Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

Pakistan’s South Waziristan operation: defeat or dispersal?

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Pakistan’s military offensive in South Waziristan appears to be showing considerably more success than earlier attempts to take control of the tribal region on the Afghan border, at least according to army accounts which are the only real source of information. 

But will it turn the tide in Pakistan’s battle against Islamist militants? A few articles which have appeared over the last few days give pause for thought.

Dawn newspaper says in an editorial the Taliban have “been subdued, not vanquished”.

“Before operation Rah-i-Najat was launched, the army put the Taliban strength at about 10,000. Since the maximum number of Taliban fatalities has been put at about 500, those not taken prisoner may have slipped into North Waziristan or the adjoining settled districts. They must be pursued relentlessly without being given a chance to reorganise, and the nation ought to be told what strategy the authorities have up their sleeve to finish the job.”

Fear drives conspiracy of silence in Pakistan

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Many Pakistanis and their leaders may hate the Taliban, but few dare speak openly against them for fear of reprisals from the hardline Islamist group.

The militants have carried out four attacks and killed at least a dozen people since the army launched an assault on their South Waziristan stronghold, while more than 150 people were killed in a deadly spree preceding the offensive – including a brazen raid on army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

from India Insight:

India in a “ring of fire”

As a growing power which aims to rewrite global economic and geopolitical realities, India's first order of business is to secure its strategic periphery without provoking a backlash from its neighbours.

But the political crisis in Nepal, triggered by the resignation of Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda, is yet another reminder of India's strategic challenges.

Pakistan: has it reached the edge of the precipice?

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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.

Reading Pakistani blogs since confrontation between the country’s two main political parties exploded and comparing them to international commentaries is a bit like watching men shout that their house is on fire, and then panning over to the fire station where the folks in charge are debating which type of water hose works best.

Shoaib Akhtar : Pakistan cricket’s enfant terrible in one last bow?

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With a five year-ban on playing for Pakistan and a $3.65 million defamation suit slapped against him by the country’s cricket board chief, fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has his hands full, even by the standards of his tumultuous cricketing career.
 Shoaib Akhtar

Is this the end of the road for the pin-up boy of Pakistani cricket and one of the most recognisable figures of his country ? A tragic victim, at age 32, of his success, talent, fame and showmanship?
 
For many of us, there is no better sight in cricket than watching Shoaib steaming in to bowl, raw pace at its best and the crowds in a packed stadium behind him. The “Rawalpindi Express” crossed the 100 mile per hour speed barrier in the 2003 World Cup and there aren’t many in international cricket that quick.
 
This week as he arrived in India to play in an Indian Premier League after the Pakistani cricket board temporarily suspended the ban on him and the defamation suit was withdrawn following a public apology by Shoaib, the buzz was starting to pick up in the cricket-mad region.
 
For Shoaib, for all his indiscipline, late nights, missed training sessions and even a doping scandal, can still turn a match on its head and the crowds love it. His record of 178 wickets in 46 Tests and another 219 in 138 one-day internationals speaks for itself.  And all this, after he missed dozens of matches due to fitness or  disciplinary-related problems, the last straw being when he hit a teammate with a bat in South Africa.
 
One can only wonder what  the temperamental player could have achieved  if he simply had been more disciplined in his cricket.
 
For as they say no player is bigger than the game, and Shoaib has had his chances.
 

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