Musharraf for Brains
March 26, 2008
By November of last year, Pakistan, a nation hardly known for its stability, seemed primed to explode. After months of street protests against General Pervez Musharraf’s increasingly authoritarian rule, the Pakistani dictator had declared de facto martial law, allowing him to arrest thousands of political activists and sparking even greater unrest. Many young Pakistanis turned to extremist organizations, and suicide bombings spread from the Afghan border into once-serene cities like Islamabad and Lahore.
Pak It In
November 12, 2007
Last Monday, two days after Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan, I drove around Islamabad in search of Musharraf supporters. As police beat and arrested the president's political opponents, the country's elite was becoming increasingly restive, and even people on the street sounded annoyed. Shopkeepers complained about slow business,the government had shut down more than ten private TV channels, and cell service was spotty. Then I arrived at the Christian slum near my house, where I met a 28-year-old man named Javed.
The Hardest Part
November 10, 2007
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN The swarms of riot police who spent the day blocking the tree-lined street in front of Benazir Bhutto's house looked ready to battle an entire army of anti-government rioters. Standing stiff and covered with ribbed hard-plastic shells over their arms and legs, they also looked like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Looming around them were concrete barriers, numerous coils of razor wire, and an armored-personnel carrier parked in such a way to trap Bhutto in her house. School-bus-sized paddy-wagons, large enough to hold hundreds of people, waited nearby.
September 10, 2007
Be careful what you wish for. That is the lesson of the Bush administration's newly unveiled deal to provide India with nuclear fuel and technology. For years, opponents of the White House's foreign policy have called for more diplomacy--for further inspections in Iraq, for direct talks with North Korea, for any talks whatsoever on Iran's nuclear program. Now it appears that, in eschewing negotiation, the Bush administration was doing the United States a favor. Because, when the Bushies negotiate, they're extremely dangerous. Let's start with the very purpose of the agreement. Although U.S.
Street Fighting Men
July 03, 2007
Islamabad--Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the strategist and brains behind the Taliban-inspired movement that has taken over the Pakistani capital in recent months, may have overplayed his hand. On June 23, just after midnight, a squad of Islamist vigilantes set out from Ghazi's Lal Masjid, or "Red Mosque," in the direction of a Chinese massage parlor across town.
June 21, 2007
Abdul Rashid Ghazi comes across a little like Jerry Garcia. He wears oval-shaped, wire-rimmed glasses, has a grey, fist-length beard, and sports curly hair that flips wildly around his ears and neckline. He even has the former Grateful Dead frontman's easy smile and chill demeanor. University educated, he talks in idiomatic English, and, during one recent conversation, we even swapped stories about hanging out on the beaches in Thailand. This is a bit surprising, considering that Ghazi and his brother, Maulana Abdul Aziz, are leading an Islamic revolution in Pakistan.
February 20, 2006
ON JANUARY 29, the Sunday Times reported that British investigators had learned few details about the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks in London that left 56 people, including four suicide bombers, dead. Although the identities of the perpetrators were quickly uncovered last summer, a government document dated October 2005 and leaked to the newspaper last month said that MI5, Great Britain’s domestic intelligence service, knew virtually nothing about “how, when and with whom the attack planning originated....
Islamabad Dispatch: Trigger Happy
June 24, 2002
Few Americans have heard of Abdul Qadeer Khan, but in Pakistan he is a household name, a national hero of Elvis proportions. A street in Islamabad bears his name. His image appears on the back of brightly painted trucks. Schoolchildren and retirees alike sing his praises. No, Khan is not a cricket player or a movie star or even a politician. He is a nuclear scientist: the father of Pakistan's bomb. South Asia's war clouds may be dissipating, but Khan's glory is not only intact; it's stronger than ever.
May 20, 2002
It's five miles from Northern Virginia, where the Pentagon sets military targets, and a mile and a half from Foggy Bottom, where the State Department cobbles together coalitions. To look at it, you'd never guess that the ten-story glass-and-steel building at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and T Street, nestled amid the town houses and cafes of Dupont Circle, serves as one of the headquarters for the U.S. propaganda war against terrorism. If it doesn't look like a government office building, that's because it's not. Rather, it houses a public relations firm called The Rendon Group.
October 15, 2001
Northwest Washington, D.C. The landing is dark, and the door to the office--ostensibly a travel agency--is unmarked, save for a sticker proclaiming, "I Pakistan." Outside on the street, small clusters of men lounge against cars and in doorways, calling out to passersby. Inside, one rickety flight of steps up from Trina's Hair Gallery, the air is silent and stale. I obey a tiny sign, faintly visible in the gloom, instructing visitors to "ring bell." Then I wait--10, 20, 40 seconds--until a pair of gold-rimmed glasses appears in a small, arched window above the door. I wave and smile.