Thursday, March 05, 2009

COMMENT: Tanveer Ahmed heads to the CIS ...

Now listen here! I will not tolerate any criticism of the Centre for Independent Studies. This magnificent crowd are bastions of research excellence. Some of the best minds in the country work at this fine institution.

And now they have added another leading light to their gallaxy of stars. Psychiatric registrar Tanveer Ahmed has joined the CIS as a research fellow. And his first research task? Health administration reform? Specialist accreditation overhaul? The state of hospital funding?

Nope. Dr Ahmed will be writing about a subject he knows everything in the world about - Indo-Pakistan relations.

Tanveer has had decades of experience, having worked extensively in both India and Pakistan. I know for a fact that he speaks, reads and writes fluent Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Pushtu.

Yes, I know the CIS could have had access to experts on international relations like Owen Harries. But Owen is just a tad too critical of the Bush Administration's foreign policy for the CIS's comfort. Then again, so is Barack Obama, but you know what they say about him. And as for conservative and free market thinktanks in both India and Pakistan, well what would they know about Indo-Pakistani relations?

The CIS know exactly what they are doing. In the past, they've had Dr Muhammad Fajrul Falaakh from the Nahdhatul Ulama of Indonesia to talk about Islam and democracy in Indonesia. He was the okay, except that he ... well ... um ... he was a native. It's far better to get genuine experts, completely unbiased people. People like Daniel "Barack-Obama-was-a-Muslim-because-he-wore-a-sarong" Pipes, Mark Steyn and Ayaan "I-lied-to-get-a-visa" Hirsi Ali. Or better still, how about this chap?

But don't shake your heads just yet. If this is the expertise needed to work for the CIS, I might make my own pitch. I'm sure I could write a report about the virtues of parallel importation of books. And what expertise do I have in this field? Have I worked for a major publishing house? or for the Australian Society of Authors? Or for the Australian Publishers' Association? Or for a host of major booksellers?

No. But I am having a book published. And I'm not exactly a leftist.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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