Pakistan

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  • The Bhutto-Sharif Charter of Democracy

    Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif signed the Charter of Democracy in London on May 15. This is a politically significant step as it signals the coming together of two important parties that together gained 36.5 per cent of the popular vote and hold 72 seats in the current 342 member National Assembly of Pakistan. All political parties including the MMA have welcomed the Charter. The military government, however, has been critical of the alliance and said in a statement that this is a political gimmick of parties that have failed the people and democracy in Pakistan.

    May 29, 2006

    Closure of the Pakistan-Based A.Q. Khan Network Case: A Hasty Burial?

    North Korea’s and Iran’s showdown with the US and the West on the nuclear proliferation issue are closely related to their dubious proliferation connections with the Pakistan-based A Q Khan network. Yet, Pakistan has announced that the case against Khan and his proliferation cohorts is closed. To comprehensively understand the nonproliferation challenges, it is crucial that the details about the network’s operations as also about Khan’s associates as well as their benefactors are publicly revealed.

    April 2006

    Radical Islamic Movements: Gender Construction in Jamaat-i-Islami and Tabligh-i-Jamaat in Pakistan

    Muslim women are generally viewed as victims of prevailing religious and patriarchal discourses. Their subjectivity and subordinate position is discussed as imposed, through textual representations by orthodox and radical Muslims. Radical Islamic movements are examined as militarized masculinities, oppressing women as well as terrorizing the non-Muslims. This paper argues that women are active partners of their subordination within traditionalist and radical religious movements. They are agents of orthodoxy and have carved a new role for themselves within the religious paradigms.

    April 2006

    MMA-Democracy Interface in Pakistan: From Natural Confrontation to Cohabitation?

    The myth regarding religious parties in Pakistan possessing street power sans political power was broken with the success of the Muttahida Majlise Amal’s (MMA)—a coalition of Muslim parties and groups— in the 2002 general elections. The party sprung to power for a variety of reasons including the support it received from General Musharraf’s military establishment. The MMA on several occasions facilitated Musharraf’s political schema in the hope for larger political favours, drawing severe criticism from both within and outside the party.

    April 2006

    Waziristan Quagmire

    The actions of the Pakistani government in North Waziristan during the last one month are indicative of adhocism and adventurism. It was only on February 23 that the Governor of NWFP, Khalil-ur-Rehman, announced that the government had suspended operations in North Waziristan Agency because it believed that tribesmen were capable of restoring peace and normalcy through their own customs and traditions. However just six days later, 41 militants including their Chechen commander were reportedly killed in a raid carried out using helicopter gunships on their hideout in North Waziristan.

    March 28, 2006

    George Bush Puts Pakistan and Pervez Musharraf Out in the Cold

    US President George Bush's 26-hour visit to Pakistan was foredoomed to failure as the two leaders had two different sets of issues on their agenda for talks, which shows their divergent perceptions of mutual roles and concerns in the region. While terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation and democracy held salience for George Bush, General Musharraf seemed inclined to forging strategic cooperation and securing civil nuclear technology and US mediation in Kashmir.

    March 11, 2006

    Khaleda's Pakistan visit Shifts Focus to Economic Synergy

    Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's state visit (February 12-14, 2006) to Pakistan after a gap of a decade signals subtle changes that are driving bilateral relations. Both sides are consciously moving away from the political issues that had undermined ties for long and are looking to economic cooperation as the engine of change. The composition of the delegation accompanying the Prime Minister and the focus of the official dialogue reveal a focus on strengthening economic ties.

    February 27, 2006

    Whither Baluch Resistance?

    Baluchistan is back in news. Most resolute among the Baluchis would tell you they are fighting a last ditch battle against Pakistan. They would try to convince you the flame of Baluchi resistance would live on. Will the Baluch resistance live on or will it be put out by the might of the Pakistan military for the time being only to rise again in the future.

    February 21, 2006

    Balochistan Flares up Again

    Balochistan has once again flared up, as troops moved in on December 18, 2005 to discipline the recalcitrant Marri tribes in Kohlu district. By commencing its much-awaited operations in Balochistan, the Pakistan military broke a tenuous peace that had lasted for nine months since clashes in Dera Bugti had claimed over 60 lives. The present operations in Balochistan ostensibly started in response to the December 14 rocket attacks on Kohlu town during President Pervez Musharraf's visit to lay the foundation stone of one of the three new cantonments to be set up in the province.

    January 18, 2006

    Pakistan and Regionalism

    Regionalism has not been a very successful endeavour in South Asia so far. What has gone wrong? Regionalism can be approached from both functional and neo-functional approaches. While functionalism is still relevant in Europe, primarily because of its geographical contiguity and cultural commonalities, the same does not seem to have worked in South Asia in spite of common historical and cultural roots and geographical contiguity. The article explores the specific case of Pakistan and its inability to come to terms with the basic tenets of regionalism.

    January 2006

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