Stories about Pak-US

What will Grossman’s visit achieve?

On the face of it, Pakistan and the United States are inching closer to a possible reunion as US Special Envoy for the Af-Pak theatre, Marc Grossman, is set to reset the volatile relationship with Islamabad. But there is a lot more to the equation than what meets the eye. The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has presented its recommendation to the parliament, and the defence and cabinet committees are set to endorse the new terms of engagement with the United States. Despite all the fuss, it seems that there is no fundamental change in the relations between these strange ...

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Why announce a bounty on Hafiz Saeed?

Why now? At a critical moment in the US-Pakistan relationship, with parliamentary debate raging in Pakistan about how to realign relations with Washington, and with the United States desperate to forge some level of cooperation with Islamabad to help move toward the elusive endgame in Afghanistan, why announce a bounty for “information leading to the arrest or conviction” of living-openly-in-Lahore Hafiz Saeed? This is, after all, a man Washington and New Delhi regard as a terrorist, yet whom many in Pakistan regard as a heroic symbol of defiance toward the United States, an essential strategic asset, or both. In short, Washington’s ...

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Pak-US ties and those who matter most

At a joint sitting of the parliament the debate is on. The representatives of the people of Pakistan are discussing the new set of terms of engagement with the United States in the aftermath of the November airstrike on Pakistan’s Salala check post. A joint parliamentary committee on national security dished out some 40 recommendations which ostensibly would lay the basis on which the future Pak-US relations would stand. One runs through the proposals and after a lot of sifting through three visible contours emerge. 1) The US must submit an unconditional apology for the strikes; 2) the drone attacks must end ...

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How America occupied Kashmir

The ‘Defy’ Pakistan rally in Islamabad last month was like a breath of fresh air, as long as you change the definition of fresh to cancerous.  A few thousand rightwingers, the type that give good, tolerant, religious people a bad name, collected at Aabpara Chowk to go on a tirade about how everyone and their uncle is out to get Pakistan, with gems such as “America wants to break Pakistan into pieces”, and “Our protest is against the possible resumption of Nato supplies, US and Indian occupation” coming from the mouth of Samiul Haq, the father of the Taliban. Now if ...

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Defy Pakistan: How the right-wing turned rogue

The Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) is a tightly-held multi-party alliance of some 40 parties representing all shades of the country’s religious right-wing. It is led by veteran cleric Maulana Samiul Haq, who is popularly known as the father of the Taliban. The alliance is founded upon a single anti-US agenda, to drive out the Nato forces in the region and sprang up soon after Pak-US relations took a nosedive post the Salala bombing. After some low-key, closed door seminars on Pak-US relations, the alliance took to rallies, the first of which was staged at the Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore. This rally was an ...

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Overtures from Washington

There are clear and unmistakable signs of a possible thaw emerging between Washington and Islamabad, with the head of the US Central Command expected to visit the Pakistani capital this month. Both sides are counting the threads of converging interests and a strategic rethink is taking shape on Pakistan’s possible role in US talks with the Taliban. The deadly Nato attack on a Pakistani border post on November 26 last year had virtually frozen the relationship at both political and military levels, leaving the US to embark on a solo journey in uncharted waters as Washington engaged the Taliban for the ...

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Cooked in Abu Dhabi, served in Islamabad and Washington

A parade of US officials has been visiting Pakistan for the last few months but these trips have been little more than photo-ops. The real decisions, it seems, are being made in secret. Towards the end of September, Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani held an unannounced meeting with US Senator John Kerry in Abu Dhabi, says a government source. The meeting, which was reportedly tense but productive, took place after departing joint chiefs of staff Admiral Mike Mullen explicitly accused the ISI of supporting the Haqqani network. In the wake of the meeting between Kerry and Kayani, however, ...

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The Taliban claim responsibility – do you?

If we get over our narrow-minded view of the world for a moment, there are many things that the Taliban can teach us. One, these fellows run a pretty tight ship and seem to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, unlike us. Two, they seem to have a strong sense of responsibility, unlike us.   About the former, I know nothing, about the latter, I want to say a few words. So this is how it goes. Somewhere in Norway a crazy caucasian gentleman blows up a building and then calmly proceeds to kill a few dozen kids on a ...

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What if Amreeka invaded Pakistan

It has happened. The Grand Old party (GOP) has attacked the GOP (Government of Pakistan) and its people. Initial threats of the US to bomb Pakistan back to the middle ages were met with huge laughter by the Pakistani masses. With dengue fever, floods, no electricity, target killings, and religious intolerance, we are already there you fools, the people laughed aloud.  It is now expected the bombing might jolt them out of the middle ages and send them forward instead.  Prior to the attack, the American government claimed it had solid proof and well written reports printed on nice pink ...

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Masjids and more: An American in Lahore

As an undergraduate in college, I spent almost every waking hour learning Arabic—if I wasn’t in my daily Arabic class, I was practicing the language with my peers over a warm cup of coffee. We were given a hefty amount of homework each night, and the wee hours in the morning always found me in the library with my head buried in my Arabic textbook. Still, the effort was worth it, because after three years of learning the language, I was able to do what I had always wanted; read and understand the Quran in its original language, Arabic. If I may ...

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