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By AATISH TASEER Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: "Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice." My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India's misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan's unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947.
Perversity characterizes Pakistan. Only the worst African hellholes, Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Iraq rank higher on this year's Failed States Index . The country is run by a military obsessed with -- and, for decades, invested in -- the conflict with India, and by a civilian elite that steals all it can and pays almost no taxes. But despite an overbearing military, tribes "defined by a near-universal male participation in organized violence," as the late European anthropologist Ernest Gellner put it , dominate massive swaths of territory.
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph NEW DELHI – India and Pakistan are enjoying one of the better periods in their turbulent relationship. Recent months have witnessed no terrorist incidents, no escalating rhetoric, and no diplomatic flashpoints. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari just made a successful, if brief, personal visit to India (mainly to visit a famous shrine, but with a lunch with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh thrown in). Sixteen years after India granted Pakistan most-favored-nation (MFN) trading status, Pakistan is on the verge of reciprocating.
Can a small group of reformers modernize Pakistan’s schools? Photograph courtesy of the Citizens Archive of Pakistan 2011, Karachi.
Reporting from Lahore, Pakistan — After philosophy students and faculty members rallied to denounce heavy-handed efforts to separate male and female students, Islamists on campus struck back: In the dead of night, witnesses say, the radicals showed up at a men's dormitory armed with wooden sticks and bicycle chains. They burst into dorm rooms, attacking philosophy students. One was pistol-whipped and hit on the head with a brick. Gunfire rang out, although no one was injured. Police were called, but nearly a month after the attack, no arrests have been made.
Snapshot The network of militants operating in Pakistan's tribal areas are playing an increasingly destabilizing role in NATO's possible negotiations with the Taliban. The killing of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the former Afghan president who led the High Peace Council, illustrates all too well the tremendous obstacles to a meaningful reconciliation among Afghanistan's various factions. Before his death on September 20 at the hands of a man who claimed to be an emissary of the Quetta Shura, Rabbani, an ethnic Tajik, had been in charge of reconciliation efforts with Taliban insurgents.
on : Tuesday, 26 Jul, 2011 Egypt Victorious? Just days after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the International Crisis Group released an insightful report on the events passed, as well as an analysis on what they felt would become the country’s greatest challenges in transitioning towards democracy. As they predicted in Egypt Victorious? a number of obstacles have arisen including the military’s stranglehold on reforms as a means of protecting their extensive political and business interests, as well as a lack of organization on the part of the opposition. Together, these two trends may lead to a post-Mubarak Egypt that is not different from the previous regime at all.
The past decade has been devastating for Pakistan. The country’s annual death toll from terrorist attacks rose from 164 in 2003 to 3,318 in 2009, a level exceeding the number of Americans killed on September 11. Some 35,000 Pakistanis, including 3,500 members of security forces, have died in terror and counterterror violence. Millions more have been displaced by fighting. It is difficult to convey how profoundly the country has been wounded.
Between You and Me In 14 points, the Pakistani parliament has reinforced its stance against US violations of its sovereignty. With the failing war in Afghanistan and an ever sputtering relationship with Pakistan, the US is looking weaker and weaker. What are the implications for regional security? Pakistan Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani
Between You and Me Why has the US allied itself so closely with a government that “exports violence,” and worse, provides support, however little, to extremist groups that count the US as one of their primary targets? A US soldier checks the fingerprints of an Afghan man in the border town of Turkham in the Nangarhar province Recent statements made by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, that the Haqqani network is a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, has prompted a stark warning from the Pakistani government that if the accusations continue, the US will lose an ally. Admiral Mullen’s remarks were made in a US Armed Services Committee hearing on 22 September, during which he also alleged that the ISI provided support to the Haqqani network in its attack against the US embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul a week prior.
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph ISLAMABAD – Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari abruptly returned to Karachi on the morning of December 19, following a 13-day absence for medical treatment in Dubai, where he lived while in exile. The government issued no a formal statement about Zadari’s health, but his supporters disclosed that he had suffered a mild stroke, which left him unconscious for several minutes.
Pakistan's civilian government, led by the Pakistan People's Party, has long been an irritant to the country's generals. President Asif Ali Zardari runs a corrupt and inept administration and has been far too willing to cozy up to Washington. Husain Haqqani, until November 2011, was Pakistan's controversial envoy to the United States. He has been a thorn in the side of General Headquarters since publishing his book Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military in 2005 while at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Reading List An annotated Foreign Affairs syllabus on Pakistani politics. Snapshot Compared to the political drama surrounding "Memogate" a few months ago, politics in Pakistan have become almost mundane. If things continue at this rate, the current administration could be the first ever to complete a full term -- a major victory for democracy. (Athar Hussain / Courtesy Reuters)
Snapshot The ruling Pakistan People's Party's days in office are numbered. But it will not likely fall to a coup, given the stalemate between the military, the judiciary, and the civilians. Instead, the most likely outcome is that the government will call early general elections, which will bring a new batch of civilians to the fore.
Imran Khan is winning support, but can he avoid corruption? Imran Khan: surging in popularity, but winning power involves unsavoury compromises