Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Pakistan Update

Views of the turbulence of Pakistani socio-political affairs...

Police Brutality: This picture shows the brave Pakistani police (hidden behind the clouds of tear gas) defending their countryagainst the terrifying onslaught of civil society.

Tribes Caught in the Middle: In January in Darra Adam Khel, the army conducted a campaign against militants. On March 2, an explosion during a tribal peace jirga resulted in 42 deaths.

In the words of an editorial in The News:

The message as such was clear -- with the tribesmen evidently punished for making an effort to restore peace to the lives of people. The 'jirga' had been convened, with official support, in the wake of an operation launched against militants in the Darra Adam Khel area since January. In the months before then, the small, dusty town of Darra Adam Khel, best known for its arms bazaar, had been over-run by militants who closed down schools for girls and ordered men to grow beards.

Continued Abuse of Lawyers: Deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, still under house arrest for standing up to Musharraf's November "coup against himself," terms the government's offer to release his family(!) from house arrest "a joke."

End of the Honeymoon: Khadim Hussain of the Pakistani newspaper Dawn gives us these insights into events in Swat, one turbulent corner of Pakistan:

AFTER living for two years in a land gripped with disaster, frustration, fear and death-like silence haunted with suicide attacks, bomb blasts and beheadings, the hard working, educated, and mature people of Swat Valley spoke loud and clear in the Feb 18 elections.They voted for the Awami National Party (ANP) and sent seven out of eight experienced, mostly young and energetic, persons to the national and provincial legislatures from the party’s platform — a secular, nationalist political party with liberal democratic credentials.The victory of ANP candidates with an overwhelming majority and the
positive response of the losing candidates brought about a harmonious political environment in the valley. As the spring season set in, a paradigm shift appeared imminent in the post-election socio-political and cultural environment of the valley.Then came the death blow on Feb 29 —a bomb blast that left almost 50 dead in a funeral ceremony in the congested part of Mingora. It recast the shadow of fear in the changing environs of Swat valley.

No comments: