Showing posts from October, 2011

Political Shift in Pakistan: Prospects of Imran Khan's Justice Party

Political Shift Seen in Rally in Pakistan
By SALMAN MASOOD, New York Times, October 31, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An antigovernment rally in Lahore, led by the former cricket star Imran Khan, attracted a huge crowd estimated at more than 100,000 people on Sunday evening. The rally represented what supporters and some political analysts said was Mr. Khan’s emergence as a serious challenger to the governing Pakistan Peoples Party and its longtime rival, the Pakistan Muslim League-N.

Mr. Khan assailed the leaders of both parties — President Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif — as creatures of the status quo, and he has been a loud and frequent critic of Pakistan’s alliance with the United States, saying it was motivated by money.

The size of the crowd that Mr. Khan drew in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab and a traditional stronghold of the Muslim League-N, surprised his opponents and made an impression on political analysts.

Mr. Khan, 58, has languished on…

Kids, Kashmir and 'Controlled Chaos'

Mohsin Din on Kids, Kashmir and 'Controlled Chaos'
Asia Society, October 18, 2011- Annie Ali Khan

Teaching ten-year-olds in Kashmir film, photography and music via a series of workshops called the "Lollipops Crown Project" is an initiative led by American-Kashmiri artist and Fulbright scholar Mohsin Din to empower disadvantaged youth in the Muslim world through the arts.

"There is a lot of fear among Muslim communities that you cannot make mistakes," said Din, speaking at the Asia Society New York program "Social Media, Arts and Change in the Muslim World" last night. "They [children] got over that through these music workshops," he added.

Din was one of several panelists — MTV Iggy's Nusrat Durrani, journalist Robin Wright (Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World), performing arts producerZeyba Rahman— who convened at Asia Society to discuss the power of the arts to ignite change and create community in the Musli…

Rediscover Swat - By Madiha Ahmed

The Hidden Jewel
By Madiha Ahmed, madstickynotes

When I was applying, the internship’s job description said something about helping out with an on-going promotional campaign in Swat.

Um, what? Does anyone even go to Swat, anymore, except the people who live there?

I dismissed it as a theoretical effort. One of the many. I mean, everyone says that tourism needs to be promoted and militancy in that region needs to end and Talibanisation has wreaked havoc et cetera et cetera et cetera. But nothing is really done, is it?

*shrug shrug*

Boy, was I wrong!

Turns out that Firms is doing wonderful work for Swat and in Swat in order to rehabilitate an economy ravaged by floods and terrorism.

Am I saying that because I am now part of the project? Maybe.

But you should consider all the facts about the project before passing judgement on my motives…
Swat truly is a hidden jewel of Pakistan. It receives a lot of attention these days but it is only of the negative kind. The only other thing that peop…

Secretary Clinton's Message to Pakistan: Help us Negotiate with Taliban and Haqqani Group

Clinton Pressing Pakistan for Joint Covert Action on Islamic Insurgents

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Bloomberg, Oct 24, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Pakistan will suffer “dire consequences” if it fails to“contain” terrorists operating from its soil, and it needs the U.S. and Afghanistan to help get the job done.

The Obama administration isn’t asking Pakistan’s military to occupy its rugged border regions, the base for extremist groups that attack U.S., allied and Afghan forces on the other side, Clinton said in an interview with Bloomberg News following two days of meetings in Islamabad.

There are “different ways of fighting besides overt military action,” she said.

Clinton said she pressed Pakistan to fully share intelligence with U.S. forces in Afghanistan to prevent attacks and choke off money and supply routes. Better coordination might prevent incidents like the Sept. 20 assault on the American Embassy in Kabul, which the U.S. blames on the Haqqa…

Pakistan: An Anti-Insurgency Report Card

Anti-insurgency report card
By Khalid Aziz, Dawn, October 21, 2011
THOSE who work in development have an accepted practice for evaluating the performance of a project: after polling stakeholder perceptions, a `report card` is issued classifying success or failure against measurable indicators.

It is a pity Pakistan has no such document to show how it has fared in countering insurgents since October 2001.

The task of evaluation becomes more difficult when grading the impact of the internal counter-insurgency on external relations. In this case, that would mean taking the perceptions of our neighbours into consideration. How do they think we have fared? The opinions of the Afghans, Indians and our putative ally the US would be relevant.

Arguably, Pakistan may have achieved greater, albeit temporary, success against the insurgents internally; yet from the point of view of our allies, our efforts rate poorly since they accuse Pakistan of supporting insurgent groups. In this sense, we have…

India - Pakistan: Wars and Peace

Asghar Khan claims Pakistan attacked India four times since 1947
Mumtaz Alvi, The News
Friday, October 21, 2011
Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan here on Thursday revealed it was Pakistan that attacked India four times since 1947, whereas the neighbouring country did not do so even a single time.

“In the last over 60 years, India has never attacked Pakistan, as it can’t afford it. Indians know well, if Pakistan is destroyed, they will be the next target,” the veteran who was called a night flyer said at Imran Khan’s book launching ceremony here.

Imran Khan’s book is titled ‘Pakistan: A Personal History by Imran Khan.’

The nonagenarian said, “It was made our problem that one day India would invade us. But we did so four times and the first attack was on Kashmir, where Maharaja was not prepared to accede to India for he wanted to join Pakistan and waited for this for 21 days,” he recalled.

A galaxy of veteran military men, including generals (r) Talat Masood, Hameed Gul, diplomats such as Ashraf …

Who Will Define the Future of Pakistan?

Hassan Abbas presents "Who Will Define the Future of Pakistan - Extremists, Liberals or the Military?"Mason Hall, Edwin Meese III Conference Room
George Mason University, Washington DC
October 20, 2011, 1:00 PM to 2:45 PM

Join us for a lecture about the different dynamics and forces shaping Pakistan's future.
Hassan Abbas is Professor of International Security Studies at National Defense University's College of International Security Affairs. He is also a Senior Advisor at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, after having been a Research Fellow at the Center from 2005-2009. He was the Distinguished Quaid-i-Azam Chair Professor at Columbia University before joining CISA and has previously held fellowships at Harvard Law School and Asia Society in New York. He regularly appears as an analyst on media including CNN, ABC, BBC, C-Span and GEO TV (Pakistan). His opinion pieces and research articl…

The Widening Pakistan-Afghan Rift

US troop withdrawal leaves Pakistan vulnerable to attack by insurgents
Taliban exploiting a security vacuum in the wake of American forces departing from eastern Afghanistan
in Chitral and in Jalalabad,, Monday 17 October 2011

Pakistani militants are exploiting a security vacuum left by the departure of US troops from a swath of eastern Afghanistan to mount attacks inside Pakistan, triggering cross-border violence that has claimed dozens of lives and inflamed already tense relations between Islamabad and Kabul.
The Pakistani military on Monday called on the government of Hamid Karzai to arrest and hand over Maulvi Fazlullah, a Pakistani Taliban leader also known as "Mullah Radio" who, it said, had been using Afghan soil to mount cross-border raids that have killed dozens of soldiers in recent months.
"Information about these individuals and groups has been passed to the Afghan government and Nato but no action has been taken," sa…

Kashmir Today

Keeping Kashmir Alive
Farhana Qazi, Dawn blog, October 10, 2011

Farhana Qazi is a senior lecturer on Pakistan and Islam for the US government. She publishes widely on conflicts in the Islamic world, including Kashmir. She can be reached at and

The arrest of US-radio journalist David Barsamian at the New Delhi airport in late September 2011 had a chilling effect on me. Like Barsamian, I reported — though for a brief period — on Kashmir. My stories included war widows, mourning mothers, and political party members (read former militants). The only way I could understand the truth or varied aspects of it was to write. And that’s what I did.

In the city of Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir, what I did not know then is that I was followed. Indian authorities likely kept a tab on my place of residence, forcing me to shift from one hotel to another guest house. I received strange phone calls by the head of police on a mobile given to me by politi…

What’s behind the U.S.-Pakistan rift - An Unverified Intelligence Assessment?

What’s behind the U.S.-Pakistan rift
By David Ignatius, Washington Post, September 29

Beyond the recent verbal confrontation between U.S. and Pakistani officials about the Haqqani network lies a delicate political-military effort to draw the Haqqanis into an end-game strategy for the war in Afghanistan.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rebuked the Pakistani spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, for using the Haqqani network as its “veritable arm” in Afghanistan. But U.S. officials know the ISI also facilitated a secret meeting during the last several months between the United States and a representative of the Haqqani clan. This is the double game that’s always operating in U.S.-Pakistani relations.

Some U.S. officials believe that the recent wave of attacks by the Haqqanis on U.S. targets in Afghanistan may, in fact, reflect the determination of hard-line members of the clan to derail any move toward negotiation. T…