Pakistan: Now or Never?

Dreams from my father: South Asia’s political dynasties

August 4, 2010

bilawal“Whatever the result, this meeting will be a turning point in Pakistan’s history,” Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto told his daughter Benazir as he prepared for a summit meeting with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1972 in the Indian hill resort of Simla after his country’s defeat by India in the 1971 war. “I want you to witness it first hand.”

One year on, same questions swirl around Bhutto’s murder

December 27, 2008

The anniversary of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has reminded everyone just how much we still don’t know about her killing in a suicide gun and bomb attack in Rawalpindi on Dec. 27, 2007.
 
The same questions that transfixed the shocked country in the days after her death, such as why was the crime scene hosed down so quickly, was she killed when the blast smashed her head into the lever on her vehicle’s escape hatch or by a bullet, why was no autopsy performed, are again being raised.
 
Investigations by the previous government and the U.S. CIA accused an al Qaeda-linked militant, Baitullah Mehsud, of killing Bhutto, a staunch supporter of the U.S.-led campaign against Islamist militancy.
 
That would seem logical enough but, as we’ve seen with the Mumbai attacks, any militant attack on or linked to Pakistan seems to raise questions about possible links to old allies in the powerful intelligence services.
 
(more…)

Nudging India and Pakistan towards peace

September 13, 2008

Barricade of burning tyres in Srinagar/Fayaz KabliOne of the more recurrent themes in U.S. political punditry these days is the need to nudge India and Pakistan towards peace. The theory is that this would bolster the new civilian government in Islamabad by encouraging trade and economic development, reduce a rivalry that threatens regional stability, including in Afghanistan, and limit the role of the Pakistan Army, whose traditional dominance has been fuelled by a perceived threat from India.

Guest contribution: Presidential elections in Pakistan

September 1, 2008

The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the author’s alone.  The writer is Pakistan’s High Commissioner to London and a former advisor to the late Benazir Bhutto.

Showdown or climbdown in Pakistan?

May 25, 2008

This is definitely a case of “the more you know, the less you understand”. 

Pakistan coalition split, not yet estranged

May 14, 2008

The split in Pakistan’s ruling coalition could provide a lifeline for President Pervez Musharraf that the Pakistani people believed they’d yanked away in an election three months ago. 

Pakistan’s coalition government founders

May 12, 2008

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif/Faisal MahmoodWhen former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of the late Benazir Bhutto, agreed in March to form a coalition government in Pakistan, the words of the 19th century British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli seemed apt:

Anti-Americanism in Pakistan

May 11, 2008

U.S. ambassador Anne W. Patterson, in a speech reported by the Pakistan press, said last week that the depth of anti-Americanism in Pakistan, especially among the middle-class, had surprised her. Pakistan’s long-term interests were aligned with those of the United States, and those opposing U.S. engagement in the country had a limited understanding of  how the partnership based on economic assistance had changed the lives of Pakistanis, she told a meeting in Karachi. For added measure, she said that the “ïncreasingly prosperous middle class” would be the first to suffer if  hardliners gained ground.

Madrasas catch the cricket bug

April 13, 2008

Pakistani students recite the Koran in an Islamic school in PeshawarA crack has opened in the cast-iron rules surrounding Pakistan’s madrasas, and cricket, South Asia’s favourite sport, has rushed in.

Pakistan: Breaking down the stereotypes

April 6, 2008

An economy growing at an average of 7 percent for six years now with a construction  and consumer boom, a rising middle-class that has just voted out a government, a free  press, a thriving fashion scene. Another emerging market star?