Pakistan post 2008 elections – Updates

Written by  //  December 1, 2010  //  Pakistan  //  2 Comments

NYT Pakistan News
CIA World Factbook – Pakistan
BBC Pakistan country profile
Reuters blog Pakistan: Now or Never?
Pakistan’s Gambit in Afghanistan
There’s a sense that Afghans are losing confidence in the allied operations, and Pakistan is looking to “exploit that advantage,” says CFR South Asia expert Daniel Markey. Pakistan would like an Afghan government that’s sympathetic to Pakistan and committed to not allowing much Indian influence in Afghanistan. (Council on Foreign Relations)
Pakistan’s Security Today and Tomorrow (CSIS January 2009)

WikiLeaks cables document U.S.-Pakistan tensions
Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal the extent to which the United States was concerned about Pakistani nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists, a fear that had been kept largely secret by U.S. officials.
“Our major concern is not having an Islamic militant steal an entire weapon but rather the chance someone working in GOP [government of Pakistan] facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon,” [Ambassador Ann] Patterson wrote.
25 November
International Jihadists Use Karachi as Hub
(Spiegel) Karachi is the pulsating heart of Pakistan, but the city of 18 million is descending into a maelstrom of violence. While NATO uses the port to support its war in Afghanistan, international jihadism has established strongholds in the metropolis’s slums and suburbs. Related articles from Spiegel
12 November
Pakistan: A battered bulwark
(FT) Signs exist that army chiefs are rethinking the support of militants, so the country can broker an eventual Kabul deal that protects its interests
28 September
Pakistani military pushing for civilian government shakeup
(FP Morning Brief) Top officers in Pakistan’s military, the country’s most powerful institution, are increasingly disillusioned with the government of President Asif Ali Zardari. Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, in a meeting on Monday, reportedly took the president and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to task for corruption, and called on them to fire some of the most corrupt ministers in the 60-member cabinet.
Pakistan is selected to head UN atomic-energy agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday chose Pakistan — whose chief nuclear-weapons scientist once trafficked atomic-weapons technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea — to lead its 35-member board of governors. The country last headed the board of the UN agency in 1998. Bloomberg (9/27)
7 September
Pakistan floods wipe out more than 1 million animals – and farmers’ livelihoods
The death of more than a million livestock in the Pakistan floods has wiped out years of farmers’ savings. How the government responds will shape the country’s economic future.
2 September
Flood-Ridden Pakistan Ineligible For Emergency Debt Relief
(IPS) – A loan deal between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and flood-stricken Pakistan announced Thursday has drawn the ire of several NGOs that claim the deal represents an “inadequate” and “cynical” response to the disaster that is estimated to have affected the lives of millions.
29 August
Pakistan gets $1B aid pledge from Muslim nations
Muslim countries, organizations and individuals have pledged nearly $1 billion US in cash and relief supplies to help Pakistan respond to devastating floods.

Pakistani Taliban threatens UN, foreign aid workers
The UN is reviewing its security protocols in Pakistan after threats from the Pakistani Taliban against UN workers delivering aid in the beleaguered country. Though the crisis in Pakistan has unfolded over four weeks without any attacks, UN and U.S. security authorities are taking precautions after threats from Tehrik-e Taliban against any foreigners working to deliver and distribute aid to people suffering after the floods. The UN estimates that the need for aid is immense, with some 17 million people affected by the flood. BBC (8/26)

UN official sounds off on Pakistan response
UNICEF director of emergency operations Louis-Georges Arsenault described the aftermath of flooding in Pakistan as the greatest humanitarian crisis in decades in his plea for world countries and donors to meet the incredible demand for aid. Pakistani officials are meeting with officials from the International Monetary Fund to discuss ways to prevent Pakistan’s economy from collapsing — even as Pakistan prepares for more flooding. The U.S. fears that economic and humanitarian destabilization in Pakistan could pave the way for greater infiltration by the Taliban and other insurgent groups. BBC (8/23) , Reuters (8/23)
20 August
Flood Aid Exposes Distrust of Gov’t
(IPS) … While the calls for assistance say how to and who to give donations to, she is unsure whom she can trust. But she is sure that her donation will not be going into the relief fund set up by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.
This is a common refrain heard here every day, reflecting the deep mistrust of and anger against the government. For many, this sentiment has been exacerbated by President Asif Ali Zardari’s sojourn to France and Britain earlier in August, when the destruction caused by record floods was at its peak.
19 August
Why Aren’t We Doing More For Flood-Ravaged Pakistan?

Pakistan’s image is one reason for what could be called a tepid response to the disaster, even though the destruction is described as ‘beyond imagination.’ As Filipe Ribeiro, director general of the French branch of Doctors Without Borders, was quoted in the French newspaper Le Monde, ‘Pakistan has bad press…… The country evokes corruption, war, the Taliban. This doesn’t help spark emotion.’ Indeed, ‘minimal media coverage’ is another reason for the so-far slow response to help Pakistan; the New York Times also cites ‘the preoccupation with economic problems; donor fatigue with natural disasters and the August vacation season when many people pay less attention to the news. Finally, Pakistan itself suffers from an image problem as a hotbed of Taliban activity and the source of renegade nuclear sales, which can give donors pause.’
Security issues complicate Pakistan crisis
Pakistani security forces clashed with militants in the northern city of Peshawar in what authorities say was an attempt by militants to take advantage of police focusing on flood relief efforts. The massive destruction and humanitarian crisis affecting Pakistan has American officials re-examining their engagement strategy for Pakistan, and the region. Officials fear militant groups aligned with the Taliban and al-Qaida will seek to exploit the chaos and expand their support base. Google/The Associated Press (8/18) , The New York Times (8/18)
17 August
U.N. Sounds Alarm on Aid for Pakistan
Aid organizations and the United Nations itself expressed alarm on Tuesday that the plight of millions of Pakistanis flooded from their land has yet to strike a sufficiently sympathetic nerve among donors — neither governments nor the general public — with aid trickling in far more slowly than needed.

ISI names militants as leading threat to Pakistan
In a remarkable recognition of the changing political landscape in South Asia, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency recognized militants operating within its borders as a greater threat to Pakistan than potential conflict with India. For the first time since the countries were officially established, India was outranked in Pakistan’s estimation as the primary threat facing the country. Pakistan’s military and government have not yet officially endorsed the recommendation by ISI. The Wall Street Journal (8/16)
8 August
U.S. assesses own plans after Pakistan floods
(Reuters) – As flood waters rise in Pakistan, so does U.S. concern over the impact of the disaster on an already fragile economy and how Washington’s robust development plan may be slowed down to deal with the crisis.
Another source of unease, say officials and experts, is fallout from the weak response of the civilian government and to what extent the Pakistani military’s attention is being diverted from its fight against militants in the border areas with Afghanistan where U.S. troops are fighting the Taliban. Zardari shrugs off criticism as disaster spreads
Pakistani floods are affecting 4 million people
As officials are racing to prevent damage and loss of life in Karachi, where the waters are approaching, anger with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari’s refusal to cancel official state visits to France and U.K. has boiled over. The Independent (London) (8/6)
Zardari’s heavy political baggage
(BBC) Pakistan’s President Asif Zardari is meeting with the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron as floods, diplomatic tensions and insurgency compete for his attention.
The question is what will be left behind in Afghanistan after the Western forces leave? The West fears a weak and corrupt Afghan government will leave space for jihadis to extend their influence.
The Pakistanis fear a weak and corrupt Afghan government will leave space for the Indians to extend their influence.
The Pakistani army may see the Taliban as a problem – a big one – but it sees India as the greater long-term threat.
The threat of a land invasion from India means the country needs to know its long border with Afghanistan is secure.
… When Pakistan’s president meets Britain’s prime minister, both men will know that Asif Zardari doesn’t control security policy and that the army and the intelligence agency does. They also know David Cameron’s comments about Pakistan facing two ways were, in fact, not that new. The US has said similar things.
Pakistan reels after Taliban assassination, severe floods
Pakistan is buckling under the strain of the twin threats of natural and man-made disaster as flooding and Taliban attacks take their toll. The Taliban assassinated Sifwat Ghayur, a Western ally and the chief of an ethnic Pashtun security force tasked with fighting the Taliban along the tribal border region. Meanwhile, the UN has warned of severe food shortages in areas beset by floods stemming from one of the most dramatic monsoon seasons in 80 years. The Wall Street Journal (8/4) , The Washington Post (8/5) 
Blighted Pakistan: Swamped, bruised and resentful
Terrifying monsoon floods add to a sea of other woes in Pakistan—and intensify pressure on the president
(The Economist) PRESIDENT ASIF ZARDARI may yet regret sticking to a European jaunt this week, just as his countrymen struggled to cope with the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history. As the heaviest monsoon rain in decades swept away the houses of over 140,000 people, killing an estimated 1,500 and affecting over 3m, Mr Zardari was pictured swanning about in sunny France, taking a helicopter trip to his 16th-century chateau in Normandy, and promoting the fledgling political career of his son. In the process he took time to admonish Britain’s new government for daring to point out that elements in Pakistan export terrorism and to scold the West for losing “hearts and minds” in its war in Afghanistan.
4 August
Fatima Bhutto: Zardari’s Katrina — Why is Pakistan’s president junketing while his people drown?
This week, Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, boarded a private Gulfstream Jet along with his family and his hundreds-large entourage to visit the European countries included on the president’s grand tour. Yesterday, Zardari — who was married to my aunt, the late Benazir Bhutto, before her 2007 murder — landed in London. As soon as the plane touched down, the president and his Very Important coterie were chauffeured in a dozen luxury vehicles to a five-star hotel where the president will be staying in a £7,000 ($11,160) per night Royal Suite.
3 August
West losing war with Taliban: Pakistan president
In an interview with Le Monde, Mr. Zardari gave a stark assessment of the nine-year Afghanistan war, and said the West was to blame for failing to win the support of ordinary Afghans.
“I believe that the international community, which Pakistan belongs to, is in the process of losing the war against the Taliban,” Mr. Zardari said. “And that is, above all, because we have lost the battle for hearts and minds.”
(FT) Anger erupted among survivors of Pakistan’s worst floods in 80 years as destitute farmers asked why their president was visiting the UK even as his country braced for more rains
A humanitarian disaster at home, a diplomatic crisis abroad
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari flies into Britain today facing problems on two fronts
(The Independent) Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari arrives in London today as his nation grapples with the impact of the worst floods in 80 years – and against the backdrop of a bitter row over terrorism with his host David Cameron.
2 August
Dr. Charles G. Cogan: Loose canon
… Before rushing to judgment, let’s first consider the situation from the Pakistan point of view. Its creation, the Afghan Taliban, were driven from the country in late 2001 because the leader of the group, Mullah Omar, had been sheltering Osama bin Laden. Other than refusing to give over bin Laden, the Taliban had no direct military quarrel with the U.S.
The Afghan Taliban are a potential instrument of influence for Pakistan inside Afghanistan (and against Indian interests there), as are the networks of Hekmatyar and Haqqani, two former mujahidin groups in the Pakistani-sponsored war against the Soviets in the 1980’s.
Enter the Wikileaks documents. They indicate (though not conclusively) that the former head of the ISI, the Pakistani Intelligence Service, in the late 1980’s, Retired Gen. Hamid Gul, has, inter alia, been encouraging the Haqqani network to plant Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) inside Afghanistan. This reflects, at a minimum, the loose canon under which the Pakistani Government has been operating.
Where is Gen. Gul (who incidentally, in an interview at the time, blamed 9/11 on the Mossad and the CIA) now? Is he free to roam around Pakistan spewing his anti-American venom and picking up recruits along the way?
29 July
Kayani’s gambit
America is furious about WikiLeaks’ revelations on the war in Afghanistan. But Pakistan also has much to worry about
(The Economist) The trouble for General Kayani, these days America’s favourite Pakistani general, is that he led the ISI from 2004 to 2007, before becoming army chief. America has denounced the leak as endangering soldiers’ lives, but played down the revelations. The White House said “there is no blank cheque” for Pakistan. But the cheque is nonetheless large. Washington has announced $500m of civilian-aid projects for Pakistan, part of a $7.5 billion, five-year package. Pakistan will also get about $2 billion a year in American military aid.
America relies on Pakistan to help in the hunt for al-Qaeda figures in its tribal areas, and it in turn helps Pakistan fight its version of the Taliban, yet can do little to convince Pakistan to act against the Afghan Taliban. America’s policy is to embrace Pakistan, in the hope that the alliance will assuage its fears about India’s Afghan ambitions … . Pakistan contends that it can get the Taliban and the Haqqani network to join talks. It aims to promote groups that will ensure Afghanistan is friendly to Pakistan, and that Indian influence is kept at bay. Might General Kayani thus become a power behind the throne in Afghanistan too? The WikiLeaks disclosures, alleging Pakistani double-dealing, will not serve such dreams.
28 July
Cameron warns Pakistan over terror
(FT) David Cameron on Wednesday risked opening a diplomatic rift with Pakistan after accusing Islamabad of “looking both ways” on exporting terrorism, soon after paving the way to closer nuclear and military ties with India.
The UK prime minister used his first public appearance in Bangalore to warn Pakistan to stop “promoting terror” or face isolation in the international community.
Mr Cameron’s remarks are his strongest rebuke of Islamabad’s suspected links with extremist groups and contrast with his depiction of India as a “responsible global power”.
25 July
Pakistan Aids Insurgency in Afghanistan, Reports Assert
Americans fighting the war in Afghanistan have long harbored strong suspicions that Pakistan’s military spy service has guided the Afghan insurgency with a hidden hand, even as Pakistan receives more than $1 billion a year from Washington for its help combating the militants, according to a trove of secret military field reports made public Sunday.
Clinton ushers in Afghanistan-Pakistan trade agreement
Just hours after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Islamabad for a two-day visit, officials from the U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan announced final agreement on an Afghanistan-Pakistan trade pact several years in the making. The Obama administration hopes that investment in Pakistan — through trade agreements and a $500 million U.S. aid package to be unveiled today — will convince Pakistani authorities to align their security and international priorities with U.S. interests. Pakistan has emerged as a base for militants fighting in Afghanistan, such as the Haqqani network in Pakistan’s tribal border regions. The Washington Post (7/18)
Tax dodgers deprive Pakistan of resources to fight insurgency
Relatively few people among Pakistan’s wealthy elite ever pay income tax, a situation that has led to dramatic income inequality, as well as diminished coffers for the state. Inequality and a lack of public-sector goods or services drive conditions that lead to the spread of extremism and deprive the government of resources that could be used to fight the insurgency. In an effort to collect taxes from the wealthy, one board hired transgender individuals to shame defaulters into paying. The New York Times (free registration) (7/18) , NYTimes.com/At War blog (7/18)
2 July
Death in Lahore: A sinister and deadly new twist in Pakistan’s dreadful saga of terrorist atrocities
(The Economist) Two suicide-bombers killed themselves and 43 other people in a Sufi shrine in Lahore, barely a month after a similar attack on the mosque of a minority sect. The terrorists’ wrath is directed particularly at moderate Muslims who oppose them. They are now striking those they consider heretics, such as the tolerant, Sufi-inspired Barelvi sect within Sunni Islam to which most Pakistanis adhere.
Proposed Pakistan law worries media advocates
Media and human-rights advocates worry a new law restricting television coverage of suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks may be used to silence government critics. Under the law, journalists would be banned from airing video of suicide attacks, victims’ bodies or any other material deemed to promote terrorism, and could face jail time for reporting anything defamatory toward the government. The Guardian (London) (7/1)
24 June
Pakistan Is Said to Pursue Foothold in Afghanistan
Pakistan is exploiting the troubled United States military effort in Afghanistan to drive home a political settlement with Afghanistan that would give Pakistan important influence there but is likely to undermine United States interests, Pakistani and American officials said.
Though encouraged by Washington, the thaw heightens the risk that the United States will find itself cut out of what amounts to a separate peace between the Afghans and Pakistanis, and one that does not necessarily guarantee Washington’s prime objective in the war: denying Al Qaeda a haven.
It also provides another indication of how Pakistan, ostensibly an American ally, has worked many opposing sides in the war to safeguard its ultimate interest in having an Afghanistan that is pliable and free of the influence of its main strategic obsession, its more powerful neighbor, India.
13 June
Report: Pakistani ISI backs Taliban
(Al Jazeera) A report by a leading British institution claims that Pakistan’s intelligence service has a direct link with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Published on Sunday by the London School of Economics, the report said that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has an “official policy” of support for the Taliban.
The Pakistani government has declared victory over the Taliban in the Orakzai tribal region, near the Afghan border.
(WaPost) The announcement about the Orakzai tribal region may free the army to send some troops to other districts where Islamist insurgents have bases that threaten the Pakistani state and U.S. troops across the border.
But the victory could also be fleeting – the army has declared success in other trouble spots in the past, only to see militants regroup and resurge.
(Foreign Policy) Pakistani officials say they have arrested seven people in Karachi in connection with last weekend’s failed bombing attempt in New York’s Times Square. At least one of the men arrested was reportedly a friend of Pakistani-American suspect Faisal Shazad. Some media reports have identified the arrested men as his relatives. Shahzad comes from a wealthy family in Northwest Pakistan and his father is a former top officer in the air force.
3 May
Pakistan Taliban leader alive, threatens U.S. with attacks
The leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, reported killed in a CIA drone aircraft attack in January, has appeared alive in Internet videos, threatening revenge suicide strikes in the United States.
Pakistan forms legal team to take water issue with International court
Pakistan has decided to approach the International Court of Arbitration to halt the construction of the Kishanganga hydropower project by India on the ground that it violates the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, and has formed a team of legal experts to fight the case.
1 May
Is Baluchistan more strategically significant than Afghanistan?
consider that China – renowned for its long-term planning – has invested heavily in Baluchistan, including building a deep water port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea to give it access to Gulf oil supplies. The region is rich in gas and minerals; attracting strong international interest in spite of a low-level insurgency by Baluch separatists.
Bordering both Iran and Afghanistan, it lies along the sectarian and geopolitical faultlines that have fissured the region since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan later that year.
The province is also a source of friction with India, with Pakistan accusing it of using its presence in Afghanistan to fund the Baluch separatists, a charge Delhi denies. Whatever the rights and wrongs of that argument, you can be fairly sure that anywhere lying on the intersection of Indian, Chinese and Pakistani interests will be strategically far more important than it might appear on the surface.
30 April
Indo-Pakistani talks require caution
(The Guardian) The resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan is welcome, but expectations of its outcome should be kept low
The Indo-Pakistani schism over Kashmir is the main reason why the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has yet to craft the norms of co-operation that could improve the management of natural resources, prevent land and water degradation, and increase human security in South Asia.
The Global Repercussions of India-Pakistan Detente
(The Atlantic) Ever since the 1947 fissure between Pakistan and India, the relationship between these two states, which hinges on the contested border region of Kashmir, has been one of the world’s most contentious. It is also quickly becoming one of the world’s most important.
28 April
Three Points of View: The United States, Pakistan and India
(Stratfor) The geography of Pakistan is extremely hostile. It is a desert country. What rain the country benefits from falls in the northern Indo-Pakistani border region, where the Himalayas wring moisture out of the monsoons. Those rains form the five rivers of the Greater Indus Valley, and irrigation works from those rivers turn dry areas green.
Accordingly, Pakistan is geographically and geopolitically doomed to perpetual struggle with poverty, instability and authoritarianism. This is because irrigated agriculture is far more expensive and labor-intensive than rain-fed agriculture. Irrigation drains the Indus’ tributaries such that the river is not navigable above Hyderabad, near the coast — drastically raising transport costs and inhibiting economic development. Reasonably well-watered mountains in the northwest guarantee an ethnically distinct population in those regions (the Pashtun), a resilient people prone to resisting the political power of the Punjabis in the Indus Basin. This, combined with the overpowering Indian military, results in a country with remarkably few options for generating capital even as it has remarkably high capital demands.
India, Pakistan jockey for influence in Afghanistan
India and Pakistan are waging a proxy battle against one another in Afghanistan, where influence represents access, resources and security. Pakistan, which shares a religion and ethnic ties with Afghanistan, considers the country its natural ally — and abhors the thought of finding itself sandwiched between India and a pro-India Afghanistan. India’s efforts to build roads and electrical infrastructure in western Afghanistan reflect its interest in opening new trade routes and energy corridors through Central Asia as well as expanding its regional influence. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (4/26)
5 April
U.S. Aims to Ease India-Pakistan Tension
(WSJ) President Barack Obama issued a secret directive in December to intensify American diplomacy aimed at easing tensions between India and Pakistan, asserting that without détente between the two rivals, the administration’s efforts to win Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan would suffer.
22 October 2009
The shifting alliances of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s militants
(Reuters blog) History would suggest that the Islamist militants do not always form a cohesive whole or even follow a common ideology. After the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, the mujahideen who had driven them out became fragmented, leading to a bloody civil war. In Kashmir too, where a separatist revolt began in 1989, different militant groups rivalled and sometimes fought each other.
21 October
ANALYSIS: Politics of Kerry-Lugar Bill —Ijaz Hussain
ice President Joe Biden has proposed the idea of “Pakistan First”, according to which the road to victory in Afghanistan lies through the targeting of the Taliban in Pakistan rather than those in Afghanistan
Pakistan is in the eye of storm because of the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Initially, the government took the view that the aid bill was the best thing that ever happened to Pakistan and the Interior Minister reportedly tried to get the federal cabinet adopt a resolution lauding it. The opponents of the bill, especially the army, took a different view.
15 October
Insurgency in Pakistan: what next?
After last weekend’s attack on the headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi, one of the questions being asked with a rather troubling air of inevitability was: where next? … Many expect the attacks to continue, as militants based in the country’s heartland Punjab province unleash a wave of violence ahead of a planned military offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in their stronghold in South Waziristan.
8 October
How a U.S. Aid Package to Pakistan Could Threaten Zardari
(TIME) After decades of coddling military dictators in Pakistan, Washington wants a different relationship with its key partner in the war against al-Qaeda. The Kerry-Lugar Act which has passed the Senate, after a similar bill passed in the House last month, would provide $7.5 billion in nonmilitary aid over the next five years, in an ambitious plan to counter widespread anti-American sentiment there by helping Pakistan’s civilian government deliver essential services to its population. Unlike previous no-strings aid packages, Kerry-Lugar makes support conditional on Pakistan’s military being subordinated to its elected government, and taking action against militants sheltering on its soil. But by dangling the prospect of a desperately needed aid package on terms deemed intrusive by the military and opposition parties, the legislation may be weakening the very civilian government it hoped to bolster.
21 September
U.S. Fears Pakistan Aid Will Feed Graft
The United States is preparing to triple its aid package to Pakistan, but is debating how much of the assistance should go directly to the government.
7 August
Air strike kills Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud
Taliban confirms death of notorious commander after missiles hit farmhouse along Afghan border
In the wake of Wednesday’s strike, Pakistani and American officials are sifting through intelligence intercepts, some of which indicate dismay and disarray in militant circles. The most conclusive proof would come through DNA evidence but it is difficult to obtain samples from the strike site. Taliban fighters have occupied surrounding villages and prevented anyone from leaving
12 March
Author and human rights activist Greg Mortenson has devoted his life to building schools in the remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. NPR Interview
4 March 2009
Chilling strike leaves a nation out in the cold
(The Independent) They have assassinated a former prime minister, destroyed an iconic symbol of the country’s establishment and hit out lethally at a soft but “spectacular” target in neighbouring India. Now Pakistan’s militants – if, indeed, this proves to have been their deadly work – have ripped at another of the threads of the country’s fabric and in doing so shaken the entire nation and beyond.
That international cricket will not played in Pakistan for some time to come is the least important consequence of yesterday’s attack on the Sri Lankan team. The nature of the strike, the increasingly sophisticated tactics of the militants and the inability of the authorities to halt them pushes the country ever closer to the brink.
22 October 2008
(BBC) The International Monetary Fund says Pakistan has asked it to help deal with its looming balance of payments crisis.
Pakistan is going through its worst economic crisis in a decade, with massive trade and budget deficits, plunging foreign currency reserves and capital flight. The growing strength of Islamic militants, demonstrated by a devastating attack on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad last month, is deterring many investors. Its traditional allies, China and Saudi Arabia, have so far refused its request for help. More – 02/11/08 Pakistan accepts 11 IMF conditions
22 April
Pakistan’s doves, America’s hawks
While Pakistan’s new leaders set about curtailing Musharraf’s power, the threat posed by Islamist terrorism is escalating
Pakistan’s new leaders are doing the easy stuff first. Judges fired by President Pervez Musharraf, including chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, will likely get their jobs back soon. Media curbs are being lifted. A regulation preventing prime ministers serving more than two terms may be scrapped, which could benefit Nawaz Sharif, a leader of the ruling coalition.
Earlier this week the supreme court cleared the way for the late Benazir Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, to run for parliament in a June byelection. That in turn could put the Pakistan People’s party co-chairman in line for the premiership.
19 February
Opposition Demands Musharraf Resigns
Pakistan oppositon leader Nawaz Sharif has demanded that President Pervez Musharraf resign after his party suffered a crushing defeat in the country’s parliamentary elections.
18 February 2008
Pakistan election – what next for Musharraf?
(Reuters blog) Did he gamble that even if his own supporters lost, he would still gain by proving his commitment to a free election to the international community? And in that gamble, was there an assumption that the opposition parties would squabble too much amongst themselves to form an effective coalition against him? It would be an interesting question to ask him.

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