Pakistan: Now or Never?

Pakistan and the melting glaciers

November 15, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Pakistan is to dig itself out of its current crisis it needs two things to happen.  It needs strong economic growth to tackle poverty and undercut the appeal of hardline Islamists; and it needs peace with India if it is to permanently cut its ties with militants it has traditionally seen as a reserve force to be used against its much bigger neighbour.  Or so goes the prevailing view.

Pakistan, India and the rise and/or fall of the nation state

November 10, 2008

When the British left India in 1947, they bequeathed what was arguably a European notion of the nation state on a region for which the very concept was alien. I say ”arguably” because anything one writes about Partition or the nation state is open to dispute. And until the financial crisis, I relegated this argument to the realm of historians – a subject that interested me personally, but did not seem relevant today.

Obama’s Kashmir comments hit a raw nerve in India

November 3, 2008

Barack Obama has hit a raw nerve in India by suggesting the United States should try to help resolve the Kashmir dispute so that Pakistan can focus on hunting down Islamist militants on its north-western frontier — who in turn threaten stability in Afghanistan — rather than worrying about tensions with India on its eastern border. India is extremely sensitive to any suggestion of outside interference in Kashmir, which it sees as a bilateral dispute, though Pakistan itself has long chafed against this position.

Seeking regional peace for Afghanistan

October 23, 2008

Given the focus on U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan since 9/11, it’s easy to forget the regional context. In an article in Foreign Affairs, Barnett Rubin and Ahmed Rashid try to set that right, calling for a regional approach that would take account of the interests not just of Afghanistan, but also of Pakistan, Russia, Iran, India and China.

Is Pakistan’s war against militants India’s too?

October 10, 2008

Time was when every time militants set off a bomb in Pakistan, India’s strategic establishment would turn around and say “we told you so”. This is what happens when you play with fire … jihad is a double-edged sword, they would say, pointing to Pakistan’s support for militants operating in Kashmir and elsewhere.k2.jpg

Zardari says India is not a threat to Pakistan

October 5, 2008

Pakistan’s new President Asif Ali Zardari is starting to challenge quite a few long-held positions.

India, Pakistan back to their aggressive ways at Wagah

September 25, 2008

One of the oddities of the troubled India-Pakistan relationship is a  theatrical flag-lowering ceremony that the border guards of the two countries together enact every day at sunset at the Wagah checkpoint in the Punjab – for long the only road crossing.YouTube Preview Image

Kashmir trade: glimmer of hope or false dawn?

September 23, 2008

In the aftermath of the deadly hotel bombing in Islamabad, amidst fresh tensions with the United States over  helicopter intrusions in Pakistan’s northwest, and in spite of reports of fresh cross-border firing in Kashmir, negotiators from India and Pakistan met in New Delhi and agreed to open trade across Kashmir. There could hardly have been a more unlikely time for the two countries to agree to crack open one of the world’s most militarised frontiers, where a ceasefire which has more or less held since 2003 is beginning to fray at the edges.

Pakistan: firing reported on Indian and Afghan borders

September 22, 2008

Just two days after a suicide bomb attack on the Marriott killed 53 people in the heart of Islamabad, there were reports of trouble both on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan and on the Line of Control with India.