Militants Unite in Pakistan’s Populous Heart

By SABRINA TAVERNISE, RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and ERIC SCHMITT

DERA GHAZI KHAN, Pakistan – Taliban insurgents are teaming up with local militant groups to make inroads in Punjab, the province that is home to more than half of Pakistanis, reinvigorating an alliance that Pakistani and American authorities say poses a serious risk to the stability of the country.

The deadly assault in March in Lahore, Punjab’s capital, against the Sri Lankan cricket team, and the bombing last fall of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the national capital, were only the most spectacular examples of the joint campaign, they said.

Now police officials, local residents and analysts warn that if the government does not take decisive action, these dusty, impoverished fringes of Punjab could be the next areas facing the insurgency. American intelligence and counterterrorism officials also said they viewed the developments with alarm.

 

Sabrina Tavernise reported from Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan; Richard A. Oppel Jr. from Peshawar, Pakistan; and Eric Schmitt from Washington. Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting from Washington, Waqar Gillani from Dera Ghazi Khan, and Pir Zubair Shah from Peshawar.

Read more » New York Times

Courtesy: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/world/asia/14punjab.html?emc=eta1

Whither Pakistan? A five-year forecast

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Courtesy: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

First, the bottom line: Pakistan will not break up; there will not be another military coup; the Taliban will not seize the presidency; Pakistan’s nuclear weapons will not go astray; and the Islamic sharia will not become the law of the land.

That’s the good news. It conflicts with opinions in the mainstream U.S. press, as well as with some in the Obama administration. For example, in March, David Kilcullen, a top adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, declared that state collapse could occur within six months. This is highly improbable.

Now, the bad news: The clouds hanging over the future of Pakistan’s state and society are getting darker. Collapse isn’t impending, but there is a slow-burning fuse. While timescales cannot be mathematically forecast, the speed of societal decline has surprised many who have long warned that religious extremism is devouring Pakistan.

Continue reading Whither Pakistan? A five-year forecast

The Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization and Shikarpur

By Manzoor Chandio, Karachi, Sindh

There is no doubt that Shikarpur is the cradle of Sindh’s culture and heritage. Once upon a time, it was a great centre of trade and commerce linking South Asia with Central Asia. Now all this is history and Shikarpur, as the entire Sindh, has lost that status.

Therefore, there is need for reviving our lost glory like the European did in 14th to 17th century through renaissance. The best thing we can do is that we must learn more about our unique heritage and civilization- – the Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization.

Like the renaissance, meaning rebirth, began from Italy and spread throughout Europe, our civilization’s promotion must began from Sindh.

In this connection educated Sindhis can play the role like the European played in reviving the Roman civilization. The only thing is that we must own our heritage and civilization with pride and be assertive in introducing ourselves as the inheritors of the Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization.