November 23, 2017

Digital Jihad: How Militants Use Social Media for Messaging

As militant groups increasingly use social networking platforms to reach out to bigger audiences and shape media coverage of their actions, their drive to create sympathizers remains as relevant to them as their traditional objective to kill or destroy the enemy. Hardly media shy, the late Pakistan Taliban leader Hakeemullah Mehsud had met journalists in the tribal areas to broadcast ... Read More »

Nepal Voters Are Disenchanted With Maoists

Most of the spin doctors in Nepal were completely taken aback by a record 70 per cent turnout in the second Constituent Assembly elections last week, despite a serious threat by the radical Maoists who had vowed to disrupt the polls. The complacent senior leaders of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias “Prachanda”, ... Read More »

Bangladesh: Western Perceptions on Developments

The last week has seen a flurry of activities in the West about developments in Bangladesh. These include a hearing (November 20, 2013) by the U.S. House Sub-Committee on Asia titled “Bangladesh in Turmoil. Such increased focus in the run-up to the elections in Bangladesh is indicative of the West trying to understand what exactly is happening in this important ... Read More »

Change of Guard in Pakistan’s Army

  After a long hiatus the PML-N government (of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) is suddenly in a decision-making mode. On Wednesday (November 27) Lt. General Raheel Sharif was named the new army chief and his senior Lt General Rashad Mehmood as the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC). What by tradition should have been decided a couple of weeks ... Read More »

Insecurity and Red Tape Hinder Pakistan Aid Work

The September earthquakes in Balochistan offered a microcosm of aid work in Pakistan: Humanitarian needs were high – nearly 400 died and thousands lost their homes – but to respond, aid workers had to brave gunmen taking pot-shots at their vehicles and government restrictions on their work. The country’s humanitarian situation is dire, with 1.6 million Afghan refugees living in the country, 1.5 ... Read More »

Smart Power in a World of Soft and Hard Power

Power is nothing more than the ability to get others to do what you want. For doing that you require tools of coercion or payment, or “hard power”, and tools of attraction, or “soft power”. Soft power is when a state, an organization or even an individual exercises power with means other than violence and force, being able to convince ... Read More »

Dynasty vs Dynamism in India

  Over the next decade or so, a host of regional parties in India will have to confront the issue of who should succeed the leaders spearheading them. Should the successor belong to the leader’s family or be one of his or her trusted lieutenants? No doubt, these parties draw their energy from the charisma of their solitary leader, one ... Read More »

Who was Maulvi Ahmad Jan, the Droned Haqqani Network Leader?

Maulvi Ahmad Jan Akhund, a key commander of the Haqqani Network who was droned to death by the American CIA on Nov 21 in Hangu, had been arrested and then released by the Pakistani authorities in 2010 along with several other senior members of the Quetta Shura led by Mullah Mohammad Omar. Maulvi Ahmad Jan was a key financier and ... Read More »

Pakistan’s Wildlife Protection: A Clarion Call

When death and destruction pervade incessantly in a region, its cost is not limited to human beings alone. Environment has to pay equal share. This phenomenon partly defines ecological cascade in the hilly-forested belt along Pakistan-Afghan borders, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and some parts of Balochistan (provinces in northeastern and southwestern Pakistan), where rich stock of wildlife is increasingly exposed to ... Read More »

Who is on Trial in Pakistan?

According to both legal opinion and mass public perception, prima facie the case against General Pervez Musharraf for treason is legally a “slam dunk”, he is guilty as charged. According to Article 6 (of Pakistan’s constitution) the extra-constitutional measures Musharraf used on November 3, 2009 to remove the Supreme Court judges is “treason”.  Will the trial court have the audacity ... Read More »