By Kabir Altaf
The incident last week at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in which NATO air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers has brought Pakistan-US relations to their lowest ebb since the OBL raid. The public reaction in both countries has revealed the extent of the mistrust between the supposed allies. The American public feels that since the US government gives Pakistan so much aid, it is ungrateful of the Pakistani government to block NATO's supplies or ask the US to vacate airbases in the country. Americans are also angered by reports of Pakistan's alleged double-dealing and at best grudging cooperation with Washington. The Pakistani public, on the other hand, is angered by what they see as violations of their country's sovereignty. They also feel that fighting "America's war" has caused a lot of blowback in their country, leading to the deaths of thousands of innocents at the hand of insurgents.
Reading the newspapers from both sides, one gets a sense of how different the narrative is in each country. The articles in The New York Times are accompanied by images of groups of bearded men burning the American flag or effigies of President Obama.
Too Much Secularism is a Dangerous Thing
By Dipankar Gupta
Is the Congress afraid of winning in Gujarat?
Nothing else explains why it lets Narendra Modi tom-tom development when it should have been the Congress banging the drums. The economic achievements of governments before Modi’s read like an award citation, but too much secularism has since led the Congress astray. Instead of showcasing its past performance to regain Gujarat, it is obsessed with nailing Modi as a communalist-in-chief. Naturally, it is not getting anywhere fast.
Look also at the good memories the Congress is erasing away.
In 1991, a full ten years before Modi arrived, as many as 17,940 out of 18,028 villages were already electrified.
By Anjum Altaf
Opinion is divided between those who assert the ISI knew where Osama was hiding and those who believe it didn’t. This way of framing the situation obscures what might be the reality.
Some months back, before the discovery of Osama, I was reading a book in which the author narrates a discussion with a Pakistani, now an ambassador, that took place towards the end of the Musharraf period when the interviewee was out of favor. A remark attributed to the Pakistani left such an impression that I repeated it to as many people as I had occasion to between then and the discovery of Osama next to the military academy at Kakul.
By Anjum Altaf
The thought of any connection between Osama bin Laden and Gandhi would not have occurred to me were it not for a remark in the much talked about biography of the latter by Joseph Lelyveld. At one point in the book, I am told, Lelyveld writes that “it would be simply wrong, not to say grotesque, to set up Gandhi as any kind of precursor to bin Laden.” The remark piqued my curiosity especially given the fact that it was written before the recent discovery and elimination of Osama. Clearly, Lelyveld was not cashing in on a coincidence. So what was it that provoked the comparison even if it were to be dismissed?
Let me state my conclusion at the outset: the personalities bear no comparison but the contextual similarities highlight major political issues that bear exploration and attention.