Editorials articles

Sinking in Afghan quagmire

There is enough evidence available now to indicate that but for the superpower hubris on the part of the Bush administration, Taliban leadership could have been persuaded in 2001 to gradually get rid of Osama bin Laden and, with further pressure from the international community, to tone down its extremist hype. Confident of the highly lethal and devastating war machinery at his disposal Bush thought he could achieve its objective through military action alone. He even agreed to

Mumbai attacks

The Indians have enough reason to be angry. The Mumbai attacks were one of the most coordinated and protracted terror attacks of recent times. It has become what to measure other attacks by; today, when intelligence operatives speak of similar threats to a city, as they are about London at the moment, they refer to the prospect as Mumbai style attacks. This would not be lost out on the perpetrators of the said carnage. Spectacle and symbolism was all that they sought and that is what

Misusing blasphemy laws

Totally unnecessary statements by certain quarters, keen to stand up and be counted, have created complications for Aasia, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy, instead of helping her. A number of Muslim religious parties, in search of a cause, have taken to the streets threatening to unloose anarchy if the woman was to be pardoned. A presidential spokesman has, meanwhile, maintained that no papers for pardon have so far been received by the Presidency.
The sentence against

Setting the path

The issue of the disappearance of 11 prisoners from Adiala jail has caused a highly undesirable confrontation between the SC and three top security agencies. The controversy is likely to drag the Punjab administration also into the conflict as its Home Department had taken the stand that the prisoners had been taken away from the jail by the agencies which is a violation of the law. The two-point stand taken by the chiefs of the ISI, MI, and IB is that the prisoners are not in their

Three golds, three cheers

At the ongoing Asian sporting spectacle, the Pakistani athletes surprised us by producing a golden treble. So steep has been the fall of Pakistan sports that such a performance was indeed unanticipated. That explains why the sense of wonder and unadulterated joy is spread not just amongst the enthusiasts but across the whole country. For a nation so deprived of good news from any quarter, this undeniably is something to cheer and take pride in. The two silver and three bronze medals

Police indiscipline

What Advocate General Punjab told the Supreme Court on Wednesday constitutes an indictment of the provincial government. Punjab police, he said, was not in control of anyone and had “established their own state within a state”. So far one had read reports about financial mismanagement forcing the provincial government to take recourse to substantial bank loans and call off the ‘cheap bread’ scheme’ after spending billions of rupee on the unsustainable project. One had also come across

Eid again

A party’s position over the reformed GST has become a litmus test, of sorts, for its political expediency. At the moment, it is an open secret in the power corridors of Islamabad that the debate on the RGST is anything but a debate on the RGST. The snickering is audible in the Press Gallery, that abode of the cynics, in the parliament when the RGST issue comes up and legislators start making passionate pleas on behalf of the “people”. All the other, more innocent voices in the press

NLC scam

Gen Kayani has announced the formation of a high level enquiry committee to probe into reports about an NLC scam involving two Lt Generals and one Major General causing loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer. Reports about the scam have been appearing in the media for nearly a year now. Meanwhile, no notice was taken of the matter by the army and when Gen Kayani belatedly spoke on the issue a few weeks back, he didn’t go beyond clarifying that the NLC was not a military

Duped!

It reads like a joke. And it is, with the US being the butt. A shopkeeper from Quetta, allegedly, masqueraded as a senior Taliban leader, negotiating with senior Nato officials and the Karzai government, pocketing a sum that a Western diplomat would not describe as anything other than “a lot”. The placebo effect, as it is called in medicine, was also hilarious; there was an actual feeling amongst the Western military presence in Afghanistan that peace talks were going well precisely

Minding the store?

PPP’s bull in the china shop Rehman Malik, who is never tired of stepping into areas where wiser men fear to tread, has this time offended the Foreign Office by an indiscreet statement. The FO has publicly distanced itself from a stand taken by the Interior Minister implying that India was not involved in terrorist acts on Pakistan’s soil. He has been told that this could be his personal opinion but not Islamabad’s known stance on the matter. Last week, Rehman Malik was snubbed by

Reformed GST

After quite the hullabaloo, the Senate body has passed the RGST Bill. Through extension, one assumes, the Senate will also pass it. Moving on from there, a passage by the National Assembly is inevitable as well, since the players involved are going to behave in a similar fashion in the lower house; some will abstain, others will support. The RGST Bill, much to the ire of many, will see the light of day.
But it was anything but an easy ride. The government was between the rock and

Teetering…

From the settlers in Balochistan the target has now been expanded to include any Punjabi in transit, as the killing of five workers returning to Lahore from Iran would indicate. Scores of Punjabis including traders, teachers, doctors, even labourers have died in acts of targeted killing. Hundreds have been forced to sell their property and businesses or leave their jobs and have been forced to return to their native province. This is reminiscent of the happenings in what was once East

The Hajj

Well, the irony of the whole thing hasn’t been lost on anyone. Corruption in the ministry of religious affairs. That too, in facilitation of one of the five pillars of faith. The dust hasn’t settled on what quite happened in the scam involving the Hajj but the barbs have started flying. What is interesting is the quarters from where the accusations have started. Far from the usual routine of the opposition grilling the government on the matter, most of the infighting is within the

Making us proud

The Pakistani women cricketers wrapped themselves in glory at Guangzhou by clinching the first-ever gold on the game’s debut in the premier Asian sporting spectacle. They did it with a measure of aplomb, coasting to victory without the loss of a wicket. In fact, such was the dominance of women in green that in four wins on course to the title, only as many wickets were lost. This is impressive stuff that should inspire their male compatriots now battling scandals and South Africa in

Bumpy road ahead

In a welcome move, President Zardari has reached out to Mian Nawaz Sharif at a time when the PPP-led coalition faces challenges from its allies. That the allies have decided to oppose two bills being piloted by the administration indicates the way ahead for the government would be rocky.
The MQM, ANP and JUI(F) had disowned the four member parliamentary committee for the appointment of judges maintaining that the decision was taken without consulting the allies. The MQM and JUI

Periodic outbursts

A simple Eid Mubarak doesn’t appear to roll easily off PML(N) leader Ahsan Iqbal’s tongue. On the second day of Eid, the former education minister attempted to do to the ruling party a verbal version of what butchers and amateurs across the great land did to kosher animals. What prompted the politician to speak out on the occasion is anybody’s guess. The current regime has broken all records of corruption and inflation, he said. Though not many dispute that the present government is a

The Lisbon Summit

The Nato summit has begun at a time when President Karzai is increasingly under attack from his American patrons for criticising Gen Petraeus’ “kill or capture” night raids on the Taliban. Karzai’s problem is that he occasionally tends to forget that he holds his position as President courtesy the US and its allies and that he is supposed to carry out orders without throwing tantrums. His latest fits of pique have landed him in hot soup and he is being asked to explain which side he

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