Pakistan: Now or Never?

The Pakistan Army and civilian democracy

April 28, 2009

The Pakistan Army has been getting a lot of flak over the past week or so for its alleged failure to take a tough line against Taliban militants expanding their reach across Pakistan’s north-west.  And although Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani issued a statement promising to fight the militants and security forces began a new offensive, doubts remain about the military’s willingness to take on Islamist groups that it once nurtured as part of its rivalry with India.

A letter for Pakistan’s Kayani from an Indian officer

April 19, 2009

A retired Indian Army officer has written an open letter to Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani that Pakistan’s The News carried this week and which is now popping up on blogs.

Pakistan’s chief justice reinstated

March 16, 2009

Two years after Iftikhar Chaudhry was first sacked by then President Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan government officials said he would be reinstated as Chief Justice after a nationwide protest led by Pakistan’s lawyers.

Pakistan’s general and the warring politicians

March 13, 2009

Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani is much talked about these days as the one national figure who could lean on Pakistan’s warring politicians to back down from a confrontation threatening the stability of the country. The question is over how he would intervene while maintaining a commitment to keep the army out of politics.

Pakistan: has it reached the edge of the precipice?

March 10, 2009

Maybe this always happens at times of national upheaval. But there is a surprising disconnect between the immediacy of the crisis facing Pakistan as expressed by Pakistani bloggers and the more slow-moving debate taking place in the outside world over the right strategy to adopt towards both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Pakistan Army and “the history of the stick”

February 27, 2009

In his book on the Pakistan Army, South Asia expert Stephen Cohen quotes a senior lieutenant-general as warning the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto against using the military to control political opposition. “If you use a stick too often, the stick will take over,” Cohen quotes the general as saying. “This has always been the history of the stick.”

Compromise in Swat: is the Pakistan army up to fighting insurgency?

February 17, 2009

Pakistan’s military has ordered troops to hold fire in the Swat valley following the deal between the provincial government and Taliban militants to enforce Islamic law.

Assessing U.S. intervention in India-Pakistan: enough for now?

December 7, 2008

In the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, India’s response has been to look to the United States to lean on Pakistan, which it blames for spawning Islamist militancy across the region, rather than launching any military retaliation of its own. So after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s trip to India and Pakistan last week, have the Americans done enough for now?

Zardari says ready to commit to no first use of nuclear weapons

November 22, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari says he would be ready to commit to a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, in what would be a dramatic overturning of Pakistan’s nuclear policy. Pakistan has traditionally seen its nuclear weapons as neutralising Indian superiority in conventional warfare, and refused to follow India’s example of declaring a no first use policy after both countries conducted nuclear tests in 1998.

Will Obama’s victory boost democracy in Pakistan?

November 6, 2008

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In his new book about the Pakistan Army, “War, Coups and Terror”, Brian Cloughley recounts how the British general, the Duke of Wellington,  responded to democracy in his first cabinet meeting as prime minister: ”An extraordinary affair. I gave them their orders and they wanted to stay and discuss them.”