Despite its immense potential, corruption, environmental pollution and religious divisions are tearing the country’s social and political fabric.
The culture of entitlement that is so prevalent among the Pakistani elite is leading the country to disaster. Are the elite willing to give up their terrible ways?
America’s drone warfare has caused thousands of innocent deaths in Pakistan. When will this nightmare end?
If Pakistan only faced external enemies, it would be easy to understand its problems. The real tragedy is that its rulers are the greatest enemies the state and the people have to face.
Pakistan turns 63 this month but it would be difficult to say a great deal positive about its style of governance or development in all these years. True, its birth was marred by great suffering and bloodshed, not in a formal war but during the migration of millions of people that were uprooted from their homes in India in August 1947.
After more than two months of military operations in Swat Valley, the Pakistan army spokesman, major general Athar Abbas claimed that 95 percent of the Valley had been cleared of militants.
The larger story from Lebanon’s June 7 parliamentary elections was neither the “defeat” of Hizbullah, as the Western media claimed, nor the resounding victory for the US-Saudi backed and financed March 14 movement. Its real significance lay in the fact that it may usher changes in Lebanon’s political landscape in ways that would have been unthinkable barely five years ago.
The recent history of Pakistan seems to be one of crisis after crisis, punctuated only by periods of waiting to see what the next crisis will be. Developments in the last month, however, have been ominous and dangerous even by Pakistani standards, raising genuine fears that the crisis now developing may reduce the country to levels of disorder and chaos unprecedented even in Pakistan’s turbulent history.
A powerful truck bomb tore through the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad a few hours after Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s newly-elected President, addressed a joint session of Parliament on September 20. According to police sources, 53 persons were killed and more than 250 injured.
The long-overdue resignation of former general Pervez Musharraf from the presidency of Pakistan may have lifted his dark shadow from the political scene, but the problems of the people of Pakistan are far from over. They are now confronted by the frightening prospect of Asif Zardari, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), becoming the country’s president.
The manner in which Asif Zardari is wriggling out of his promise to reinstate the judges who were illegally dismissed by general Musharraf on November 3 last year has increased people’s cynicism about Pakistani politicians. At long last the people thought that they had found in the judiciary, especially former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, someone who would deliver them badly needed justice, but now they feel betrayed.
The results of Pakistan’s elections last month threw up no great surprises. Perhaps the only unexpected thing about them was that they passed relatively peacefully, with few attempts to disrupt the polling on the day, and only half-hearted attempts by the Musharraf regime to prevent the opposition parties’ successes.
Even the most ardent admirers of Benazir Bhutto do not deny that the former first family plundered the country’s wealth. Their defence of Benazir and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, an even bigger crook, is that it is nothing uncommon.