CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

March 31, 2008

Sense and Insensitivity in Pakistan

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 6:29 pm

THE NEWYORK TIMES

MARCH 28, 2008

EDITORIAL

Published: March 28, 2008

Since winning parliamentary elections last month, the leaders of Pakistan’s new coalition government have shown good judgment: putting aside destructive personal rivalries and moving quickly to revive their country’s moribund democracy.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, they have also made clear that they do not trust the Bush administration, which bet everything on President Pervez Musharraf’s destructive authoritarian rule. And the new leaders are talking about reviewing Pakistan’s role in the Washington-led war on terrorism. That is very worrying.

The Bush administration bullied and bought Mr. Musharraf’s loyalty — and he never stayed bought. It is unlikely that President Bush can now overcome Pakistanis’ visceral mistrust. But with the right mix of aid, attention and humility, the administration can help strengthen the new government. With more aid, and more humility, it can also argue the case for why fighting extremism is in Pakistan’s clear interest.

Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister and the leader of one party in the coalition government, bluntly told American officials who visited Islamabad this week that there would be no more “one-man show” in Pakistan. The new government is working hard to marginalize Mr. Musharraf and undo his worst abuses, starting with the release of judges detained last year.

Amid a bloody surge in suicide bombings, officials in Islamabad are also talking about trying to negotiate a deal with local Taliban militants. They don’t seem to have a clear plan yet, but it is hard to see how they would be more successful than Mr. Musharraf. His deal with tribal leaders in the Afghan border region failed spectacularly as troops retreated to barracks and extremists moved east toward Pakistan’s more populated areas. Things also got much worse in Afghanistan.

This is a risky course, and Washington will have to work hard to help the government understand that — without provoking even more resentment and mistrust.

There are other dangers ahead. Although Mr. Musharraf has pledged to work with the new government, Mr. Sharif is demanding the president’s resignation, and some fear that if pushed, the former general might try another coup. The new government is also going to have to work out a relationship with the United States. Washington has given Islamabad more than $10 billion since 9/11, and the new government will need continued help.

President Bush can show his commitment to democracy and stability by increasing nonmilitary aid for projects that would strengthen the country’s battered democratic institutions and improve Pakistanis’ lives.

The administration proved, once again, how little it understands the basics of diplomacy. On the day the new prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani, was sworn in, the two visiting American diplomats chose to meet with Mr. Musharraf. That timing left the impression that Washington is still not listening to Pakistanis.

Pakistan has nuclear weapons. It is next door to Afghanistan. Does Washington need any more reasons to worry about what happens there? Or any more proof that it cannot afford to keep making such mistakes?

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 8:02 am

JANG

MARCH 31, 2008

March 29, 2008

Pull the other one, Sam

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 4:23 pm

THE NEWS

MARCH 29, 2008


Accounts of the origin of the phrase ‘You’re pulling my leg’ differ, with one authority saying it comes from the criminal underworld of London in the 18th and 19th centuries. Street robbers, working in pairs, would trip a victim (‘pull his leg’) and then relieve him or her of cash and valuables. Another authority places it in Scotland in the 19th century when it was commonly understood to mean that pulling a person’s leg was to make a fool of them. A third authority puts things rather more graphically saying that ‘to pull a man’s leg’ was to do him the favour of helping him to die a little more quickly than would otherwise be the case once he had been hung. Whatever the roots, all sources agree that having your leg pulled is equivalent to being told less than the truth–or to remove it from the realms of diplomatic language — being lied to.

A certain Mr Negroponte has been indulging in a little leg-pulling of late, and we are neither amused nor fooled. His recent visit ‘…planned six or eight weeks in advance’… (Doesn’t he know? Six? Eight? Has the US State Departments abacus malfunctioned?) — was not only an exercise in leg-pulling but equally obviously a chance to do a bit of arm-twisting as well. The new cabinet has yet to be sworn in, the government is not yet formed, yet here was Uncle Sam’s premier freelance thug oiling his way through the corridors of soon-to-be-power to make sure everybody was singing from the same song sheets, ducks were lined up and the euphemistic world of geopolitics as understood by America could continue unimpeded by anything as inconsequential as a democratically elected parliament that clearly has a mind of its own in matters of foreign policy. A mind that is of a different set to its predecessor.

Are we to believe Mr Negroponte when he says that America is not trying to dictate anti-terrorism policy to the incoming government? Or give credibility to his assertion that Washington has no hidden agenda or desire to interfere in any way with the sovereign rights of Pakistan? We think not, and if you think we are daft enough to believe you Mr. Negroponte then you are yourself a bigger fool than you took us to be. Uncle Sam is up against one of those discomforts of democracy that now trouble him across the world — populations vote to power parliaments that do not sing from Sam’s song sheet, whose ducks do not line up on his order and who get distinctly peeved at having their legs pulled.

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 3:54 pm

DAILY EXPRESS

 MARCH 29, 2008

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 3:52 pm

DAILY EXPRESS

MARCH 29, 2008

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 3:50 pm

DAILY EXPRESS

MARCH 29, 2008

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 3:49 pm

NAWAEWAQT

MARCH 29, 2008

EDITORIAL

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 3:46 pm

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 3:45 pm

NAWAEWAQT

MARCH 29, 2008

 

 
 

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 3:43 pm

NAWAEWAQT

 MARCH 29, 2008

 

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