Friday, April 06, 2007

Pakistan: Crisis Coverage, Expats, and Professionals in the Streets

As a blogger, you don't often to write to a specific audience and to the tight requirements of an editor. But when the current crisis (or are there now two, no, three of them?) in Pakistan started about the Chief Justice being dismissed, I had done a post about the situation. And then I was invited by the SAJA Forum, the South Asian Journalists' Association's Blog to write a piece summarising things for their audience. This gave me a chance to step back and think about how the crisis--or crises--around my home country is being covered, and what the fundamentals are of the issue. SAJA Forum carried my piece on the 20th of March. The actual news might be a bit dated now, but since the piece was targeted to an audience of journalists, it gives you a good round-up of where to go for updates on the crisis.

Since then, there's been a lot of coverage of the lawyer's protests and what's going on in Pakistan--including Ahmed Rashid appearing on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air". He actually talks quite a bit about what he says is Musharraf's increasingly precarious position. But I will talk about that more later--there are aspects of that appearance and issues related to it that I want to discuss. But especially for people not familiar with the ground situation in Pakistan today--whether you are non-Pakistani, or a Pakistani or Pakistani-American who's not lived in the country in a while--that is a must-listen. His point about the people who are usually the last to come out in a revolution now being on the streets actually, I feel makes the point I was making in my original post on the crisis, about the fact that Pakistanis not usually doing the street thing--we've gone straight to that last stage of the process, without the earlier stages of the protest cycle.

On the other issue I covered on my SAJA Forum post, ArR has done a good job of collecting links related to Musharraf's situation.

There's more to talk about this this situation. Like expats getting involved, as I pointed out in my last post. That was the positive side of expats. But then, Athar Osama, an analyst that, paradoxically, has the Rand Graduate School as his doctoral alma mater asked a very relevant question; one that I have asked in relation to Internet Censorship and and the like:
PAKPAC:

Ref to your condemnation of the mistreatment of Amna Butter, I'd like to know which constitutional right are you talking about? The same constitution that was mercilessly butchered for the last 7 years to support the ambition of power of one individual and PAKPAC and others supported that treatment? Shouldn't we all forget about that constitution and the rights that it grants us? I think it is high time that we either support that constitution in full or not even mention the rights it gives us...

By the way, even today that constitution prohibits General Musharraf to hold the office of the President....

Best,
Athar
Something to think about--especially for expats...

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