Friday, 16 November 2012
Imagine a world where a maniacal dictator or a terrorist organization harnesses the ability to clone a ‘superman’ soldier, creating an invincible army, where a wealthy genius clones himself to expand his empire. Imagine a world with perfect humans, where parents would be able to conceive children at the time of their choice and with their chosen specifications. Imagine a world where humans become mere objects that can be created and destroyed at will. Such a world is possible and even probable, thanks to cloning. Cloning can be defined in general terms as duplication. In biological terms, “cloning describes the processes used to create an exact genetic replica of another cell, tissue or organism. The copied material, which has the same genetic makeup as the original, is referred to as a clone. Cloning mainly has two types, Reproductive cloning, which creates copies of whole animals and Therapeutic cloning, which creates embryonic stem cells. Researchers hope to use these cells to grow healthy tissue to replace injured or diseased tissues in the human body” (“Cloning: MedlinePlus”). All types of cloning use the same basic technique called nuclear transfer. “This cloning is accomplished by transferring the nucleus from a human somatic (body) cell into an egg cell which has had its chromosomes removed or inactivated.” (Prentice). An unfertilized egg cell is extracted from a donor, its nucleus is removed and is replaced with the nucleus of an adult donor cell such as a skin cell. This results in the fertilization of the egg cell and forming into an embryo. “The clone is created as a new, single-cell embryo and grown in the laboratory for a few days. Then it is either implanted in the womb of a surrogate mother (“reproductive cloning”) or destroyed to harvest its embryonic stem cells for experiments (“therapeutic cloning”)” (Prentice). The first milestone in cloning technology was achieved by Robert Briggs and Thomas J. King in 1952, when they successfully cloned northern leopard frogs. In the following years, several other scientists conducted various experiments and did not manage to make any substantial breakthrough until Prof Ian Wilmut of The Roslin Institute, Edinbrough, Scotland managed to create Dolly, a female domestic sheep which was the first mammal to be cloned using the technique of nuclear transfer. The creation of Dolly was sufficient proof to establish that human cloning was theoretically possible. In 2001, Antinori and Zavos announced their plans to clone humans at a press conference organized as part of an International Workshop, which took place on 9 March 2001 in Rome (Nerlich). This announcement sparked a global debate regarding the ethics of cloning and whether human cloning should be allowed or not. Although many argue that cloning is beneficial as it is a source of organs and tissue and provides a treatment for infertility, however, cloning should not be allowed because it violates a person’s right to individuality, is medically unsafe, uses humans as a means and is condemned by all major faiths. It is argued by many biologists that using cloned tissues and organs are highly beneficial due to their potential for easy availability and perfect immunocompatibility. Access to human organs is very limited as the major source of supply of organs is deceased donors which fail to meet the demand by a substantial margin. Jeffry Platts reports, "So great is the demand that as few as 5% of the organs needed in the United States ever become available" (Savulescu). According to National Institute of health, USA, 87,820 patients were awaiting transplant in 2011 while only 17,413 transplants were performed during the year ("Kidney and Urologic Diseases Statistics for the United States Page”). The discrepancy in demand and supply is expected to increase further as David K. Copper reports, “The discrepancy between the number of potential recipients and donor organs is increasing by approximately 10-15% annually" (Savulescu). Not only is there shortage of organs, there is a problem of immunocompatibility (i.e. the degree of similarity between the tissues of different individuals, which determines the acceptance or rejection of transplanted organs). In order to overcome issues of immunocompatibility, immunoisolation therapy is performed which has several serious side effects such as greater risk of infections. Using cloning as a source for organs and tissue would provide a solution to these problems, as it has a potential for abundant supply and there is near perfect immunocompatibility. In order to create organs, the creation of an embryo will be required and the organ would then be extracted from either the fetus or from the cloned human after birth and the clone would then be disposed off. This method has a serious moral issue attached to it. It involves killing a life to save a life and is similar to abortion or even murder. Also, another possible problem with this approach is that it is liable to abuse. It can result in the existence of Black Markets of organs and these organs would be very highly priced. This would limit the access of these organs to the wealthy, making this method an inequitable solution to the problem of organ shortage. Cloning is deemed to be the most efficient treatment for infertility (i.e. The diminished ability or the inability to conceive and have offspring” ("Infertility Definition")). According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Annual Assisted Reproductive Techniques Report 2009, the currently practiced methods of infertility treatment such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilisation (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) have an overall success rate of 15 to 35% for women of ages 35 to 44 ("Success Rates National Summary and Fertility Clinic Reports."). It is argued that as the treatments are inefficient and inadequate, cloning is a more appropriate solution. However, reproductive cloning cannot guarantee a healthy child as cloning technology is not developed enough. There is also potential for overcharging and exploitation of infertile couples. Also, due to the high costs of cloning this form of treatment would only be limited to the wealthy. A better and more appropriate alternative would be adoption. According to UNICEF, there were 132 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean in 2005 ("UNICEF - Press Centre - Orphans."). These startling statistics highlight the fact that these children need care and the best care they can get is if they are adopted. Moreover, if cloning substitutes adoption then the number of orphans left homeless would increase more rapidly which in turn would increase human suffering. Thus, the argument that cloning should be used for the treatment of infertility is flawed. The fundamental argument against human cloning is that if it is widely practiced, it will violate a person’s right to individuality and will diminish dignity. As cloning is copying an existing human being, it would result in an identity crises because the clone would be associated with the ‘original’. Rajkrishna Paul, in his essay “My life as a clone” expressed the feelings of a clone as, “I am what, which I don’t know, of course, I am a living creature, but what exactly I am and how am I born, I didn’t got an idea. Whats my age? All of these are a hidden mystery” (Paul). Paul’s writing reflects the probable thinking of a human clone and describes the possible confusion of identity. Many may argue that cloning is similar to identical twins, however, in the case of identical twins each twin has his/her individual identity and does not have to live in the shadow of another human but the case is different for a clone as Bruce Anderson, in his famous book “Let us Make Man” wrote, “What is a clone, anyway, but a person forced against his will to duplicate a life already lived? Doesn’t cloning imply ownership by the parents which denies the child’s freedom to develop his or her own nature” (Anderson). The cloned child would have concerns about his individual identity not only because he/she will be similar in appearance to an existing human being but also because that human would be his/her mother or father. Moreover, the clone child would be saddled to a human being that has already lived and will thus, fail to fully surprise the world with his/her hidden potential. The world will always compare the clone to his/her gene donor rather than considering the clone as a unique individual. Imagine a clone of a Nobel Prize winner trying to live up to that reputation and the resulting unreasonable psychological pressure on the cloned child. Furthermore, cloning can result in the reduction of genetic diversity. It may be argued that natural twins also have the same genes and cloning is no different. However the natural twinning occurs at a rate of 3.5/1000 children (Savulescu), which is insignificant to affect the genetic diversity and more than 99% of the people in the world would be unique. However, if cloning is widely practiced this ratio could rise drastically. Thus, cloning has the potential to trigger a grave identity crises. The cloning procedures give rise to various medical complications for the clone as well as the surrogate mother. Cloning technology at this stage is highly inefficient as producing a few cloned embryos a large supply of donor eggs would be needed. According to Hillary Bok, a Professor of Bioethics at John Hopkins University America, “Cloning causes animals to suffer. Egg donors must have their ovaries artificially stimulated with hormone treatments and their eggs surgically harvested. Given the unusually high rates of late-term miscarriages and high birth weights among clones, the surrogate mothers are at greater risk of dying or suffering serious complications than animals who become pregnant naturally. The clones, themselves, however, suffer the most serious problems: They are much more likely than other animals to be miscarried, have birth defects, develop serious illnesses,and die prematurely.”(Bok). As human cloning is theoretically based on animal cloning, thus the conclusions of Ms. Bok can be applied to human cloning as well. If human cloning is performed, the egg cells would have to be extracted from female cell donors which would require surgical procedures. According to an estimate it 50-100 eggs would be required to produce one embryo (Prentice). It took 277 tries to create Dolly (the first mammal to be cloned) and if human cloning is managed in even half the number of tries it took dolly, it would still require a large number of egg cells and thus, a substantial amount of donors would have to undergo surgeries which could pose serious health risks to the donors. Also, repeated miscarriages of the surrogate mother could damage her reproductive system and could make her unable to have children. Moreover, the physical health outcome of clones is unknown and cannot be predicted. Dolly lived for 6 years and developed serious arthritis and lung cancer although the normal life of a sheep is 12 years. If a couple opts for reproductive cloning instead of natural reproduction to prevent a genetic disease, it would be a great risk as the health of the clone cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, Animal Cloning has been diagnosed with a problem called Large Offspring Syndrome due to which the clones have abnormally large organs. This can lead to breathing, blood flow and other problems. Thus, it can be reasonably said that the health risks of cloning are too high to be applied on humans. Cloning can result in the usage humans as a means and even objects to be created for a specific purpose. In his commentary on cloning, Alex Kahn wrote “The creation of human clones solely for spare cell lines would, from a philosophical point of view, be in obvious contradiction to the principle expressed by Emmanuel Kant: that of human dignity. This principle demands that an individual - and I would extend this to read human life - should never be thought of as a means, but always also as an end" (Harris). In the case of therapeutic cloning, egg cells are extracted from ‘donors’, and after fertilization embryos are either destroyed after the extraction of embryonic stem cells or these embryos are planted into a ‘surrogate’ so that organs and tissues can be extracted later. The usage of humans as surrogates and donors explicitly highlights the usage of humans as a means. The same technique is used in reproductive cloning except that the cloned embryos are allowed to fully develop into a child. Also, it is suggested that human clones may be created to provide specific organs for a patient and then disposed off after serving their purpose. This view assimilates humans to objects that are created at will and after their purpose is served, they are destroyed. Leon Kass, an American physician, scientist and bioethicist said “Cloning represents a very clear, powerful, and immediate example in which we are in danger of turning procreation into manufacture” ("Leon Kass Quotes”). Also, in the novel “A Brave New World”, the author, Alduous Huxley speculates a world in which specific classes of people will be cloned for specific jobs e.g. laborers, rulers, etc (Huxley). The usage of humans as a means is also referred to as instrumentalisation and a ban was placed on it by the European council by the signing of the treaty in 1998 which said “that the instrumentalisation of human beings through the deliberate creation of genetically identical human beings is contrary to human dignity and thus constitutes a misuse of biology and medicine” ("Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, concerning Biomedical Research."). Thus, cloning is derogatory to human kind as it reduces human dignity and uses them as objects. Religious scholars throughout the world have raised several concerns over human cloning. Cloning is referred to as “Playing God”. This claim is based on the claims that “human beings should not probe the fundamental secrets or mysteries of life, which belong to God, that they lack the authority to make certain decisions about the beginning or ending of life and that such decisions are reserved to divine sovereignty. Human beings are fallible and also tend to evaluate actions according to their narrow, partial, and frequently self-interested perspectives. Human beings do not have the knowledge, especially knowledge of outcomes of actions, attributed to divine omniscience. Human beings do not have the power to control the outcomes of actions or processes that is a mark of divine omnipotence” (Rollin). In the case of reproductive cloning, humans are able to make decisions about the beginning of life to some extent. In the case of therapeutic cloning, humans destroy embryos, and by that they end life which is not their authority to decide as it is God who decides the fate of life. African American churches affirm, along with elements of historical Christianity, that human life begins at conception. The use of human embryos for medical research is problematic, since it involves experimentation on living human embryos rather than embryonic material. In addition, the tradition is concerned about the procedures required for creating embryos and those used in discarding embryos. Islam’s view against cloning is clear it describes persons who reject God and follow Satan as persons who “will change God’s creation” (The Qur’an , 4:119). Judaism’s view is described by Rabbi Jakobovits by highlighting the transcendent character of the person within Jewish thought: “...man, as the delicately balanced fusion of body, mind, and soul, can never be the mere product of laboratory conditions and scientific ingenuity.” The Orthodox Christianity Church believes cloning use will inevitably be abused, through such examples as “the commercialization of ‘prime’ DNA, production of children for the purpose of providing ‘spare parts,’ and movement toward creation of a ‘superior’ class of human beings”.(United States) It can be identified that various faiths have very similar views on human cloning. As cloning involves harming embryos and has severe side effects for the donors, surrogates as well as the clones, it is discouraged by most and even prohibited by various faiths. In the recent history various scientists have been conducting a range of experiments related to therapeutic and reproductive cloning and have theoretically established the possibility of human cloning. Initially, the benefits resulting from cloning seem promising. Therapeutic cloning promises the disabled and the patients needing organs and tissues a shining light of hope due to the potential for abundant availability and a very low chance of rejection. However, the method which scientists use to create these organs is morally and ethically wrong. Also, this method is liable to abuse as black markets for such organs can arise. Cloning is also viewed as an efficient cure for infertility. It may be efficient than most infertility treatments but a more appropriate alternative would be adoption. One of the significant potential threats from cloning is the loss of individual identity and human dignity. Also, cloning can cause various medical complications for the clone, the donor and the surrogate. It can result in the usage of humans as instruments to achieve a purpose. Moreover, cloning is generally opposed by all faiths as it is destined to crosses the boundaries set by God for humans. Thus, it can be reasonably concluded that cloning should be banned as positive aspects are negligible when compared to danger posed by human cloning. Works Cited "Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, concerning Biomedical Research." Council of Europe - Treaty Office. European Union, 25 Jan. 2005. Web. 30 Dec. 2011.
Anderson, Bruce. Let Us Make Man. Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1980. Print.
"Animal Medical Biotechnology, Policy, Would Transgenic Animals Solve the Organ Shortage Problem?" Wiley Online Library. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 15 Oct. 2002. Web. 28 Dec. 2011. .
Bok, Hilary. "Cloning Companion Animals Is Wrong." Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 5.3 (2002): 233-38. Print.
"Cloning: MedlinePlus." National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Web. 29 Dec. 2011.
Harris, J. ""Goodbye Dolly?" The Ethics of Human Cloning." Journal of Medical Ethics 23.6 (1997): 353-60. Print.
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World,. New York: Harper & Bros., 1946. Print.
"Infertility Definition - Medical Dictionary Definitions of Popular Medical Terms Easily Defined on MedTerms." Medicinenet.com. MedicineNet, Inc. Web. 29 Dec. 2011. .
"Kidney and Urologic Diseases Statistics for the United States Page - National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse." Home Page - National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, Aug. 2011. Web. 28 Dec. 2011. .
"Leon Kass Quotes." Quotes and Sayings - Search Quotes. Web. 30 Dec. 2011. .
Nerlich, Brigitte, and David D. Clarke. "Anatomy of a Media Event: How Arguments Clashed in the 2001 Human Cloning Debate." New Genetics and Society 22.1 (2003): 43-59. Print.
Paul, Rajkrishna. ""My Life as a Clone"" DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln Research. Lincoln University of Nebraska, 8 June 2010. Web. 30 Dec. 2011. .
Prentice,David. Willian Saunders. Human Cloning and the Abuse of Science. Washington: David Prentice,Willian Saunders, 2007. Frc.org. Family Research Council,USA, 2007. Web. 29 Dec. 2011.
Rollin, Bernard E. "Keeping up with the Cloneses: Issues in Human Cloning." The Journal of Ethics 3.1 (1999): 51-71. Print.
Savulescu, J. "Should We Clone Human Beings? Cloning as a Source of Tissue for Transplantation." Journal of Medical Ethics 25.2 (1999): 87-95. Print.
"Success Rates National Summary and Fertility Clinic Reports." Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Nov. 2011. Web. 29 Dec. 2011. .
"UNICEF - Press Centre - Orphans." UNICEF - UNICEF Home. United Nations Children's Fund. Web. 30 Dec. 2011. .
United States. National Bio Ethics Advisory Commission. Religious Perspectives on Human Cloning. By Courtney S. Campbell. U.S. Department of Commerce, 1997. Print.
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Tyranny of Tuition Culture: Reflections of a Student
Which academy do you have joined? Which instructor teaches you? How many tuitions do you take in a day and how many tests do these apparently education providers take from you? These are the questions which are now more likely to be asked by society while estimating a student’s chances of getting into a professional university. I still remember when I got admission into top engineering institutes like NUST and UET my juniors and their parents asked me the same aforementioned questions. This reminds the success of tuition mafia’s message that they are the only solution for the students who are hankering for high staked limited seats of engineering and medical. However the menace of these tuition centers is yet not clear to society.
In the past tuition was considered for those who were incapable to catch up with the pace of class work in college. But now in most cases it is observed that there are three Physics teachers for explaining simple Newton’s Law to just one student. Each year with the announcement of board results and university merit, academies advertise the results of their successful students. The ad-effect and the tendency of society to follow the popular trend have created an irresistible demand for home/private-academy tuition. Consequently, some parents have made their children so much dependent on tuitions that after six hour of straight college lectures poor students are sent to coaching centers and then at night come a home tutor for taking tests. Thanks to this strenuous everyday routine students don’t even find time to process and absorb what they have listened in the twice repeated lectures. So, they get no time for self-study and self-reflection.
According to various studies on human brain an average person can concentrate for 45 minutes after that he either needs a short break or his capacity to preserve starts declining. A recent study by University of Florida concludes that last minute preparation and cramming reduces overall retention of information and also damage mental abilities. But I’ve observed that our tutors and the time constraints compel students to undertake meaningless cramming and oozing of the stuff. Resultantly, even the best performers at tuition-academies fail to get through the entry tests in which conceptual understanding of the subjects is required. Many of my class mates became victims of this same phenomenon.
To become a doctor or an engineer is ingrained in the brains of children since childhood. These two professions are redundantly given importance and preference over others. The business oriented academies and tutors further reinforce student’s obsession for these pursuits. The pressure to get professional degrees becomes a nightmare of many students. Some others influenced by the success stories try to find out whether they are up to the task or not. Even if they are not self-motivated they try to internalize goals set by teacher-parents nexus. Many end up in failure just like the classic description in essay, Why Boys Fail in College. I’ve seen many students wasting their time and energy. Had they been facilitated to discover their potential they could have become artists, businessmen, lawyers or accountants otherwise. But unfortunately the range of professions has been unnecessarily narrowed down the tuition culture.
Under the same influences, when I did my matriculation I got my holidays lost in shuttling between academies. Initially I found it quite difficult to cope up with but later I recognized that it is the trauma of Fsc not books which intimidate me. One can do much better with concentration in college lectures and self study. Tuition centers are just complicating the things and making a student’s job harder. Most of the students recognize the problem and question the usefulness of tuitions. Parents also feel the tyranny of tuition system (home-college-academy) but still tuition practice is by no means reducing. The reason is most of government colleges have a very miserable condition. The same teacher has quite different motivation and attitude at college and the tuition centre because at tuition he is paid much better by students. A better payment and fear for losing customers provides a teacher much incentive for effective teaching. However, in colleges the attention and quality of lectures are falling. No wonder, students are losing interest in class lectures. However, they have to attend college classes too because attendance is mandatory. There can be no real learning in such environment, as essence of education has been distorted very badly. The Fsc students find no time for co-curricular and extracurricular activities. No need to emphasize that how essential are the sports and recreation for keeping a mind and body healthy. But attending tuition centers and college deprives the science students of all the healthful activities.
On the other hand, teachers are also not felicitous on doing both jobs because they have to pay a lot as opportunity cost of their time but private coaching is rare source of income for a little better living. Government should provide college teachers the better salary packages and social status along with a better system of accountability for work shirkers. This will help to improve the academic environment and functioning of the colleges. Teachers spared from the worries of earning livelihood would be able to concentrate on their profession. It would help to curb unhealthy tuition culture. Furthermore, well equipped career counseling centers should be established to provide guidance to the students. Students yearning for spoon-feeding also need to understand that concentration in class lectures and a meaningful research combined with self-education can yield much better results than that of existing tuition system. In a nutshell, there are better options and endless possibilities waiting for those who can dare to think creatively and discover new vistas in life. (Ends)
Saturday, 30 June 2012
What gives us more satisfaction: the pursuit of our desires or the attainment of them?
People have diverse definitions of happiness. Psychologists relate happiness to emotions and feelings of gratification. Economists define happiness in terms of wealth of individuals. Some people attribute happiness to attainment of desires. Some others believe that satisfaction lies in accepting the fact that human life is miserable and expectations just betray men. But where does real happiness and satisfaction lie? Although attainment is the objective of every pursuit and sense of accomplishment is an ingredient for further progress but still desires and destinations don’t completely satisfy humans yet it is the pursuit which instills a positive attitude towards life and struggle, makes the process enjoyable, it explores ones capabilities and eventually enables humans to transcend from petty pleasures to the higher purposes of their life. Happiness is not something to be derived from achievements as such; rather it comes after the pursuer who knuckles down for his desires.
The proponents of attainment of desires say that achievement of desires, the motive of every pursuit, is the only way to happiness. They support their claim by saying that achievement is the final point of all human actions done in regard to pursuit of particular desire and outcome is what determines happiness not the pursuit. They exemplify that people and nations who have attained more are better than those who have attained less. Some economists went so far to claim that GDP and GNP can also measure the happiness level of nation. However, supporters of this point of view fallaciously ascribe happiness and pleasure to attainment. Attainment does not necessarily give us happiness and contentment. Furthermore, the example that they cite to support their point is hardly persuasive. This can be proven by the recent study conducted by WHO on over 90000 citizens of various countries. The study found that affluent nations like France (21 percent), New Zealand (18.2 percent) and the United States (19.2 percent) had the highest depression rates and people are unsatisfied for their lives, while lower-income countries such as China (6.5 percent) and Mexico (8 percent) had the lowest incidences of depression. This discontentment is because the man, who acquires things easily, cannot stay satisfied and contented for long. Pursuit is better than attainment in the sense that they keep a person alive and satisfied in his work and also synergize his desires in accordance to his pursuit and eventually give him a bigger reward.
Sense of accomplishment no doubt comes with attainment of desires and tangible success. Humans feel confident when they have success. Their achievement brings a positive attitude, and proud feeling. Still it would be quite superficial to say that attainment can give a kind of lasting happiness. In fact accomplishment and the happiness associated with it are based little on the net outcome but the way we reach our outcome. Thomas Paine rightly says, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly” (qtd. in Bogle 36). It is our pursuit and hard struggle that gives everything its meaning and contribute to human happiness. For instance, Sir Edmund Percival Hillary would have no charm in conquering Mount Everest if he could do it by an elevator; similarly there is no point in conquering moon and mars if humans could do it as easily as climbing on the roof of house. The greater the pursuit involved in any achievement the greater the charm, thrill and pleasure of doing it.
Furthermore, it is human nature to want what we don’t have. Human brain values distant things very attractively and our imagination also magnifies the importance of that particular desire in our mind. We struggle for things but once achieved they lose their fervor. This is the time when the person who exclusively focuses on attainment realizes that human life is a wretched life and desires don’t satisfy us. These are mere illusions which keep us busy. However, the person who has struggled for the thing has enjoyed the whole pursuing process and he is satisfied because his struggle, irrespective of outcome, has proved his capabilities and hard work. Pursuit of goals provides humans with real pleasure by giving him bigger success. Pursuit is not only the struggle but it is a whole paradigm which can inspire a person to keep working hard to achieve his goal and redefine the new goals after the achievement. Pursuit oriented persons dream bigger in life and they are more idealistic in their approach. It’s in fact the unending pursuit that bears the sweet fruit of extraordinary success and satisfaction. For instance, Alexander Fleming, Nobel laureate in medicine, never knew that he would win Nobel Prize. He even never aimed at discovering the Penicillin. He was just pursuing his interest of studying microorganisms with devotion. The discovery of Penicillin, the noble prize and the title ‘Father of Biology’ were the by-products of his pursuit (Sir Alexander Fleming – Biography).
Another point illustrating importance of pursuits is that pursuit has many gains in addition to the goal. It has content in itself. It is human nature that he finds himself satisfied in efforts towards his goals. “The human animal, like others, is adapted to a certain amount of struggle for life, and when by means of great wealth homo sapiens can gratify all their whims without effort, the mere absence of effort from his life removes an essential ingredient of happiness” (Russell 30). Thus, people enjoy the hard work only when they are interested in pursuits rather than in desire. History shows various relevant examples, “Louis Pasteur was so buried in his work on his wedding day that he entirely forgot the ceremony and had to be fetched by a friend” (Avery). Similarly, John Nash, a great economist, found that his interests, fun and pleasure lie in Economics and its understanding. It is the pursuit which gives Stephen Hawking enough pleasure and happiness that despite of all his physical disabilities he is still living a contented, meaningful and productive life.
Famous American philosopher and poet, Henry David Thoreau, says, “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder” (qtd. in Brentar 36). An attainment oriented person always focuses on the upcoming excitement and pleasure because the purpose of his attainment is neither struggle nor pursuit. But do excitements and luxuries give us happiness? “A life that is too full of excitement is actually an exhausting life in which continually stronger stimuli are needed to give the thrill that has come to be thought as an essential part of pleasure” (Russell 62). And a time comes when it becomes almost impossible for humans to satisfy themselves with attainment of desires and excitements. For instance, Maharaja Patiala in spite of having all the luxuries and attainments could not withstand boredom and died of unhappiness and discontentment (Collins and Lapierre). For a happy life it is necessary to pursue for desire, as pursuit is never ending and it also modifies your goals and desires.
This brings us to conclude that all the extra ordinary successes have been made possible by the great pursuit undertaken by human beings. Pursuit by virtue of stretching the human capabilities beyond their limits, enriching human personality with positive attitude and by creating a balance in life provides us real imperishable happiness. A pursuer finds contentment, learning and development for him in every struggle irrespective of the result. On the other hand an attainment oriented person is more interested in net outcomes, therefore, he finds his happiness confined and diminishing. It is pursuit which makes human entity superior to his attainments and transcends his happiness beyond his desires.
China’s One Child Policy: A Success or a Failure?
Population has been a concern for human beings since the prehistoric times. When ice age ended and humans began to linger on the planet Earth they wanted more children. This was because greater family size ensured better protection, nourishment and a comfortable life for the family by the collective efforts of its members. But towards the modern times the world resources seemed depleting to the extent of becoming insufficient to support the exponentially escalating human population. Human beings became more and more fearful of their reproductivity. Thomas Malthus, in 1798, even predicted the end of world. According to him the booming human population would lead the world to catastrophe and global famine in the mid 19th century. In the 17th century the world’s population was less than 550 million and as of today, solely China’s population is more than 1300 millions yet, the world has not faced any calamity due to over population (Heilig). In the mid 20th century China faced the problem of over population and found it difficult to feed so many mouths. Just because of the fear of booming population and dissipating recourses China strictly imposed its one-child policy in 1979 totally neglecting the disapproval of its people. As the years are passing the negative consequences of this policy are becoming more and more obvious but there still exists a controversy whether one-child policy is a success or a failure for China. Although, the policy has been a milestone in reducing China’s growing population and in improving the living standards across the country, however, in long run one-child policy has worsened the China’s issue of aging population, created a dangerously unbalanced male to female ratio, moreover, it is a clear cut infringement of human rights and is responsible for poor upbringing of children.
The proponents of China’s single child policy claim that Chinese government has been successful in reducing the overall population growth rate of the country and thus contributed towards national wellbeing. According to them population decrease has played pivotal role in the evident industrial and economic progress of China. The supporters justify their claim by various statistical facts, for instance, the policy has prevented at least 300 million births (Watts). Moreover, the supporters give credit to China’s one-child policy for reducing the women fertility rate, children per woman, from 4.7 to 1.8 during the past three decades. The data shows that the government has, at least, to some extent got control over population and thus managed to employ the limited resources in the backward areas improving their social and economic conditions. However, the above stated facts only represent half-truth about the effectiveness of one-child policy. The fertility rate has fallen to the optimal rate (1.7-2.0) due to some other factors, instead of one-child policy, like more women joining the workforce, lesser duration of maternity leaves, increasing costs of raising children and stronger restraints on internal migration controls. (YaleGlobal). According to Professor Wang Feng, China's fertility rate was reduced from more than five to around two even before China’s one-child policy (1979) was introduced (Wang Feng qtd. in Nie). It is evident that the policy itself has very little significance in cutting down the fertility rate and, thus, the population growth. Another argument in this context is that other countries like Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam have been more successful and efficient than China in casting down women fertility rate and controlling their population. It is important to note that these countries have not imposed any such compulsions and in specific, the Thai government actually lowered the birth rate per woman to a level of just 2 in only 2 decades by providing easy accessibility to contraceptives (The End of China's One-Child Policy?). These examples rescind the importance of the so-called indispensable China’s one-child policy. China needs to acknowledge that there are better strategies to cope with the problem of growing population. In this way China could have also avoided the constantly rising discontent and rebels of its nation against one child policy. Thus, it sounds very hollow and superficial to claim that such tentative results were unable to be achieved without this policy and, therefore, the alternatives like public awareness and use of contraceptives need to be incorporated for better results.
Moreover, the policy is thought to have improved the living standards across the country; however, a careful look into the society proves that the policy has caused overall economic problems for the individuals. The supporters urge that the policy has reduced the population competing for the limited resources and hence there are better opportunities available for the existing people. From 1960 to 1979, the real annual Gross Domestic Product growth rate was calculated to be 5.3% but after the implementation of single child policy and economic reforms (1979-2007) the real GDP grew by almost 10% per year (Morrison). This clearly means that China has the ability to double its economy size in every eight years and owing to reduced population, the GDP per person is also increasing significantly (Morrison). No doubt the high GDP figures of China over the past decades and its emergence as a super power prove that the policy has provided modern China with much progress in a relatively small time period. But the GDP figures are not so preeminent that they over shadow the entire corpus of its drawbacks. Most interestingly, the macro-level economic well being of country has been mistakenly attributed to individual economic uplift and improved living standards of the household. Initially, most families especially in rural areas found that having one child has helped them to save money, ensured a brighter future and better upbringing of their child but the same families present a picture of woe and misery today. Some of these families include the parents whose single grown-up child has either died or the child is unable to support its elderly parents. In such cases the strapped parents are left helplessly alone to face poverty and problems of old age. According to Norah Keating, writer of China Daily, around 3 percent of elderly citizens residing in rural areas get pensions and other benefits. Also, there are few long-term programs (Keating). Elderly people have to rely on the support from their children, who are in more than 30% cases away from their parents. Therefore, the economic conditions of the elderly are deteriorating and they are on a large scale being marginalized. Those who have just one child are more vulnerable to such problems.
Apart from this there also exists another problem for both elderly and younger people. This is called ‘Four-Two-One’ problem which means that sticking to the policy for three generations would end up putting a burden of six people (two parent and four grand parents) on just one earning member. Thus, it is becoming more and more difficult for the single earning member to support his parents, grandparents and his own family at the same time. Owing to this ‘Four-Two-One’ problem many children in China are forced to leave their parents in lurch. Nicolas Retsinas says that in China Roughly 40 percent of seniors currently live alone whereas they should be living in multigenerational homes. Many of them solely rely on state for pension and other basic necessities. The state is unable to fulfill the needs of many of these abandoned elderly people. In the light of above stated facts it can be said that China’s one child policy has ultimately worsened the living standards across the country and it should be banned before it puts further strain on the already reduced working population.
The opponents of the policy assert that the policy has aggravated the issue of aging population in China. The increase in life expectancy along with a fall in birth rates due to strict adherence to one child policy has significantly increased the number of elderly people in China. The ratio of over-aged people to young one has increased to threatening levels. According to 2009 census there are 167 million people over the age of 60. If the policy continued then by 2050 the number of over-aged people will increase to 480 million while there will be even lesser young people (Cost). These statistical figures clearly imply that the work force in China is shrinking at much higher rate. This is because the people entering the work force are much less than the people who are leaving on retirement. A smaller birth rate implies a lesser labor force and hence fewer hands in assembly lines and agricultural fields. Thus, it can be said that China’s birth control policies also pose a threat to their production and economy. Moreover, Chinese government has put the fate of millions of the over-aged people into hands of fewer younger ones. It seems that despite of China’s better financial position it seems difficult for government and young people to support the elderly people. Benjamin Cost further mentions, “Currently, China's care facilities can only accommodate around 1.6% of the people over 60, almost 7% less than the global average”. Recently the GDP growth rate of China has also fallen by 2.5%. According to Ma Jiantang, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, the increasing senior citizens population has forced the government controlling bodies to decrease China’s GDP growth goal to 7.5%, which happens to be the lowest in almost 10 years (Ma Jiantang qtd. in Cost). Thus China’s one child policy has affected its economy by putting a strain of too many over aged people on the government and reducing the workforce available to the country.
The policy has also created an excessively unbalanced male to female ratio in the country. The male to female ratio in China, already being the highest in the word, has further risen to 120 to 100 (LaFraniere). This means that for every 100 girls born, there are 120 boys born. Even a momentary look at the figures depicts the picture of upcoming social problems for China. Sooner China will be having 35 million more boys than girls and this gender disparity will continue in the coming generations. China’s birth control policies have been responsible for creating such a perilous gender disparity. Particularly, one child policy has made Chinese more conscious of the sex of their only child. In case if the upcoming child is a girl, it is often aborted after ultrasound. According to the newspaper Huffington Post, more than 35,000 abortions are performed daily in China and most of them are gender selective, because boys are preferred over girls. Furthermore, the government also provides incentives like free vacations to women who have abortions. If the policy continued the boys will outnumber girls by at least 32 million (LaFraniere). The effects of this gender gap might result into overwhelming social evils. First of all when more than 18% of males could not marry, it’s quite natural for them to get frustrated. Various psychological disorders and anxieties are also likely to be ubiquitous in the males of China. The result of all this is increase in social evils and crimes in the country. According to a US study the rape cases in China (year 2007) were reported to be 31,833, which is almost twice the number reported in 2005 (Marquez). For instance, recently a 28 year old married woman was raped by a local unmarried security officer. The police investigations proved that the attacker was quite frustrated and psychologically unfit (Nie). There have also been various other similar cases of assault in which frustration, anxiety and other psychological disorders were found to be the root cause of increasing social evils of China. Thus, the unbalanced male to female ratio and its consequences demonstrate how one child policy has disturbed the peace and tranquility of China.
Furthermore, the policy is unambiguously a violation of human rights. During the communist period in China the government encouraged the people to have more children but one child policy and its authoritarian imposition form government has deprived people of their basic rights. For the publicity of this policy Chinese government used various detestable slogans and catchphrases like “Raise Fewer Babies, But More Piggies” and “One More Baby Means One More Tomb” (One-Child Policy in China). The parents who give birth to second child are highly fined and punished. Government has also not shown any mercy on pregnant women who were about to give birth to their second child, they were subjected to forced abortions. China has the highest rate of abortion in the world and its law allows any kind of abortion (even forced abortion) at any stage of pregnancy. There have also been many cases in which women have died of forced abortions for instance on October 17, 2011 a woman was caught by Family Planning officials for violation one child’s policy; the officials forced her to abortion and she died in hospital (Gilbert). Some of the supporters of this policy think that a woman’s body is the property of state and state has right to control its production which seems repulsive because people has the right to themselves. Nevertheless, the international welfare organizations like Amnesty International have criticized China for its inhumanity and brutal conduct with its people. Majority of China itself has shown strong discontent for the policy but the government has continued the policy despite of all its negative consequences. Such a gloomy scenario has further given rise to increasing depression and suicide rates. According to various studies 287,000 people commit suicide in China every year and more than 2 million people attempt to kill themselves, this alarming rate implies that a person in China attempts suicide every two minutes (China's suicide rate ‘among highest in world’). All these failures of policy suggest that the policy has failed to achieve the desired outcomes. Just in order to reduce its population slightly, China has paid a much greater cost.
The one child policy has failed considerably in the proper upbringing and socialization of the children, primarily due to three major factors. First of all the children do not have any maternal or paternal aunts. This adversely affects their emotional and psychic development. As these relations and their space is inherent in the human nature. Thus these kids are devoid of the feelings of warmth and affection by uncles and aunts. Secondly, the children also lack the vital relationship of a sibling. As they do not have any brothers or sisters the sense of sharing or supporting each other does not develop in their personalities. Lastly, the single child grabs undivided attention and care of the parents. The continuous pampering by the parents makes children adamant and used to such importance and care. Thus they face a lot of emotional and psychological difficulties in their professional and practical life. The concept of ‘little empress’ and ‘little emperor’ becomes very relevant in this context. Thus the one child policy has failed to provide a suitable environment for the upbringing of the children.
Furthermore, this policy has opened up dangerous avenues for the birth and upbringing of undocumented children (Kuoliang). As the birth of second kid is unlawful, the parents keep these kids concealed from the knowledge of the state authorities. Thus, the second child in most cases remains undocumented. There are more than 50 million unregistered children in China. Such children then have to live a life of misery as they do not have any identity. They are educated unlawfully and then they make a living illegally as they cannot be employed officially. Therefore, this repercussion of the one child policy proves the thesis that it is a failed endeavor by the state.
To conclude, it is evident that although one-child policy appeared as a major contributing factor for the decline in China’s birth rate and an unprecedented rise in the economic growth but such assertions are highly questionable on multiple grounds. Despite the existence of positive relationship between the policy and its intended outcome—a decline in birth rate, the policy has caused many grievous outcomes which include the aging China, rampant gender selective and forced abortions, critical gender imbalance and the abandoning of the parents. Instead of deciphering China’s issue of increasing population, the policy has plunged China into problems which the country can hardly overcome in the coming generations. The multidimensional damage puts a big question mark on the appropriateness and utility of the policy. Therefore, it is recommended that the failed one-child policy should be discarded and replaced with better strategies that also aim at mitigating the disastrous effects of the current policy. It is encouraging to note that China has already made some moves in this direction.
Cost, Benjamin. "China's Aging Population Poses Problems for Economy and Tradition." Shanghaiist. Gothamist LLC. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://shanghaiist.com/2012/03/22/chinas_aging_population.php>.
"China's Suicide Rate 'among Highest in World'" Google News. 8 Sept. 2011. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i1FL2q8ZO_Z93-mOqOx5eSYQW36Q?docId=CNG.fe11c1b55d60e484a37a458dccdd1b34.8f1>.
Gilbert, Kathleen. "Chinese Woman Dies during Forced Abortion: Was Six Months Pregnant." LifeSiteNews. LifeSiteNews.com, 17 Oct. 2011. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/chinese-woman-dies-during-forced-abortion-was-six-months-pregnant>.
"The End of China's One-Child Policy?" Asia Sentinel. Asia Sentinel, 3 Aug. 2011. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content>.
Heilig, Gerhard K. "China's Population, 1950 - 2050." China-Profile. Gerhard K. Heilig, 18 Dec. 2011. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.china-profile.com/data/fig_Pop_WPP2006.htm>.
Keating, Norah. "Treat Old People as Assets, Which They Are." ChinaDaily. China Daily Information Co, 22 June 2010. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-06/22/content_10000569.htm>.
Kennedy, Kerry. "Dissent, China's One Child Policy and Chen Guangcheng." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 05 May 2012. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kerry-kennedy/chinas-one-child-policy_b_1483683.html>.
Kuoliang, Zhu. "China's Undocumented Children Number at Least 50 Million." Boxun News China's Undocumented Children Number at Least 50 Million. 28 Oct. 2008. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.boxun.us/news/publish/chinanews/China_s_Undocumented_Children_Number_at_Least_50_Million.shtml>.
Lafraniere, Sharon. "Chinese Bias for Baby Boys Creates a Gap of 32 Million." The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Apr. 2009. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/11/world/asia/11china.html?_r=2>.
Malthus, Thomas. An Essay on the Principle of Population. London, 1798. PDF.
Marquez, Paxcely. "Rape in China." US-China Today. University of SouthernCalifornia, 5 July 2009. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.uschina.usc.edu/(X(1)A(g1dzgvRozQEkAAAAZTFlNzU4MmEtMTdiYS00YjhmLWE1Y2QtOWIxNTk5MjRkNTA45M69Wqvbts1trOCJl01xqyDWrqk1))/w_usci/showarticle.aspx?articleID=13037>.
Morrison, Wayne M. China’s Economic Conditions. Congressional Research Service, 2011. PDF.
Nie, Alan. "Chinese Media: Two Stories, Two Treatments." BBC News. BBC, 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-15689776>.
Nie, Weiliang. "China's One-child Policy - Success or Failure?" BBC News. BBC, 24 Sept. 2010. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11404623>.
"One-Child Policy in China." Facts and Details. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=128&catid=4&subcatid=15>.
Retsinas, Nicolas P. "China: Who Will Care for the Elderly?" Urban Land. Urban Land Institute, 20 Apr. 2012. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://urbanland.uli.org/Articles/2012/April/ul/RetsinasChinaElderly>.
Watts, Jonathan. "China's One-child Policy Means Benefits for Parents – If They Follow the Rules." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 25 Oct. 2011. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/25/china-one-child-policy-benefits-rules>.
YaleGloabl. "The End of China's One-Child Policy?" The End Of China's One-Child Policy? Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/end-chinas-one-child-policy>.
Critique: Whither Pakistan? A five-year forecast
Pakistan emerged as a separate homeland for Muslims by assiduous hard work and enormous sacrifices of Muslims. The pioneers of Pakistan movement dreamed of a state that could offer a peaceful milieu for free exercise of religion and attainment of one’s rights. It is highly disheartening to see the state crippled by the ethnic conflicts, religious extremism, terrorism and dissension between the public and government. The article, “Whither Pakistan? A five-year forecast”, was published on June 3, 2009 but it also talks about the current situation of Pakistan. It was published in the magazine “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” at the time when Pakistani Army was fighting against Taliban in the northern areas. The author of this article is Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy who is a nuclear physicist, political defense analyst and also ranked among global top hundred thinkers. He got his Doctorate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has since then continued his research in Particle physics. Besides this he is a social activist, political writer and an ardent supporter of the peaceful use of Pakistan’s nuclear assets (Aik Din Geo ke Saath). The article annotates that Pakistan needs to wipe out the terrorist forces completely and focus on the real issues such as unemployment and economic downturn. It also warns of the consequences that the country might face if reform does not take place promptly. Although, Pervez Hoodbhoy progressively develops his arguments, effectively uses various literary devices to fulfill his purpose towards the targeted audience and sincerely urges the reader to think that a terror-free Pakistan fulfilling the real needs of its citizens is indispensible, however, he uses biased generalizations, provides fallacious supports for his assumptions, presents only the western perspective of Pakistani politics and gives somewhat reductionist solution for the problem.
To summarize in a few sentences, “Whither Pakistan? A five-year forecast” discusses how the brutal terrorist forces originated in a peaceful country like Pakistan and then triggered an endless series of atrocities especially in the areas of Swat, Waziristan, Buner and Malakand. These so-called guardians of religion aimed at forceful implementation of their own version of Sharia. For instance, innocent locals were slaughtered for idiosyncratic causes in the name of Jihad. Hoodbhoy claims that Pakistani army has itself nurtured the Taliban and unknowingly put the safety of this country at stake. According to the author, religious extremism and terrorism are devouring Pakistan and the only hope for this country lies in formation of alliance with America and India. He further asserts that the recognition of the real issues and needs of citizens is also mandatory for the sustenance of peace in every nook and corner of this Islamic State.
One of the commending features of this article is that Pervez Hoodhoy uses progressive point by point development of his arguments and maintains a chronological order. He starts by confuting the depressing American predictions regarding the impending collapse of Pakistan. He goes on to describe the historical events and actions taken by the government and the army which had thrust the country into 2009’s partially successful war against terrorism. Finally, he depicts terrorism in Pakistan as a threat to the global community and responsibly proposes a solution for the problem.
In this non fictional article, the main purpose of the author is to inform the audience that regional terrorism poses global threats to the world at large. Hoodbhoy’s intended audience is the global community especially the neighboring countries of Pakistan and the super powers. He uses various rhetorical devices to effectively illustrate his view point. For instance in the first paragraph, “First, the bottom line…the Islamic sharia will not become the law of the land”, the author has used technique of asyndeton. This gives the effect that the author is speaking spontaneously. Furthermore, in paragraph 14, “Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is overthrown in a coup by radical Islamist… and sharia is declared across the country”, and in paragraph 13 the author has used techniques of pathos and hyperbole. These techniques aim at elevating the reader’s emotions. Thus, it is evident that Hoodbhoy has good command over the various writing techniques and he wants to leave no stone unturned to persuade his readers.
Moving on to the tone of the article, it is quite formal, straight forward and also somewhat threatening. In paragraph 3 the author says, “The clouds hanging over the future of Pakistan’s state and society are getting darker”. Similarly, in paragraph 7 he exhibits Pakistan as a weak-kneed state. Furthermore in paragraph 17 he asserts, “Pakistan's support lifeline must not be cut, or economic collapse would follow in a matter of months”. All these statements expressing the deteriorating situation of the crippled country are meant to induce fear among the Pakistani masses. He tries to present his arguments as a distant observer. Somewhere he uses advanced and learned words such as ‘blitzkrieg’ (paragraph 4), ‘idyllic’, ‘en masse’ (paragraph 7), ‘ubiquitous’ (paragraph 13) and ‘retaliatory’ (paragraph 9). The use of such words hinders the complete understanding of the article for a common man. All in all, the tone used and rhetorical devices employed successfully serve the purpose of the article that is directed at the targeted audience.
Another feature of the article is that it contains various evidences and tentative arguments on how terrorist forces accumulate power from the institutions within the country. Pervez Hoodbhoy blames madrassas and extremist religious groups to be the root cause of terrorism. He says that fiery mullahs spout hatred from mosques and produce suicide bombers and fighters. Thus the mullahs serve the purpose of providing man power to the terrorist forces. Although all madarassas are not involved in creating extreme religious groups and terrorist forces, however, they serve more or less the same function. Those which are not in direct collaboration with terrorist forces are still instigating hatred against America and offering a soft corner for the so called mujahidins who are fighting against the US in Afghanistan. There have been examples of madrassas which physically train the students for fighting, guerrilla warfare and suicide bombing. A vast majority of them is proliferating extremist views, fundamentalism, hatred against west and anything which may conspire against their religious views. Lal Masjid was also one of such madrassas which was engaged in forceful imposition of sharia, violent demonstrations of power, armed clashed and arson. They captured the children library, set fire to Ministry of Environment building and also attacked army officials. Such madrassas aim at removing secularism, traditional laws and culture from the society and want to incorporate their own will which they conceal under the cover of Islam.
The article amply depicts the situation of areas under extremists influence. In the paragraph 13, the author proclaims that in the Taliban controlled regions, women are forced into burqas, men are advised to dress according to the wishes of the conservative terrorists and coeducational schools and video shops are being shut down or often attacked as well. The bomb attack on International Islamic University of Islamabad and various threats to NUST and Quaid-e-Azam University are manifestations of the antagonistic views of extremists. According to UNICEF report “Since 2007, more than 170 government and private schools, particularly girls’ schools, have been blown up or burned down in the Federally Administered Tribal Area and the North West Frontier Province, reportedly by illegal armed groups.” (UNICEF condemns attacks on schools in Pakistan). Pervez Hoodbhoy has been successful in persuading the reader that complete extinction of terrorism is necessary for making the society worth living. This act would enable people to exercise their cultural, national and individual rights. It would also help government and public to focus on the real issues of Pakistanis such as unemployment, economic downturn, poor health care and corruption.
In the article, Hoodbhoy has also mentioned some points for which he could not find any tangible support and he has used over simplified or biased generalizations to address his argument. For instance in paragraph 9, the author says, “Today, that fight is on… if the army hadn't nurtured extremists earlier”. This statement is an over generalization and seems to be blaming solely Pakistani army for the cultivation of insurgents. Similarly, in paragraph 12 the author said that being protected by thousands of military troops, Islamabad and other big cities cannot be harmed by tribal insurgents but various attacks in these big cities (Merriott attack, Mehran Base attack, Rawalpindi GHQ attack, and Lahore FIA attack) question the safety and defense systems employed in these areas. The author seems to be showing unrealistic optimism in this regard. Moreover, in the same paragraph the author states “Rogue elements within the military and intelligence…nuclear arsenal improbable”. Here again the author has blamed the military of Pakistan for killing of its own people but he has not provided any evidences to support such a claim. He has also not given any proof or evidence for the elements which he considers to be posing a threat to Pakistan nuclear arsenals. The author has also fallaciously ascribed the reason behind immigration of musicians to fear of being tortured by extremists. Yet, most of them have migrated because they are better paid outside the country. Thus, it can be observed that the author casts doubt on his credibility when he fails to provide evidence for the biased assumptions made in the article.
Moreover, the article seems to be a reflection of American outlook of terrorism associated with Pakistan. Hoodbhoy is not wrong while saying that army has itself nurtured the group of terrorists but he has totally ignored the role of America, Saudi Arab, Iran and other countries in the producing and supporting insurgent forces in Afghanistan. During the Afghan- Soviet war all these countries supported Pakistan economically and militarily to create a group of tribal mujahids to fight against the Russians. The aim of Americans and its allies was to confine Russia. At that time America called the war as jihad and fighters as mujahids. Pakistan allowed its madrassas to produce a group of extremists who could join the Afghan jihad against Soviet Union. America with the help of University of Nebraska printed a number of books to support Afghan jihad (Hussain 80). CIA and ISI collaborated with each other and whatever Pakistan did was a part of the great game. Today America blames Pakistan for instigating terrorism and Hoodbhoy also does the same. However, the terrorist groups were actually the production of all the political actors of the cold war.
Hoodbhoy presents only partial truth or more precisely only the American perspective of Pakistani politics. Hoodbhoy suggested a military solution accompanied with the alliance of America for solving the problem. The solution, however, seems impracticable especially in the case of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan are anti-American in their views. The American threats to Pakistan, drone attacks on Pakistani army and their habit of using Pakistan for their vested interests have further provoked hatred among the general public. It is impossible for government to carry out any war against terror without public support. The Swat operation succeeded only because of the public support and cooperation with government and army. Alliance with America would more likely result into civil war instead of war against terrorism because now generally people dislike America more than they dislike the terrorists. And thus the solution to the problem would be counter-productive. Pakistan needs to understand that its distancing from American alliance is almost indispensable for a successful war against terrorism.
In the final analysis, it can be said that Pervez Hoodbhoy has written a coherent and well organized article. It successfully accomplishes its purpose of informing the wide audience about the tremendous threat that terrorism poses to many nations including Pakistan. He goes on to say that only a terrorism free Pakistan can prosper and serve to the well being of its citizens. Yet, a few of Hoodbhoy’s assumptions and arguments are generalized. They lack sufficient support but still are strong enough to induce the reader into thinking that terrorism needs to be weeded out. Also, Hoodbhoy portrays that face of Pakistani politics that is favorable for only the Americans. After having correctly pointed out the problem, Hoodbhoy gives a reductionist solution to the problem which can hardly be implemented. To conclude, the past three years have shown this article has only partially achieved its purpose.
"Aik Din Geo Ke Saath." Interview by Sohail Varaich. Aik Din Geo Ke Saath. Geo TV. Islamabad, Pakistan, 2010. Television.
Hoodbhoy, Pervez. "Whither Pakistan? A Five-year forecast." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 3 June 2009. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/whither-pakistan-five-year-forecast>.
Hussain, Zahid. Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam. New York: Columbia UP, 2007. Print.
UNICEF. "UNICEF Condemns Attacks on Schools in Pakistan." UNICEF. UNICEF, 23 Jan. 2009. Web. 15 Apr. 2012.