By Vilani Peiris, 1 November 2008
An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale followed by numerous after-shocks struck the south-western Balochistan area of Pakistan early Wednesday morning.
By Keith Jones, 28 October 2008
The US military is now routinely violating Pakistani sovereignty, extending the Afghan War to its southern neighbor.
By Vilani Peiris, 27 October 2008
Pakistan has turned to the IMF for the emergency loans to stave off state bankruptcy.
By Vilani Peiris, 20 October 2008
Wracked by political instability and hard hit by the global economic crisis, Pakistan is teetering on the brink of default.
By James Cogan, 9 October 2008
US aircraft are attacking alleged militant targets inside Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA) at a growing rate.
By Keith Jones, 30 September 2008
Washington and Islamabad are seeking to downplay the significance of last Thursday’s military clash between US and Pakistani armed forces on the Afghan-Pakistani border.
By Peter Symonds, 22 September 2008
The massive bomb blast that devastated the luxury Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Saturday evening is one more sign of the deepening political crisis in Pakistan produced by the Bush administration’s spreading “war on terrorism”.
A new understanding?
By Keith Jones, 20 September 2008
Only hours after giving military assurances that US forces would respect Pakistan’s sovereignty, the US staged another predator-drone attack inside Pakistan, killing at least six people in a South Waziristan village.
By Peter Symonds, 12 September 2008
In a reckless and criminal attempt to suppress the growing insurgency in Afghanistan, President Bush has secretly authorised the use of US Special Forces against targets inside the border areas of Pakistan.
By Peter Symonds, 10 September 2008
A third US missile strike in less than a week inside Pakistan again underscores the danger that the escalating war in Afghanistan will spread into its neighbour. At least 20 people died on Monday when up to five missiles fired from US unmanned Predator drones hit a madrassa and a compound in North Waziristan.
By K. Ratnayake, 9 September 2008
Asif Al Zardari, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman and widower of former PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, will be sworn in today as Pakistani president after being elected to the post on Saturday.
Today’s presidential election
By Keith Jones, 6 September 2008
Both houses of Pakistan’s parliament voted unanimously Thursday in favor of a motion calling on the government to take military action to thwart armed incursions into Pakistan like Wednesday’s US Special Operations forces raid in South Waziristan.
An expanded war
By Peter Symonds, 5 September 2008
A ground assault by US Special Forces troops on a Pakistani village on Wednesday threatens to expand the escalating Afghanistan war into its neighbour.
By K. Ratnayake, 27 August 2008
Pakistan’s governing coalition split on Monday when its second largest partner, the Pakistan Muslim League-Narwas (PML-N), withdrew its support, citing the failure of the leading party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), to honour its promises. The rupture will deepen the country’s political instability after former military strongman Pervez Musharraf resigned his post on August 18 rather than face impeachment.
By Vilani Peiris, 25 August 2008
Just one week after the resignation of military strongman Pervez Musharraf as president, Pakistan’s ruling coalition is on the point of breaking down. The Pakistan Muslim League-Narwas (PML-N) of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is threatening to quit the alliance today unless the government reinstates 57 high court judges sacked last year by Musharraf.
By James Cogan, 23 August 2008
A major offensive by the Pakistani military against Islamist militants in the country’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and North West Frontier Province (NWFP) has effectively become a campaign of collective punishment against the fiercely independent Pashtun tribes that live in the region. As tens of thousands of refugees pour out of the remote Bajaur agency, they are reporting indiscriminate air strikes and helicopter gunship attacks, devastated villages and farmlands, and hundreds of dead and wounded civilians.
By Peter Symonds, 19 August 2008
Effectively abandoned by his domestic allies and international backers, Pakistan’s military strongman Pervez Musharraf formally resigned yesterday as the country’s president rather than face impeachment proceedings that were due to commence this week.
By James Cogan, 16 August 2008
Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA) and North West Frontier Province (NWFP) have been plunged into the heaviest fighting between government troops and Islamist and Pashtun tribal militants in more than two years. Fierce battles have taken place this week in Bajaur, the northern-most tribal agency, which borders Afghanistan’s Konar province. Dozens of fighters on both sides have been killed and tens of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes.
By Vilani Peiris, 14 August 2008
Amid an ongoing political crisis, Pakistan’s ruling coalition this week initiated a formal impeachment process against President Pervez Musharraf, the country’s former military strongman.
By James Cogan, 9 August 2008
The Pakistani government has ordered major military offensives against the Islamist groups in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), which are allegedly assisting the insurgency against US and NATO forces over the border in Afghanistan. The operations follow the visit to Washington by Prime Minister Yousuf Rusa Gilani last month, during which the Bush administration demanded a crackdown.
By James Cogan, 1 August 2008
The three-day visit to Washington this week by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Rusa Gilani has set the stage for a violent escalation of the Afghanistan war into ethnic Pashtun Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. Gilani was beset with accusations that the FATA were harbouring terrorists and anti-US Islamists fighting American and NATO troops over the border and demands that his government launch a crackdown. If it does not, the Pakistani leader was reminded that the US would unilaterally attack alleged insurgent safe havens inside his country.
By K. Ratnayake, 25 July 2008
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is due in Washington next week for top-level discussions, including with President Bush, in which the escalating war in Afghanistan will certainly be a central focus. The Pakistani government has come under mounting pressure from Washington to take action against anti-US insurgents operating from bases inside the tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan.
By K. Ratnayake, 1 July 2008
A Pakistani high court ruling last week, barring former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from contesting a by-election, has widened the rift inside the ruling coalition, which is teetering on the brink of collapse.
By Keith Jones, 16 June 2008
Pakistan’s new coalition government has delivered a big business budget that slashes subsidies for food, fuel oil, electricity, and fertilizer by more than one-quarter—112.2 billion Pakistani Rupees, or $US1.6 billion. The Pakistan People’s Party-led government has also pledged to gradually do away with all price subsidies, except possibly on food.
By Deepal Jayasekera, 13 June 2008
The US government and military have rebuffed Pakistani government protests over Tuesday night’s aerial bombardment of a Pakistani security checkpoint in the Mohmand region in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA). Ostensibly aimed at pro-Taliban insurgents, the US attack, which was carried out by two F-15s and a B-1 bomber, killed 11 Pakistani Frontier Corps troops, including a major, and injured 10, including 3 civilians.
By K. Ratnayake, 12 June 2008
In a new escalation of US-Pakistan tensions, a US air strike on a Pakistani Frontier Force checkpoint near the Afghan border killed 11 soldiers, including an officer, and wounded 10 people, including three civilians, early Wednesday.
By Keith Jones, 27 May 2008
In increasingly blunt fashion, Washington is making known its displeasure with Pakistan’s new elected government, which is comprised of parties opposed to the US-backed military strongman and president Pervez Musharraf.
By Keith Jones, 1 May 2008
The dynastic leaders of Pakistan’s two principal political parties—Pakistan People’s Party chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)—held crisis negotiations in Dubai yesterday, with the fate of Pakistan’s new “national consensus” coalition government apparently hanging in the balance.
By Keith Jones, 19 April 2008
The industrial city of Multan, Pakistan’s sixth largest, was convulsed by protests of textile workers, Monday and Tuesday, angered by repeated power outages that have resulted in pay and job cuts for tens of thousands.
By Keith Jones, 27 March 2008
US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Richard Boucher, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, arrived in Islamabad early Tuesday, with almost no advanced warning to their Pakistani hosts. Their sudden visit exemplifies the Bush administration’s apprehensions about the change of regime now underway in Pakistan.
By Peter Symonds, 19 March 2008
An air strike on Sunday on a compound in the Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan that borders Afghanistan has left up to 20 people dead. While Washington has not acknowledged responsibility, there is little doubt that the US military or the CIA carried out the attack as part of a widening covert war against anti-American militants entrenched in the Pakistani border areas.
By Keith Jones, 12 March 2008
After weeks of factional maneuvering, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) announced Sunday an agreement to form a national coalition government.
By John Grais, 5 March 2008
On February 22, the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority (PTA) ordered the country’s Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to YouTube, the world’s most popular video web site. Access was completely restored in Pakistan only after four days, amid popular opposition and allegations of electoral fraud.
By K. Ratnayake and Keith Jones, 23 February 2008
In opposition to the wishes of the Bush administration, Pakistan’s two principal parties, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), agreed Thursday to forge a national coalition government and like coalitions in the country’s four provinces.
By K. Ratnayake and Keith Jones, 20 February 2008
The Pakistani people overwhelmingly repudiated the US-backed, military-controlled regime of Pervez Musharraf in national and provincial elections held Monday.
By Keith Jones, 18 February 2008
The elections for Pakistan’s national and provincial assemblies that are to be held today make a mockery of the most elementary democratic principles. They have been organized by the military-controlled government of President Pervez Musharraf, with the backing of the Bush administration, so as to throttle, not further, the democratic aspirations of Pakistan’s toilers.
Scotland Yard’s report on Bhutto assassination
By K. Ratnayake and Keith Jones, 16 February 2008
A Scotland Yard investigation team has issued a report on the assassination of two-time Pakistani Prime Minister, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader, and PPP prime ministerial candidate Benazir Bhutto. Although the report is largely politically motivated conjecture—Pakistani authorities had themselves destroyed much of the evidence within hours of the assassination—the regime of embattled dictator Pervez Musharraf and its mentors in the Bush administration have seized on it as proof of their earlier claims that Bhutto’s murder was the work of Al Qaeda and/or the Taliban and them alone.
By K. Ratnayake and Keith Jones, 2 February 2008
More than two hundred retired high-ranking Pakistani military officers have unanimously demanded that the country’s president, Pervez Musharraf, resign and hand over his powers to deposed Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, so he can form a “neutral care-taker government” to supervise national elections.
By K. Ratnayake, 28 January 2008
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been in Europe since January 21, on an eight-day trip aimed at ensuring continued Western support for his discredited and popularly-reviled military regime.
By Bill Van Auken, 26 January 2008
The United States is “ready, willing and able” to deploy American combat troops in Pakistan for joint military operations in the country’s troubled border region, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 21 January 2008
Pakistan’s US-backed military dictatorship has mobilized more than six thousand paramilitary troops to guard flour mills and distribution points and escort supply-trucks, as it seeks to staunch a flour shortage that has resulted in breadlines and spiraling prices.
16 January 2008
The following is an email from Robert Templer, director of the Asian program of the International Crisis Group, regarding the January 7 article “Beleaguered Pakistani president lashes out at critics” and a reply.
By K. Ratnayake, 12 January 2008
A bomb blast in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Thursday has cast fresh doubt over national elections due on February 18. The poll has been delayed once already on the pretext that some election offices were damaged in rioting that followed the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on December 27.
By K. Ratnayake, 7 January 2008
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is increasingly a man under siege following the December 27 assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. The official explanation for Bhutto’s death is in tatters, raising further questions about the involvement of sections of the regime in her murder and threatening to spark opposition and protests before national elections that have been postponed to February 18.
By Bill Van Auken, 7 January 2008
Top members of the Bush administration together with US military commanders and intelligence chiefs met in secret at the White House Friday to draw up plans for stepped-up military intervention in Pakistan, the New York Times reported Sunday.
By K. Ratnayake, 3 January 2008
The Pakistani government of President Pervez Musharraf yesterday announced that national elections planned for January 8 would be postponed for six weeks until February 18. The delay, which was criticised by opposition parties, is a desperate attempt to shore up the military regime amid the deepening political turmoil that followed last Thursday’s assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
By Keith Jones, 31 December 2007
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday ordered the military and other security forces to take whatever measures were necessary to quell rioting sparked by last Thursday’s assassination of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader, former prime minister and current prime ministerial candidate Benazir Bhutto.
By Bill Van Auken, 29 December 2007
With Pakistan erupting in violence over the assassination of its former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and amid conflicting accounts as to both the identity of her assassins and even the cause of her death, official Washington and the American mass media have coalesced around a version of events that has been crafted to suit US strategic interests.
By Keith Jones, 28 December 2007
Pakistan People’s Party “life chairperson” and prime ministerial candidate Benazir Bhutto was assassinated early Thursday evening, Pakistani time, while campaigning for national and provincial assembly elections scheduled for January 8.
By Keith Jones, 14 December 2007
Pakistan’s principal opposition parties and alliances—Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and the Islamic fundamentalist Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)—have all announced their intention to participate, and thereby legitimize, the national and provincial assembly elections the US-backed, military-dominated government has called for January 8.
By Keith Jones, 3 December 2007
US President George W. Bush was the first foreign leader to congratulate General Pervez Mushraraf after he had himself sworn in Thursday to a further five-year term as Pakistan’s president.
Bhutto and Sharif decry dictatorship, while seeking a deal with Pakistan’s US-backed military regime
By Keith Jones, 26 November 2007
Pakistan is now in its twenty-third full day of de facto martial law. Basic civil liberties have been suspended. Thousands of government opponents—members of opposition parties, lawyers, human rights activists and trade unionists—remain in detention. Police break up anti-government protests with baton charges and mass arrests on a daily basis and the US-supported, military-dominated government has made civilians who challenge the rule of General President Pervez Musharraf liable to court martial.
By Bill Van Auken, 20 November 2007
In the midst of public statements of support for “democracy” in Pakistan and the recent visit to Islamabad by the American envoy John Negroponte, Washington is quietly preparing for a stepped-up military intervention in the crisis-ridden country.
By Keith Jones, 19 November 2007
US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte ended a three-day visit to Pakistan, which has been under de facto martial law for the past two weeks, with a press conference Sunday at which he reiterated the Bush administration’s strong support for General Pervez Musharraf and his military regime.
By Peter Symonds, 15 November 2007
Arrests in Pakistan continued yesterday with the detention of opposition leader Imran Khan in the eastern city of Lahore while attending a student protest. Khan, who had been in hiding since military strongman General Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule on November 3, had publicly announced that he would be attending the rally to set a student protest movement in motion.
More in regret than anger
By Keith Jones, 14 November 2007
Pakistan People’s Party life chairperson Benazir Bhutto has been compelled to ratchet up her condemnations of Pakistan’s US-supported military strongman, General Pervez Musharraf, and his martial-law regime.
By Joe Kay, 12 November 2007
President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed US support for Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf over the weekend, even as the general stepped up the mass repression he launched with the imposition of de facto martial law on November 3.
By Keith Jones, 10 November 2007
Pakistan’s US-backed military regime mounted a massive police operation Friday to stamp out a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) rally called to protest the imposition of martial law.
By Peter Symonds, 9 November 2007
The political crisis in Pakistan continues to mount as supporters of Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) prepare to hold a rally today in the garrison town of Rawalpindi to challenge the imposition of martial law by military strongman President Pervez Musharraf last Saturday.
By Keith Jones, 7 November 2007
Tens of thousands of Pakistanis have taken to the streets over the past two days—risking arrest, assault and even shooting at the hands of the country’s security forces—in opposition to the imposition of martial law by General Pervez Musharraf’s US-backed military regime.
By Bill Van Auken, 6 November 2007
Protesting lawyers, students and other civilians staged pitched battles with riot police in cities across Pakistan Monday, the third day of the martial law regime imposed by the country’s military strongman General Pervez Musharraf.
By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 5 November 2007
Pakistani military strongman General Pervez Musharraf, a key ally of the Bush administration in its purported “war on terror,” has again bared his fangs. On Saturday evening—as security forces fanned out across Islamabad to occupy the parliament and supreme court buildings, force private television stations off the air, and take oppositionists into “preventive detention”—Musharraf, who seized power in a military coup in October 1999, declared a state of emergency.
US-sponsored deal with Bhutto begins to unravel
By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 25 October 2007
Pakistan’s US-backed military regime has reiterated its threat to impose martial law should the country’s highest court not give its blessing to General Pervez Musharraf remaining president till 2012.
By Keith Jones, 20 October 2007
Some 24 hours after a grenade and a powerful bomb tore through two-time Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s cavalcade through the streets of Karachi, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
By Peter Symonds, 19 October 2007
Two bomb blasts last night ripped through huge crowds in the Pakistani city of Karachi gathered to welcome former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who had just returned after eight years in exile.
By Keith Jones, 9 October 2007
The Bush administration has lauded the sham election Pakistan’s military regime staged Saturday to extend General Pervez Musharraf’s presidential mandate till the fall of 2012.
By Keith Jones, 6 October 2007
Pakistan’s Supreme Court issued a judgment Friday that gives a provisional judicial stamp of approval for the sham presidential election the country’s military regime is to stage today with the aim of making General Pervez Musharraf Pakistan’s president till the fall of 2012.
By Keith Jones and Vilani Peiris, 28 September 2007
Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz filed papers with the country’s election commission Thursday nominating military strongman Pervez Musharraf as a candidate for the bogus presidential election to be held October 6.
By Keith Jones, 20 September 2007
A lawyer representing Pakistan’s US-backed military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, told the country’s Supreme Court Tuesday that “if” Musharraf is elected to a second term as president, he will resign as chief of the armed forces before taking the oath of office.
With Washington’s blessing
By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 13 September 2007
With the approval of Washington, Pakistan’s US-backed military regime deported former prime minister Nawaz Sharif Monday, just four-and-a-half hours after he returned home from seven years of exile.
Musharraf-Bhutto negotiations near end-game
By Keith Jones and Vilani Peiris, 6 September 2007
Benazir Bhutto, the “life chairperson” of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and top aides of Pakistan’s military strongman, General Pervez Musharraf, have been meeting in Dubai this week with the aim of hammering out a power-sharing agreement.
By Peter Symonds, 29 August 2007
In an aggressive new step, the US military shelled and destroyed targets across the Afghan border inside Pakistan on Sunday. While it has received scant coverage in the American and international media, the attack foreshadows more extensive US cross-border operations that have the potential to further destabilise Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s uncertain grip on power.
By Peter Symonds, 21 July 2007
The Bush administration this week signalled a tough new stance on Pakistan, demanding that military strongman General Pervez Musharraf takes action against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in areas bordering Afghanistan, and threatening US strikes if he failed to do so.
By Keith Jones, 21 July 2007
In a major blow to Pakistani dictator General Pervez Musharraf, the country’s Supreme Court has ordered the immediate reinstatement of suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and the quashing of all charges against him.
By Keith Jones, 13 July 2007
In a nationally televised address Thursday evening, Pakistan’s US-backed dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, defended the Pakistani military’s storming of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), threatened military action against any madrassa (Islamic school) “used for extremism,” and promised to strengthen paramilitary and police forces in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).
By Bill Van Auken, 11 July 2007
A week-long siege mounted by the Pakistani military against Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in Islamabad ended violently Tuesday in bitter fighting that claimed a heavy loss of life. Citing Pakistani military sources, the Dawn News television network reported that 88 civilians and 12 army commandos had been killed by late Tuesday, as the day-long battle continued.
Surrender or die
By Keith Jones, 9 July 2007
General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s US-backed military strongman, said Saturday that the armed Islamic clerics and militants who control Islamabad’s Lal Masjid or Red Mosque must surrender or die.
By Keith Jones and Vilani Peiris, 22 June 2007
Top Bush administration and Pentagon officials have held intensive consultations with Pakistan’s embattled military regime during the past two weeks with the aim of bolstering the autocratic rule of General Pervez Musharraf and securing increased Pakistani military support in staunching the insurgency against Afghanistan’s US-installed government.
Repression fails to staunch anti-Musharraf protests
By Keith Jones and Vilani Peiris, 8 June 2007
An air of violence and desperation surrounds Pakistan’s US-backed military regime.
By Keith Jones, 2 June 2007
The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angles Times have all published editorials in recent days taking the Bush administration to task for its unabashed and unequivocal support for Pakistan’s military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf.
By Kranti Kumara and Keith Jones, 27 September 2006
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s revelation that a top US official said Pakistan would be bombed “back to the stone age” if Islamabad didn’t break its ties with the Taliban and provide logistical support to the US conquest of Afghanistan is yet another example of the mobster methods that have come to characterize US diplomacy, especially under the Bush administration.
By Keith Jones, 26 August 2006
US President George W. Bush made a demonstrative show of US support for Pakistan’s military strongman, Pervez Musharraf, Wednesday—the very day that the bourgeois opposition launched a campaign to end seven years of military rule.
By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 29 June 2006
General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s US-backed military strongman, has signaled that he will orchestrate a bogus presidential election next year in a bid to cling onto power until 2012.
By Vilani Peiris, 11 March 2006
US President George Bush ended his high-profile tour to South Asia last Saturday with a 24-hour trip to Pakistan that proved to be an acute political embarrassment for President Pervez Musharraf. Having gone out of his way to secure closer relations with India, Pakistan’s long-time rival, Bush delivered what amounted to a thinly disguised public rebuke to the Pakistani military strongman.
By Peter Symonds, 4 March 2006
US President George Bush arrived in Pakistan last night amid heavy security and a series of anti-US protests in cities across the country. While the main purpose of the one-day trip is to help shore up the shaky regime of President Pervez Musharraf, the Bush administration is directly responsible for much of the political turmoil confronting the Pakistani military strongman.
By Deepal Jayasekera, 23 February 2006
Ongoing protests in Pakistan against the provocative Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed have increasingly been directed against the ruling regime and the US, as well as European countries where the images have been published. The demonstrations not only complicate US President George Bush’s planned visit to Islamabad next month, but also threaten the position of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
By James Cogan, 19 January 2006
Outrage in Pakistan over the US air strike on the border village of Damadola, which killed as many as 18 men, women and children, has been aggravated by the reaction in Washington.
By James Cogan, 16 January 2006
The US air strike carried out on January 13 on the isolated village of Damadola, near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, was as reckless as it was criminal. At least 18 civilians were killed, including five women and five children, further inflaming already high political and social tensions inside Pakistan.
By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 18 June 2005
More than a thousand Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) workers have been arrested in the six days since the country’s US-backed military regime ordered army and paramilitary forces to seize control of the state-owned company’s key installations.
By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 13 June 2005
Pakistani troops and other security personnel seized control of at least 150 Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) installations spread across the country on the evening of Saturday June 11. The army action, which saw heavily armed troops storm into PTCL facilities and expel the unionized workforce, came shortly after Pakistan’s US-supported military regime fixed June 18 as the date for selling off a major chunk of the state-owned telephone company’s shares.
Security forces poised to attack occupation
By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 4 June 2005
Workers at Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)—who have been occupying the company’s Islamabad headquarters and other facilities since May 25—are threatening to sever the country’s communications network next Monday, unless Pervez Musharraf’s military government abandons its plans to privatize what is Pakistan’s largest and most profitable public-sector enterprise.
31 January 2005
In a show of bravado, Pakistan’s military-dictator president quipped he had nine lives after two sophisticated attempts on his life in December 2003. Yet 12 months later, Pervez Musharraf reneged on his pledge to step down as head of Pakistan’s armed forces by the end of 2004 and announced he shall remain chief of Pakistan’s Armed Services, as well as the country’s president, till at least 2007. Clearly the general—a man the Bush administration has repeatedly touted as a key ally in the “war on terrorism”—doubts he has many lives left.
13 December 2004
US President George W. Bush has again lavished praise on Pervez Musharraf, declaring himself “very pleased with” the “efforts” of Pakistan’s military strongman. Bush met with Musharraf December 4, just four days after the official who was serving as Pakistan’s acting president while Musharraf visited Europe and the Americas signed into law legislation that allows Musharraf to continue as both the country’s military chief and its president.
10 November 2004
With the backing of the United States, Britain and other western powers, Pakistan’s military dictator-president, General Pervez Musharraf, has staged-managed events so he can claim that he is bowing to the “people’s wishes” when he renounces a pledge to step down as head of Pakistan’s armed forces.
By Vilani Peiris and Keith Jones, 3 September 2004
Pakistan’s US-backed military strongman, president and armed forces chief Pervez Musharraf, has orchestrated the installation of Shaukat Aziz, a former top official at New York’s Citibank, as the country’s prime minister.
By Vilani Peiris, 24 June 2004
Karachi—Pakistan’s main commercial and industrial hub—has been rocked by a wave of sectarian violence in May and early June. More than 60 people have been killed and hundreds wounded. While the city has been hit by bloodletting between Shiite- and Sunni-based groups before, the latest round is the worst in recent years.
By Rick Kelly, 26 May 2004
Following a meeting of its Ministerial Action Group in London on Saturday, the British Commonwealth lifted the suspension imposed on Pakistan following the country’s 1999 military coup. Ignoring all evidence to the contrary, the Commonwealth declared that “progress [has been] made in restoring democracy and rebuilding democratic institutions in Pakistan”.
By Vilani Peiris, 22 May 2004
Bogged down in a deepening quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration has made a series of appeals to Pakistan for military and political assistance in both countries. However, any steps by President Pervez Musharraf to accede to the US requests will only further fuel opposition within Pakistan and compound the political difficulties his regime confronts.
By Peter Symonds, 23 March 2004
A week of fierce fighting between 6,000 heavily-armed Pakistani troops and suspected Islamist militants in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan has resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. The army has surrounded an estimated 400 to 500 fighters entrenched in a number of heavily fortified mud brick structures in South Waziristan and has been pounding the area using artillery, helicopter gunships and combat aircraft.
Amid mounting political crisis
By Keith Jones, 23 December 2003
Pakistan’s military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, narrowly escaped assassination December 14 when a bridge was almost levelled by multiple bombs just seconds after his motorcade passed over it. In a show of bravado, Musharraf has downplayed the seriousness of the assassination attempt, but its sophistication strongly suggests the involvement of elements within Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment.