The violence has subsided and the politicians are negotiating, but the protesters are still asking for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was elected only last year.
Democrats here, as well as much of civil society and the media, insist that the power-hungry military has something to do with this crisis. They suspect it of supporting the cricketer turned politician Imran Khan and the anti-Taliban cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri, the two marginal but influential politicians behind these unprecedented demonstrations, in their bid to take down the government.
This is true, but it is only half the truth. Of course, Pakistan is partly a praetorian state and the generals would like to see Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
The cold-blooded murder this week of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab Province, answers a few questions with stark clarity, just as it raises others.
Taseer’s killing provides the government and citizenry an unequivocal and unpleasant reminder that state appeasement of extremist groups does not work. The Punjab provincial administration run by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif needs to accept that its historical and ongoing tolerance of violence by extremist groups is simply untenable. The ruling Pakistan People’s Party-led federal government must also take a hard look at its conduct in events culminating in Taseer’s murder.
When Asia Bibi on Nov. 8 became the first woman in Pakistan to be sentenced to death for blasphemy, the verdict was widely denounced, including by key members of the government, such as Taseer.… Seguir leyendo »
At my daughter's annual school parents' day in Lahore, the tension was palpable. An innocuous annual event had transformed into a maximum security operation. Parents filed in their hundreds past security guards, metal detectors and bag searches to see their children perform songs. One more year like the last one and next year there will be no parents' day. Another month or two like the previous ones and there might be no school left open. Pakistanis may be scared of a future comprising daily doses of floggings, beheadings, daisy-cutters and drones; but if your children cannot go to school, the future has ceased to be.… Seguir leyendo »