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.
Dawn, May 15, 2005 Political feudalism in Sindh By Ameer Bhutto
A FEW months ago, the Baloch tribal sardars stood accused of acting like warlords and toying with the destinies of the poor and suppressed people by depriving them of development and other opportunities. The traditional tribal system of Sindh, maliciously portrayed in the press and media by cliched caricatures of waderas, has long been under siege from vested interests in the establishment who seek to discredit Sindh’s stand against Kalabagh Dam, Thal Canal and the unfair distribution of national wealth under the present NFC Award, among other issues.
Not only this, but Sindhi waderas have become easy targets on a plethora of issues for NGOs and organizations related to human rights, women’s rights, social welfare, etc. But all the evils associated with so-called tribal feudalism, whether real or concocted, pale into insignificance before the looming sceptre of a new brand of state-sponsored political feudalism that is being …
Dawn, February 5, 2006 Promoting the reading habit By Anwar Syed
Book buying is not common. Prices are too high for most people. Publishers are cautious, and most of them are reluctant to publish serious books. Normally, they will print no more than a 1,000 copies of any title, and often only 500, which they say it takes several years to sell. Libraries, that are the larger buyers in many countries, don’t have the money for new acquisitions. Efforts are being made to popularize reading in Pakistan.
I BEGIN this article with excerpts from the recollections of Paris Minton, a black American, as he revisits his childhood and adolescence in a segregated neighbourhood in a small town in Louisiana (US) in the 1940s.
“I entered school at the age of six. On the first day I heard Miss Randolph (teacher) read a story, and I knew that books were to be my destiny. By the age of eight I was alone in the school library, reading everything I could. By the time I was 15 I had read the Bible and every book…
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…