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Pakistan

News is such a fickle business. One day we are told that one of the city’s major hotels caught fire and eleven people died in the blaze.  The city’s main road – Sharae Faisal, had to be closed down owing to the intensity of the fire. Our TV vans reach the site and report live. Some enterprising reporters use their cell phones to gain footage from within the hotel. We expect action. Nothing happens.

 
Eras and institutional decades can seem contrived and imposed ex post, a too-convenient way of explaining the past and divining the future. Sometimes, though, they are helpful shorthand that tease out inflection points and bracket phases. With two new chiefs in two months in two institutions, a subtle shift in eras may be upon us in the Army and the Supreme Court.  
 
Eras and institutional decades can seem contrived and imposed ex post, a too-convenient way of explaining the past and divining the future. Sometimes, though, they are helpful shorthand that tease out inflection points and bracket phases. With two new chiefs in two months in two institutions, a subtle shift in eras may be upon us in the army and the Supreme Court — a shift into and away from two pivotal figures in the two institutions.
 

Even in the best of times our television news coverage leaves a lot to be desired with agenda-driven hysterics and histrionics often dominating the screens. If, heaven forbid a tragedy occurs, the chase for ratings inspires such ludicrous ploys that the viewer is filled with despair.

 

The Salam declaration created a positive example to rival the ground realities at the grass roots, and it left many wondering about how to tackle the latest Sharif stroke. And the old-mould thinking had a lot to do with how various people dealt with the unexpected in this case.

 
Sndly, a forum established to encourage security, political and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and the surrounding nations turned into yet another event of Pakistan-bashing.  
 

Amritsar reconfirmed Pakistan remains a target of joint criticism by India and Afghanistan. Much of domestic and international opinion by and large concurs with such criticism. Such is the failure of our Afghanistan and India policies.

  Amritsar reconfirmed Pakistan remains a target of joint criticism by India and Afghanistan. Much of domestic and international opinion by and large concurs with such criticism. Such is the failure of our Afghanistan and India policies.
 
Incoming army chief Gen Bajwa takes over at a time when Pakistan is already on the road to recovery. Since 2010, the country has experienced a significant reduction in terrorist violence. The economy has also begun to rebound. Gen Bajwa and the civilian government could keep doing more of the same to achieve further incremental progress. But this would reflect a ‘good enough’ approach. It’ll definitely keep Pakistan out of the ICU but we’ll still be weak and frail.  
 
Gen (r) Raheel has gained worldwide popularity due to his remarkable counterinsurgency tactics that helped reduce violence in the country to its lowest level since 2006 with an overall decline of 70% in terrorist attacks under his tenure.  
 

The most glaring irony of the “federal, parliamentary democratic system” of Pakistan is that we congratulate ourselves when our elected assemblies complete their constitutional term (so far that has happened only once) and we also do the same when an army chief retires on the expiry of his tenure! 

 


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