Tag Archives: Karachi

Iran: 2013 Sistan and Baluchestan Earthquake (Magnitude 7.5). Reverberations in New Dehli, India


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Yesterday, April 16, 2013, at 15:14 p.m. IRDT (UTC+4:30), an earthquake struck the mountainous region between the cities of Khash and Saravan in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran, 83 km east of Khash, close to the border with Pakistan. It lasted about 25 seconds. The Iranian Seismological Center listed the earthquake as 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale.

Pakistanis evacuating nearby buildings following tremors in Karachi on April 16, 2013. (Photo: ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistanis evacuating nearby buildings following tremors in Karachi on April 16, 2013. (Photo: ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The quake was felt throughout much of eastern Iran and southern Pakistan, and as far away as Riyadh, Manama, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, some areas in the neighboring state of Pakistan, and in New Delhi, India. The tremors destroyed many buildings in Iran. People evacuated buildings in far away places such as Delhi, India, and on the Arabian Peninsula. Pakistani news channels showed buildings shaking in the southern city of Karachi. People in panic evacuated their offices and homes.

This earthquake closely follows the 6.1-magnitude quake that struck the southwest coast of Iran near the port city of city of Bushehr on April 9, 2013. Saravan is about 600 miles from Bushehr, on the south-eastern border of Iran near Pakistan.

Overview map of the Arabian tectonic plate boundaries with the Eurasian, African and Indian plates (U.S. Geological Survey)
Overview map of the Arabian tectonic plate boundaries with the Eurasian, African and Indian plates (U.S. Geological Survey)

Iran is well-known for its long history of disastrous earthquake activities. Iran is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, crossed by several major fault lines that cover almost 90% of the country. The Iranian plateau is subject to most types of tectonic activity, including active folding, faulting and volcanic eruptions. Hence, earthquakes in Iran occur often and are destructive.

Yesterday’s earthquake was probably the strongest earthquake in Iran within the last 40 years, and possibly the strongest in the last half-century, equal in magnitude to the one that shook Tabas in 1978 killing 15,000.

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Living Indian Cricket Legend Sachin Tendulkar Has Retired from One-Day Cricket


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Living Indian Cricket Legend Sachin Tendulkar
Living Indian Cricket Legend Sachin Tendulkar

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed that the 39-year-old living Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has retired from one-day cricket (ODI). Last Sunday Sachin Tendulkar announced the end of his illustrious career in one-day-international cricket.

In a statement released on Sunday, he said: “I have decided to retire from the one-day format of the game; I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup winning Indian team (in 2011); I am eternally grateful to all my well-wishers for their unconditional support and love over the years.

In March 2012, Tendulkar played his last one-day match against Pakistan, the team against which he made his début almost exactly 23 years ago.

Known as the “Little Master,” Tendulkar holds the record for scoring the highest number of runs in ODIs, and the first batsman in the history of the one-day cricket to score a double century.

All acknowledge Sachin Tendulkar as the greatest living batsman and second only to Don Bradman.

In June this year India glorified the living cricket legend by nominating him as a member of the Rajya Sabha (or Council of States or the upper house of the Parliament of India).

One Day Career Stats

Batting:

Matches played: 463
Innings played: 452
Runs taken: 18,426 runs
Highest score: 200 not out
Average: 44.83 runs
Centuries: 49
Half-centuries: 96

Bowling:

Total balls bowled: 8,054
Total runs given: 6,850
Total wickets taken: 154
Career best: 5 wickets for 32 runs
Average runs given : 44.48 runs per match

His ardent fans in India and abroad call him “The God of Cricket”, and the above figures justify that.

We have to thank Shri Raj Singh Dungarpur, former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India for introducing Ramesh Tendulkar to the world of cricket. The BCCI selection committee under the chairmanship of Dungarpur chose Sachin Tendulkar for the 1989 Indian tour of Pakistan. On his international Test debut in November 1989, Sachin Tendulkar was 16 years 205 days of age, the third youngest cricketer to make his first appearance in international cricket.

Former Indian skippers Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Sourav Ganguly were full of praises for Sachin Tendulkar. Both declared that his records could never be matched.

Srikkanth said: “I am surprised by his move, but he is leaving ODI cricket on a high.

Sourav Ganguly said: “I felt that he might have played on, but it is his decision.. There was a doubt on whether he would play ODI cricket or not. However, I am not surprised by his decision. He has done what he thought was right.

Actually I am surprised,” said Dilip Vengsarkar, the former India captain. “If he is continuing with international cricket [in Tests] then he should have continued with ODI also.

The Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh tweeted: “Sachin tendulkar a great batsman. great human being. a great friend. great man to look up 2. proud indian. Real son of india. I salute u nd love u. 423 matches, 23 yrs, 18426 runs !!!! These numbers no body else wil be able to come close to. salute salute salute to sachin.”

The England batsman Kevin Pietersen tweeted: “Statistics NEVER lie! They tell a very true story.. Well done Sachin! What an incredible ODI career.. #thebest.

Awards and Honours

    • Arjuna award
    • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
    • Padma Vibhushan
    • Wisden Cricketers of the Year
    • Maharashtra Bhushan Award
    • Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World
    • Wisden India Outstanding Achievement Award
    • World Test XI
    • ICC World ODI XI
    • Castrol Indian Cricketer of the Year
    • Outstanding Achievement in Sport
    • BCCI Cricketer of the Year
    • LG People’s Choice Award
    • People’s Choice Award
    • Membership of the Order of Australia
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Taliban: Agent or Victim?


In their attempt to assassinate girl-activist, Malala Yousufzai, has the Taliban inadvertently rescued the narrative of violence against women?

By AFIYA SHEHRBANO ZIA 

October 24, 2012

Just as in other patriarchal societies, violence against women (VAW) in Pakistan is endemic and cuts across all classes and ethnicities. Men of all ideological bents instrumentalise the political economy of VAW as a highly lucrative and politically successful strategy of maintaining material supremacy and social power.

Over the last three decades, Pakistan has been at the receiving end of donor-assisted campaigns and gender-empowerment awareness programmes on violence. These projects were sub-contracted to NGOs that had been set up by feminists who themselves, in the 1980s, had been involved in direct action activism on cases of violence. With the sponsorship of international development assistance, “women’s NGOs” steadily embraced the concept and become advocates of linking VAW to neo-liberal development agendas. This has re-directed analysis and activism from its primary focus on survivors and perpetrators of violence. Instead, increasing attention and funding has led to a change that is more in tune with the UN and donor-preferred approach known as ‘Gender-Based Violence’ (GBV).

The shift has meant more than a replacement of acronyms. The impetus of both, VAW and GBV activism, may be the overlapping themes of violence but for the latter, the emphasis is much more on the context and sites where violence is ‘gendered’ and sustained. The long-term developmental aim of GBV is to change power inequalities between men and women in society. Exacerbating factors such as poverty, injustice, discrimination or lack of awareness or dis-empowerment of women and girls, is the core of the GBV agenda. However, the UN preference for GBV linkages with developmental goals has meant that the politics of VAW have deflected or at least, diluted, the focus from the immediate perpetrators, purpose and benefits of violence. Instead, the GBV approach looks closer at socially constructed masculinity rather than material-based patriarchy, to be the direct motivation or cause of criminal intent behind such violence.

Perversely, this is allowing generations of perpetrators to metaphorically but also literally, get away with murder. This is because GBV projects offer to rehabilitate masculinities, change the broader power structures, and improve the justice-education-health systems or gender relations in communities, rather than simply recognize the criminal and his immediate motivation. Nor do GBV projects sponsor punitive methods to address such violations. The recent attack on a 14 year old girl-activist, Malala Yousufzai, by the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Swat, Pakistan, has pushed the reset button on the momentum that was being gained by Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The Taliban’s attack may have inadvertently rescued the narrative of the VAW approach, which calls for more direct focus on immediate causes and perpetrators and more urgent responses to cases of violence against women.

Responses to the Taliban attack

The range and multitude of the global response to the attempted assassination of Malala have been far-reaching. They span from Madonna’s puzzling bareback tribute to the young activist at a concert just days after the attack, to the equally jingoistic decision by the government of Pakistan to name three of its Frontier Corps platoons, ‘Malalai’, ‘Shazia’ and ‘Kainat’, as a ‘tribute’ to all three school girls targeted and injured by the Taliban. While the case has received near-universal condemnation, various interest groups in Pakistan are competing to add to the multiple layers of ascribed motivations, causes and responsibilities. There is also much political mileage to be availed in view of the sweep of outrage and sympathy across the world. A virtual supermarket of ‘Blame’ brands are available for commentators ranging from American hegemony, imperialism, drone attacks and even, anti-Islam blasphemous material produced in the West.

Pakistani women protesting with banners and signs
”We demand the end of Extremism and Terrorism” – Protest in Pakistan by left and women’s groups. Photo: member of WAF.

While GBV approaches link the low rate of literacy and abysmal indices for girls’ education in the country to gender based discrimination, the narrative that has spun around Malala’s case has thrown up a host of deeper, unresolved and critical issues with reference to violence. The Taliban has categorically reclaimed religious patriarchy as a deliberate base for the kind of violence it consciously employs. In several press releases, the Taliban spokesman has refuted all the defenses being spun by Islamists and conservatives (such as drone attacks), as the motivation behind the assassination attempt. The statements have impatiently corrected the rationalisations and confirmed that they attacked Malala specifically for her adversarial intent to “secularise society” by educating girls according to a non-Islamic curricula. Her aimed defiance to the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) qualifies her as anti-Islamic and the Taliban claim, “We did not attack her for raising voice for education. We targeted her for opposing mujahideen and their war”. The aim to kill her was the natural culmination of their larger campaign of systematically blowing up girls’ schools over the last five years, in northern Pakistan.

For decades, women’s rights activists resisted the monopoly of violence claimed by the state, and unpacked the lease of this to men in communities who then target women with impunity under the guise of cultural practices and patriarchal traditions. Over the last two decades, with donor encouragement, several development practitioners became engaged with the idea of instrumentalising Islam as a tool for women’s empowerment. This premise allowed them to pursue the case for educating women and girls through religious didacticism. It also allowed for the co-option of clergy who resisted contraceptive use to become its promoters. Theoretically, it was thought that this strategy would counter what were labeled ‘anti-Islamic’ traditions that sanctioned violence against women. VAW proved far more resilient. What these activists underestimated was that instrumentalising Islam is not a parochial privilege limited to rights based activists. The Taliban and sympathetic Islamists do not doubt nor resist the need for women’s education as a Quranic prescription– just its nature, purpose and ‘secularising’ ends.

The debate is shifting away and being reframed by all the actors involved and reconfiguring around notions of religious and secular forms of violence. As a result, the symbol of woman as a carrier of both the virus and cure, the seed of destruction and resurrection, war and peace, continues to serve as the barometer of Pakistan’s unresolved issue of Islamic vs secular options and pursuits.

Clarity in the Taliban agenda

In the post War on Terror (WoT) period, incrementally, Pakistani women have been the direct targets of Islamic militancy. At first, activists struggled to decode the patriarchal impulses and gendered impact of a more generic conflict. By 2007, however, the Swat Taliban came to have virtual control over Swat. Girls’ schools were bombed, barbers and music shop owners were attacked, women warned not to come to the bazaars or hospitals or to leave their houses alone, and were assaulted when in violation of regulations. Women performers, called the ‘dancing girls of Swat’ were assaulted, and at least one, Shabana, was shot dead and her body hung on display at a crossing dubbed Khooni Chowk (Bloody Crossing) as a symbol of the Taliban’s regimen of moral cleansing. The use of women as a signpost is not exclusive to the Taliban but unlike in inter-community or inter-ethnic murders, Islamic militants leave messages to the state, government and citizens by literally pinning post-its to dead bodies routinely and systematically. So too, Shabana’s body was strewn with currency notes as a mocking reminder of the fate of those deemed un-Islamic (in her case, prostitutes) by the Taliban’s sharia rule.

Unlike men of sub-nationalist movements or even mainstream Islamists, the Taliban are overt and unapologetic in their exploitative and symbolic use of the female body. Despite the self-confessed assassination attempt on Malala and repeated explanations of why they will continue such acts, the Islamists and conservatives in Pakistan have launched a counter-campaign to disassociate this crime (against Malala) from the criminal (the Taliban militant). The argument in the media spin that followed the targeted assassination attempt was that Malala had been attacked by an abstraction – American hegemony, imperialism, Islamic freedom, militancy, Westernisation, class aspirations, honour, nationalism, secularism, women’s rights. By not recognizing the self-confessed murderer, Islamists absolve the criminal and dissolve the crime.

Such unprecedented violence has diverted attention and hindered the struggle of women and human rights activists who were more committed to normative and routine public and private cases of VAW. Activism meant rescuing women under threat, offering legal assistance and providing shelter as well as, pressurizing the state and justice system to deal with the perpetrators. Even as we observed the course of the ‘war on terror’ and its fall-out in Pakistan, the growth of GBV projects continued to divert the emphasis away from direct action and towards developmental and rehabilitative approaches. Islamic militants such as the TTP have directly challenged all apologia that argues that they are victims of some misguided masculinities, brutalized by tribal war and poverty. Neither do they view themselves as jihadi proxies used and discarded by the Pakistani state, or as citizens who are denied justice. They do however agree with some sympathisers who continue to view the Taliban as products and resistance armies of US anti-imperialism. Is it viable to continue viewing the conscious agent as a victim?

Agent as victim

To deflect the direct responsibility of a crime away from the individual and place it on the breadth of society, government, the state, global powers or imperialism, then empties the perpetrator of criminal motivation and refills him with a higher, larger-than-life, mission.

The creation of such noblesse oblige is done by converting the agent into a victim. This laundering opens a new line of defense. It suggests (as several Islamists have done) that, under certain circumstances, a case of justifiable homicide may be made. However, in the views of the same sympathisers, this flexibility is a limited moral commodity.  The defense of a higher moral purpose as the motivation for murder is not a universally available tool for all citizens regardless of class, creed or gender. It is a selective application reserved only for those who are deemed Islamic enough and soaked in the cause of promoting/defending Islam as defined by powerful or political clergymen.

In other words, Malala may be worthy of sympathy due to her status as a minor but does not qualify for justice because of her near-fitna (seductive, luring, chaotic) activities. In the minds of these apologists, her would-be assassins were absolved of their crime even before they were caught, despite their stated motivation (which has not been cited as the drone attacks but due to Malala’s adversarial intent to secularise her society) and even prior to a judicial hearing. In such a world-view, justice must not be blind but dependent on the perceived beliefs or religious weightage of the individuals or parties involved.

One of the complaints made by proponents of the Taliban-as-victim group, is that violations against women by secular landed politicians, do not receive as much media attention or outraged response. This is a completely dishonest proposal. The case that is often quoted as ‘exaggerated’ or ‘sensationalised’ to expose the Taliban’s Islamic justice system following the peace deal with the government in 2009, is that of a woman flogged by Taliban ‘police’ in the streets of Swat. The mobile phone amateur video went viral on national and international channels.  In 2008, soon after the new incumbent civilian government was installed, two high profile cases involving the landed politicians of the ruling party were equally ‘sensationally’ splashed across the media. With reference to one of these cases of the alleged ‘live burial’ of girls who refused their arranged marriages, Pakistani women’s groups lobbied, protested and came on TV channels demanding the removal of the cabinet minister from the said constituency. They did so, in protest of his defense of such ‘traditions’, which he offered as a justification for this crime. To suggest that religious militancy is the only crime that is picked up by the media or liberal groups is an intellectually dishonest claim. The spectacle of the flogging caught on video made the case more visual and hence caused more outrage than the other cases.

Reclaiming agendas

This defensiveness stems from a more common refrain used by the apologists of Islamists’ politics of violence – that secular political forces are no better. Feminists, including myself, have persistently made this critique of not only liberal, secular men, but also of the state, as abusers of the political potential of women’s bodies and also because their acts sanction a regulation of women’s sexuality and all its manifestation. However, the Malala case falls outside of this framework. The concern of the Taliban in this case was not to regulate the girls’ sexualities (although it may be elsewhere), nor to accrue material benefit, nor revenge for drones and nor was the purpose to restore ‘honour’, as some communities employ this motivational excuse in cases of VAW. In these non-theocratic cases, perhaps the GBV framework is a useful one. However, the Taliban are not hiding behind socioeconomic or tradition based excuses. It is time for analysts to recognise the self-acclaimed agency of the perpetrators and clearly identify the victim in cases of VAW, rather than defend the criminal as a victim and dissolve the crime as an abstraction.

The TTP has reminded us of the simple core of VAW and reiterated what feminists always knew – VAW removes any threat that the liberationist ‘Woman’ may pose to the religio-patriarchal social order. If eliminating girls’ schools do not do the job, then a stronger signal of directly removing all agents (women/girls), should secure the message for those who may be harbouring plans to disrupt the Islamic order they seek to impose. Foreign donors scramble to rebuild schools, and the state attempts to resist militancy by giving symbolic significance to the services and resilience of girls such as Malala, in order to boost their public relations campaign in the fight against militancy in north Pakistan. Meanwhile, the Taliban has recovered the simple lesson of success achieved by direct action, and the symbolic value and immense ideological success available through the act of removing the obstacle. Will we?

About the author

Afiya Shehrbano Zia is a feminist researcher and activist based in Karachi, Pakistan.  She is the author of,‘ Sex Crime in the Islamic Context’ and several published articles on women, religion and secularism

This article is published under a Creative Commons license. If you have any queries about republishing please contact us. Please check individual images for licensing details.

Articles by Afiya Shehrbano Zia

 Taliban: agent or victim?

AFIYA SHEHRBANO ZIA 24 October 2012

In their attempt to assassinate girl-activist, Malala Yousufzai, has the Taliban inadvertently rescued the narrative of violence against women?

 The gendered cost of NATO in Pakistan

AFIYA SHEHRBANO ZIA 30 April 2012

Pakistan’s Domestic Violence Bill has become the latest fatality in the barter between women’s rights, NATO, and issues of national security, says Afiya Shehrbano Zia

 Female suicide bombings in Pakistan – what’s in it for women?

AFIYA SHEHRBANO ZIA 4 October 2011
Islamic militancy in Pakistan appears to be mobilising women suicide bombers as part of its religious trope. This trend unsettles the conservative divide between the public and private roles of women in traditional societies, and also attracts an anthropological defense of Islamist women’s agency. The question remains: what’s in it for women?

Two million dollars: a patriarchal bargain

AFIYA SHEHRBANO ZIA 29 March 2011
The murder of two men by a CIA agent in Pakistan raised issues of masculinist national sovereignty and honour, and exposed the uncomfortable privilege that religious laws based on power, rather than religion, extend to men, says Afiya Shehrbano Zia

During Zia’s years, liberal forces presented the most radical opposition to the theocracy-military collusion and oppression. Today, we witness a liberal democratic government, with a secular alliance that is paralysed and besieged by its lack of vision and inability to govern, says Afiya Shehrbano Zia

 Donor-driven Islam ?

AFIYA SHEHRBANO ZIA 21 January 2011
Collaboration between western academia and Pakistani women at home and in the diaspora has established a body of donor-funded research with an exclusive focus on Islam. Will development policies based on such research lead to any kind of liberation?
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Sachin Tendulkar’s Maiden International TEST Century


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Myself .

 By T.V. Antony Raj
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I have played with him long enough to understand his approach, but I am amazed at the man’s zeal. He wants to be perfect always. His humility is amazing. I have seen Sachin carry drinks for the junior most, much to the embarrassment of the youngster. His discipline is infectious. For Mumbai nets, he comes in the Mumbai training gear. He would never don an India cap or T-shirt for a Mumbai match. He will also not allow anyone to carry his cricket coffin.”  Pravin Amre (Sachin Tendulkar’s coach at Mumbai)

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Raj Singh Dungarpur a former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India introduced 16-year-old Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar to the world of cricket. The BCCI selection committee under the chairmanship of Dungarpur chose Sachin Tendulkar for the 1989 Indian tour of Pakistan

International Test debut

On his international Test debut in November 1989, Sachin Tendulkar was 16 years 205 days of age, the third youngest cricketer to make his first appearance in international cricket. Mushtaq Mohammad of Pakistan has the honour of being the first youngest person to play Test cricket at 15 years and 124 days; however, there exists some doubt about his exact age at his debut. The second youngest Test Player Aaqib Javed debuted at 16 years 189 days. Since then there have been two players who were younger than Sachin on the day of their cricket Test debut: Mohammad Sharif of Bangladesh (15 years 128 days), and Hasan Raza of Pakistan (14 years 227 days).

Sachin Tendulkar played his first Test match against Pakistan in Karachi. He made just 15 runs bowled out by Waqar Younis, who also made his debut in that match. Cricket critics commended Sachin for braving numerous blows to his body at the hands of the Pakistani pace attack in this series. In the final test in Sialkot, though hit on the nose by a bouncer, he declined medical assistance and continued to bat, with a bleeding nose. In that Test series, Sachin scored 215 runs in all at an average of 35.83.

In a 20 over exhibition game in Peshawar, Tendulkar scored 53 runs off 18 balls, including an over in which he scored 27 runs off Abdul Qadir. The then Indian captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth later recalled this match as “one of the best innings I have seen.”

Maiden International TEST Century

On August 14, 1990, in his 9th international test appearance Sachin Tendulkar scored his maiden Test century vs. England at Old Trafford, Manchester. He was 119 not out in the second innings. This innings is particularly noteworthy as it helped India to clinch an honorable draw in the face of a certain defeat.

At that time, Kapil Dev held the record for the youngest Indian centurion.  On January 24, 1979 Kapil Dev scored 126* with four fours and one six in a drawn match against West Indies at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, New Delhi.

When Sachin Tendulkar scored his maiden century in 1990, he was the second youngest to score a century in international Test cricket.

Mushtaq Mohammad of Pakistan set the first record as the youngest to score a century in his 6th Test with 101 runs against India in Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, New Delhi when he was just 17 years and 78 days old.

Mohammad Ashraful of Bangladesh bettered Mushtaq’s record that stood for over 40 years. Ashraful made his Test debut on 6 September 2001 against Sri Lanka. He  top-scored in each innings. Although Bangladesh slumped to an innings defeat, Ashraful scored 114, and in the process became the youngest player to score a Test century, beating Mushtaq Mohammad’s record and the second Bangladesh player to score a Test century on debut, the first since Aminul Islam Bulbul in 2000 during Bangladesh’s first Test.

This video show Sachin Tendulkar scoring his first century in International Test.

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