21
October

سِتارہِ سَحر آثار

murawat_ahmed.jpg

مُروّت احمد

(مسقط عمان)

سپہ سالار کے نام۔نَقدِ وَفا، حَرفِ دُعا

ہماری سِپہ کے سالار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
سِتارہِ سَحر آثار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
صَمِیم عَزم کے کُہسار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
اَے مَردِ زِندہ و بیدار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
اَے اُس گھرانے کے فَرزَند، جِس پہ نازاں ہے
نِشانِ حیدرِ کَرّارؓ، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو!
ہمارے طِفل ہوں زخمی، سپاہی یا شہری
سبھی کے مُونس و غمخوار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
کروڑوں ہم وَطَنوں کے دِلوں کی اَے دھڑکن!
بہت ہے تجھ سے ہمیں پیار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
تِرے سبب ہے نہایت بُلند ہِمّت فوج
ٍہے اِس کا اَوج پہ معیار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
سِتم شِعار، وطن دشمنوں کی سَرکوبی
بہت تھا معرکہ دُشوار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
جسے کبھی کوئی باطل گِرا نہیں سکتا
ہے تُو وہ آہنی دیوار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
صَدآفرین کہ تاج اَور تَختِ شاہی سے
نہیں ہے تجھ کو سَروکار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
تُو اِستعارہِ فَتحِ مُبین کہلائے
عَدُو سے بَرسَرِ پیکار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
تِرا یہ خواب ہَو پورا کہ رَشک سے دیکھیں
زمینِ پاک کو اَغیار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو!
ہر ایک لمحہ تُو اللہ کی اماں میں رہے
سلامتی ہو لگاتار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
خصوصی لُطفِ رَسولِ کریمؐ پانے کو
ہَو آپؐ کا تجھے دیدار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو
ترے لئے ہے مُروّت کا دِل سے نذرانہ
کہے ہیں اِس نے جو اَشعار، تُجھ پہ رَحمت ہَو

29
October

Arms Control & Disarmament

Written By: Dr. Tughral Yamin

The concept of arms control and disarmament is as old as warfare. Traditionally it meant disarming and disbanding the armies of the losing states. Sometimes vassal state could retain a token military force, with the obligation to provide military assistance to the dominant state in case of war. In case it was not allowed to have men bearing arms, it would be forced to pay tribute in cash and kind to the dominant state to ensure its own safety and security.

After the First World War, the victorious powers imposed harsh terms to the losing Germans in the Treaty of Versailles (1919). Besides losing large chunks of territory and paying heavy reparations, Germany was also to be disarmed. The Inter Allied Military Control Commission (IAMCC), a military/diplomatic organization oversaw the disarmament process. It worked from 1920 till 1930 and its British, French, Belgian, Italian and Japanese officers inspected German factories and fortresses, searching for military depots, and oversaw destruction of war materiel. By 1923, Germany was effectively disarmed. The German army was reduced to the treaty strength of 100,000 men and hundreds of factories were converted to civilian use. Another significant result of the First World War was the ban on the use of chemical weapons. After the Second World War, both Japan and Germany were not allowed to have their own militaries. However, as the Cold War grew, former enemies – Japan and Germany – were formally inducted into bilateral and multilateral economic and military alliances. While their primary defence against the communist forces was ensured by extending the nuclear umbrella by deploying the US and NATO forces on their territories, they were allowed to establish small military forces. Overseas non-deployment of forces was included into their constitution.

During the Cold War, a whole range of bilateral and multilateral arms control and nuclear non-proliferation treaties were enacted to regulate the use, development and possession of various types of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). These treaties regulated weapons use under the customs of war (Hague Conventions, Geneva Protocol), banned specific types of weapons (Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological Weapons Convention), limited weapon research (Partial Test Ban Treaty, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty), limited allowable weapons stockpiles and delivery systems (START I, SORT) and regulated civilian use of weapon pre-cursors (Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological Weapons Convention). The arms control treaties also ensured the element of mutual vulnerability among nuclear weapon states (NWS) by limiting the anti-ballistic missile interceptors through the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The spread of nuclear technologies geographically was limited through the Nuclear Weapons Free Zones (NWFZs).

The US and erstwhile Soviet Union began signing bilateral agreements limiting their strategic offensive nuclear weapons in the early 1970s. As the Cold War drew to a close in the late 1980s, the pace of negotiations quickened, with the two sides signing treaties limiting intermediate range and long-range weapons. The progress slowed in the 1990s, as US missile defence plans and a range of other policy conflicts intervened in the US-Russian relationship. At the same time, however, the two sides began to cooperate on securing and eliminating Soviet-era nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The US allocates more than $1 billion each year to threat reduction programmes in the former Soviet Union. A new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was signed after Obama came into power further reducing the number of deployed nuclear warheads.

The US has the lead role in perpetuating the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. The architecture of international arms control includes formal treaties, export control coordination and enforcement, UN resolutions, and organizational controls. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the broadest plank of this regime, with all but four nations participating in it. The exceptions are India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) acts as the global nuclear watchdog. Other measures, such as sanctions, interdiction efforts, and informal cooperative endeavours, also seek to slow or stop the spread of nuclear materials and weapons. A number of international agreements address non-nuclear weapons. The Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and Open Skies Treaty sought to stabilize the conventional balance in Europe in the waning years of the Cold War. Other arrangements seek to slow the spread of technologies that nations could use to develop advanced conventional weapons. The Chemical Weapons and Biological Weapons Conventions sought to eliminate these types of weapons completely.

After the end of the Cold War, the nature of arms control and disarmament changed in many ways. The US faced increasing problems in enforcing nuclear non-proliferation. In 1998, India and Pakistan came out of the closet to declare their nuclear credentials. Other countries began actively pursuing their nuclear programmes. Alarmed by the nuclearization of South Asia, the US was particularly irked with the nuclear ambitions of Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea. Although the Iraqi nuclear reactor in Osirak had been destroyed by a pre-emptive airstrike by the Israelis on June 7, 1981, a media campaign was launched to prove that Iraq had developed WMDs to destroy Israel at will. The hype became so high pitched that the US abandoned its main effort in Afghanistan in 2002 and attacked Iraq. It bypassed the UN and headed a 'coalition of the willing,' which prominently included the UK but excluded countries like Germany and France, which were derogatorily termed 'Old Europe'. An extremely kinetic approach was adopted to disarm Iraq of its purported arsenal of nuclear weapons. The IAEA weapon inspectors did not find any trace of WMDs after the defeat of Sadam Hussein. Libya was subsequently disarmed through a policy of economic inducements. On December 19, 2003 Gaddafi announced that Libya would voluntarily eliminate all material, equipment and programmes that could lead to internationally proscribed weapons, including weapons of mass destruction and long-range ballistic missiles. Gaddafi would regret his decision. He had to run for his life as NATO bombed him out of his palace and a crowd of rebels lynched him on the ground. North Korea, however, continues to defy the

US by flaunting its nuclear muscle on the basis of its close relations with China in exchange for economic gains like high speed oil.

Two more cases of arms control and disarmament need special mention. Syria, like Iraq, had its nuclear plan nipped in the bud through an Israeli aerial strike on its Al-Kibar nuclear reactor on September 6, 2007. To counter the Israeli nuclear weapons, Syria had started building chemical weapons in the 1970s. As the civil war spread in Syria in 2012 there were increased press reports of Syrian chemical weapon stocks and how the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps were helping test them. In July 2013, Syria, a non-signatory to CWC accepted that it had chemical weapons. On August 21, 2013 testimony and photographic evidence emerged indicating that the Assad regime had launched a large-scale chemical weapons attack on the town of Ghouta. The US immediately ordered its forces in the region to punish Syria. As naval fleets moved in menacingly to rain Damascus with missiles, the US offered a reprieve, if Syria signed the CWC. Russia, a close ally of Syria, immediately pounced on the offer. On September 14, 2013, the US and Russia announced an agreement that would lead to the elimination of Syria's chemical weapon stockpiles by mid-2014. On October 14, 2013, Syria officially acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention clearing the way for OPCW-UN Joint Mission to destroy Syria's declared chemical weapons manufacturing and mixing equipment.

The next case is that of Iran. During his term of office, former President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad made the acquisition of nuclear technology a rallying cry of his presidency. His alleged statement of wiping Israel off the face of the earth ran the alarm bells. Iran was soon subjected to multiple economic sanctions. From 2006 onward, layers of UN, US and EU sanctions were used to severely limit its oil income and isolate it from the rest of the world. Plans to bring about a regime change did not materialize, and a stuxnet attack on the centrifuges and a planned assassination of its scientists did not stop the nuclear programme. None- theless, the sanctions finally began sapping the patience and the endurance of the common man. The Riyal rapidly lost its value and Hasan Rouhani as the moderate new president decided to reconsider his country's stance on nuclear weapons. The US resumed its policy to engage with the Iranians through the 5+1 (the permanent 5 and Germany) countries. On November 24, 2013, the Geneva interim agreement, officially titled the Joint Plan of Action, was signed in Geneva, Switzerland. It consists of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement.

In this emerging milieu, it is important to understand the kind of challenges that Pakistan faces. It has many problems to contend within its legitimate pursuit to build credible nuclear deterrence to ward of an existential threat. It survived a host of economic and military sanctions under the Glen, Symington and Pressler amendments and physical threats to its uranium enrichment facility in Kahuta. After the nuclear tests of 1998, Pakistan was saddled with a fresh dose of economic sanctions.

Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and has built an effective command and control structure, physical security structures and export control regimes. The propaganda, however, never ceases. The current negative themes include Pakistan's intransigence in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on the issue of non-acceptance of the draft Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), its short range missile programme (dubbed as the tactical missiles) and the alleged terrorist threat to its nuclear arsenal.

Pakistan is being denied a criteria-based civil nuclear deal and its civil nuclear power cooperation with China is being questioned. The tone and tenor of this virulent campaign to vilify Pakistan heightens each time there is a need to arm twist it. We need to be cognizant of all these challenges and adopt a policy that is able to safeguard Pakistan’s vital national interests in the long-term.

The writer is a retired Brigadier and PhD. Presently he is Associate Dean Centre of International Peace & Stability (CIPS) at the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST) Islamabad. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
29
October

Finding Balance Parents & Teenagers

Written By: Juggun Kazim

In human's life cycle, adolescence is unquestionably the most critical phase regardless of gender. The teenage years act as transitional stage from childhood to adulthood. In addition to the biological changes, children also undergo emotional changes and their personality is shaped. They also begin to separate more from their parents and become more independent which is normally viewed with concern by parents whereas it is part of a natural process.

To guide children of this age-bracket is important as well as difficult. No matter how aware and educated one is, there seems to be no simple formula to deal with teens. And if not guided properly during this stage, both young boys and girls can end up facing physical or psychological problems. The primary responsibility obviously falls upon parents to keep their children informed and educated on different issues – and answer every question raised by children otherwise they may get incorrect information from wrong sources.

An organisation called EHAD conducts nationwide awareness campaigns urging parents and caretakers to guide children entering into adolescence on vital issues related to their health and ultimate wellbeing. I had a chance to work with them recently in Lahore, and, as a parent and media person, I found out many new things.

A common issue during puberty, and actually in every stage of a child's life, is emotional turmoil – anger, frustration, lack of confidence and personality conflicts. Moreover, a survey shows that a girl perceives changes in the attitude of people at this time, which scares her. This is compounded with the lack of access to correct information about puberty and hygiene, especially in our culture. Horrifically enough, a national report estimates that nearly eight children become victims of sexual abuse in Pakistan daily. While this covers the gamut of violent and nonviolent behaviour perceived, as abuse, here parents and teachers need to play a crucial role in prevention of child sexual abuse.

Few of the problems mentioned by adolescents during EHAD conference were: lack of guidance from parents, wrong information on physical changes from peers, no knowledge about religious obligations after puberty, neatness, lack of self-esteem and self-confidence, lack of decision making power and no guidance about how to handle certain kind of situations.

Since lack of awareness is a contributing factor in all these issues, teachers and parents need to promote discussions and opportunities for children to reflect on their experiences. Parents and teachers need to work together on making children and adults aware of the various dimensions of abuse, life cycle changes and the concerns that adolescents have about and during puberty. All in all, most of the problems of this growing age stem from the state of confusion caused by lack of self awareness and roles, a child needs to adapt in this transitional stage. Change is difficult to handle, be it for a teenager or an adult and problems are compounded by lack of correct information. Google and other such search engines become the source of often blurry and confusing information.

As adolescents gravitate towards their peers as influencers, there is the likelihood that negative habits catch on like a contagion. Parents are in a position to prepare children beforehand for situations in which they would encounter peer pressure and help them tackle those tough situations by acting them out, e.g. what would you do when your friends force you to smoke? The smarter and 'cooler' answer would be to say confidently that “I am a fitness freak or health conscious individual, therefore, I am not into smoking.” This way a child doesn't seem like a 'mama's boy' or girl but still manages to stay out of trouble. Substance abuse and addiction is the nightmare for most parents of adolescents. There are many things a child can be addicted to including tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, food, sleeping, compulsive behaviours, etc. Drug abuse is rapidly growing in Pakistan, especially amongst youth in colleges and universities, with serious social and health implications. An estimated 4.25 million individuals thought to be drug dependent in Pakistan are in dire need of professional treatment.

Adolescents tend to succumb to drug addiction when they feel insecure or feel the need to belong, peer pressure, when they feel confined and want to rebel, for pain avoidance or just as a mean to eliminate boredom. According to a national assessment study on drug abuse in Pakistan, one of ten college students in Pakistan is a drug addict. These are frightening figures for anyone but as a mother of an 8-year-old son, I get heart palpitations.

Infectious diseases are those which can be transmitted from one person to another e.g. HIV and hepatitis. The most common causes of infectious diseases are: sharing of syringes, use of unhygienic scissors and unprotected sex. Our youth's knowledge about such issues is very low, as only 2% of adolescents have comprehensive knowledge about its prevention and causes. Misconceptions about HIV/AIDS among adolescents are also very high as the most frequently mentioned mode of transmission reported by 65.7% adolescents was incorrect. The behaviours conducive to the spread of HIV infection to young people are curiosity about sex and drugs, negative peer pressure, and economic frustration in Pakistan. Report titled 'HIV in Asia and the Pacific,' launched at the 2011 International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), suggests that a significant proportion of new HIV infections within key populations are among young people under the age of 25.

If parents and caretakers actually spend quality time with their teenagers, they are often in a position to recognise changes in behaviour that result from substance abuse, emotional turmoil or infectious diseases. More importantly, however, they can protect children from addiction or disease by giving them adequate knowledge in the form of light conversation or even healthy debate about the harmful effects of substance abuse. This needs to happen by keeping checks and balances, monitoring their activities, ensuring that they are disabling addiction and engaging them in healthy activities without suffocating or punishing them.

Mothers of course, especially in our culture, are very actively involved in child's day-to-day activities. To be completely honest, in our society, it is considered to be only their job to guide and raise children from infants to functional successful adults. The harsh reality, however, remains that this is not a 'one-person-job.' It is impossible to deny the importance of a father's role in grooming and education of children in growing age. Role of a father for his children becomes even more important in a patriarchal society like Pakistan. Yet why do we find fathers giving least priority to communicate with their children, especially their daughters, other than instructions or punishments? A father emerges as a first role model for his children and therefore must manage time for both his son and daughter, equally and fairly. Researches have proved that children who are not properly guided by their fathers in growing age are more susceptible to depression and more likely to use drugs or demonstrate delinquent behaviour. Such children are also more exposed to violence, negative peer pressure, lack of self-confidence and self-awareness, and plenty of other social evils.

The need for instantaneous gratification that is the hallmark of the current time we live in and of adolescence is visible in addictions, anger, excessive texting, reckless driving, instant rebellious retaliation, and forming multiple romantic relationships. Short attention spans and quick fixes impair academic performance and relationships with family and friends. Poor relationships in turn affect the adolescent at the emotional level and limit their access to accurate information. There is conflict between parents and their child. Communication comes to a complete halt. This ultimately leads to the whole family falling apart at the seams.

Does all this sound even vaguely familiar about your home or someone else's home? The fact to remember, whether it is the mother or the father taking charge of a potentially problematic situation, the key to keep our children healthy, happy and safe is communication! Instead of constant criticism and lectures, we need to learn to talk to our children, and more so, listen to what they are saying, not just through their words but also their actions. Kids don't come with a manual; we just have to create our own manual according to each specific child we produce.

The writer is an actress, an anchor and a model. She can be reached

Twitter @JuggunKazim

29
October

Manage Your Stress Please

Written By: Dr. Amjad Tufail

Stress is a decisive signature of psychological life of a 21st century man. Stress effects man biologically as well as psychologically. Due to stress, human beings mostly show impulsive, repulsive and imprudent responses. Psychological stress is usually seen either as a causal factor or as reaction to certain stressors or interaction between these two actors. Physiology of Stress Any change, whether good or bad, will cause the body to release chemicals that produce the following effects (i.e. the “stress reaction”):
  • The heart beats faster.
  • Breathing quickens.
  • The liver releases stored nutrients.
  • Blood pressure rises.
  • Pupils dilate.
  • Muscles tense.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Damp hands.
  • Stress Management.
Stress management is an objective, systematic and rational process, by which one can try to manage his/her stress at a level that may be beneficial and not harmful to individual's health and performance. Stress is a part and parcel of everyday life but we can control its physiological as well as psychological effects. There are a number of stress management techniques being used. Stress inoculation training, cognitive behavioural training, biofeedback relaxation training, and physical fitness training are few of the examples. Accumulated experiences showed that cognitive behavioural training with relaxation training was producing better results as compared to other techniques. The Relaxation Techniques
  • Time of activity 15-20 minutes.
  • Select a comfortable sitting position, away from people and other distractions.
  • Close your eyes. Slowly tighten and then relax muscles that feel tense. Begin with your feet and work up to your neck.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply, and with each breath count backward from 10 to 1, one number for each breath you exhale.
  • Pick a calming image to concentrate on. Dismiss all other thoughts from your mind and think only of this peaceful image.
  • After few minutes, slowly take a deep breath and open your eyes. Gently wiggle your fingertips, feet and arms and then stretch your whole body.
The Body’s Cycle The entire body operates on a 90-minute rhythm of activity followed by rest. Try to work along with your body and take breaks or switch job activities every hour and a half, even if it's just for a few minutes. The body's 24-hour cycle governs sleep, heart rate, body temperature and elimination. This is mainly regulated by light and dark. If shift-work is part of your job, consider these hints:
  • Try to sleep at the same time each day.
  • Don't sleep with a full stomach.
  • Use blackout shades or an eye mask if you must sleep during the day.
  • Wake up with bright lights, lively music, brisk exercise and a cool shower.
  • Relax by soaking in a warm bath.
Physical Exercise With your doctor's approval, try any one of the following forms of exercise, for at least twenty minutes, three times a week:
  • Walking.
  • Jogging.
  • Running.
  • Swimming.
  • Any activity that vigorously and continually moves your large muscles.
  • Warm up before and cool down after exercising.
  • Include gentle stretching in your routine.
    • The writer is an Assistant Professor of Psychology, a researcher, and psychotherapist.

      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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