Pakistan: Now or Never?

Fake degrees stir fear of ‘mini mid-term polls’ in Pakistan

June 29, 2010

punjab universityPakistani education authorities are verifying university degrees of members of parliament amid fears that scores of them could be disqualified for holding “fake degrees”, leading to “mini mid-term elections” less than three years after general elections were held in the country.

Pakistan’s historical narrative and its education system

June 28, 2010

jinnah flagManan Ahmed at Chapati Mystery has a great post linking Faisal Shahzad, the failed Times Square bomber,  Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani woman convicted and jailed in the United States, and Mohammad bin Qasim, who first brought Islam to South Asia by conquering Sind in the 8th century.

Pakistan’s policy on Afghanistan: finding the devil in the detail

June 28, 2010

petraeus kayaniIn the increasingly frenetic debate about what to do about Afghanistan, Antonio Giustozzi has a must-read report on prospects for negotiating with the Taliban. In particular, he offers a rare window into Pakistan’s often opaque policy towards Afghanistan by providing the context within which Pakistan might be able to bring the Taliban into a political settlement .

In the drama of the runaway general, don’t forget Pakistan

June 23, 2010

mcchrystalOn a visit to Pakistan in April, two comments stayed in my mind, encapsulating the Pakistani view of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.  One was from a political analyst in Islamabad, which stood out for the unusualness of the imagery.  “Obama,” she said, “has tried to put his feet in both boats.”  The other was from a senior serving officer, who appeared to be giving a personal opinion rather than reading from the script prepared for more official briefings.  “The Pashtun areas (of Afghanistan) are slipping out of the hands of ISAF and NATO, and everybody knows it,” he said.

India and Pakistan – yet again, past is prologue

June 22, 2010

raobashirGiven the row over General Stanley McChrystal’s comments in Rolling Stone magazine, the slow process of repairing relations between India and Pakistan is unlikely to get much attention. But there is some movement there, which is worth watching closely since the relationship between the two plays such a defining role in the attitudes of the Pakistan Army and by extension, in Pakistan’s perceived approach to Afghanistan.

U.S. should look at nuclear deal for Pakistan if militancy tackled-RAND report

June 21, 2010

damadola2The United States should consider offering Pakistan a civilian nuclear deal in return for a real and verifiable commitment to eradicate all militant groups operating from its territory, a new report by the RAND Corporation says.

from India Insight:

Killing of civilians fuels Kashmir anger

June 17, 2010

Supporters of separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq shout slogans while being detained by police during a protest in Srinagar June 17, 2010. REUTERS/Fayaz KabliJust days ago, scenic Kashmir, torn by two decades of war, was near normal.

Thousands of tourists were flocking to the region and honeymooners were once again gliding in shikaras, small Kashmiri boats, across the mirror-calm Dal Lake.

New report accuses Pakistan’s ISI of backing Afghan insurgents

June 13, 2010

us soldiersAccording to a new report published by the London School of Economics, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency not only funds and trains Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but is officially represented on the movement’s leadership council, giving it significant influence over operations.

Pakistan’s Ahmadi killings and the conscience of a nation

June 7, 2010

graveyardThe fierce debate about the nature of Pakistani society triggered by the killing of more than 80 Ahmadis in two mosques in Lahore last month continues to run and run.

Taliban talks and the lobster quadrille

June 6, 2010

holbrookeAll of us do thought association in different ways depending on history, culture and education. But for me personally the latest round of discussion about talking to the Taliban has me thinking about Lewis Carroll’s “The Lobster Quadrille” (with one word changed):