Ayesha Siddiqa

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There seems to be no respite for school children in Malala Yousafzai’s home province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Days after the 17-year-old received the Nobel Peace Prize for advocating girls’ right to education, the Taliban launched the deadliest attack in Pakistan’s history, killing at least 148 people, including 132 children, at a school in Peshawar.

The people of Pakistan are shaken, angry, confused and fearful. The government just lifted the moratorium on the death penalty. And yet the attack in Peshawar will not be Pakistan’s 9/11 moment.

Terrorist attacks against schools in tribal areas are an old story. Muhammad Khorasani, the spokesman of the Pakistani Taliban (also known as Tehrik-e-Taliban), said the Peshawar attack was retaliation for the deaths of civilians killed in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, an anti-militancy campaign the Pakistani military started in June.…  Seguir leyendo »

The July 3 coup that ousted Egypt’s first popularly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, reminds us that military putsches can happen anywhere.

Egypt and Pakistan have political similarities. Both have powerful and predatory armies, are heavily militarized and suffer from a weak civil society that does not understand that political liberalization will never occur unless the democratic process — electoral competition, independent oversight, judicial independence — is strengthened.

In both countries, the military and its intelligence apparatus have penetrated most major institutions of society, including political parties.

In Egypt, the military reportedly controls as much as 40 percent of the economy. Its thriving business empire includes interests in tourism, real estate, construction, consumer goods and much more.…  Seguir leyendo »