Understanding Karachi’s killing fields

Mukhtar Ahmed Azmi, 75, along with his son and grandson, was about half way home on 6 September when unknown assailants on motorcycles opened fire on them in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi. Only Azmi's grandson survived. This is just one of many unsolved murder cases in the city. Karachi has had a long history of…

China finds another route to the Indian Ocean

The Port of Singapore Authority’s* decision to pull out of a 40-year contract to operate the new Gwadar deep sea port in southwestern Pakistan, now to be taken over by the Chinese, is causing consternation in India and the United States. Located at the entrance of the Persian Gulf and about 460 km from Karachi,…

Vigilante “Justice” in Pakistan

Pakistani police and government authorities have remained silent over the recent immolation of a mentally disabled Muslim male near Bahawalpur, in the southern region of Pakistan, for alleged blasphemy against the Holy Quran. It is the latest in a growing string of such murders. No arrests have been made since the July 25 incident, which…

Pakistan’s Taliban Nightmare

Contrary to the general perception, Pakistan is not pushing for the return of Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Instead, the prospect of the Taliban taking over the war-torn country after the pullout of foreign forces is the biggest nightmare for the Pakistani security establishment. A major worry is that Taliban control next door would give a…

Taking the Risk on Pakistan’s Catwalks

It is a hectic schedule for 21-year-old Nagina Nayaz. By day the young Pakistani woman is a nurse at a local hospital in Peshwar. By night she pursues a controversial dream and one that puts her in considerable risk. “I moved to Peshawar permanently because people in my area don’t like women going out and…

Pakistan’s Nukes: How Much is Enough?

Pakistan has been on a shooting spree, conducting five test launches of various nuclear-capable missiles over the last six weeks, raising the question of just how large the country’s nuclear arsenal needs to be to fulfill the relatively simple task of deterring Indian military action. If the constant rhetoric by Pakistani civilian and military leaders…

Pakistan’s Hindu Girls Forced into Muslim Marriages

Sixteen-year-old Ameena Ahmed*, now living in the town of Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, does not always respond when her mother-in-law calls out to her. 
 “Even after a year of `marriage’ I am not used to my new name. I was called Radha before,” she told IRIN on a rare occasion when…

Jihadis in America

The arrest on Feb. 17 of a 29-year-old Moroccan in Washington DC with plans to blow up the US Capitol is the latest supposedly terrifying incident in a jittery United States on the constant lookout for the legions of militant Islam come to kill citizens and attack the country’s institutions. To much of Asia, the…

Pakistan and the United States

The deteriorating U.S.-Pakistan ties do not seem to have yet reached a nadir since the assassination of Osama Bin-Laden by US Special Forces last May. They seem to be finding new low points each week. Pakistan’s foremost journalist, Ahmed Rashid, states that the army of his native land has issued orders to “treat the U.S.…

The Annual Toll on Journalists

It has been another grim year for journalists. According to Reporters Without Borders, the international press website, 59 journalists have been killed across the globe so far in 2011, with another 169 imprisoned for doing their jobs, along with another 127 bloggers. The death toll has risen slightly, from 54 in 2010. The US-based Committee…