Pakistan: Now or Never?
Perspectives on Pakistan
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is used to being Pakistan’s most popular politician, but lately he has become the country’s most criticised.
The government had planned to push through the parliament this month a reform package that would have stripped President Asif Ali Zardari of his sweeping powers, but that seems unlikely now after Sharif abruptly raised new objections on Thursday. Sharif was the one who loudly and actively campaigned against his arch-rival Zardari.
It was a dramatic turnaround. Just hours before a parliamentary committee comprised of all political parties, including Sharif’s, was due to sign the reforms package, Sharif threw a political bombshell by raising objections over the the appointment of judges and the renaming of the North West Frontier Province.
It is the first time in the history of Pakistan, which has been ruled by the military for half of its history, that a civilian government was pushing a comprehensive constitutional reform package through the parliament — with the consultation of the opposition — to undo provisions introduced by dictators to tighten their grip on power.
A crucial part of gunman Mohammad Ajmal Kasab's confession at the Mumbai attack trial has been censored by the judge on the grounds that it could inflame religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India. After stunning the court on Monday by admitting guilt in the the three-day rampage that killed 166 people, Kasab gave further testimony on Tuesday that included details about his training by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based militant group on U.S. and Indian terrorist lists.
The front-page report in today's The Hindu, which noted the judge's gag order in its sub-header, put it this way:
from Global News Journal:
The concept of a televised war was born in January 1991, when news networks reported live on the missiles slamming into Baghdad and millions watched from the comfort of their living rooms as tracer fire lit the sky above Iraq's capital. A decade later, the world watched in minute-by-minute horror as the twin towers came crashing down in New York.
Now, with the ferocious militant attacks in Mumbai, we have arrived in "the age of celebrity terrorism". Paul Cornish of Chatham House argues that apart from killing scores of people, what the Mumbai gunmen wanted was "an exaggerated and preferably extreme reaction on the part of governments, the media and public opinion".