Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

Bombs and tipping points: Pakistan and Northern Ireland


When Northern Ireland’s Omagh bomb exploded, killing 29 people, I was in England, by cruel coincidence attending the wedding of a young man who had been badly injured in another attack in the town of Enniskillen more than a decade earlier.

I had just switched my phone on after leaving the church on a glorious, sunny Saturday afternoon when my news editor called. “There’s been a bomb. It sounds bad. We’re trying to get you on a flight.”

Memories of Omagh returned this week when a massive car bomb ripped through a market in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing more than 100 people, many of them women and children.

Will the Taliban’s bloody assault on Pakistan’s cities deprive them of popular support and ultimately lead to their defeat?

Huge bomb hits heart of Islamabad


Scene of destruction outside Marriott Hotel

A suicide truck bomber hit the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Saturday, killing at least 40 people, wounding nearly 250 and starting a huge fire.

The explosion came hours after President Asif Ali Zardari made his first address to parliament a few hundred metres away, calling for terrorism to be rooted out.

Thinking the unthinkable: visa-free travel between India and Pakistan


Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is pushing for visa-free travel with India, and has gone to the extent of saying Islamabad might do it unilaterally  if New Delhi is not prepared to go the distance.

As ideas go, visa-free travel in a globalised world isn’t anything remarkable. In the context of the tortured India-Pakistan relationship this, however, would be nothing short of a political masterstroke.