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Showing posts from March, 2009

With Obama at the World's "Most Dangerous Place": Amabassador Akbar Ahmed

With Obama at the World's "Most Dangerous Place"
Akbar Ahmed, Huffington Post, March 28, 2009

Seated a few yards in front of President Obama as his invited guest at the White House on Friday, March 27, I heard him describe the areas I had been in charge of--including Waziristan--as "the most dangerous place in the world."

Obama was laying out what I suspect will become the signature foreign policy effort of his presidency. He had shifted the American focus of the last eight years from the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ultimately he will be judged by the success or failure of the objectives he laid out in his speech.

As if to confirm the sentiment of Obama's speech, at the same time as he delivered it, a suicide bomber in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan blew himself up and seventy other people in a mosque at Friday prayer. Around the same time, an Afghan soldier, trained by Americans, turned his gun on two American soldiers killing them and then shot him…

Robert Fisk’s World: A brave man who stood alone

Robert Fisk’s World: A brave man who stood alone. If only the world had listened to him
I wish I had met Tom Hurndall, a remarkable man of remarkable principle
Independent, March 28, 2009

I don't know if I met Tom Hurndall. He was one of a bunch of "human shields" who turned up in Baghdad just before the Anglo-American invasion in 2003, the kind of folk we professional reporters make fun of. Tree huggers, that kind of thing. Now I wish I had met him because – looking back over the history of that terrible war – Hurndall's journals (soon to be published) show a remarkable man of remarkable principle. "I may not be a human shield," he wrote at 10.26 on 17 March from his Amman hotel. "And I may not adhere to the beliefs of those I have travelled with, but the way Britain and America plan to take Iraq is unnecessary and puts soldiers' lives above those of civilians. For that I hope that Bush and Blair stand trial for war crimes."

Hurndall got it about…

Tackling Terrorism in Lahore: Police Shows Resolve

Villagers block, police defeat terrorists
* 8 Villagers, policemen dance in celebration after siege ends
By Adnan Lodhi, Daily Times, March 31, 2009

LAHORE: When the terrorists attempted to escape from the scene after attacking the trainees at the Police Training School Manawan, armed villagers from nearby localities prevented their escape, locals told Daily Times.

They said the assailants intended to escape from the scene just like they did after the 3/3 Liberty terrorist attack. Villagers said they did not allow them to escape and forced them back into the school by opening indiscriminate fire on them.

Villagers: Muhammad Fazal, resident of Taiz Garh, said he was working in his fields when he heard the sound of consecutive blasts. He said the residents of the village reached the scene with their weapons and intercepted the terrorist attack. He said more than one dozen villagers were waiting for the terrorists to come out when they tried to climb over the wall to exit the building. He sai…

The Truth about Abu Zubaydah ?

The truth about Abu Zubaydah
The Bush administration's false claim that my client was a top al-Qaida official has led to his imprisonment and torture
Brent Mickum guardian.co.uk, Monday 30 March 2009

This article was submitted to the CIA prior to publication. Passages redacted by the CIA are marked [...].

Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, more commonly known as Abu Zubaydah, is my client. After being extensively tortured by the CIA and imprisoned in various black sites around the world, Zayn may finally be approaching his day in court. I and my co-counsel welcome that day. But what if we are successful and establish that Zayn is not an enemy combatant? Would any country agree to take our client? The Bush administration's misrepresentations about Zayn make that virtually impossible unless I am allowed to tell his side of the story. This article is the first step in that reclamation process.

For many years, Abu Zubaydah's name has been synonymous with the war on terror because of…

Terror Attack in Lahore Targeting Police

26 Die as Gunmen Storm Police School in Pakistan
By WAQAR GILLANI, New York Times, March 30, 2009

LAHORE, Pakistan — Gunmen firing indiscriminately and throwing hand grenades stormed a police training center in Lahore Monday morning, killing at least 26 people and injuring up to 90 , according to police and media reports.

Five hours after the attack, Pakistani television reported that army commandos had been sent into the building where gunmen were holed up on an upper floor.

A senior police official said commandos and police inside the compound were attempting to contact the attackers by megaphone to ask them what their demands were.

The official, the inspector general of police for Punjab Province, Khalid Farook, said efforts were being made to capture the attackers alive. Television footage from a neighboring building showed the militants holed up on the second floor of the building and people could be moving around inside. The militants were throwing grenades at about 10-minute interv…

Groups encourage Obama administration to hire more Muslim Americans

Groups encourage Obama administration to hire more Muslim Americans
A book of resumes from some of the best and the brightest is sent to the White House. It's part of an effort to get the administration to focus on a group that has at times felt slighted -- or worse.
By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2009

Reporting from Chicago -- In a bid to get more Muslim Americans working in the Obama administration, a book with the resumes of 45 of the nation's most qualified -- Ivy League grads, Fortune 500 executives and public servants, all carefully vetted -- has been submitted to the White House.

The effort, driven by community leaders and others, including Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), was bumped up two weeks ahead of schedule because White House officials heard about the venture, said J. Saleh Williams, program coordinator for the Congressional Muslim Staffers Assn., who sifted through more than 300 names.

For complete article, click here

The rise of the Taliban, the fall of Karachi

The rise of the Taliban, the fall of Karachi By Kamal Siddiqi
In the national interest
The News, March 30, 2009

The writer is editor reporting, The News

Earlier this week, a family friend got off from her car and walked to a chemist’s shop in a busy shopping area of Karachi. She was wearing a normal shalwar- kameez suit that most Karachi women wear in public areas. Nothing out of the ordinary. As she walked to the shop, a man approached her and showed her a pistol.

But instead of robbing her, he gave her a chilling message: “Next time you come in public, cover yourself from head to toe.” This happened in full public view on a busy Karachi street. But no one seemed to notice and the man did not in any way seem in any hurry or worry.

The reference of this incident happening to a family friend has only been done to make people understand that this is not an urban myth but a reality. It is happening in Karachi, the country’s largest and possibly most open city. There are more worrisome incident…

The Idiot's Guide to Pakistan!

The Idiot's Guide to Pakistan
By Nicholas Schmidle, Foreign Policy, March 20, 2009

fter eight years of a White House that often seemed blinkered by the threats posed by Pakistan, the Obama administration seems to grasp the severity of the myriad crises affecting the South Asian state. The media has followed suit and increased its presence and reporting, a trend confirmed by CNN’s decision to set up a bureau in Islamabad last year.

And yet, the uptick in coverage hasn’t necessarily clarified the who’s-doing-what-to-whom confusion in Pakistan. Some commentators continue to confuse the tribal areas with the North-West Frontier Province. And the word lashkars is used to describe all kinds of otherwise cross-purposed groups, some fighting the Taliban, some fighting India, and some fighting Shiites.

I admit, it’s not easy. I lived in Pakistan throughout all of 2006 and 2007 and only came to understand, say, the tribal breakdown in South Waziristan during my final days. So to save you the …

Protecting Democracy in Pakistan

analysis: Protecting democracy —Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi
Daily Times, March 28, 2009

Political leaders need to recognise that their primacy in the political domain depends on their ability to deal with their differences in the democratic framework of dialogue and accommodation. If they project their demands in ‘either-or’ terms and use street agitation to pursue their agenda, they will lose the initiative

The first year of democratic governance in Pakistan has exposed, once again, political incoherence and the two main parties’ poor capacity for crisis management. Other leaders found it difficult to convince the PPP and the PMLN to moderate their disposition towards each other.

Pakistan returned from the brink of a major political breakdown on March 16, 2009 mainly because of factors external to a normal functioning democracy. The Pakistan Army played the key role in defusing tensions by encouraging the PPP-led federal government to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other deposed…

Obama's Speech on Pakistan and Afghanistan Strategy

PART 2

Inside Pakistan Today: President Zardari's Address

Zardari moves to end Pakistan political crisis
By STEPHEN GRAHAM, AP, March 28, 2009

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's president said Saturday his party would help the opposition return to power in a key province, moving to end a political crisis threatening to hobble his U.S.-allied government's efforts against Islamist militants.

In a reminder of the dangers facing the nuclear-armed country, militants rocketed a transportation depot used to ship supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan and the army said troops killed 26 militants near the border.

Pakistan plunged into political turmoil in January that has damaged the standing of President Asif Ali Zardari, a key Western ally against al-Qaida and Taliban militants entrenched in the country's northwest.

It began when the Supreme Court disqualified opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister widely considered Pakistan's most popular politician, as well as his brother Shahbaz Sharif from elected office.

Zardari promptly ou…

ISI Under Focus Again?: New Af-Pak Policy

ISI under heat in new US strategy
Dawn, March 27, 2009

WASHINGTON: The United States has vowed to put the heat on Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in its new regional strategy, with top officials openly accusing elements in powerful intelligence agency of abetting al-Qaeda.

President Barack Obama on Friday unveiled a plan to root out extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan by boosting troops and drastically increasing civilian personnel and aid to the region.

Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to the region, said he would visit Pakistan again next week to follow up on the plan. Of all issues, investigating the nuclear-armed nation's spy network 'is the most important,' he said.

'The issue's very disturbing,' Holbrooke told public television's 'Newshour with Jim Lehrer,' when asked if the ISI was assisting al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

'We cannot succeed if the two intelligence agencies are at each others' throat or don't t…

Outlines of Obama's Af-Pak Policy

Obama unveils sweeping new Afghan war strategy, includes Iran in Afghan contact group: Qaeda ‘cancer’ can devour Pakistan
* US president indicates Washington will act on intelligence against terrorists if Islamabad does not
* Calls Pakistan’s border areas with Afghanistan most dangerous place in world
* Claims Osama, Zawahiri in Pakistan
Daily Times, March 28, 2009

WASHINGTON: Unveiling a sweeping new strategy for the Afghan war – US President Barack Obama warned on Friday that Al Qaeda was a cancer that could devour Pakistan.

“Al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the US from safe havens in Pakistan ... to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is ... we will defeat you.” “We will insist that action be taken ... one way or another,” he said, indicating that the US would act on intelligence against terrorists if Pakistan does not.

He said Pakistan and Afghanistan were inextricably linked. Obama said the US military would also shift the emphasis of its mission to training and expand…

Obama's New Policy Towards Afghanistan and Pakistan - Awaited

Iran, India may join US war in Afghanistan By Anwar Iqbal
Dawn, 27 Mar, 2009

WASHINGTON: A key US senator said on Thursday that the United States and Iran might begin their cooperation for stabilising Afghanistan after a meeting between officials of the two countries in The Hague next week.

‘We also need to reach out to Afghanistan’s other neighbours, including India, China, and Iran,’ Senator John Kerry told the confirmation hearing for the new US ambassador to Afghanistan.

The former Democratic presidential candidate, who now heads the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted that in 2001 and 2002, Iran helped to stabilise Afghanistan. ‘And the Obama administration is right to explore how our interests might coincide again on this issue, beginning at the Hague Conference next week,’ he added.

Earlier on Thursday, Hasan Qashqavi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, told reporters in Tehran that Iran would join the United States at two international conferences on Afghanis…

Undemocratic policing

Undemocratic policing
Sanjay Patil, Maja Daruwala and Asad Jamal
The News, March 27, 2009

With the restoration of Chief Justice ftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, it would be easy to overlook the role of the police in the preceding saga and how the police has been manipulated by vested interests to serve as an instrument of oppression. The undemocratic use of force by the democratically elected government in Islamabad is particularly disappointing. While the Pakistan People's Party takes pride in its struggles against military dictatorships, it has imposed governor's rule in Punjab. Governor Salmaan Taseer's orders for transfer of "unfriendly" senior police officials and for application of Section 144 throughout the province in advance of the lawyers' long march are examples of how the police have been used to secure and solidify power.

The immediate desire of a newly-elected member of Parliament is usually to get appointed in his area police officials he knows and can…

Pakistan: Beyond Gloom and Doom

OPINION: Beyond gloom and doom — Saleem H Ali
Daily Times, March 27, 2009

To use the dominance of a few thousand militants in a narrow valley as somehow suggestive of a larger movement towards Talibanisation of the whole of Pakistan is preposterous. I am not saying this out of crass patriotism or starry-eyed optimism but rather after a deliberate analysis of historical precedent

On March 23, 2009, the day Pakistanis were commemorating sixty-nine years of the resolution that gave birth to the idea of an Islamic state on the subcontinent, a jihadist suicide bomber struck in the heart of Islamabad near Sitara Market. At that moment, I was sitting in a hotel in Muscat, flipping through the news channels from Sky News to BBC to CNN to Al Jazeera, and was alarmed to find immediate live coverage of the incident and commentary that suggested that the country was about to fall to the Taliban.

All the channels also featured long documentary pieces on the rule of Maulana Fazlullah and his minions in…

Sayeeda Warsi Britain's most powerful Muslim woman

Baroness Warsi named Britain's most powerful Muslim woman
AFP, March 25, 2009

LONDON (AFP) — Britain's most powerful Muslim woman is Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who notably helped rescue a Briton jailed in Sudan for calling a teddy bear Mohammed two years ago, a panel of judges said Wednesday.

Warsi, a 38-year-old member of the House of Lords, said her Pakistani origins and her "strong faith" contributed to her career success, highlighted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Other names in the top five of the Muslim Women Power List, chosen by a panel of the commission's judges, were BBC News presenter Mishal Hussain, Grange Park Opera chief executive Wasfi Kani and Farmida Bi, a banking partner for law firm Norton Rose LLP.

"I personally come from a family of all girls and was brought up to believe that anything was possible and being a Muslim woman should in no way be seen as a barrier but as an asset to achievement," Warsi said.

"I'm extremely…

Sustainable Security in Afghanistan: Report

Sustainable Security in Afghanistan
Crafting an Effective and Responsible Strategy for the Forgotten Front
By Lawrence J. Korb, Caroline Wadhams, Colin Cookman, Sean Duggan;
Center of American Progress, March 24, 2009

The Obama administration inherits a rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. In fact, both President Obama and General David McKiernan, who commands all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, agree that we are not winning the war against the Taliban and other insurgent groups. Facing facts on the ground is a prerequisite to responding to this challenge, which will require a comprehensive and long-term approach that uses all elements of U.S. national power.

Ever since the United States began planning to invade Iraq in early 2002, Afghanistan became the “Forgotten Front” for U.S. policymakers—an under-resourced, undermanned, and under-analyzed “economy of force” operation that was limited to seeking out and killing surviving Taliban, Al Qaeda and other transnational terro…

JEM Resurgent in Pakistan

Pakistan militants strengthen in heartland
By CHRIS BRUMMITT , Associated Press, March 24, 2009

BAHAWALPUR, Pakistan (AP) — The compound bore no sign. Residents referred to it simply as the school for "jihadi fighters," speaking in awe of the expensive horses stabled within its high walls — and the extremists who rode them bareback in the dusty fields around it. In classrooms nearby, teachers drilled boys as young as 8 in an uncompromising brand of Islam that called for holy war against enemies of the faith. Sitting cross-legged on the floor of the Dar-ul-uloom Madina school, they rocked back and forth as they recited sections of the Quran, Islam's holy book.

Both facilities are run by an al-Qaida-linked terror network, Jaish-e-Mohammed, in the heart of Pakistan, hundreds of miles from the Afghan border that is the global focus of the fight against terrorism. Their existence raises questions about the government's pledge to crack down on terror groups accused of high-pr…

Can Obama Change the Scenario in Pakistan and Afghanistan?

view: The best ally against extremism —Paula R Newberg
Daily Times, March 24, 2009

This is one way the Obama administration’s policies can stem the tide of failure in the region: by ensuring that its own policies are supported in Afghanistan and Pakistan, not just by officers, presidents and technical experts, but by the electorates themselves

Last week, Pakistan turned its political clock back to the year 2007. Its lawyers’ movement forced President Asif Ali Zardari to reinstate judges dismissed by his predecessor, General Pervez Musharraf. After many broken promises and nasty personal politics, Pakistanis now confront the same governance problems that dogged them in the waning days of Musharraf’s rule.

This may not seem like progress. But the fact that the courts can now hold government to account is an enormous step for a state engulfed by terror and fear. Just as the United States is ready to unveil a new strategy for the region, Pakistan may finally begin to marshal a democratic res…

A flawed view of Pakistan

A flawed view of Pakistan: Democracy, not danger By Daud Munir
Dawn, 23 March, 2009

IT was a triumphant day in Pakistan when power lost to principle. Elsewhere, however, the mood must have been more sombre.

For several months now, the western media has been projecting Pakistan as a failed state, the citizens of which have been branded as either extremists or sympathisers. The indolent coverage by the western press of Pakistan’s historic moment reveals how difficult it must have been for some analysts to grasp the new Pakistan.

Following Washington’s newfound fascination with this country, the western press spawned a coterie of lay journalists who began to tag themselves as experts on Pakistan. Shying away from the labour involved in discerning the true political aspirations of Pakistanis, these novices relied on old knowledge. And, of course, readymade frames were all too easily available into which they painlessly fitted the entire nation: extremism, tribalism and Islamism.

Pakistan has…

Inside NWFP Today: Aftermath of Swat Deal

It’s Nizam-e-Adl: 500 Swat lawyers out of work
By Akhtar Amin, Daily Times, March 23, 2009

PESHAWAR: Tehreek Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Muhammad’s ban on district courts and the lawyers’ appearance in Qazi courts in Swat has rendered around 500 lawyers jobless, a law practitioner said on Sunday.

Shaukat Saleem, a Swat-based lawyer, told Daily Times that establishment of Qazi courts was a welcome move, as it would ensure speedy dispensation of justice to the people through disposal of cases after two or three days of hearing.

He, however, said the new judicial system had deprived around 500 lawyers of jobs by stopping district courts from functioning and lawyers from appearing before Qazi courts. Saleem said locals didn’t support lawyers and judges of regular courts, but Qazi courts and Sufi Muhammad. He said while non-local lawyers had left Swat for safe districts of the province, local law practitioners were undecided about future course of action.

“We’re uncertain a…

Signs of Optimism in Pakistan Vs. Negative Trends

SCENARIOS: Pakistan's buds of optimism amid risks
Reuters, Mon Mar 23, 2009

(Reuters) - President Asif Ali Zardari called for national reconciliation in a Pakistan Day message on Monday, as he sought to mend fences with the opposition after defusing a political crisis by restoring the country's top judge.

The reinstatement of Iftikhar Chaudhry as Supreme Court chief justice a week ago averted a looming violent street confrontation.

But tension has lingered between Zardari's party and its main rival, the party of former prime minister and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, in particular over control of Punjab, Pakistan's most populous and politically influential province.

Pakistan's Western allies fear political upheaval distracts the nuclear-armed country from fighting spreading Islamist militancy and reviving its flagging economy.

REASONS TO BE HOPEFUL

-- Confrontation has given way to reconciliation, and Pakistan's two biggest mainstream political parties are at least …

How we helped create the Afghan crisis By Stephen Kinzer

How we helped create the Afghan crisis
By Stephen Kinzer, New York Times, March 20, 2009

WITH THE United States facing a terrifying set of challenges in Pakistan and Afghanistan, this is an opportune moment to look back at how the United States itself helped create the crisis. It is an all-too-familiar tale of the behemoth lashing out in ways that seem emotionally satisfying and even successful at first, but that in the end decisively weaken its own security.

The tale begins in 1979, when Americans were caught in a sense of defeat and malaise. They were still recovering from the shock of losing the Vietnam War, only to absorb another one with the stunning overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the seizure of American diplomats in Tehran.

On Christmas Eve, however, something happened that seemed to open a new horizon for the United States. Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan and installed a pro-Moscow regime. Here, suddenly, was a chance for the United States to fight a war against the Red Army.

I…

Interview of Sufi Muhammad - The Lord of Swat!

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HARDtalk: “If Fazlullah does not appear in court when summoned, he will be acting against shariat” —Sufi Muhammad, Leader of the TNSM
* Keeping weapons is allowed in Islam
* The military violated the ceasefire
* No objection to a cantonment in Swat
* Democracy is not allowed in Islam

Daily Times, March 19, 2009

The influential pro-Taliban cleric of Swat, Sufi Muhammad has said that the sharia law does not allow debate on the past, and therefore he will not term what his son-in-law Mullah Fazlullah did against the state of Pakistan during the last year and a half as haram or halal. In an exclusive interview with Daily Times’ Peshawar Bureau Chief Iqbal Khattak in Mingora city, the 74-year-old cleric said keeping weapons is Islamic, and that he did not demand that the Taliban surrender their weapons after a peace deal with the NWFP government. Excerpts follow:

Daily Times: You said in a 2005 interview with us that what Al Qaeda and the Taliban are doing in Pakistan is haram. Are Maulana Fazlul…

U.S. Urged to Lift Ban on Tariq Ramadan

U.S. Is Urged to Lift Ban on Foreign Scholars
By JOHN SCHWARTZ, New York Times, March 18, 2009

Tariq Ramadan, a respected Swiss academic and Muslim scholar, had a job all lined up at the University of Notre Dame in 2004, but the Bush administration prevented him from entering the country. Government officials said he had contributed to a charity believed to have connections to terrorism.

A federal judge supported the government’s position in December 2007, and an appeal will be heard next Tuesday by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York.

Now, in a move leading up to that hearing, a coalition of academic and civil liberties groups is calling on the Obama administration to break with the Bush administration’s policies on blocking visas of some foreign scholars, writers and activists.

In a letter being released Wednesday, the coalition says so-called ideological exclusion “compromises the vitality of academic and political debate in the United States at a t…

Engaging the Muslim World - Juan Cole

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“Engaging the Muslim World”– Middle East Analyst Juan Cole on US Policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Beyond
Democracy Now, March 17, 2009

AMY GOODMAN: It’s nice to have you here in the studio, as opposed to talking to you out in Michigan. But let’s start off with—well, this is the week of the sixth anniversary of Iraq. What’s your assessment of where we stand, where Iraq stands?

JUAN COLE: Well, Iraq is starting to see, finally, some fairly good news. I think it’s important that the government seems to be starting to be more responsive, that the prime minister has established more security in cities like Basra or Amara. And you can see this in the results of the provincial elections, where the prime minister’s party did exceptionally well, I think, in those places where he had sent in troops and established more order. And so, this is a change from—a year ago, I wouldn’t be talking like this. It really is a better situation in some ways.

But, of course, there are so many p…

Expanding U.S. Strikes in Pakistan - A Receipe for Disaster?

U.S. Weighs Taliban Strike Into Pakistan
By DAVID E. SANGER and ERIC SCHMITT, New York Times, March 18, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Obama and his national security advisers are considering expanding the American covert war in Pakistan far beyond the unruly tribal areas to strike at a different center of Taliban power in Baluchistan, where top Taliban leaders are orchestrating attacks into southern Afghanistan.

According to senior administration officials, two of the high-level reports on Pakistan and Afghanistan that have been forwarded to the White House in recent weeks have called for broadening the target area to include a major insurgent sanctuary in and around the city of Quetta.

Mullah Muhammad Omar, who led the Taliban government that was ousted in the American-led invasion in 2001, has operated with near impunity out of the region for years, along with many of his deputies.

The extensive missile strikes being carried out by Central Intelligence Agency-operated drones have until …

Dynamics of Peoples' Power

The Power of People Power
Spearhead Research (directed by former army chief General Jehangir Karamat), March 16, 2009

Pakistan moved towards a precipice, teetered on its edge and moved back. Internationally there was a collective sigh of relief that a disaster had been averted. Within Pakistan there is jubilation. People power has triumphed over State power. The State after flexing every muscle it had, gave in to the marching hordes. It was the right thing to do because the other option would have led to the end of democracy. Now democracy stands strengthened and the road map to a shift of the power center to the people is clear. This opens a new chapter in Pakistan’s history as hope and optimism pervade the environment after the gloom generated by the deadlock.

The deposed Chief Justice was already a hero for the people simply because he had stood up to a military dictator. Now there are other heroes; the politicians who defied arrest and braved barricades and police brutality, the la…

Reforming the Intelligence Agencies of Pakistan: A Carnegie Report

Pakistan’s Government Must Reform Intelligence Agencies, Reassert Civilian Control
March 6, 2009 - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

WASHINGTON, Mar 6—Pakistan’s new and fragile government must reform the country’s intelligence agencies to counter their influence on civil society and politics, Frederic Grare explains in a new report. The army remains the dominant actor in Pakistan’s political life, despite some improvements in civil-military relations in recent years. Previous abuses of power by both Pakistani regimes and the intelligence agencies—particularly Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)—make reforms imperative before Pakistan can continue its democratic transition.

Through interviews with Pakistani officials and case studies in Indonesia and Chile, Grare argues that with patience, resolve, and assistance from the international community, Pakistan’s government can successfully reassert civilian control over the intelligence community.

Key recommendations for the internatio…

Rejoice Over CJ restoration - What Next?

Pakistanis Rejoice Over Restoration of Justice
By SABRINA TAVERNISE, New York Times, March 17, 2009

ISLAMABAD — It was a day of rejoicing, of drum playing, and of smiling at strangers. Pakistan’s chief justice had just been reinstated after a two-year struggle, and for those assembled in the country’s capital to celebrate, anything seemed possible.

“We’re watching history,” said Javed Ali Khan, a 45-year-old who had traveled for days with his wife and six children to participate in a national march of lawyers and opposition political parties that came to an abrupt end on Monday when the lawyers demands were met.

Samir Ali, 3, was sitting atop his father’s shoulders, waving a tiny Pakistani flag. “We are so happy,” said his father, a taxi driver, grinning and gesturing at his son. “See his face? He’s happy too.”

In the crowd, whose members included a radio announcer who was researching homosexuality and an illiterate mechanic who wore a flower pot on his head to stay cool and admitted t…