Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Ahead of Lisbon, soul-searching in Pakistan

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For all of former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf’s faults, the one thing you would have to give him credit for is the emergence of a free press. It’s every bit as fearless, and questioning as its counterpart across the border in India, sometimes even stepping over the line, as some complain.

Indeed east of the Suez, and perhaps all the way to Japan, it would be hard to find a media that is as unrestrained as in India and Pakistan, which is even more remarkable in the case of Pakistan given the threat posed by a deadly militancy.

And so in the run-up to the Lisbon summit where NATO leaders will decide, among other things, the way forward in Afghanistan, a few Pakistanis have spoken forcefully. They touch upon Pakistan’s role as a conflicted ally in the war there and the extreme danger that the state itself  faces now because of its refusal, or inability to break ranks with militant organisations. More striking, they challenge some long-held beliefs relating to India and Pakistan, in ways you would think was unthinkable.

One of them is an influential Pakistani newspaper editor, who according to Arnaud de Borchgrave in a piece carried by the Atlantic Council, has just made the rounds of Washington, delivering a stunning indictment of some of the players involved in the Afghan conflict.  He can’t be named and his comments were off-the-record, but meant for public use, Borchgrave says.

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