Daily Archives: September 7, 2008

Engaging Pakistan—Getting the Balance Right

Here’s the summary from the latest policy brief from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Pakistan will remain a daunting challenge for the next American administration. The near-term challenge of defeating terrorism requires Washington to strengthen ties with the Pakistani military—the source of its national problems—whereas the long-term goal of nursing Pakistan to health requires a robust partnership with civilian leaders, which could undermine the military’s counterterrorism cooperation. Unfortunately, the United States cannot choose between these approaches. U.S. strategy in
these circumstances ought to consist of:

􀁎 Strengthening the civilian government in Pakistan.
􀁎 Investing in Pakistan’s human capital and supporting its civil society.
􀁎 Assisting Pakistan with counterterrorism while emphasizing the long-term U.S. commitment to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
􀁎 Encouraging Indo–Pakistani reconciliation without American mediation.
􀁎 Encouraging Indo–Pakistani economic integration.

Because Pakistan’s problems are deep-rooted, the United States should be satisfied in the interim with positive trends in governance, macroeconomic management, foreign policy, and temperate ideological orientation.

More here


Filed under Democracy, public policy, Terrorism, USA

The More Things Change…

by iFaqeer

I am reminded of something my father, a professor of history and political science, said about 20+ years ago: “Over the decades, Pakistan has made wonderful progress in everything–except politics.” [On my father, today, the 6th of Ramazan is his first “barsee”, as we say in South Asia–the first anniversary of his passing by the Islamic calendar. Please do keep him, and us, in your prayers.] I am attaching an op-ed from the person who is Editor Reporting for The News in Karachi (one of the two largest English papers in Pakistan; this one is owned by the Jang Group) and is a family/childhood friend. Over the years, I have been amazed as I watched him evolve into something really rare–and almost unheard of in the US mainstream media today 😉 –a truly objective journalist.

Two paras I’d like to quote in next comments:

“Pakistan is a somewhat strange country, one may concede. We are happy to give an unelected military general nine years in power but balk at allowing the same to be given to someone who is not rigging the elections. Only because we think one is a “decent man” and the other, in our eyes, is not. An officer who violates his own pledge to protect the Constitution is acceptable to us because of circumstances but a politician who breaks an agreement with a fellow politician cannot be trusted.” Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Democracy, Pakistan, Politics

On President Zardari

by iFaqeer

Just wrote this in reply to a birthday wish I got from a friend on Facebook, who mentioned that he will always remember this as the day we elected Mr. 10% as our President:

The supreme irony is that he got elected on a day that is celebrated as “Defence Day“.

You and I don’t have to like it, but the man–or should I say Da Man aka Maanroo Saeen–has more legal right to be President of Pakistan than Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto ever did. He might be as corrupt as his wife, Nawaz Sharif, and Imran Khan rolled into one, but he’s also more politically savvy than all of them combined. Paradoxes are us, man! Democracy is messy, and all that cool stuff, what? After all, American elected–or gave 49% of the vote to–George W Bush not once but twice.

More later. I have a major project to launch today.

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Filed under Democracy, Pakistan, Politics