Pakistan: Now or Never?

The Pakistan Army and “the history of the stick”

February 27, 2009

In his book on the Pakistan Army, South Asia expert Stephen Cohen quotes a senior lieutenant-general as warning the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto against using the military to control political opposition. “If you use a stick too often, the stick will take over,” Cohen quotes the general as saying. “This has always been the history of the stick.”

from FaithWorld:

The more you look, the less you see in Swat sharia deal

February 26, 2009

Ten days have passed since Pakistan cut a deal with Islamists to enforce sharia in the turbulent Swat region in return for a ceasefire, and we still don't know many details about what was agreed.  The deal made international headlines. It prompted political and security concerns in NATO and Washington and warnings about possible violations of human rights and religious freedom.

Americans vote for Afghan troop surge, but Afghans differ

February 26, 2009

An overwhelming majority of Americans support President Barack Obama’s decision to deploy an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, according to a Gallup poll this week. It said 65 percent approved the measure, with support among Republicans hitting 75 percent, making it one of the rare policy decisions where a president gets greater backing from those who identify with an opposing political party than his own.

Pakistan, music and the diaspora

February 25, 2009

Salman Ahmad, the founder of the Pakistani band Junoon, has written a piece for the Washington Post’s “On Faith” site calling for more to be done to defend Pakistani arts, music and culture against attacks by what he sees as an alien form of Islam being grafted onto Pakistan by the Taliban.

The Pakistani kaleidoscope and the Swat ceasefire

February 24, 2009

The debate over the Pakistan government’s decision to seek peace with Taliban militants in the Swat valley by promising to introduce sharia law is proving to be like everything else in the Pakistani kaleidoscope – turn it a little bit and you see something else.

India and Pakistan’s missed opportunities on Kashmir

February 23, 2009

India and Pakistan aren’t always bickering, including over Kashmir, the dispute that has defined their relationship over more than six decades. Away from the public eye, top and trusted envoys from the two countries have at various times sat down and wrestled with the problem, going beyond stated positions in the public and even teasing out the contours of a deal. In the end of course, someone’s nerve failed, or something else happened and the deal was off.

The curious tale of America’s Predators in Pakistan

February 21, 2009

America’s deadly Predator unmanned planes won’t go away from the skies above Pakistan’s troubled northwest, and the controversy over whether these aircraft operate from Pakistani soil only gets more intense.

More U.S. troops for Afghanistan

February 20, 2009

President Barack Obama is sending 17,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to fight a growing insurgency, but will they make a difference?

Pakistan Islamists in a deal with China communists : a sign of the times?

February 19, 2009

A reader has pointed to an agreement that Pakistan’s Jamaat-i-Islami, the main Islamist political group, signed with the Chinese communist party during its trip to Beijing a few days ago.

Obama’s choice: 17,000 extra troops for Afghanistan

February 18, 2009

President Barack Obama, in his first major military decision, has authorised the Pentagon to send an extra 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, saying the increase is needed to stabilise a deteriorating situation there.