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Showing posts from August, 2008

Asif Ali Zardari as the President of Pakistan

President Zardari?
The News, August 31, 2008
Dr Farrukh Saleem

Can anyone name a Pakistani soul who has more votes in our presidential electoral college than does Mr Asif Ali Zardari? To be certain, presidential-hopeful Zardari is a product of a process – a process called elections. He is also a product of a system of governance – a system called democracy. We have had generals Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf as our presidents and none of them were products of a legitimate electoral process (didn't they broke into the presidency led by the Triple-One Brigade?). Ayub, Zia and Pervez all descended as guardian angels but faded away as Lucifers-in-uniform.

Our most recent messiah-in-uniform, General Pervez Musharraf, managed to attract $12.277 billion in overt aid from the US. Then there was a 5-year-long Saudi Oil Facility (under which the Kingdom gave us up to 100,000 barrels of oil every day). Additionally, during Musharraf's 8-year rule Pakistanis working …

Indian civil society calls for international intervention in Kashmir: Daily Times

Indian civil society calls for international intervention in Kashmir
* Indian troops beat up ambulance drivers, two pregnant women die without medical attention
* Hundreds of injured left without healthcare
* Severe shortage of food, medicine
Daily Times, August 30, 2008

SRINAGAR: Indian intellectuals and civil society activists called for international intervention to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Indian-held Kashmir, after a stern curfew led to a shortage of medicine, baby milk and essentials, and left hundreds of injured without healthcare.

Two pregnant women have died since Tuesday as Indian troops refused to allow them to go to maternity hospitals, according to a statement sent out on Wednesday, and ambulance drivers were beaten up as dozens of dead bodies and hundreds of injured along with their attendants were stranded at hospitals. Medical personnel were not able to attend their duties as hostile Indian troops deployed on the streets were not honouring identity cards and cu…

Burying Women Alive in Baluchistan

‘Burying women alive for honour is tribal tradition’* Baloch senator Israrullah Zehri says members should not politicise issue
Daily Times, August 30, 2008

ISLAMABAD: The killing of women for honour is a demand of the tribal traditions, Balochistan Senator Israrullah Zehri informed the Senate on Friday.

Zehri was responding to Senator Yasmeen Shah’s statement in which she had drawn the House’s attention towards reports that five women had been buried alive in Balochistan in the name of honour. She called it a sheer violation of human rights.

Zehri asked the members not to politicise the issue, as it was a matter of safeguarding the tribal traditions.

Leader of the Opposition in Senate Kamil Ali Agha condemned the killing of women in the name of honour and demanded the issue should be referred to the Human Rights Standing Committee of the House.

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid Senator Nisar Memon drew the attention of the Senate to a research article written by Michael Chossugovsky published in…

Barack Obama vows to finish fight against Taliban, Al Qaeda

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Obama vows to finish fight against Taliban, Al Qaeda
By Anwar Iqbal, Dawn, August 30, 2008

WASHINGTON, Aug 29: Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has pledged to finish the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and end the war in Iraq ‘responsibly’.

His acceptance speech on Thursday focused mainly on domestic issues like health care but Senator Obama did mention the two international issues that worry the Americans most: the war in Iraq and the situation along the Afghan border.

“I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan,” he declared.

The situation in Fata, along with the war in Iraq, has become an election issue in the 2008 race for the White House with both Republican and Democratic candidates taking strong positions on how to root out terrorists from the area.

The Democrats, however, have given the portfolio of foreign affairs to their vice-presidential candidate John Biden. As chairman of the Se…

Muslims Positive About Globalization, Trade: World Public Opinion.org Study

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Muslims Positive About Globalization, Trade
World Public Opinion.org; August 29, 2008

Contrary to the common assumption that Muslims view globalization as a threat to their society, a new poll of Muslim countries finds that globalization is generally viewed positively. The poll was conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org in six nations with predominantly Muslim populations in different regions of the world including Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Indonesia, and the Palestinian Territories, plus the Muslim population of Nigeria.

Asked about "globalization, especially the increasing connections of our economy with others around the world," majorities in six of the seven nations polled say that it is "mostly good" for their country. Approval is highest among Egyptians and Nigerian Muslims (79% and 78% saying mostly good, respectively). Sixty-three percent of Azerbaijanis, 61 percent of both Iranians and Indonesians, and 58 percent of Palestinians see globalization as mostl…

Maliki picks a date with destiny: Asia Times

Maliki picks a date with destiny
By Sami Moubayed, Asia Times, August 29, 2008

DAMASCUS - Generations of Iraqi leaders have succumbed to the "Iraqi curse" - dying violent deaths while in office or soon after leaving it. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's date with destiny could well be determined by his present fixation on another date - when United States troops should permanently leave his country.

This week, Maliki reiterated that he had agreed with the United States that all 145,000 American troops would withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2010. The negotiations are for a Status of Forces Agreement to govern relations between American troops and the Iraqis after the United Nations mandate expires this December.

For complete article, click here

Also See:
Iraqi PM demands 'specific' U.S. pullout timeline - CNN
Iraqi PM changes team negotiating U.S. troops pact - Reuters

Now or Never?

Now, or perhaps never
By Javed Hasan Aly, Dawn, August 29, 2008

FOR the last three decades the establishment has flirted with brinkmanship in exploiting religious passions to fuel a controlled delivery of exported political trouble. First it was in the form of mercenary support for one superpower. Then, using the residual, but battle-hardened firepower it perpetuated a simmering bilateral dispute heating it up to destructive temperatures. It is another matter that we then witnessed a complete somersault by surrendering the initiative and acquiescing to diplomatic browbeating.

Historically, controlled delivery agents have always grown larger and more powerful than their handlers in the cobweb-weaving agencies. As a result, Pakistan is being taken for a ride by some so-called Islamists, thriving on a conviction founded in ignorance and funded by domestic and foreign agents who fear the establishment of democracy in the country.

Ziaul Haq and his legacy of generals — autonomously wise, exclu…

Top Muslim cop of UK decries ‘discrimination’

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Top Muslim cop of UK decries ‘discrimination’
Dawn, August 29, 2008

LONDON, Aug 28: Britain’s most senior Muslim policeman launched a stinging attack on Thursday on the controversial head of London’s police, against whom he has launched a discrimination claim.

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said it was with “deep regret” that he was taking Sir Ian Blair of the Metropolitan Police to an employment tribunal and denied the move was linked to unhappiness at not being promoted.

“My current case is essentially to do with my treatment at the highest levels of the Met, in particular the discrimination I have been subjected to over a long period by the present Commissioner Sir Ian Blair,” Ghaffur said.

He added it also covered treatment he had faced in his current role as security coordinator for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Sitting alongside his client at a news conference in London, Ghaffur’s lawyer Shahrokh Mireskandari suggested that his case might not be an isolated one.

Asked whether …

Lawyers stage sit-ins throughout Pakistan

Lawyers stage sit-ins
The News, August 29, 2008
By Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: The lawyers on Thursday staged two-hour sit-ins and took out protest rallies across the country to put pressure on the government for the early restoration of the deposed judges, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The sit-ins were staged on the call of National Coordination Council (NCC) as well as Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan. In the federal capital, the lawyers brought out a protest rally from Islamabad District Court headed by its President Haroon-ur-Rashid and marched towards the Zero Point. On reaching there, the lawyers staged two-hour sit-in from 12-2 pm, headed by Athar Minallah, spokesperson for deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

For complete article, click here

Also See:
Peaceful sit-in sends strong signal of intact lawyers’ movement - Daily Times
Scores of women participate in lawyers' sit-in - The Nation

Adm. Mike Mullen Meets General Kayani over Indian Ocean: NYT

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U.S.-Pakistani Brainstorming on Border Violence
By ERIC SCHMITT, New York Times, August 28, 2008

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff secretly convened a highly unusual meeting of senior American and Pakistani commanders on an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean on Tuesday to discuss how to combat the escalating violence along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

While officials from the two allies offered few details on Wednesday about what was decided or even discussed at the meeting — including any new strategies, tactics, weapons or troop deployments — the star-studded list of participants and the extreme secrecy surrounding the talks underscored how gravely both nations regard the growing militant threat.

The leading actors in the daylong conference were Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of staff of the Pakistani Army.

Joining them aboard the carrier Abraham Lincoln were Gen. David H. Petraeus, t…

Price of Morality?: Dawn Editorial

Price of morality?
Editorial, Dawn, August 28, 2008

AN enemy who speaks an altogether different language with unforgiving conviction is at best a dark dead-end. A research by the Asian Human Rights Commission clearly states that there has been negligible change in the incidents of violence against women after the Women Protection Bill 2006 came into force. A local NGO’s research supports this claim with astounding figures — 1317 women endured violence in 2007, including over 210 victims of honour killing. Take recent shockers, such as the woman in Sukkur who was axed to death by her cousin over ‘suspicions’ of illicit relations and another victim of domestic violence in Ranjhapur village who sought asylum at Thull police station. These came soon after two bullet-riddled bodies of women were discovered in Gulli Garhi village with a note that declared them of ‘loose character’. It also stated that the victims had been killed for defying warnings by the Jaish-i-Islami. With the treacherous…

Ghosts of the past

Ghosts of the past
By Dr Rubina Saigol, Dawn, August 28, 2008

CONTEMPORARY Pakistan finds itself at the nexus of a number of intersecting conflicts that have generated unbridled violence across the length and breadth of the country.

The suicide bombing at the Pakistan Ordnance Factory was the continuation of a series of attacks on state institutions including the ISI, the SSG unit, the air force as well as civilian law-enforcement agencies such as the FIA building in Lahore.

News of bloodshed is splashed across the front pages of dailies from attacks on utility installations such as Sui gas pipelines in Balochistan to the regular bombing and torching of girls’ schools in Mingora, Swat, and other areas of Pakhtunkhwa. Added to these horrific news items are the almost daily attacks by Nato forces on the innocent people of Bajaur and other Fata areas from where populations are forced to flee and become displaced.

There is a virtual civil war going on between the security forces and militants,…

Be Patient with Pakistan

Après Musharraf, patience
By Hassan Abbas; International Herald Tribune, August 27, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts:

Western governments clearly have mixed feelings about the legacy of Pervez Musharraf and are trying to grasp what is in store for a nuclear-armed state whose writ is diminishing within its territories.

The concern is legitimate, but it underestimates Pakistan's potential. The notion that somehow developing countries, and especially Muslim-majority states, cannot adjust to democratic model is a flawed assessment. The track record of democratic governments in Pakistan is indeed mixed, but it is also true that democracy takes time to develop.

In fact, Pakistan was created out of a democratic movement led by a constitutional lawyer, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who aspired to make Pakistan a pluralistic, democratic state. Pakistan was also the first Muslim state to elect a woman as prime minister in 1988, the late Benazir Bhutto.

Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, also a former prime m…

A Jihad Grows in Kashmir By Pankaj Mishra

A Jihad Grows in Kashmir
By PANKAJ MISHRA, New York Times, August 27, 2008
New Delhi

FOR more than a week now, hundreds of thousands of Muslims have filled the streets of Srinagar, the capital of Indian-ruled Kashmir, shouting “azadi” (freedom) and raising the green flag of Islam. These demonstrations, the largest in nearly two decades, remind many of us why in 2000 President Bill Clinton described Kashmir, the Himalayan region claimed by both India and Pakistan, as “the most dangerous place on earth.”

Mr. Clinton sounded a bit hyperbolic back then. Dangerous, you wanted to ask, to whom? Though more than a decade old, the anti-Indian insurgency in Kashmir, which Pakistan’s rogue intelligence agency had infiltrated with jihadi terrorists, was not much known outside South Asia. But then the Clinton administration had found itself compelled to intervene in 1999 when India and Pakistan fought a limited but brutal war near the so-called line of control that divides Indian Kashmir from the Pa…

A Door Opens for Reform in Pakistan

A Door Opens for Reform in Pakistan – Part I
Helping Islamabad take care of inequality and injustice would be the best approach the world could take

Paula R. Newberg; YaleGlobal, 21 August 2008

WASHINGTON: Before the ink was dry on President Pervez Musharraf's resignation letter, and before Pakistanis could celebrate the end of his nine-year rule, remorse filled the air. Washington and New Delhi, both crucial to Pakistan's stability, quickly lamented the end of one-stop diplomacy, prefacing their official statements with "let's wait and see what democracy brings." With strife threatening Pakistan's borders and its economy limping, the danger is not that India and the US have lost a comfortable relationship with Musharraf, but that nostalgia will blind them to the opportunities that political change might bring.

Self-fulfilling prophecy is a familiar handmaiden to failed policies in this corner of Asia. Although the false promise of clean and efficient military r…

FATA Reforms

A Door Opens for Reform in Pakistan – Part II
Political and legal reforms in the tribal belt are key to preventing extremists from filling the vacuum
Ziad Haider; YaleGlobal, 25 August 2008

LAHORE: With a revived Taliban and Al Qaeda operating out of Pakistan’s federally administered tribal areas (FATA), the region has assumed center stage in the US-led “war on terror.” To secure these areas, Pakistan’s civilian government seeks to negotiate with tribesmen who end combat, withdraw the army and only use it on last resort, while promoting economic development.Yet this strategy will fail unless Pakistan fully addresses FATA’s regressive and shrinking governance system. Political and legal reforms are essential to extend the state’s writ, uphold constitutional rights, prevent a popular drift to the Taliban, and mainstream and secure the region in the long-term.

For complete article, click here

Also See:
Why we failed in FATA - Rustam Shah Mohmand, The News

Karachi in the Eye of the storm?

KARACHI: Sectarian organisations regrouping in city
By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque, Dawn, August 26, 2008

KARACHI, Aug 24: The re-emergence of two banned militant outfits in the city has posed a serious threat to the security situation amid growing fears of sectarian violence, Dawn has learnt.

Background interviews with various police and intelligence officials revealed that militants of two banned outfits — Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) and Sipah-i-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP) — have returned to the city and are now busy in regrouping and expanding their network.

Former president Pervez Musharraf had slapped a ban on the two sectarian outfits, along with several others, in 2001 and launched a countrywide crackdown. Scores of militants of the two banned parties were arrested but there were many who had managed to evade the crackdown and fled to the country’s tribal areas.

Police and intelligence agencies have credible reports about the presence of militants of the two sectarian outfits in the city. Also, the gr…

Battlelines...

U.N. Envoy’s Ties to Pakistani Are Questioned
By HELENE COOPER and MARK MAZZETTI, New York Times, August 26, 2008

WASHINGTON — Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to the United Nations, is facing angry questions from other senior Bush administration officials over what they describe as unauthorized contacts with Asif Ali Zardari, a contender to succeed Pervez Musharraf as president of Pakistan.

Mr. Khalilzad had spoken by telephone with Mr. Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, several times a week for the past month until he was confronted about the unauthorized contacts, a senior United States official said. Other officials said Mr. Khalilzad had planned to meet with Mr. Zardari privately next Tuesday while on vacation in Dubai, in a session that was canceled only after Richard A. Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South Asia, learned from Mr. Zardari himself that the ambassador was providing “advice and help.”

“Can I ask what sort of ‘advice and help’ y…

Manifest Destiny of Pakistan

Analysis: Manifest Destiny — Tanvir Ahmad Khan
Daily Times, August 25, 2008

Readers of Tolstoy’s War and Peace are all too familiar with passages in which the great master breaks away from his grand narrative to brood over the meaning and essence of history. He was not content with the heroic mode which doubtless had been revived by Napoleon’s mighty sweeps across Europe. The genius Napoleon, he noted wryly, had “suddenly been discovered to be an outlaw” and exiled to die “a slow death on a rock”.

Scientific sociology that the Russian chattering classes applied to movements of history did not satisfy Tolstoy either partly because he felt that available facts were not usually sufficient to arrive at truth and partly because they would not apprehend a higher will at work in human affairs.

The new history, Tolstoy wrote, is like a deaf man replying to questions which nobody puts to him. In Pakistan, today, new history is being written less by professional historians and more by instant inter…

Tehrik-i-Taliban Finally Banned in Pakistan

Pakistan Bans Taliban Outfit Amidst Mailitary Campaign
Christian Science Monitor, August 26, 2008
Huma Yusuf

The Pakistani government on Monday banned the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a militant group that has been responsible for many suicide attacks across the country since 2007. The ban, which may end the government's policy of sometimes negotiating with militants, comes as the government struggles to accommodate more than 300,000 people who have been displaced amidst fighting between security forces and militants in Bajaur Agency, a haven for Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters near the border with Afghanistan.

According to the BBC, the Interior Ministry chief claimed the ban was implemented because the Taliban has "created mayhem against the public life." The Interior Ministry has also asked the state bank to freeze any accounts that the TTP may have.

"They themselves have claimed responsibility of several suicide attacks and the government cannot engage in a dialo…

Lawyers' Movement Reactivates...

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Aitzaz threatens to jam traffic on Thursday
The News, August 26, 2008
By Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan on Monday threatened to jam traffic in the entire country on August 28 if the Murree Declaration was not implemented in letter and spirit.

Addressing a press conference here at his residence, Aitzaz said the legal fraternity, along with the entire nation, would be staging countrywide sit-ins on August 28 to protest the delaying tactics of the government in the reinstatement of the deposed judges of the superior judiciary.

He said the lawyers were forced to resume their movement as the government had failed to honour its commitments. He reiterated the lawyers’ demand for the early implementation of the Murree Declaration in letter and spirit.

The SCBA president said the legal community had removed black flags from the bars after the Islamabad Declaration on August 7, but the failure of the deceleration had compelled them to hois…

Ahmed Faraz Departs

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Ahmed Faraz: poet of love and defiance
By Khalid Hasan, Daily Times, August 26, 2008

WASHINGTON: Ahmed Faraz, who died in Islamabad on Monday night after a long struggle with a host of ailments, having taken ill in the first week of July while on a visit to the United States, was a classicist like Faiz Ahmed Faiz who, like him, produced poetry of great lyrical beauty and who, like his mentor, never hesitated to stand up against oppression and never was afraid of suffering for his beliefs.

Faraz, steeped in the classical tradition, was the true inheritor of Faiz’s mantle. Like Faiz, he suffered prison and lived in exile during the dark days of military rule in the 1980s. Like Faiz, he was loved by the people, especially the young, and nobody wrote with more intensity about love than Faraz. He gained fame as a young man – he was teaching at Peshawar University at the time - and while much in the way of comfort and the easy life forsook him on more occasions than one, his fame and his popul…

Girls' School Blown up in Peshawar - A first

Militants blow up girls’ school in Peshawar
Daily Times, August 26, 2008

PESHAWAR: After Swat, militants have started attacking girls’ school in the provincial metropolis as they blew up a government girls high school in Badaber on Monday, officials said. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nasirul Mulk Bangash told Daily Times that the militants had planted explosives in the school building, located near Speen Jumat. All the 26 rooms were destroyed along with 16 computers and office record when the militants detonated the explosives, the SSP said. He said it was the first school to be destroyed by the militants in Peshawar. akhtar amin

Coalition falls but there is no threat to the government

Pakistan's Ruling Coalition Collapses Amid Dissent
By Candace Rondeaux
Washington Post Foreign Service, , August 25, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 25 -- Pakistan plunged deeper into political chaos Monday as a top party in the country's coalition government vowed to quit the coalition and support an opposition candidate for the presidency.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N party, said he plans to vigorously oppose his one-time political partner, Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the Pakistan People's Party and widower of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The announcement, which came a week after Pervez Musharraf resigned as Pakistan's president, set off a heated race for the presidency and raised questions about the future of the shaky alliance between the United States and Pakistan's top political leaders.

Sharif said he decided to quit the coalition government after Zardari, who assumed leadership of his party after Bhutto…

Nuclear Espionage Etc...

In Nuclear Net’s Undoing, a Web of Shadowy Deals
By WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER, New York Times, August 24, 2008

The president of Switzerland stepped to a podium in Bern last May and read a statement confirming rumors that had swirled through the capital for months. The government, he acknowledged, had indeed destroyed a huge trove of computer files and other material documenting the business dealings of a family of Swiss engineers suspected of helping smuggle nuclear technology to Libya and Iran.

The files were of particular interest not only to Swiss prosecutors but to international atomic inspectors working to unwind the activities of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani bomb pioneer-turned-nuclear black marketeer. The Swiss engineers, Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, were accused of having deep associations with Dr. Khan, acting as middlemen in his dealings with rogue nations seeking nuclear equipment and expertise.

For complete story, click here

Inside Kashmir Today

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Land and freedom

Kashmir is in crisis: the region's Muslims are mounting huge non-violent protests against the Indian government's rule. But, asks Arundhati Roy, what would independence for the territory mean for its people?

Arundhati Roy, The Guardian, August 22 2008

For the past 60 days or so, since about the end of June, the people of Kashmir have been free. Free in the most profound sense. They have shrugged off the terror of living their lives in the gun-sights of half a million heavily armed soldiers, in the most densely militarised zone in the world.

After 18 years of administering a military occupation, the Indian government's worst nightmare has come true. Having declared that the militant movement has been crushed, it is now faced with a non-violent mass protest, but not the kind it knows how to manage. This one is nourished by people's memory of years of repression in which tens of thousands have been killed, thousands have been "disappeared", hundre…

Sectarianism in Baghdad and the US Policy

Fear Keeps Iraqis Out of Their Baghdad Homes
By SABRINA TAVERNISE, New York, August 24, 2008

BAGHDAD — When Jabbar, an elderly Shiite man, stormed out of his house here in June wanting to know where all his furniture had gone, the sharp look of the young Sunni standing guard on his street stopped him cold.

The young man said nothing, but his expression made things clear: Jabbar had no home here anymore.

After Iraq’s sectarian earthquake settled, his neighborhood had become a mostly Sunni area. Instead of moving back, he is trying to sell the house while staying in a rented one less than a mile away in an area that is mostly Shiite.

It is not an unusual decision. Out of the more than 151,000 families who had fled their houses in Baghdad, just 7,112 had returned to them by mid-July, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Migration. Many of the displaced remain in Baghdad, just in different areas. In one neighborhood alone, Amiriya, in western Baghdad, there are 8,350 displaced families, more …

Stop thinking of Pakistan as a client state: The Observer (UK)

Stop thinking of Pakistan as a client state
Editorial, The Observer, Sunday August 24 2008

The good news from Pakistan is that last week Pervez Musharraf, the general who seized power in a military coup in 1999, resigned. Better still, it was civilian political pressure and not an assassin's bullet that terminated his presidency. That, for a country sometimes described as the most dangerous on Earth, looks encouragingly democratic.

The bad news is that Mr Musharraf's departure does not make Pakistan much less dangerous. Hostility to the unpopular President was perhaps the only unifying force in a fractious coalition government. With Mr Musharraf gone, the stage is clear for a ruthless power struggle between the Pakistan People's party, vehicle for the family ambitions of the late Benazir Bhutto, and the Pakistan Muslim League of former premier Nawaz Sharif.

Since Pakistan is a nuclear power and host, along its lawless border with Afghanistan, to Taliban and al-Qaeda bases, …

Parachinar is burning: Dr. Ghayur Ayub (Frontier Post)

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Parachinar is burning
Dr Ghayur Ayub
Frontier Post, August 22, 2008

Sarwan Ali-an honest man, is a retired Lance Naik from the village Malana in the outskirt of Parachinar and has been living with his wife in a single room. Not any more. Now, he is fighting for his life in Agency HQ Hospital, Parachinar, from a gunshot wound.

Wounds inflicted from bombs, snipers, splinters and guns have become part of daily life in Kurrum agency mostly linked to sectarian strife. But his wound is different. He was not shot by the opposing group for his affiliation to any sect. His is a self inflicted wound. Reason? Before the sectarian conflict, he would go to Parachinar and work on ‘Dhiari’ (daily wages) to earn enough to sustain himself and his wife. After the escalation in war, situation has changed dramatically. In a short span, the death toll has reached hundreds and the injured thousands. The prices of daily commodities have rocketed sky-high as the only road linking Parachinar with mainland Paki…

How Joe Biden Views Pakistan - Opinion expressed in November 2007

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A New Approach to Pakistan By Joe Biden
Huffington Post, November 8, 2007

Today, I delivered a major foreign policy address to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. The events of the last week serve as a reminder of what is at stake if we do not take immediate steps to change the way we interact with the world. On Tuesday, I wrote about my broad goals for a new policy towards Pakistan. Today, I want to explain my new approach to Pakistan in greater detail.

I've been saying for some time that Pakistan is the most complex country we deal with -- and that a crisis was just waiting to happen. On Saturday night, it did.

President Musharraf staged a coup against his own government. He suspended the constitution, imposed de-facto martial law, postponed elections indefinitely, and arrested hundreds of lawyers, journalists, and human rights activists. He took these steps the day after Secretary Rice and the commander of all American forces in the regi…