Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

from India Insight:

Pakistan’s moment of triumph, and a question for the world

Pakistan's success in the Twenty20 cricket World Cup must rank as one of sports' more timely victories. For a state that is supposed to be at war with itself, failing and in danger of fragmentation there cannot be a sweeter way to hit back.

Younus Khan who led his unfancied team comes from the North West Frontier Province, as does Shahid Afridi whose explosive batting took Pakistan to an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka, another nation wracked by decades of civil war, but coming out of it.

The NWFP is the frontline of the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda that has so blighted the nation, left it divided, bleeding and saddled with a huge refugee problem. Indeed Khan said the World Cup was a gift to the people of Pakistan.

Cricinfo compared Pakistan's success to a newly-reunified South Africa's victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, saying there had not been a more timely win since then.

Who controls Pakistan’s militants?

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The Pakistani state may be facing its most serious threat since its birth more than six decades ago, begging the question of who controls the militants who are expanding their influence across the country.

The question has arisen in the light of escalating violence inside Pakistan including the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team despite a call reported to have been made by the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, urging Pakistani militants to stop fighting at home and instead focus on Afghanistan.

Lahore conspiracy theories go beyond the boundary

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Conspiracy theories have filled a void in Pakistan that opened up as soon as the dozen gunmen who attacked the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team made a leisurely getaway  without any apparent casualties after a 25 minute gun battle.

Since the attack on Tuesday, Pakistani authorities have yet to reveal where the investigation was going,  despite Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi saying “important  leads” had been established.

from India Insight:

Pakistan cricket plunges into crisis

It's just not cricket.

Ducking for cover as bullets replaced bouncers... players evacuated in a military helicopter that lands right next to a 22-yard pitch... the same strip at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium that saw Thilan Samaraweera score a double century the previous evening.

Samaraweera was hit on his leg during an audacious attack by armed militants on a convoy taking his team to the venue, an attack that left six cricketers injured and more than half-a-dozen Pakistani security personnel killed.

from Left field:

A long winter looms for Pakistan cricket

cricketA billion fans in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka -- all test nations -- have used the game of cricket as a balm for their myriad problems.

That myth was exploded on Tuesday after gunmen wounded six Sri Lankan players after firing heavy weapons as their team bus wound its way towards the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore to start the third day's play in the second test.

from Left field:

Sport on sub-continent threatened after attack on Sri Lanka cricketers


Scenes of bloodshed on the streets of Lahore after gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus instantly ended any hopes Pakistan might have held of coaxing the cricketing world back to its grounds.

Repercussions from Tuesday's incident that left six players wounded and five policemen dead may also be felt through the entire region for years to come (read our main report here and click here for reaction).

This is not cricket, Pakistanis say

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You have to be living in Pakistan, or have gone through the “madness” of the last year or so to understand the despondency that is likely to be caused by the International Cricket Council’s decision to postpone next month’s Champions trophy because of security concerns, writes columnist Osman Samiuddin.  

Cricket is close to most people’s hearts in South Asia, and for Pakistan to lose the game’s second most important tournament after the World Cup hurts. Yes, there is a war out there in the northwest,  yes there are suicide bombings, and in the middle of all this, there is political uncertainty that can turn ugly very quickly, as has happened so often in the past.  

Keeping time in South Asia

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Pakistan has just moved to daylight saving time, the first country in South Asia to try this to stave off a crippling energy shortage. But will it work ? Or will it make life a bit more difficult for people travelling across South Asia where most countries have their own national clocks, sometimes minutes apart, largely as a mark of national sovereignty more than anything else?

t12.jpg Opinion in the media and on the blogs is divided over Pakistan’s decision to move clocks by one hour until August, with some pointing out that this had been tried
out in the past and it didn’t really work.

Cocking a snook : South Asia hosts Ahmadinejad

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India, Pakistan and even tiny Sri Lanka have all ignored U.S. concerns, and have hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the past two days. It is a fleeting visit with less than five hours scheduled in Delhi, but it seems like a carefully calibrated piece of diplomacy tiptoeing around the elephant in the room.
 
For, as relations go, India and Pakistan have become bound up with the United States in ways that would have been unthinkable not very long ago. Islamabad is a frontline ally in Washington’s war on al Qaeda and the Taliban, India a growing strategic partner with whom it is pushing a far-reaching civilian nuclear deal that gives it de facto recognition as a nuclear state.

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So what’s this dance with Iran, accused by the United States of sponsoring terrorism and seeking to develop nuclear weapons ? Some of it is down to economics : Iran holds the key to India’s energy  insecurity, as a piece in the Asia Times argues.

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