so-called denunciation to aid she said “How economically sensible is it to take loans which need to be paid back instead of US grants which could help reduce the debt burden? Speeches against USAID and the IMF attract applause but do not make economic sense.”
“Punjab continues to receive loans from many countries and international donor agencies for aid projects even after its government leaders’ recent pronouncements against US aid”, she added.
Farahnaz Ispahani said that “there is no disagreement on the principle that Pakistan should not be dependent on foreign aid and assistance, and more trade and self-reliance would be ideal. That ideal, however, would best be attained by realistic and consistent policies, not symbolic gestures or populist slogans.”
Ms Ispahani said that “the IMF and the World Bank are multilateral institutions of which Pakistan is a contributing member and asking them for assistance or aid is in no way a blow to our self-respect” — a fact Senator Dar reasonably acknowledged in 2008.
“Collective efforts to address our economic troubles are the need of the hour rather than political ploys and games that simply muddy the national discourse”, Ms Ispahani emphasized.
Sadly she expressed that “Unfortunate populism led to the cancellation of these power-generating contracts amidst false accusations of corruption immediately after the manipulated ouster of the PPP government. The country not only lost the investment stream but is to this day suffering from shortages in power generation capacity in relation to the demand for electricity.”
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party leader Farahnaz Isphahani has said government has given an excellent budget despite the difficult situation in the country.
Talking to a news channel, she praised Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Sheikh saying that balancing the budget was not an easy task under the given circumstances but he managed to give a balanced budget.
She hailed the FBR’s decision to widen the tax base. She urged people, especially the well to do lot to pay their due taxes promptly.
A Conversation with Ambassador Husain Haqqani