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Pakistan

Amongst the many comments generated within the Pakistani body politic by the Nobel Committee’s decision to award its annual Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai, perhaps the most intriguing one goes something like this: ‘Pakistan is finally in the spotlight for a positive reason’.

 

Congratulations to us both on our shared Nobel Peace Prize win! Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, peace rock stars and all around saints-in-waiting, made our nations as proud as new mothers this week by being honoured as symbols of hope and peace for all humanity to emulate.

 

The signs of unrest and despair among the people displaced from North Waziristan Agency, on account of the military operation there, must begin to be addressed before the situation takes an ugly turn.

 

The announcement of Malala’s Nobel peace prize has unleashed a storm of nastiness that some of us seemed to have hidden away for very long.

 
Many questions come to mind concerning the rise of Imran Khan. Is he an angel? Is he a leader of the stature of a Jinnah or a Mandela? Has he not committed any political mistakes? Has his party’s government in Khyber-Pakhtukhwa (K-P) delivered on its election promises?
 

Recently, Irish Minister Aodhan O Riordain told the Irish parliament to announce a referendum to remove the blasphemy law from the Irish constitution. It was last used in 1855.

 

A girl from picturesque Swat Valley — once visited by the Chinese traveller, Hsuan Tsang, in search of ancient Buddhist scriptures — has won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014. At 15, Malala Yousafzai, who had openly objected to the Taliban’s policy of destroying girls’ schools, was shot in the head at close range by a Taliban terrorist.

 
Domestic politics and international relations are often somehow entangled but it seems our politicians have not yet sorted out the puzzling tangle. It is fruitless to debate whether domestic politics really determine international relations, or the reverse. The answer to that question is clearly “both, sometimes”. The more interesting questions are: “when” and “how” domestic politics are allowed to overshadow international relations.  
 

Let us suppose for a moment that the protestors succeed. That the twin sit-ins of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) seize ‘new’ Pakistan from the claws of the old and corrupt status quo. 

 
The security establishment is firmly in the driving seat. It is calling the shots with respect to the multiple internal security challenges facing the nation. Caught in a political quagmire, the civilian government has ceded the national security space to the military due to its weak leadership. Prolonged sit-ins by the PTI/PAT in Islamabad and massive public meetings elsewhere have caused governance paralysis.  
 


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