November 24, 2017

Inside the Pashtun Mindset

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani Pashtun teenage women education campaigner, continues to receive honors since being attacked by the Taliban in her hometown of Swat last year. This week, Britain’s prominent contemporary portraitist Jonathan Yeo unveiled a portrait of Malala at Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. Days before that she opened a 188 million pound library in Birmingham, a city where she ... Read More »

Pakistan’s Dialogue of the Deaf

Long awaited first round of talks with the (Pakistani government and) Taliban ended on somewhat of a positive note, albeit without breaking any new ground. After persistent delays and the government and the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the umbrella organization of several dozen terrorist groups) team playing hide and seek the very fact that the talks did take place seemed to ... Read More »

Reporting from Hell: The Story of Pakistani Journalism

Media in Pakistan entered 2014 under the old threat to journalists’ lives. Caught in bloody crossfire between blind state power and extremist terror, journalism has always been a tightrope walk in Pakistan. Media by default is part of this war for being the sole platform to showcase the bloody drama in newspaper columns and on the airwaves.   Last year ... Read More »

Pakistan’s Anti-Terror War Challenge

Our major problem is that we cannot seem to separate Counter-insurgency (CI) operations from Counter-terrorism (CT).  Terrorism is more urban-based, insurgency normally operates mainly in rural areas. With great sacrifice CI has been a resounding success, a CT policy does finally exist now but it is yet to be translated into reality.   Contrast the CI operations in the Al-Qaeda ... Read More »

The Davos Challenge

This is Davos week, the annual summit of the World Economic Forum (WEF). My first visit to Davos was in January 1993 as part of the delegation accompanying the then Pakistani prime minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif. The WEF was then not that strict about allowing non-members to take part in its events.   This year the Pakistani PM was to ... Read More »

Pakistan Seeks Nuclear Plants from China

Pakistan and China are currently in talks over a potential deal that could see China sell Pakistan three large nuclear plants for around $13 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The new talks come on the heels of China-Pakistan nuclear cooperation on a complex containing two nuclear plants in Karachi – a $9 billion project – which was ceremonially inducted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ... Read More »

Becoming Mohammad Yousuf

Believe it or not, societal prejudice against Dalits was a significant factor behind the decision of former Pakistani cricket star Yousuf Youhana to convert from Christianity to Islam and adopt the name of Mohammad Yousuf, so writes former diplomat Shaharyar M Khan in his book, Cricket Cauldron: The turbulent politics of sport in Pakistan. Khan was the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, between ... Read More »

Pakistani General’s Ultimate Responsibility

No army in the world can stand by and tolerate continuing bad or criminal governance or both. The application of the doctrine of necessity does become necessary sometimes in unambiguous circumstances of ‘clear and present danger’ to the existence of the state. It goes wrong when those that apply it forget that their role is limited to support technocrat governance ... Read More »

Will Musharraf be Convicted for Treason?

Spurning advice across the board not to return to Pakistan and face a myriad number of legal problems, Musharraf successfully managed by default to put the Army as a whole into the dock.   Musharraf and his close aides, Lt Gens Mahmood, Aziz, Usmani, etc committed an “offence against the State” in Oct 1999.   Condoned by the Supreme Court (SC), ... Read More »

Reality of Afghan-Pakistan Covert War

When American special forces plucked the second in command of the Pakistani Taliban from the hands of Afghan officials this October, they laid bare the extent of a largely covert war between Afghanistan and Pakistan that has been going on for several years. With a drawdown – perhaps even to zero – of U.S. troops from Afghanistan next year, the ... Read More »