September 24, 2017

Pakistan’s North Waziristan Close to Full-blown Conflict

A Pakistani soldier gaurds his post overlooking a valley in the restive FATA region. (Photo by Al Jazeera English, Creative Commons License)

Guns have fallen silent in Mirali — a bustling town 35km to the east of North Waziristan’s regional headquarters of Miramshah, but now with rows of burnt down and bombed shops and houses.   The sudden flare-up and military’s fierce response to a suicide bombing at one of its main camps in Khajori on Dec 18 have shown that the ... Read More »

Bangladesh: You Are Either with Mollah or Against Him!

(Photo via

In a fateful moment of our recent history, US President Bush had uttered ‘either you are with us or against us’. His words cast a spell on the world and condemned us all to a political myopia. We are since then stuck between these two choices. We find everything either black or white.   Whichever of the two you are, ... Read More »

Pakistan Headed in the Right Direction in 2013

More than 50 percent Pakistani voters exercised their right to vote in May elections.

While 2013 was marred by natural disaster, violence, increasing conservatism and poor economic trends, it should be remembered as the year that democracy was consolidated in Pakistan.   Historically, Pakistan has swung between democracy and military rule. Since independence in 1947, Pakistan has been ruled by the military on three occasions and for a period totaling over half of the country’s ... Read More »

Pakistan’s ‘Mullah Radio’ And The ‘Terror Game’

Mullah Fazlullah

“Congratulations! you have the honor now”, a sarcastic friend from Waziristan told me in the aftermath of the newly selected chief of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP — the South Asian nation’s largest terrorist network), Mullah Fazlullah’s announcement to have Dir (a mountainous northwestern region in Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan’s Kunar province) as the new headquarters of the TTP. According ... Read More »

Art in Exile

Ishtar Gate at Pergamon Museum - Berlin, Germany. (Photo by To Uncertainty And Beyond, Creative Commons License)

The Babylonian Ishtar Gate, excavated from Iraq, cannot be seen by most Iraqis. This is because it is displayed at the Pergamon Museum of Berlin, far away from the sight of Iraqis.   The gate, along with many other artifacts, was excavated by German archaeologists before the First World War in the territory that is currently modern Iraq. In the ... Read More »

Bangladesh’s Divisive Politics

Uprising of people at Shahbag, Dhaka, Bangladesh demanding death penalty of Kader Molla and all other war criminals who are now being tried before the International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh for the serious crimes they have committed during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. (Photo by M. Hasan, Creative Commons License)

Given the fractured and vindictive political climate in Bangladesh, the risks of new injustices occurring are very real. Dramatic hanging of Abdul Quader Molla symbolizes two axioms about gross miscarriage of justice: ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ and justice hurried is justice buried’; both were operative in this case. Opening of cases after over forty years of the alleged crime, enactment ... Read More »

An Indian View on Legacy of Pakistan’s Retiring Chief Justice

Iftikhar Ch

Ifthikar Chaudhary, who stepped down as Chief Justice of Pakistan on December 11, will go down in history as the first judge to challenge a military ruler successfully, and then to have spoilt it all by his relentless onslaught against a fledgling democratic government, its President and Prime Minister.   Mr. Chaudhary’s epic term in office, which included more than ... Read More »

Extremism: Changing the Mindset in Pakistan

(Photo by Omar Wazir, Creative Commons License)

A mindset is a set of assumptions that everyone develops throughout their lives and become so established that people or groups continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools of those within the same mindset without questions. As an incident of a person’s philosophy of life mindset can be powerful, having the ability to control, persuade and even hold us ... Read More »

Pakistan’s Judges And Military Clash Over Rule of Law

Pakistan's supreme court building. The Supreme Court building in Islamabad. (Photo by Umar Farooq via IRIN)

Mohabat Shah has stood silently before the bench at Pakistan’s Supreme Court (in Islamabad) nearly every day last week. Shah’s four-year search for his son, Yasin, has come down to a handful of court hearings that are testing the power of Pakistan’s civilian government over its military.   The outcome of the legal tussles could have far-reaching effects for Pakistani ... Read More »

Understanding Pakistan’s New Top Soldier

New chief of Pakistan's army General Raheel Sharif.

  As his closest professional confidante, the choice of Chief of the General Staff (CGS) is usually a strong indicator of the Army Chief’s preference for a successor.  Passing him over for CGS for (than) Lt General Rashad Mahmood. Kayani appointed Lt General Haroon Aslam as Chief of Logistics Services (CLS). Junior to Rashad, (than) Lt Gen Raheel Sharif was ... Read More »