Charting a new path


This Article appeared in Daily Dawn on March 23rd, 2011.

THE release of Raymond Davis followed by a deadly drone strike in North Waziristan, which killed over 40 tribal people, shows not only the arrogance the US usually displays it also exposes dissimilitude in US-Pakistan relations in this so-called ‘war on terror’.

The public was already furious about the way in which Raymond Davis was released and whisked away within hours of completing the court proceedings and all the other formalities that citizens of this country face for years. The drone attack that then followed shook the people of Pakistan.

There was a perception that Raymond Davis was probably released as a result of a secret deal between the two governments or their agencies. This was not an unreasonable assumption considering that people’s emotions were running high and the media was very active over the issue. It was therefore a wise decision to conduct these complicated dealings behind the scenes.

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For social change


This Article appeared in Daily The News on August 21st, 2010.

Despite the unprecedented internal and external threats faced by the country, the attitude of our political leadership is appalling. Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to France and Britain was a display of sheer callousness, to say the least. As it is supposed to do, the media only reported the facts about what happened during his visits. But, through its political activists, the PPP decided to use pressure tactics against the media. This is not the behaviour of members of a civilised society.

In the past few years, civil-society organisations, the lawyers’ community and the media have played an extremely positive role. However, unless their efforts are effectively supported by Pakistani society, they could be neutralised by powerful lobbies and the government, through a combination of inducements and coercion. This support will take time to develop since the forces for change are scattered in our society and therefore cannot exert sufficient pressure on the government to persuade it to mend its ways and act in accordance with the wishes of the people of Pakistan. In view of this situation, ways have to be found to bring the democratic forces together.

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Reforms in Fata

This Article appeared in Daily Dawn on June 10th, 2010.

THERE is a dire need for changes in the system of governance in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) but given a highly conservative society, they cannot be achieved in any radical manner.

The British and earlier rulers were interested in the control of the routes passing through the tribal areas. The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) of 1901, which remains in force, was not invented by the British but in fact codified the existing practices in the area.

These arrangements were acceptable to both the British and the tribes. The former had control over the routes and the latter retained the independence to administer the interior according to their traditions. If the tribes misbehaved, the British sent punitive expeditions against them while the government used to pay maliki, lunge, muajib and khasadari allowances to the tribes as remuneration.

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Possible US strikes

This Article appeared in Daily Dawn on June 02nd, 2010.

THERE are reports in the US media that the US government is mulling over the possibility of conducting strikes and troops incursions inside Pakistan. There is a belief that this will happen if the latter fails to start operations in North Waziristan as per America’s dictates.

Although the US government at times denies such reports, the stark warning issued by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — when she stated that if a Faisal Shahzad-type incident in America was traced to Pakistan there would be dangerous consequences for the country — should not be taken lightly.
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Insurgents on the rise?

This Article appeared in Daily Dawn on May 04th, 2010.

Pakistan is caught in the eye of the storm in the international war on terror. Those involved in this war are reassessing their respective roles after mixed results over the last eight years with many pluses and minuses.

The situation is rapidly evolving in the region with grave consequences for Pakistan. It is a test for the country’s leadership to steer Pakistan to safe shores.

A chequered course has been followed over the last eight years but it was only in 2008 and 2009 that the government realised the seriousness of the situation and decided to confront the monster of terrorism head-on.
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