South Asia

September, 2013

  • 15 September

    Maldives Gets A Second Chance At Democracy

    By securing the largest vote-share in the September 7 election, deposed President (of Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean) Mohamed Nasheed has re-established his popular credentials. But he still has to complete an uphill trek before he can move back into the Muliaage (the official residence of Maldives President). Nineteen months after their first democratically elected leader was …

  • 15 September

    A Scenic Drive Through Nepal’s History

    Nepal’s highways get a lot of bad press, sometimes justifiably so. But beyond Kathmandu’s potholed roads and the permanently cratered Naubise section of the Prithvi Highway, the roads are pretty good (the 108 mile long highway connecting Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and Pokhara, a tourist city in the western part of the country). Nepal is better known for trekking, but driving holidays …

  • 14 September

    US Drone War: The Need For A New Story

      There are competing narratives about the US’s drone war in the Waziristan area, a bastion of militants. These narratives have so far failed to gain traction in the public, inside Pakistan and elsewhere. The Pakistani narrative goes like this: the drone attacks are a violation of our national sovereignty. They kill innocent people, including women and children, as collateral …

  • 14 September

    Killing the Talib(an) Within

    Will Durant says that whenever there is a turning point in the history of a people we always see a lofty character at the turn it takes. Pakistan, especially its northwest, is passing through the worst of its times but we don’t see any lofty character. A lunatic fringe is hell-bent on dragging the whole society by its hairs to …

  • 14 September

    Will Release of Top Taliban Leader Restore Peace?

    As a remarkable sign of Pakistan’s new phase of cooperation with the Afghan peace process, Islamabad is to release Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a prominent Taliban leader who was in prison in Pakistan since he was captured in 2010. The Afghan government has long urged for release of Baradar as he is considered a moderate and pro-peace figure among the …

  • 13 September

    Pakistan’s Water Woes

    While energy shortages, economic stagnation, terrorism and religious intolerance remain in the spotlight, water shortages pose one of the most significant threats to Pakistan. Regrettably, the Pakistani discourse on the subject remains in a state of delusion and is thus misdirected. In the 66 years since independence Pakistan’s per capita water availability has declined from 5000 m3 to 1000 m3 …

  • 12 September

    Kindling Hope in Pakistan’s Balochistan

    Contrary to belief that laws banning feudalism were first enacted in India immediately after independence (from Great Britain) in 1947, the East Bengal (later East Pakistan and today Bangladesh) State (later Estate) Acquisition and Tenancy Act 1950 meant to ban feudalism was actually drafted on 31 March 1948 and passed on 16 May 1951.  Consequently when Prime Minister Liaquat Ali …

  • 11 September

    The Anatomy of Radicalism

      When the Indian Mujahideen’s bomb-maker, Yasin Bhatkal, was caught in Pokhara (in western Nepal) last week (August 29), there was justifiable jubilation in India. Yasin spilled the beans on interrogation, revealing that Nepal’s scenic lakeside resort has become a hideout of choice where Indian extremists can lie low. But few know that Yasin was radicalized by what he erroneously believed …

  • 9 September

    Cry Karachi!

    The Federal Cabinet met in the city of Karachi on the subject of “Karachi” to take “extraordinary measures to deal with the extraordinary situation in Karachi”, in the words of Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif. One does not doubt the urgency of the federal government or their sincerity, however one must call a spade a spade and that is missing. …

  • 8 September

    Syria: South Asian Media Calls for Caution

    As President Barack Obama weighs his options on Syria, media in South Asian countries is advising caution, fearing despite all good intentions, an attack on Syria could spiral out of control.