U.S. has chance to help real democracy in Pakistan
Thursday, March 12, 2009
By Sanjeev Bery, Wajiha Ahmed
Today, a major Pakistani movement for democratic reform will challenge Pakistani President Asif Zardari with a call for government accountability. Known as the Lawyers Movement, this coalition of civil activists will give America a chance to voice support for the strengthening of Pakistan’s democratic institutions.
Members of this movement will begin what they are calling the Long March —- a multi-day walk across the nation that will end in the capital, Islamabad. They are marching to demand a restoration of the independent judges that the former U.S.-backed dictator Pervez Musharraf removed. Continue reading
Plain-clothes police officers detain a PML-N protestor outside the Punjab Assembly building in Lahore.—AP/File
Pakistani President Asif Zardari has given his orders, and compliant law enforcement officers in Pakistan are arresting rival politicians and activists. Team Zardari is taking pre-emptive measures to block Pakistan’s Lawyers Movemnt and allies from pursuing their Long March. Continue reading
As Pakistani President Asif Zardari cracks down on pro-democracy activists, a handful of Pakistanis are posting short bursts of information on Twitter. You can follow their “freedom tweets” online. The best tag is probably #Pakistan:
But you can also go with either of the following…
(Post co-written with Samad Khurram, a Pakistani citizen who participated in the 2008 Long March. Samad is currently a student at Harvard University.)
There is something about marching for democracy that captures the imagination. Perhaps it is because walking is the simplest of human activities. One foot goes in front of the other, and a movement takes shape.
On March 12, democracy activists in Pakistan will breath new life into this old tradition. In what is being called the Long March, potentially hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens will walk hundreds of miles to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city.
Their rallying cry? The restoration of Pakistan’s independent judiciary.
Daily Telegraph (UK)
US privately backs Pakistan’s ‘Sharia law for peace’ deal with Taliban
American officials have privately backed Pakistan’s “Sharia law for peace” deal with Taliban militants in the Swat Valley despite publicly criticising it as a “negative development”.
By Dean Nelson, Javed Siddiq in Islamabad and Emal Khan in Peshawar
Last Updated: 7:25PM GMT 17 Feb 2009
Opinion: U.S. policies have weakened Pakistani civilian rule
By Sanjeev Bery and Manan Ahmed
San Jose Mercury News / Posted: 02/17/2009
Depending on whether you like watching your news or reading it, there were two very different reports on Pakistan this Sunday.
On CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Pakistani President Asif Zardari proclaimed that his nation is in a fight for its survival, with the Taliban “trying to take over the state of Pakistan.” Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that Zardari’s government reached a 10-day cease fire with a Taliban-affiliated militia in the northern Swat Valley. The militia agreed to stop fighting, and in return, the government agreed to implement Islamic Sharia law in the area.
How does one reconcile the two accounts?
First, let’s dispense with the hyperbole. Pakistan is not on the verge of being taken over by Taliban militias.