Pakistan: Now or Never?

India and Pakistan: moving out of intensive care

July 28, 2011

The joint statement released after the meeting of the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan was so predictably cautious that inevitably attention focused on Pakistan’s glamorous new  foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, and  her designer accessories (a Hermes Birkin handbag, we were told.) Much of the debate was about whether it was sexist to comment on her appearance/question her competence; whether she had performed well in her television interviews (CNN-IBN is here); and whether it was appropriate for a minister to be so expensively attired. (See Dawn’s slideshow for some snarky captions.)

Pakistan, India and the possibility of change

July 25, 2011

Pakistan has been defined – sometimes by itself, sometimes by outsiders – as “not India” for so long that it has almost become set in stone. Conventional wisdom would have it that Pakistan can unite its many different ethnic and sectarian groups only by setting itself up in opposition to India and stressing its Muslim identity against Indian secularism and pluralism.  In particular, its powerful army has thrived in part because of that traditional enmity with India.

from FaithWorld:

In Ahmadis’s desert city, Pakistan closes in on group it declared non-Muslim

July 15, 2011

(Ahmadis stand over graves of victims of an attack on one of their mosques, in Rabwah, May 29, 2010/Stringer)

from Afghan Journal:

On the Afghanistan-Pakistan border : cutting off the nose to spite the face

July 13, 2011

Pakistan's defence minister has threatened to move forces away from the Afghan border, where they are deployed to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban, if the United States cuts off aid to the cash-strapped country. Ahmed Mukhtar's logic is that Pakistan is essentially fighting America's war on the Afghan border, and if it is going to put the squeeze on its frontline partner, then it will respond by not doing America's bidding.

from FaithWorld:

Pakistan’s patchy fight against Islamist violence sows confusion

July 10, 2011

(A man takes a nap next to a poster of Osama bin Laden at the Chauburji monument in Lahore May 13, 2011. The message written on the posters read: "The prayer absentia for martyr of Islamic nation is a duty and a debt"/Mani Rana)

from India Insight:

Rebel incursions into Kashmir from Pakistan at all-time low

July 5, 2011

Summer has set in in scenic Kashmir, melting snow on the high Himalayan mountain passes and allowing easier movement of separatist militants from the Pakistani side.

from Afghan Journal:

Drone strikes are police work, not an act of war?

July 5, 2011

Launching an air strike in another nation would normally be considered an act of aggression. But advocates of America's rapidly expanding unmanned drone programme don't see it that way.

from Afghan Journal:

Pakistan’s Shamsi base : a mystery wrapped in a riddle

July 3, 2011

Pakistan Defence Minister Mukhtar Ahmad's comments this week that the government had ended U.S. drone flights out of Shamsi air base deep in southwest Baluchistan province has injected new controversy in their troubled relationship. U.S. officials appeared to scoff at Mukhtar's remarks, saying they had no plans to vacate the base from where they have in the past launched unmanned Predator aircraft targeting militant havens in the northwest region.

MQM’s pullout – Is it too late to have an impact ?

By Reuters Staff
July 1, 2011

By Faisal Aziz

For once, the government of President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party does not seem too bothered about the decision of its junior partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), to say good-bye to the ruling coalition.