South Asia

14 Items

Report - Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

Pakistan Can Defy the Odds: How to Rescue a Failing State

| May 2009

"Is Pakistan collapsing? How far are the Taliban from Islamabad? Can al-Qaeda grab the country's nuclear weapons? These are the types of questions raised every day by the American media, academia and policy circles. And these are critical issues, given the nature of the evolving crisis in Pakistan. The approximately two dozen suicide bombings in 2009 so far, 66 in 2008, and 61 in 2007, all of which have targeted armed forces personnel, police, politicians, and ordinary people not only in the country's turbulent northwest but also in its major urban centers, indicate the seriousness of the threat. A major ammunition factory area located close to some very sensitive nuclear installations in Wah (Punjab) was targeted by two suicide bombers in August 2008, an act that sent shudders across the country's security establishment...."

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, left, shakes hands with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, prior to their press conference, in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 16, 2008.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Viewpoints

The Geopolitical Factor in Iran's Foreign Policy

| January 29, 2009

"Revolutions either expand to export their ideologies or preserve themselves from the outside world. The 1979 Islamic revolution of Iran is no exception. A careful reading of Iran's actions in the region shows how and why Iran has shifted its policies to meet the latter aim. Since the revolution, Iran's leaders have faced the challenge of balancing their ideological (idealism) and geopolitical (pragmatism) approaches to foreign policy. Gradually, the Iranian leadership has come to focus on the geopolitical factor in the conduct of foreign policy; today, ideology one factor among many other sources of Iran's power, and serves the aim of preserving Iran's national security and interests...."

Voters in Peshawar, Pakistan cast their ballots in the February 2008 parliamentary elections.

AP Photo


The Pakistan Elections: What Next?

| February 2008

On February 18, Pakistanis voted in parliamentary elections. The results were a major blow to President Pervez Musharraf and his supporters. Opposition parties, led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and a resurgent Awami National Party (ANP), scored major victories. The prime losers were the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Islamists. How can these elections be assessed, and what do they portend for Pakistan’s future and for U.S. policy? These questions were examined at an Asia Program event held one week after the elections.

A convoy of Pakistan paramilitary passes the site of a suicide bombing in Mingora, part of the North West Frontier Province.

AP Photo

Magazine Article - Terrorism Monitor

Is the NWFP Slipping Out of Pakistan's Control?

| November 26, 2007

"The NWFP is not likely to physically slip out of Pakistan’s hands.... Religious political forces have lost some of their support base (Daily Times, November 22) due to poor governance ..... Musharraf’s arbitrary imposition of emergency rule (read: martial law) has targeted those very forces which can challenge extremists. Many human rights activists and lawyers in the NWFP were arrested and top judges of the NWFP high court known for their progressive views and integrity have been sent home. Among the militants, however, this action of Musharraf is being interpreted as his weakness, further emboldening their activities...."

Bracing for Bhutto: Pakistan Prepares for Former Prime Minister’s Return

AP Photo

Newspaper Article - Metro Boston

Bracing for Bhutto: Pakistan Prepares for Former Prime Minister’s Return

October 18, 2007

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto came home to a now-nuclear nation that faces conflicts on its borders with both India and Afghanistan, enduring poverty and an increasing militant presence that already has marked her for death. But, according to Hassan Abbas, Bhutto may be Pakistan’s best shot at true democracy.

Magazine Article - Terrorism Monitor

The Road to Lal Masjid and its Aftermath

| July 19, 2007

"It is clear that most Pakistanis wanted Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) leader Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi to be held accountable for his vigilantism and for trying to enforce his extremist version of Islam on society. The public's views have changed, however, now that it has become obvious that the government used indiscriminate force during the operation and since its claims about the presence of foreign militants inside the mosque complex have not been independently verified."

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Magazine Article - Terrorism Monitor

The Black-Turbaned Brigade: The Rise of TNSM in Pakistan

| November 30, 2006

"TNSM's extremist ideological roots, violent behavior since the mid-1990s, collaboration with criminal elements and terrorist tactics were sufficient warning signals for Pakistan's government to curb its activities effectively and pursue criminal cases against its top leaders (The News, October 18, 2004; Daily Times, May 15, 2005). This did not occur, however, and the pursuant mayhem was predictable. The recent targeted killings of TNSM leaders are unlikely to resolve the crisis. The religious seminaries that put a premium on bigotry and propagate hatred should be closed down. Equally important is the establishment of modern schools as an alternative to their more radical ideology. The "Enlightened Moderation" of Musharraf is failing because he is using it merely as a slogan and little is being done on the ground."