Tag Archives: Foreign Policy

New Year, New Tasks

By: Agha Haider Raza

2011 has been a rather tumultuous year for Pakistan. There have been too many incidents to highlight and ponder over.  With the assassination of Salmaan Taseer in January to the deaths of Pakistani soldiers in November, the land of the pure has taken a lot of bruising. Despite suffering at the hands of homegrown and natural disasters, Pakistan continues to point fingers at the United States and other foreign intelligence agencies.  Now don’t get me wrong, the US has done its fair share to ruffle things up in the region, but I have to ask– how long can the country blame foreign powers for our own misery? Pakistan has failed to create a cohesive narrative at a time when it is most necessary.

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Leave of Absence

Hi All! Now that I have graduated from college and am starting my professional career, I will not be active on my blog anymore.  It has been a great experience writing on making our country look towards a brighter future.  We are at a cross-road and the route upon which we travel will surely measure our success.  Hopefully my blog has set a ball in motion and will make us think outside of the box.  We must counter the threat of those who are seeking to destroy our future.  Pakistan’s glory days are yet to come.  Most successful nations of our time have had a turbulent past and Pakistan is no exception.  We must overcome the elements that are breaking our peaceful society.  Education should be our top priority in order to be exceptional.  Through my published articles and numerous blog postings, I hope that I have inspired and motivated many of us who assume we have a bleak future.  Thank you for your readership and support!

-AHR

Times Square!

Just like the square itself, the news item of a lunatic Faisal Shahzad trying to set a car on fire has attracted millions of viewers.  Without diving into the act itself, the consequences are more important.  Various conspiracy theories have arisen from the right-wing in Pakistan who are exclaiming that with the help of the botched bombing the United States are going to force the Pakistan Army into North Waziristan, whereas the left are trying to break the link between Shahzad and a nation of 180 million. After all, Shahzad is a US citizen who has been residing in the United States for many years.  In an already fractured relationship, Obama and his administration need to tread rather carefully as much anger, resentment and fear lies below the surface. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations has done a wonderful job of explaining where Pakistan is coming from.  From being articulate to comprehensive, a much needed voice needs to be aired in both Pakistan and the United States to continue strengthening the Pak-US relationship.

I apologize in advance, for some reason I cannot add a flash video here. Please do follow the link to see the interview of Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations.  http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6471329n&tag=api

A new dawn

By: Agha Haider Raza

Over the past few days – out-of-public viewing – Pakistan has witnessed a welcoming shift in policy.  With the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Mullah Abdul Salam, the trust deficit between the United States and Pakistan or rather the ISI and CIA is slowly diminishing.  With a joint effort by these two premier intelligence agencies, a significant blow has been dealt to the top brass of the Taliban.  The capture of these Mullahs seems to have brought upon a new dawn upon the horizon. Continue reading

Coming full circle

By: Cyril Almeida

A very interesting analysis presented by Almeida in regards to the role of the Pakistan Army.  Many seem to bypass the role this ‘institution’ has played. Don’t get me wrong, the Army has done a tremendous job for Pakistan on various fronts throughout the course of our history.  But it is high time, they share the brunt of our misery today rather than solely blaming the corrupt elite and politicians. Continue reading

Mesmerization of Pakistani politics

By: Agha Haider Raza

This article was published in The Daily Times.  It truly does sum up my sentiment towards politics in Pakistan. I have no doubt that my generation will carry us forward with a vibrant and dynamic economy, and a population that is free of corruption and has ample access to justice along with the freedom of religion to practice and preach.

Politics in Pakistan mesmerize me. Not only does one enjoy the daily dose of rhetoric that is spewed from the mouths of our beloved politicians, but the one track mind of those in and out of government baffles the mind. Politics in Pakistan, much like the political parties themselves seem to be more inclined towards a personality than an ideology.  Nawaz Sharif, Altaf Hussain and Asif Zardari seem to be controlling the present and future of 170 million Pakistanis. What is ironic of these three distinguished gentlemen is the immense power they control. Nawaz Sharif, already a two-time Prime Minister – failed miserably on both occasions, Altaf Hussain – a self exiled leader living in London and Asif Zardari – the current President of Pakistan seems to be holding on to his seat with every bit of strength his party can muster. But why has it lead to a power struggle amongst these political leaders when thousands of Pakistani civilians and soldiers have died over the last few years? Why are we still playing the dirty political games of the past, when history has taught us to do better?

Furthermore, none of the three main political players can advocate the issues I have outlined. One is uneducated, the other is too religious and the third is downright corrupt. They surely cannot practice what they preach, so how have they managed to fool a nation of 170 million people and gained the ability to even vie for the control of our government? It truly baffles the mind. But with the determination that has kept us alive for the past 62 years, surely we will be able to overcome our current difficulties. It is only fair and critical that we start exercising and demanding our civil rights. It is the only way we can hold our government accountable. We must fight for our right to education, our right to freedom of religion and our right to a corrupt-free society. Anything short of this would truly be a sell out on our behalf!

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U.S. policy confusion on Pakistan and India

By: Myra MacDonald

What is the U.S. policy towards Pakistan and India, and in particular over how to deal with their rivalry over Afghanistan which complicates U.S. efforts to bring stability there? I’ve been trying to find an answer for weeks now amid a raft of contradictory signals and statements coming from different U.S. officials.

First we had the leaked report by General Stanley McChrystal in September suggesting the issue should be handled with caution given Pakistani sensitivities about a big rise in India’s presence in Afghanistan following the fall of the Pakistani-backed Taliban in 2001. Continue reading

Majesty of Law

By: Mir Jamilur Rahman

People last week saw the operation of justice in all its majesty. The 17 judges of the Supreme Court declared unanimously that an accused person cannot be absolved of charges by an act of parliament. An ordinance promulgated by the president has the same force and effect as an act of parliament (Article 89(2)). President Musharraf, the product of a sham referendum, had conceived and promulgated the NRO to acquire legitimacy and another tenure and clean the slate for about 8,500 NAB-hit people, which included politicians, bureaucrats and party functionaries. They were accused of corruption and other criminal acts and undergoing trials in Ehtisab Courts. But the NRO washed out all accusations pending against them. However, Musharraf’s machination failed miserably because the PPP government gave him neither legitimacy nor another term. Heart-broken, Musharraf left the country to take shelter in London. Continue reading

The Pakistan Government along with her Military and Citizens.

By: Agha Haider Raza

In the December 18th New York Times publication, an article Pakistan Ministers Are Called Before the Courts was written by Jane Perlez and Salman Masood.  Though the article does state the annulment of the National Reconciliation Ordinance and the repercussions of the decision taken by the Pakistan Supreme Court, it has given an image portraying the Pakistan Army as an anti-democratic institution.  Understandably the Pakistan Army is going through a turbulent phase.  The army is currently engaged in a battle against militants who are adamant in bringing down the current democratic set up in Pakistan.  However, one must not forget that many of these militants have grown up in the same neighborhood as the army soldiers, and regardless of allegiance, it is always difficult to take up arms against a childhood acquaintance. Continue reading

Roots of terrorism

By:  Shahid Javed Burki

Although there are still a couple of weeks to go before the new year, 2009 will go down in Pakistan’s exceptionally turbulent history as the country’s bloodiest year — bloodier than the time of ‘Operation Cleanup’ in the early 1990s in Karachi. The security forces then dealt with a situation that was confined to one city, albeit the largest in the country and that was the result of warring groups seeking to establish their political and economic writ. It was not aimed at destroying the Pakistani state or establishing a new political, economic and social order. It was about control of the city. This time the state is the target. Continue reading