Blasphemy is the one thing that Pakistani Islamists agree on. The murder of a secular liberal politician has prompted a worrying union of Islamists and the Taliban, reports Mustafa Qadri from Karachi Pakistan’s blasphemy laws make it a crime to defile the Quran or to defame Prophet Mohammad, punishable by life imprisonment and death respectively. [...]
February 2nd, 2011 · No Comments
July 2nd, 2010 · No Comments
Pakistan must reverse its policy of sitting idle as Islamists blur the line between legitimate civil society and militancy
guardian.co.uk, Friday 2 July 2010 16.04 BST
After last night’s bombings in Lahore, an ancient sanctuary, which for centuries was a place for prayer and meditation, has been rudely introduced to Pakistan’s very modern conflict. Nothing short of a shift in national culture will rescue the soul of Pakistan’s Islamic traditions.
February 19th, 2010 · No Comments
With the recent capture of three high profile Taliban commanders, is Pakistan’s relationship to the insurgency changing, asks Mustafa Qadri
In what appears to be a major shift in the war against the Taliban, a joint raid by Pakistani and American security forces has captured the insurgents’ most senior military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.
Tags: Afghan Taliban · Afghanistan · Ashfaq Pervez Kayani · CIA · Hamid Karzai · Interservices Intelligence · Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar · Pakistan · Pakistan Army · Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan · United States
February 19th, 2010 · No Comments
With the capture or murder of senior leaders and with massive US-led operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it appears the Taliban’s days are numbered.
The most spectacular evidence apparently in support of this claim is the capture last week of the senior most military commander of Taliban forces in Afghanistan, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Only weeks earlier, Pakistan authorities revealed that Hakeemullah Mehsud, head of the Pakistan Taliban, succumbed to injuries from a US drone strike in the tribal areas.
Tags: Afghan Taliban · Afghanistan · Interservices Intelligence · ISAF · Karachi · Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar · Mullah Omar · NATO · Pakistan · Pakistan Army · Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan · United States · war on terrorism
February 18th, 2010 · No Comments
The former president has hinted at a return to Pakistani politics. Worryingly, it could be more than just a pipe dream.
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 18 February 2010 18.30 GMT
At no point do world leaders look more diminished than after leaving office, and Pakistan’s former president and military dictator Pervez Musharraf is no exception. So when he addressed a London audience this week, it was perhaps ironic that much of what he said was a reminder that little has changed in the way the west relates to the “AfPak” region.
February 15th, 2010 · No Comments
As US-led forces engage in a major offensive in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, commentators in Pakistan are still taking stock of the London conference and what it could mean for the role their country plays in their neighbour’s stability. Mustafa Qadri reports that many believe the road to such stability and security will inevitably run through Pakistan–and to the Taliban.
Tags: Afghanistan · Ahmad Mukhtar · Ashfaq Kayani · Athar Abbas · Balochistan · Dennis Blair · Gulbuddin Hekmatyar · India · Kashmir · Mullah Omar · Pakistan · Pakistan Army · Pakistan Frontier Corp · Quetta · Quetta Shura · Sultan Amir Tarar · Talat Hussain · Tariq Khan · Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan · United States
February 11th, 2010 · No Comments
Antagonism between Sunni and Shia Muslims is entrenched, and there is little the state can do to quell the violence
guardian.co. uk, Thursday 11 February 2010 18.00 GMT
Ordinary Pakistanis have fallen victim to a civil war largely orchestrated by forces well beyond their control. As the recent bombings targeting Shia Muslims in Karachi proves, the violence facing the country is more complex than extremists versus moderates. But how to unravel all the twists in this violent story?
December 22nd, 2009 · No Comments
Already ravaged by high inflation, massive energy shortages and political turmoil, Pakistan has been shocked by bombings in most of its major cities, writes Mustafa Qadri
Pakistan is enduring the most brutal spate of political violence since the Punjab-dominated Army was implicated in mass slaughter in 1971. Despite military victories in large swathes of the tribal areas that are home to the Taliban, Pakistan’s major cities have been rocked by an escalating series of violent events that, according to one estimate, have claimed 544 lives in a little under three months.
December 11th, 2009 · No Comments
Barack Obama’s surge in Afghanistan worries Pakistan – when the US leaves, it will still have to deal with the Taliban
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 December 2009 16:00 GMT
There is more to President Obama’s policy shift in central Asia than more boots in Afghanistan. For Pakistan it represents an escalation of US drone strikes in the tribal areas and continued pressure on its army to immediately engage the Taliban and al-Qaida despite the practical complexities of the task.
The fundamental problem for Pakistan is that Obama’s acceleration of the war against the Taliban has been calculated largely on the basis of domestic US political demands and not those of the region, let alone Pakistan. Already under intense pressure at home from the financial crisis and the unpopularity of the US presence in Afghanistan, Obama must deliver some semblance of victory before he bids for a second term as commander-in-chief in 2012.
December 5th, 2009 · No Comments
Now that an amnesty providing immunity to thousands has expired, Pakistan’s supreme court has the chance to showcase its merits
· Mustafa Qadri
· guardian.co.uk, Saturday 5 December 2009 18.00 GMT
It may be more a matter of wits than weapons, but the battle for control of Pakistan’s executive branch of government is as significant for the country as the war against the Taliban. Resolving this latest crisis, the fiercest tussle over the stewardship of the country since Pervez Musharraf was ousted from the presidency in August 2008, will determine the future of Pakistan’s parliamentary democracy for many years to come.
Tags: Asif Ali Zardari · Benazir Bhutto · democracy · Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry · National Reconciliation Ordinance · Nawaz Sharif · Pakistan · Pervez Musharraf · Punjab · rule of law · separation of powers doctrine · Shahbaz Sharif · Taliban · Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan · Yusuf Raza Gilani
November 27th, 2009 · No Comments
Amid daily suicide attacks, the Pakistan Army is closing in on Taliban strongholds — and this time they seem to have the support of the Pakistani people, reports Mustafa Qadri from Islamabad
Pakistan’s once sleepy capital Islamabad has been transformed into something of a fortress, with checkpoints, cement barriers and police dotting the tree-lined streets. There is no doubt about it: Pakistan is at war, and the signs are everywhere. As of last week, the police alone say they have prevented 67 individuals from carrying out suicide attacks, most recently in a dramatic confrontation at a barricade in Islamabad.
Tags: Blackwater · Frontier Corp · Hafiz Gul Bahadur · Jamaat-e-Islami · nuclear weapons · Pakistan · Pakistan Army · Seymour Hersh · Taliban · Tariq Khan · Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan · Waziristan · Xe
November 3rd, 2009 · No Comments
The Diplomat’s Pakistan correspondent, Mustafa Qadri, meets refugees from the conflict in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and finds anger, trepidation and hope as they return home after this summer’s counter-Taliban military offensive.
Travelling along the road leading to the Swat valley is a memorable experience. As the narrow dual carriageway snakes around impossibly steep mountain ranges, the breathtaking vista of snow-capped peaks come into view as they loom over an emerald green valley pierced by the Swat River. It looks too perfect to be natural.
‘The beauty of Swat is unmatched in the world,’ says Ashraf, a Swati villager and journalist who agreed to take me to the region. When I ask if anyone maintains the near perfectly manicured grasslands and pine forests he laughs and shakes his head. Described in local poetry as heaven on earth, for centuries Swat has been home to saints and soothsayers–first those hailing from Hindu and Buddhist traditions, and in more recent centuries mystical Sufi Islam.
Tags: democracy · Friends of Democratic Pakistan · Islam · justice · Malakand · North West Frontier Province · Pakistan Army · Pakistan Taliban · rule of law · Sufi Mohammad · Swat valley · Taliban · Tehreek-e-Nifaaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi · Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan · United States
June 29th, 2009 · No Comments
Bigger Than Bin Laden Beitullah Mehsud, the man analysts describe as more dangerous than Osama bin Laden, continues to evade death in Pakistan, writes Mustafa Qadri Ever since he was labelled more dangerous than Osama bin laden, Beitullah Mehsud has been the single greatest target of US drone attacks. Remarkably, he has evaded death on [...]
May 29th, 2009 · No Comments
The Taliban Has No Plan B
By Mustafa Qadri
The Taliban is stepping up its violent attacks but ordinary Pakistanis have had enough and the organisation is losing popular support, reports Mustafa Qadri from near the Swat valley…
May 28th, 2009 · No Comments
Isolating the Taliban
Violence in Pakistan can only be tackled if the state listens to devastated communities and recognises the Taliban threat
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 28 May 2009 18.30 BST
It was really only a matter of time before we would see this. A day after a bomb ripped through central Lahore, three explosions rocked Peshawar – two at the famous storytellers’ market, and another near the city’s railway station, destroying significant amounts of property, lives and livelihoods. It is too early to know what motivated these latest attacks in Peshawar. Like so much of the North-West Frontier Province, however, Peshawar businesses, particularly book music shops and women’s clothing stores, have been heavily hit, often after being told to shut for being unIslamic.