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Archive for January, 2005

Fire-Fighting in Pakistan

With the worst in Wana seemingly over, Pakistanis were beginning to breathe easier a few weeks ago. The terrorist-guerillas were either killed or captured or were scattered and on the run. A spate of incidents in Balochistan were irritants certainly but not of any magnitude to cause alarm. If anything the lull itself bred a sense of unease, almost as if there was a storm brewing somewhere, a man-made “Tsunami” earmarked specifically for Pakistan. In a self-fulfilling prophecy we are today in the threshold of a full blown crisis, mainly because of what is happening in Sui, not too far as the crow flies from South Waziristan, south by southeast.

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Surviving “Uniformed Democracy”

Former Foreign Minister of Mexico Jorge Castaneda wrote something painfully familiar in a recent NEWSWEEK article, “Mexican people must rally behind the idea that democracy works. Too many Mexicans remain cynical or uninterested in their country’s evaluation, perhaps because they are jaded by cronyism and the corrupt patronage system that defines Mexico in the past. Beyond that advanced countries can help promote the notion that enlightened economic and foreign policies – and by enlightened I mean policies that are open and internationalist and not reactionary or parochial having a positive effect on the daily lives of all citizens. And they can reinforce the importance of the rule of law and respect for human rights to a country’s advancement,” and further; ”Mexico has never had an easy time transferring power. From independence and through most of the 19th century, coups, insurrections, civil war and foreign interventions were the rule, power was rarely transferred in an orderly, peaceful and democratic fashion”, unquote. Jorge Castenada could well have been describing Pakistan since its creation in the middle of the 20th century, and even upto the present in the early years of the 21st century, except that cronyism and corrupt political patronage are very much alive and well.

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