Watandost in Urdu, Turkish and Farsi means "friend of the nation or country". The blog contains news and views about Pakistan and broader South West Asia that are insightful but are often not part of the headlines. It also covers major debates in Muslim societies across the world.
NATO Summit and the Deteriorating US-Pakistan Relations
US, Pakistan Row Over Border Crossing Reveals 'Outstanding Problems'
While activists clashed with Chicago police to protest the NATO summit in Chicago this week, the U.S. and Pakistan were having their own stand-off inside the meeting.
According to reports from the conference, U.S. President Barack Obama and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari barely spoke despite an ongoing dispute concerning Pakistan’s decision to block a supply route for NATO troops into Afghanistan. The country has blocked the passage to protest NATO killing 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.
While U.S. officials may be hopeful that Pakistan will open the border to NATO the situation may not be cleared up so easily, Asia Society Senior Advisor Hassan Abbas said on an Al Jazeera program.
“I’m not very hopeful that something will happen very soon because Pakistani military and civilian leadership are not on the same page, and I think that is an issue,” said Abbas, a former Pakistani government official who is directing an Asia Society project on police reform in Pakistan with a report to be launched in June 2012. "When it comes to Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani group, the most important group, there is a disconnect — the civilian side, the civilian law enforcement, the political leadership, even if they want to do something about it they cannot."
Two problems have been making the Pakistan-U.S. relationship difficult, added Ahmed Rashid, author most recently of Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
The issue from the U.S.-side is that Pakistan has been harboring high-level Afghan Taliban leaders who may return to the country once combat troops withdraw. Meanwhile, Pakistan officials feel they have been left out of the decision-making process when it comes to the wind-down of NATO and U.S. military operations in Pakistan.
“Essentially these are the two outstanding problems that have been getting worse and worse,” Rashid said.
Inside Story about Musharraf-Mahmood Tussle Hassan Abbas: September 24, 2006
General Pervez Musharraf’s memoir In the Line of Fire is expected to generate a lot of debate and discussion in the days to come. Except some western journalists and Musharraf’s close friends (three ghost writers) hardly anyone has had a chance yet to read the book from cover to cover. The excerpts of the book leaked through Indian media and General Musharraf’s statements to some American media outlets however have already created some controversies. In the United States, controversy is considered a positive thing, so the book is bound to become a bestseller here, but in Pakistan probably the opposite is true.
This article is not a review of the book (as I haven’t got hold of a copy yet), but it endeavors to throw some light on the widely reported Musharraf comment about the Armitage threat conveyed through Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed, the then Director General of the ISI. I had done research on this speci…
Jinnah and Colonel Blimp Khalid Hasan The Friday Times, May 16, 2005
Although everyone says what a superb lawyer Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was, rarely does one get to read anything about the court appearances that earned him that reputation.
I remember years ago in Lahore, Safdar Mir, the great Zeno of Pakistan Times , telling me about the Quaid's contribution to the "Indianisation" of the British-led and officered army. Though I never made the effort to look up how and where the Quaid had made his contribution, what Safdar Mir has said remained engraved in my memory.
The other day, while reading the autobiography of the late Maj. Gen. Ajit Anil "Jik" Rudra, who originally came from Lahore, served in three armies, fought in both World Wars and died in India in 1997 at the age of 93, I came upon an episode that showed that the Quaid's reputation as a brilliant lawyer was not a Pakistani myth but a fact.
The Government of India appointed a committee of the legi…
From Stalemate to Settlement: Lessons for Afghanistan from Historical Insurgencies That Have Been Resolved Through Negotiations
by Colin P. Clarke, Christopher Paul, RAND, 2014
In June 2013, the Afghan Taliban opened a political office in Qatar to facilitate peace talks with the U.S. and Afghan governments. Negotiations between the United States and the group that sheltered al-Qaeda would have been unthinkable 12 years ago, but the reality is that a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan is one of several possible end games under the current U.S. withdrawal plan. Negotiating an end to an insurgency can be a long and arduous process beset by false starts and continued violence, but a comprehensive review of historical cases that ended in settlement shows that these negotiations followed a similar path that can be generalized into a "master narrative." This research examines 13 historical cases of insurgencies that were resolved through negotiated settlement in which neither sid…