Pakistan: Now or Never?

India and Pakistan agree to hold more talks: now comes the hard part

April 29, 2010

thimphuAs predicted, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan agreed during a meeting in Bhutan that their countries should hold further talks to try to repair relations strained since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.  Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters at a regional summit in Thimphu that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani had decided their foreign ministers and foreign secretaries (the top diplomats) should meet as soon as possible.

from India Insight:

India-Pakistan “secret pact” – was Kashmir accord just a signature away?

April 28, 2010

India and Pakistan held secret talks for more than three years, reached an accord on the thorny Kashmir issue and had almost unveiled it in 2007 before domestic turmoil in Pakistan derailed it, former Pakistani foreign minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri has revealed.

Pakistan and India: After Yekaterinburg and Sharm-el-Sheikh; now we have Thimphu

April 25, 2010

bhutanAnother international summit. Another chance for the leaders of India and Pakistan to find a way of getting their countries to talk to each other.

On tipping points and Taliban talks

April 25, 2010

british soldierOne of the issues that seems to arouse the strongest emotions in the Afghan debate is the question of when the United States and its allies should engage in talks with the Taliban.  Some argued that the moment was ripe a few months ago, when both sides were finely balanced against each other and therefore both more likely to make the kind of concessions that would make negotiations possible.  It was an argument that surfaced forcefully at the London conference on Afghanistan in January. Others insisted that U.S.-led forces had to secure more gains on the battlefield first.

Pakistan unlikely to act soon on Lashkar-e-Taiba

April 24, 2010

damadolaDespite initial military successes against the Pakistani Taliban in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan is unlikely to move any time soon to dismantle the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group. As I wrote in this analysis,  Pakistani security officials say the country has enough on its plate fighting militants on its Afghan border without opening a new front in Punjab province, where the LeT is based. They argue this could drive the LeT – which has been careful not to launch attacks within Pakistan itself – into a dangerous alliance with the Pakistani Taliban and other al Qaeda-linked militant groups.

Wagah – The tragicomedy of India-Pakistan

April 23, 2010

wagah2Most people who follow South Asia have either watched the Beating the Retreat ceremony at Wagah on the India-Pakistan border on video or been there in person. The farcical and choreographed display by goose-stepping soldiers from India and Pakistan as they slam shut the gates on the border crossing is such a  staple for Western journalists that it has almost become too cliched to write about.

from Afghan Journal:

Challenging the myths of Pakistan’s turbulent northwest

By Reuters Staff
April 21, 2010

PAKISTAN/

Reuters' journalist Myra Macdonald travelled to Pakistan's northwest on the border with Afghanistan  to find that some of the Kiplingesque images of  xenophobic Pasthuns and ungovernable lands may be a bit off the mark especially now when the Pakistani army has taken the battle to the Islamist militants.  Here's her account :

Pakistan’s ethnic jigsaw shaken by NWFP name change

By Kamran Haider
April 21, 2010

Changing the name of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to “Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa” has triggered a new debate over whether other ethnic communities have the right to claim and win separate regions.

from Afghan Journal:

Bombing your own people: the use of air power in South Asia

April 19, 2010

(U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt jets, also known as the Warthog. File photo)

(U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt jets, also known as the Warthog. File photo)

Pakistani army chief of staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani offered a rare apology at the weekend for a deadly air strike in the Khyber region in the northwest  in which residents and local officials say at least 63 civilians were killed.

Guest contribution-Pakistani democracy may be noisy but it delivers

April 17, 2010

lahore mosqueThe following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the author’s alone. The writer is the High Commissioner of Pakistan to Britain.