ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Letter from South Asia

Letter from South Asia
The right to vote has been a leading factor in an otherwise desultory history of post-colonial state-building in Pakistan. This insight, however, comes with twist-in-the-tail implications for the...
The nature and extent of political involvement and influence of the Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates governments in Pakistan seem far more direct and intrusive than ever before. There is no...
In a ruling hailed as historic by his supporters, the restored chief justice of Pakistan struck down as unconstitutional some of the actions taken by former President Pervez Musharraf. A reading of...
As the Awami League-led government in Bangladesh completes its first six months in office, domestic politics is calm on the surface. The current quiet could be due to the disarray among the...
Pakistan's wars on both its western and eastern borders as well as the war with itself, have been created by the very same institution - the intelligence agencies within the security establishment...
The Pakistani military finally appears to have embraced the war against jihadi militancy as its own. If so, an important shift in perception and policy has taken place. Past experience, however,...
The Awami League-led government in Bangladesh, which completed 100 days in office, has received public approval, as expressed in opinion polls, for its management of the economy and for how it...
Historical scholarship tends to see a continuity in the ulema of south Asia - from the Deoband seminary in the 19th century down to the Taliban of Afghanistan and north Pakistan today. Such an...
While much of Pakistan's "civil society" celebrated a famous victory in the restoration of judges sacked by Pervez Musharraf in November 2007, it continues to display an indifference bordering upon...
The aftermath of the uprising by the Bangladesh Rifles in the last week of February poses a major challenge to the two-month old Awami League government of Sheikh Hasina. The government acquitted...
Although the February 2008 elections were probably the fairest ever held in Pakistan the elected government has been repeatedly attacked in the media. Given the historical, political and...
With the impending total defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, this secessionist group will cease to be a political force in Sri Lanka. But will there be a political solution to the ethnic...
Faced with exasperated foreign demands to take effective action against jihadi militants, Pakistani officials and media commentators routinely give an equally infuriating reply that the country is...
Bangladesh has not just survived the last two years of nondemocratic rule, but it has seen democracy return fundamentally strengthened. A democraticallyelected government, with the Awami League in a...
27 December 2008, the first anniversary of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, was not only a day for paying tributes but also an occasion to reflect on the direction Pakistan has taken over the...
Indian and Pakistani political establishments should deal with the post-Mumbai crisis with greater prudence than they seem to demonstrate at present. Both countries should realise the immense dangers...
To the disadvantage of the elected government in Pakistan, Mumbai has brought forward the moment of truth for the country's tentative transition to democracy. We may not have long to wait to see...
Both the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Awami League need to participate in the elections scheduled for next month, for the process to be credible. The elections are likely to be the fairest...
The results of the recent elections of the Supreme Court Bar Association in Pakistan can be read as a vote by the lawyers against the Pakistan People's Party regime. The PPP government has been...
During the course of the 25-yearlong civil war, the Sri Lankan state has changed character, which is now manifest very sharply. Sri Lanka has become a national security state where civil and...
Pakistan can still win the war against 'jihadi' militancy without having prior political consensus, which is proving elusive, if its security forces function coherently. Victory will be surer,...
The military-backed caretaker government and the army are poised to retreat from the scene after having achieved very few of the objectives they set for themselves in January 2007. In the months...
Asif Zardari's election to the presidency may seem to represent the triumph of democracy in Pakistan. The larger question, however, is what kind of democratic rule is this going to be with so much...
Pakistan and Nepal offer contrasting scenarios in a transition to democracy. Both countries are going through a period of painful transition with significant specificities. The complicated power-...
As Pakistan's elected government struggles to find its pitch amidst escalating problems on the security, economic, political and foreign policy fronts, there is much to rattle domestic and foreign...
With a weak political opposition and Indo-Bangladesh relations closer than they have been for a generation, Bangladesh's military regime perhaps considers this a good time to attempt a deal with New...
Pakistan's economy has been growing rapidly and earlier this year it held its freest elections ever. Why then the new and growing description of the country as a failed/failing state? The United...
In the seemingly unending search for a solution to the ethno-political conflict in Sri Lanka, the Rajapakse administration has come up with a new strategy. The course of action calls for pragmatic...
For over two decades there has been neoliberal consensus on economic policy in Pakistan, with dissent being marginalised to a few individuals and fringe political groupings. Economic contest, however...
Fakhruddin Ahmed announced that the elections in Bangladesh will take place as scheduled in December. The ultimate motives are questionable as the state of emergency is still in place. Qualms about...
Structural developments over the last decade in Pakistan have resulted in numerous substantive transformations, which have altered social relations and societal structures. There are many reasons for...
The radical, Sinhalese nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has split, the real reasons for which are not yet clear. Among the various possible reasons are the mainstream jvp's unease with a...
High politics in Pakistan will continue to provide its share of thrills and frills, but this is an appropriate moment to take stock of the politics of the most fundamental relationship that helps to...
Pakistan has voted for a democratic future but Pervez Musharraf is still in the spotlight. Washington is fully capable of converting the victory of the people into a defeat by forcing a deal between...
The idea of Sri Lanka integrating with India seems far-fetched, but not in the view of Kumar David, a left-wing academic who seems to think that the political and economic integration that India has...
Vilified and marginalised, yet resilient, Pakistan's political parties go into elections on February 18, holding the keys to the country's future. They have survived through decades of military rule...
The caretaker government claims it will hold elections before end 2008. However, the generals and their advisers will be worried about the outcome. All has not gone according to plan in the removal...
Besides being the biggest tribute to Benazir Bhutto, working towards "democracy as revenge" makes good sense in Pakistan. It can be achieved either through the ballot box or by boycotting the...
The ltte's separate Tamil state project faces a "quasi-state trap" in which the group finds that only by war can it defend the state-like entity it has built over the years. But the defensive war it...
As Pakistan faces the prospect of returning to the "troika" system of governance after eight years of direct military rule, political parties have important decisions to make about fighting elections...
The caretaker government in Bangladesh has been severely criticised for its incompetence in organising relief after cyclone Sidr devastated large parts of the country. By arranging for movement of...
The emergency in Pakistan has revealed the truth not just about Musharraf's moderate enlightenment, but also about the country's liberal elite and the collaborationist political leaders, especially...
T he Indian model of devolution as a political solution for resolving the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has for sometime been the basis of deliberations in the country. However, the dominant political...
It is useful to look beyond the current political drama to see the hard policy work that must be done to reap rich rewards and avoid severe penalties for Pakistani society, regardless of who is...
On the surface, the Bangladesh economy seems to be doing well. What the caretaker government does not seem to be aware of is that economic sovereignty is building up as a major issue of concern for...
The media in Pakistan has recently been dominated by current political issues such as those concerning the dismissal and subsequent reinstatement of the chief justice, the actions of president...
In recent weeks, the story of a Buddhist monk member of parliament of Sri Lanka importing and selling a Mercedes Benz has provided much entertainment in a war-weary country. But beyond its spectacle...
Despite its protestations, the army is expanding its control in Bangladesh. The administration, which owes its existence to the defence forces, is emasculating the political parties and the hope is...
As the bullying military regime slowly unravels in Pakistan, the courageous ones are those that tenaciously insist on order in the place of disorder. The regime's weakness reveals, paradoxically, the...
The largely unexpected public response to the dismissal of the chief justice by Musharraf has significantly changed the political situation in the country. With the politicisation of the issue, the...
Sri Lanka's conflict has now reached a stage beyond a settlement through power-sharing. The little interest that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has shown in negotiated regional autonomy a few...
If the increasing protests against his regime are any indication, Musharraf's days as Pakistan's president appear numbered. The transition to democracy has to be carefully managed, with elements of...
Amidst the threat of chaos and a bloodbath on the streets of Bangladesh, the army backing for a new caretaker government was welcomed. However, questions are now being asked about some of the...
Military rule in Pakistan has had long spells because the army has learnt how to be repressive and yet accommodative, target only the marginalised and minority groups, buy off support from political...
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