Entries Tagged as 'Pakistan'

Democracy’s Enemies in Pakistan

David Frum December 6th, 2011 at 9:08 am 14 Comments

A horrifying act of sectarian terrorism targets Shiite worshipers in Afghanistan:

KABUL — Twin blasts at Afghan shrines on the Shiite holy day of Ashura left at least 58 people dead on Tuesday, with one massive suicide attack in Kabul ripping through a crowd of worshippers including children.

The attack in the capital and another in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif came a day after an international meeting in Germany aimed at charting a course for Afghanistan, 10 years after US-led forces drove the Taliban from power.

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Democracy’s Friends in Pakistan

David Frum December 6th, 2011 at 8:47 am 16 Comments

Pakistan’s national security establishment may be the most dangerous force threatening world peace. Yet not all the news is bad.

Eli Lake has produced an astonishing report detailing the construction of a pro-American counter-establishment within the Pakistani services which is struggling at enormous personal risk on behalf of a secular, democratic Pakistan oriented to the West.

Officially, America’s relations Pakistan’s military and intelligence services were in a tailspin in August. Furious at having been kept in the dark ahead of the Americans’ May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, Pakistan’s military had kept U.S. investigators out of the place until it was scrubbed for evidence and had refused them access to bin Laden’s wives for some time. And the Pakistanis had outed the CIA’s Islamabad station chief, putting his life at risk. Meanwhile, back in America, fears were rising over possible al Qaeda attacks on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.

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Can One Man End Pakistani Democracy?

David Frum December 5th, 2011 at 11:02 am 6 Comments

In my column for CNN, I discuss how Mansoor Ijaz is putting Pakistani democracy in danger:

Big events do not always have big causes. The British once went to war over an injury to a sea captain’s ear. And today’s Pakistan may collapse into military rule because of one man’s eagerness to read his name in the newspaper and see his face on TV.

The man in question is Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman who takes a special delight in political intrigue. Ijaz represents himself as a democrat, a secularist, and a friend of the West. Whatever Ijaz’s personal views, nobody has done more these past weeks to undercut Pakistani democracy and poison U.S.-Pakistan relations.

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Who Strains the US-Pakistan Relationship?

David Frum December 1st, 2011 at 9:08 am 31 Comments

I’m beginning to think we need to learn the Urdu word for chutzpah. The US discovery that Pakistan for years gave shelter to Osama bin Laden is now being taken as an example of American strain on the US-Pakistani relationship.

Oh and by the way, has Pakistan ever apologized for supporting the killers of US soldiers inside Afghanistan? Thought not…

Salute a Brave Man

David Frum November 18th, 2011 at 11:50 pm 4 Comments

In an atmosphere of intimidation and menace, Pakistan’s democracy-minded ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, accepts a summons to return home.

Let’s hope that the Pakistani military understands very well how closely the US is watching for the safety of the ambassador and his family.

Meet the Man Looking for bin Laden’s Body

July 16th, 2011 at 12:00 am 20 Comments

Treasure hunter Bill Warren wants to launch an expedition at sea to find Osama bin Laden’s body.

“Yeah, he was a bad man, but I have a compassionate heart,” says the author of Shipwrecks and Discoveries. “It might have been better if we had cremated him and given the ashes to the Arabs.

However, in Islam it is “haram” – meaning, forbidden by religious law, to burn anything endowed with a “soul” – so doing so may have unnecessarily enraged practicing Muslims.

Warren said he has received an e-mail from the bin Laden family wishing him luck on the trip and that they are interested in giving the body a proper ground burial if he retrieves it.

Warren’s compassion for the terrorist leader’s family may also be fueled by hopes for a profitable documentary based on his search. And if you want to join the search as a tourist, you can – for $5,000 per person, meals included. Yet even beyond the documentary and the tour business, Warren has an even larger ambition expedition, one  many might consider explosive: Warren expresses some doubt that it truly was Osama bin Laden who was killed on April 29 by U.S. Navy Seals. If Warren, a Christian conservative, discovers that bin Laden’s was not the body that was thrown into the sea, he hopes that Obama would be removed from office immediately.

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Is this Evidence that Pakistan Threatens Journalists?

David Frum July 5th, 2011 at 8:38 am 2 Comments

When Pakistani journalists decline “for fear of reprisals” to comment on allegations that they have been threatened by the state security services, doesn’t that strongly suggest that the allegations are true?

America’s Pakistan Problem

David Frum May 27th, 2011 at 10:00 am 14 Comments

Hillary Clinton visited Pakistan on Friday (Pakistan time). According to the New York Times:

[US] officials described [the visit] as an effort to measure Pakistan’s commitment to fighting Islamic extremism after the killing of Osama bin Laden badly strained relations with the United States. It did not appear to go well.

No, I bet not. Two friends who know Pakistan well recently offered this joking description of the US-Pakistan relationship. “It’s like having a girlfriend who is unsure of her sexual orientation. And who suffers from multiple personality disorder. And one of her personalities wants to kill you.”


Pakistan: Pariah State to Investors

David Frum May 10th, 2011 at 10:28 am 7 Comments

Domestic Pakistani investors have shrugged off their government’s reckless courting of confrontation with the United States.

International investors are not so sanguine reports the FT:

If the US Department of State follows up on its pledge to pay $25m in reward money for information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden, then perhaps somebody, somewhere, is in line for a mega-windfall, equivalent to more than half of the money foreign institutional investors have put into Pakistan’s stock market so far this year.

$50 million in equity investment in the first four months of 2011 for all of Pakistan?

In the depression year of 2009, Bangladesh – long thought of as the basketcase of Asia – attracted $700 million, down from over $1 billion before the global economic crisis began.

We are familiar with the problem of rogue states. Pakistan seems in danger of turning itself into a pariah state.


Pakistan’s Markets Not Worried About Rift With U.S.

David Frum May 10th, 2011 at 9:25 am 1 Comment

Pakistani investors seem strangely unworried about possible consequences to their country from being caught harboring bin Laden. Or by their government’s decision to respond to the embarrassment by denial and confrontation rather than apology and conciliation.

The Karachi stock market gained about half a percent on Monday as investors put aside concerns over possible fallout of Osama Bin Laden’s killing in Pakistan, traders said.

The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE)-100 Index gained 52.72 points, or 0.44 percent, to close at 11,932.68 points with volumes jumping 14 million to 78.651 million shares in what was seen as an indication of interest ahead of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s address to the parliament, they said.

“The session was good in the sense that we saw interest in many shares other than Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL),” said Qasim Ali Shah, head of equities at Global Securities. “Engro Corporation and Pakistan State Oil (PSO) were in the limelight.” The KSE-30 Index was down 76.83 points to 11,609.34 points. Shares of 354 companies were traded out of which 144 advanced, 125 receded, while 85 remained unchanged.