Hyderabad-based,The Munsif,the largest circulated Urdu daily,is preoccupied with affairs in the subcontinent on Thursday,particularly the revolt in Bangladesh Rifles on Page 1,Sharifs disqualification has also figured prominently in the Thursday edition. Mumbai-based Inquilab yesterday features the filing of the chargesheet in the November attacks as its main story. Earlier,the Pakistan governments accord with Taliban in the Swat region have been widely commented upon by the Urdu Press. Delhi-based Hindustan Express (Feb. 16) writes: This is an action after defeat not only by Pakistan but by Uncle Sam as well. If we observe deeply,the government has bowed down before Taliban by agreeing to enforce Shariat laws in the areas controlled by them. The paper says that it is difficult to say if this would bring peace,or simply,will the morale (hausley) of Maulvi Fazlullah and his supporters rise further? Hamara Samaj,published from Delhi,in its editorial on February 18 says: This region would remain peaceful for some time and Zardari Sahib would improve his position in American eyes. Enforcement of Shariat laws is a historic decision in the history of Pakistan (sic) and Pakistan would benefit from it in future. Delhi-based Jadeed Khabar,in its editorial entitled,Islam phobia (Feb 20) writes: There are no two opinions about incidents of violence perpetrated by Taliban being a very serious challenge to peace and stability in the region and anxiety of the world community (alami biradari) including India is inevitable. But the anxiety expressed by the world community including India with regard to enforcement of Shariat laws in the Swat valley is not only baseless; it also shows that the world even today is obsessed with Islamophobia.
In the interim
The Interim Budget has not created any enthusiasm. Rashtriya Sahara,in an editorial entitled,Interim Budget disappoints everyone (Feb 18) writes: Keeping the general elections in view the government has focussed its attention largely on providing employment in rural areas,the social sector,and,along with giving importance to face future situations like terrorist attack in Mumbai,allocating more funds for defence. The paper notes that 64 per cent of the allocation for National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) could not be utilised till the end of 2008. The situation was similar for projects connected with improvement of National Highways,modernisation of airports and sea ports. Not only were allocated funds not fully utilised,these projects have been mismanaged through defective planning,delays and lack of accountability,the paper says. Jadeed Khabar points out that 40 per cent of the fund that was allocated for the welfare of minorities has not so far been utilised. There has been reduction in allocation for scholarships under the Ministry of Minority Affairs for ten-plus students and for professional courses,the paper observes.
The award of eight Oscars to Slumdog Millionaire,particularly for three Indians,has been hailed. Hindustan Express,in its editorial (Feb 24) has described it as a matter of great delight for the country. It has also taken on those who criticised the exploitation of poverty in India. It writes: A British filmmaker comes face to face with the life in the jhoppar- patti of Mumbai and his eyes see the dark side of this life,something you are unable for see. On the contrary,when this film comes before you,you are unable to gather the courage to see the wound on your face and make the film a target of your criticism by saying that only Indian poverty has been shown in the film. Will you now perceive this hell? Will you gather the courage to fight this darkness or,intoxicated by the delight of Oscar,wait for another Slumdog Millionnaire? Hyderabad-based Siasat writes: Viewed with the spectacles of reality,the film truly captures life in the slum areas and of Muslim families of Mumbai.
Compiled by Seema Chishti