Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

Pakistan and Egypt: between pragmatism and dogma

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Both Pakistan and Egypt had much to learn from each other this week.

On the foreign policy front, if Pakistan ever had aspirations to play the central role as the leader of Muslim unity, it had a salutary lesson in the way Egypt played its cards. Barely a week ago, Pakistan was looking forward to hosting Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, who was to be given the rare honour of addressing a joint session of parliament.

Mursi – the first president to emerge from the Muslim Brotherhood – was due in Islamabad for a summit meeting of the Developing-8 Islamic countries, which also includes Iran, Turkey and Nigeria among others.  The Jamaat-e-Islami (which sees itself as the ideological sibling of the Brotherhood – both were founded in the first half of the 20th century as anti-imperial Islamist  movements in British India and Egypt) proclaimed on its Twitter feed about how much it looked forward to greeting Mursi in Pakistan.

And then Mursi cancelled, his office saying he wanted to stay at home to monitor the ceasefire he had just brokered in Gaza.

These things happen; presidents and prime ministers change, or curtail, plans all the time to deal with unexpected crises. But something deeper was at play here in the way it illustrated the mismatch between Pakistan’s own aspirational approach to foreign affairs and the very real influence wielded by Egypt.

from Expert Zone:

Kasab execution is reminder of Pakistani foot-dragging

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(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Nearly four years after the horrific Mumbai attacks that left over 160 dead, including six Americans, India put to death the lone surviving gunman, Pakistani citizen Ajmal Kasab.

Russia warming up to Pakistan

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The impending withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014 has seen increased efforts being made by Russia and China to gain influence in the region. As a part of their strategy to secure its interests in Central Asia, Russia has been attempting to foster a relationship with Pakistan.

In the shadow of violence, Quetta’s divides multiply

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Persecution can bring people together. It can also prise them apart.

In Pakistan, so many minorities are threatened by homicidal extremists that travelling the country can feel like hopping across an archipelago of communities under varying degrees of siege.

Rarely is the impression stronger than in Quetta, the fear-filled capital of Baluchistan province, and a cauldron of the bigotry and intolerance that has poisoned so much of Pakistan’s body politic.

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