background preloader


Facebook Twitter

Leaked report shows Bin Laden's 'hidden life' - Central & South Asia. Former al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was able to hide in Pakistan for nine years due to the "collective failure" of state military and intelligence authorities, a leaked Pakistani government report has revealed. The report, obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit, also outlines how "routine" incompetence at every level of civil governance structure allowed the once world's most wanted man to move to six different locations within the country. The report of the Abbottabad Commission, formed in June 2011 to probe the circumstances around the killing of Bin Laden by US forces in a unilateral raid on the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, draws on testimony from more than 200 witnesses, including members of Bin Laden's family, Pakistan's then spy chief, senior ministers in the government and officials at every level of the military, bureaucracy and security services.

It was released by the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit on Monday, after being suppressed by the Pakistani government. Altaf Hussain, the notorious MQM leader who swapped Pakistan for London. Pakistan's most vibrant, vivacious and popular 24-hour news channel, Geo TV, generally has little difficulty recruiting staff. Its headquarters are in Karachi, Pakistan's so called "city of dreams" – a massive, sprawling conurbation with 20 million residents seeking a better life. And yet there was one vacancy recently that Geo TV could not fill. The channel wanted a lookalike for its popular satirical show, in which actors play the parts of the country's leading politicians. It was a job offering instant stardom and good money. The man Geo TV sought to satirise was Altaf Hussain, the leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Anxiety about the MQM is not restricted to Pakistan.

The man who has everyone looking over his or her shoulder does not even live in Karachi. When Pakistan was created in 1947 it had a population of 70 million. At first the Mohajirs fared well. The MQM's most vocal critic today is cricketer-turned-playboy-turned-Islamist-politician Imran Khan. Prescription Strike. The CIA’s use of vaccine programs as cover for covert operations in Pakistan has endangered aid workers and undermined the fight against polio “We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. The fatal attacks on health workers vaccinating against polio push the limits of even the most ungenerous vision of a “barbaric” Pakistan. This essay appears in Vol. 18: Family Planning.

But you would have to be an almost quaintly classic racist to believe these attacks are simply the violence inherent to brown men with long beards rather than the product of a specific set of circumstances. There was a time when Pakistan’s mission to eradicate polio was thriving. Now, vaccine refusal is once again chronically high. U.S. Mapping the Elections | Tanqeed. Issue IV The TQ team has compiled data (see the spreadsheet below) and more importantly–district level descriptions–to provide some context for all the numbers floating around about the upcoming elections. We have tried our best to be accurate. Mistakes happen. If you catch one, drop it in the comment box or email us: Roll over the map to see descriptions. Click on a district to read the description fully.

Map design: Ahmer Arif Content: Anum Naz and Palwasha Mushtaq Tags: data, elections, map. The Tragedy of Pakistan. The Taliban want to end democracy in Pakistan. The state won’t be able to stop them. (ASIF HASSAN / Getty Images) Five tumultuous years of governance by the Pakistan People’s Party have paid off with the start of a historic election season in Pakistan. These elections, scheduled to take place in less than a week, will mark the first democratic handover of power from one elected government to another in 66 years of independence. But what was supposed to be a rare feel-good moment for a beleaguered nation has in recent weeks acquired an additional perverse significance: with 100 people already killed, the 2013 elections will go down as the bloodiest in Pakistani history. At times like these, when martyrs for democracy are being readily supplied in the fight against the Taliban, it is critical to examine the rhetoric around the survival of democracy in Pakistan which anti-Taliban forces have rallied around.

The autonomy and integrity of the nation has long been the plaything of others. REVIEW: The Oxford Companion to Pakistani History edited by Ayesha Jalal. Reviewed by Ali Raza AYESHA Jalal and Oxford University Press, Pakistan bravely set themselves the unenviable task of compiling an encyclopedic volume on Pakistani history. By its very nature, this is a very difficult undertaking. It’s not simply that The Oxford Companion to Pakistani History aims to incorporate an impossibly diverse set of themes or that it aspires to be the most authoritative and indispensible work on the subject.

Rather, as Jalal alludes in her preface, the difficulty in compiling this volume lies in deciphering what ‘Pakistani history’ really is. Where should it be located? To an extent, these questions can legitimately be asked of all national histories. So why is this important? Why qualified? So what are those? Other examples: in an entry on the All India Muslim League, the contributor writes that in the 1937 elections, “the AIML won in Punjab and Bengal.” Added to this are entries which have been included for inexplicable reasons.

Edited by Ayesha Jalal 584pp. The Good Samaritans? | News & Politics. Last month, when Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, got a call from the Army House just before midnight, he did not think it was unusual. The army chief Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani is a bit of a night bird and often reserves odd hours for telephonic consultations. But what the prime minister heard on the line made him sit up, even if for a little while. General Kayani wanted to speak to a large group of journalists the next day, a Sunday. To make sure that he had heard him right, the prime minister got him to repeat what he had said. “What is it about?” “A few things that have been the subject of debate in the media, and since I have not had this kind of talk (with the press) for almost two years, I thought it would be appropriate that I have a face-to-face interaction,” the general persisted with his matter-of-fact tone, giving away nothing.

The predictable happened. General Kayani’s media briefing did not turn out to be as benign as it had sounded on the phone. Musharraf’s mirage | Opinion. THE general is back, and this time not on horseback. Since he has offered to take us back to the Pakistan that he left behind, perhaps it’s a good idea to recall what the country looked like back when he made his unceremonious exit. The Economic Survey of Pakistan for fiscal year 2007 and 2008 made mention of the “large fiscal slippages” in that year, noting that the budget deficit was likely to come in at 6.5 per cent of GDP, against a target of 4.5 per cent.

The reason was “subsidies rising to an unsustainable level” with power tariffs and fuel as the main culprits and an “extraordinary increase in development spending”. Continuing, the survey lays out the consequences of policy failures in that year: “Government borrowing from the State Bank of Pakistan has reached an all time high, leading to excessive monetary expansion and thus becoming one of the principal sources of inflationary build-up in the country. How could it all come crashing down so fast? But it wasn’t to last. PTI settles ideologically - Harris Khalique. Side-effect The writer is a poet and author based in Islamabad. Right-wing is used for being conservative and pro-rich in economic policymaking as well as being conservative and pro-religion in social policymaking.

The ‘confused conservatism’, which was taken for ‘confused liberalism’ by many, persisted for years in the PTI. That is now changing. Their leader made six personal promises, which in effect means that he will fulfil the obligations imposed upon him by Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution if he becomes prime minister, rather than announcing six succinct changes his party will bring about in Pakistan’s social, political and economic structure. Anyway, the morning after making these promises, he met the top leadership of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and set up a committee for seat adjustment in the forthcoming general elections.

Some old PTI stalwarts may still think that Jamaat’s organisation and ideology can both be tamed to follow Imran Khan’s whims. (Saving...) Literate, NOS, The News International. Festival The LLF city People listening to authors, buying books and engaging with ideas without a thought for a bomb blast — this was a new Lahore By Sabahat Zakariya Fears of a Lahori elite schmoozefest coupled with the counterintuitive idea of a festival about reading, essentially a solitary activity for solitary people, had me sceptical about the first ever Lahore Literary Festival. However, the two days of the event ended up charming me for several reasons, chief among them the festivity they returned to the Lahori spring. Urdu’s case The growing influence of English as opposed to the traditional grip of Urdu literature was a subject of LLF By Wajid Ali Syed There’s hardly any established language that debates its future. Urdu, however, is not one of them.

Its literature especially poetry has a glorious past, and a fabulous present. Yet, a pointless question about the future of Urdu literature has been going around for decades now. Meanwhile Shehan looked on bemusedly. . The hidden economy | Opinion. GOING by the numbers alone, it would appear that no significant economic activity takes place west of the Indus. Look at the provincial GDP numbers, the revenue figures and you see no movement, no activity on any significant scale. More detailed metrics of economic activity also show great ‘tranquillity’ in the west. Detailed figures on consumption of electricity by industrial and commercial categories of consumer, for instance, show very little change over the years.

The number of bank branches operating in the western provinces doesn’t change much, nor does the provincial ratio of deposits to total bank deposits in the country. But take a closer look and you’ll find something odd. The State Bank has a data series on its website that shows something enormous, of truly gigantic proportions, stirring beneath the tranquillity suggested by the formal macroeconomic data. First some background. The State Bank operates 16 clearing houses in cities all over the country. The Muslim forest and the Islamist trees. It's hard to imagine two more unlikely political bedfellows than commentator Paul Berman and Columbia University Professor Hamid Dabashi. Their worldviews, a priori assumptions and political affiliations are so distinct, indeed frequently antagonistic, that it's even difficult to imagine them having a calm conversation.

And yet in two recent, and in many other senses radically different, essays, Berman and Dabashi have essentially made the same argument: that the trend in the Arab uprisings, and the Muslim world generally, is shifting away from organized, exclusivist Islamist groups and groping its way toward a far more inclusive, tolerant and pluralistic political vision. It’s claim I’ve also made frequently. In the weeds, Berman and Dabashi inevitably find themselves in radically contradictory spaces. Both dubiously choose to link developments in Mali with the transformations in numerous Arab states. Berman is fixated on parsing between "radical" and "moderate" Muslims. Lahore Literary Festival. Click here for the coverage on the Karachi Literature Festival 7:15 pm The first day of the Lahore Literary Festival wrapped up after packed sessions throughout the day. As the day ended at the Lahore Literary Festival the chatter at Alhamra reflected an atmosphere where it seemed Lahoris came, saw and took away many interesting thoughts and ideas.

The satire session had the audience hooting and laughing, while Pakistan, a Modern Country? Had people in avid discussion after. Young Lahori hipsters, curious students, socialites and formidable uncles could be seen in and out of the halls at Alhmara today mixing with authors, journalists and filmmakers. Off to the Mushaira now! 6:15 pm Zehra Nigah on poetry and translation Zehra Nigah with Intizar Hussain. 5:30 pm The courtesan in literature: From Umrao Jan to Gohar Jan The courtesan in literature from Umrao Jan to Gohar jan discussion was based on the elaborate and aristocratic lifestyle of a courtesan. 5:00 pm Literature of resistance 4:00 pm. Scene: "Wedges!" by Saba Imtiaz. There was a momentary sense of panic when a loud boom was heard on the first day of Karachi Literature Festival.

Had the worst happened, despite the small army of police officers, conspicuous diplomatic security staff, and metal detectors at the venue? Ah no, it was just the rain, we all thought, looking out at the darkened sky. The rain? In Karachi? In February? The city never fails to surprise. The downpour drowned out the tent in the main garden of the Beach Luxury Hotel and booksellers scrambled to protect their stock as people used their programmes like makeshift umbrellas and rued the damage to their outfits. The rain stopped by the end of the day, thankfully making way for glorious sunsets and the backdrop of Karachi's mangrove trees. Despite the unplanned interruption by the rain, this year's Karachi Literature Festival was bigger, brighter and more belligerent than in the past. "Please don't expect America to bring democracy to you," he said. A society making less and less sense - Ayaz Amir.

Islamabad diary If we had to come to this why did we go through the trouble of Partition? I have wanted to ask this question for years but never could bring up the courage to frame it thus. After all, how can one question the basis of one’s existence? But as we continue to invent ever more elaborate forms of extremism and violence – killing in the name of our higher faith and exulting no end when the wages of barbarism are impressive – this question returns to haunt me.

I can understand our helplessness, or rather the army’s helplessness, in getting hold of someone like Hakeemullah Mehsud. He is in the mountains where our troops cannot go, perhaps for perfectly valid military reasons. It was not easy for the Americans to fight the Viet Cong and the Taliban plus Al-Qaeda are our Viet Cong. What a simpleton like me fails to understand, however, is our helplessness in the face of other extremist and sectarian elements holed up not in the mountains but to be found across Pakistan.

MENT : Who’s afraid of Ayesha Siddiqa? — Dr Mohammad Taqi. India can divert only minimum water from Kishanganga: tribunal | Pakistan. Destroying a Nation State: US-Saudi Funded Terrorists Sowing Chaos in Pakistan. Will the real Zaid Hamid please stand up? Most ugly shenanigans. Usman Kurd, the man who caused fall of Raisani govt. Pakistan army battles legacy of mistrust in Taliban heartland. Topi drama: The hat matters as much as the head. Kargil adventure was four-man show: general | Newspaper. Putting our children in line of fire.

Yes, Pakistanis Really Do Hate America's Killer Drones - Conor Friedersdorf. On migration in Pakistan « Rug Pundits. An unlikely avenger in a winter of shortages | Newspaper. The Historic Task of the Pakistani Bourgeoisie. IREF. Factsarefacts. Saadia Toor and "The State of Islam" Review | The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan. A politicised civil service? City, Space, Power: Lahore’s Architecture of In/Security. New Evidence of Pakistan’s Role in the Mumbai Attacks? | A Perfect Terrorist | FRONTLINE. What's Wrong with Pakistan? - By Robert D. Kaplan. Did the U.S. Know More Than It Let On About Mumbai Attacks Suspect? | A Perfect Terrorist | FRONTLINE. Executive Summary of the Kargil Committee Report: Rug Pundits | [Video] Pakistani Nation on the verge of a nervous breakdown. -Fatima Bhutto.