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May 23rd
11:15 AM
Via
reuters:

Pakistani authorities have sentenced a doctor accused of helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden to 33 years in jail on charges of treason, officials said, a move almost certain to further strain ties between Washington and Islamabad.
Shakil Afridi was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign, in which he collected DNA samples, that is believed to have helped the American intelligence agency track down bin Laden in a Pakistani town.
The al Qaeda chieftain was killed in a unilateral U.S. special forces raid in the town of Abbottabad in May last year.
“Dr Shakil has been sentenced to 33 years imprisonment and a fine of 320,000 Pakistani rupees ($3,477),” said Mohammad Nasir, a government official in the northwestern city of Peshawar, where the jail term will be served. He gave no further details.
Afridi is the first person to be sentenced by Pakistani authorities in the bin Laden case.
READ MORE: Pakistani doctor jailed for helping CIA find bin Laden

reuters:

Pakistani authorities have sentenced a doctor accused of helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden to 33 years in jail on charges of treason, officials said, a move almost certain to further strain ties between Washington and Islamabad.

Shakil Afridi was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign, in which he collected DNA samples, that is believed to have helped the American intelligence agency track down bin Laden in a Pakistani town.

The al Qaeda chieftain was killed in a unilateral U.S. special forces raid in the town of Abbottabad in May last year.

“Dr Shakil has been sentenced to 33 years imprisonment and a fine of 320,000 Pakistani rupees ($3,477),” said Mohammad Nasir, a government official in the northwestern city of Peshawar, where the jail term will be served. He gave no further details.

Afridi is the first person to be sentenced by Pakistani authorities in the bin Laden case.

READ MORE: Pakistani doctor jailed for helping CIA find bin Laden

June 4th
3:23 PM

India And Operation Geronimo

In no country did Osama bin Laden’s demise generate as acute a sense of vindication as in India. For the past twenty years, India has pointed to Pakistan as the epicentre of regional and global terrorism.

None of this means that India is guaranteed to use force, and an array of other constraints - military readiness, fear of nuclear escalation, civilian reticence – will play their part. Nonetheless, the diplomatic environment in which the choice would be made has changed.  >continue<

May 10th
1:08 PM

Secret Pakistani Deal with US on Bin Laden

The shadowy agreement explains why Prime Minister Gilani gave such a tepid speech on the whole affair. He demanded no apology from the United States, appointed no commission of inquiry, and did not seem unduly alarmed (because he was not). He said that Bin Laden’s demise greatly benefited Pakistan, on which, he said, Bin Laden had declared war. Gilani, a relatively secular politician from a prominent Sufi family of Multan, was no doubt delighted to have Bin Laden out of the way. He did push back against suggestions that the Pakistani military knowingly harbored Bin Laden, though he admitted that the terrorist’s residence in Abbottabad was an embarrassment. Maybe not as big an embarrassment, he archly suggested, as invading a whole country such as Iraq on the basis of mistaken intelligence about WMD. But an embarrassment nevertheless. >continue<

Commentary by Juan Cole, with some interesting angles as usual, in tandem with the Guardian’s reporting: US forces were given permission to conduct unilateral raid inside Pakistan if they knew where Bin Laden was hiding

May 9th
5:13 PM

Osama bin Laden mission agreed in secret 10 years ago by US and Pakistan

The US and Pakistan struck a secret deal almost a decade ago permitting a US operation against Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil similar to last week’s raid that killed the al-Qaida leader, the Guardian has learned.

The deal was struck between the military leader General Pervez Musharraf and President George Bush after Bin Laden escaped US forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001, according to serving and retired Pakistani and US officials.

Under its terms, Pakistan would allow US forces to conduct a unilateral raid inside Pakistan in search of Bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the al-Qaida No3. Afterwards, both sides agreed, Pakistan would vociferously protest the incursion. >continue<

9:08 AM
"The majority of Pakistan is quiet. Eerily silent. Day after day we are seeing rallies in Pakistan by uneducated Islamists, mourning the death of bin Laden. The JuD, the politial arm of the militant Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba has been offering prayers for a “great martyr;” Tehrik-e-Taliban, of Pakistan, is vowing revenge for the “murder” of a great “Muslim Son;” while Pakistani liberals are looking on with cowering silence, hushed and apologetic. Some are raising questions about the “arrogant” Americans coming and infringing their sovereignty; some raising conspiracy theories; but at the end of the day, it’s the long silence. They have been searching for answers, when it is the time to ask questions."
May 6th
6:00 PM
Via
Pakistan, Contingency and Kashmir
…The picture appears bleak enough to prompt concern for the survival of Pakistan itself. Stephen P. Cohen, author of The Idea of Pakistan, has authored an important new essay, ”Coping with a failing Pakistan”:


 

 
“…will it gradually disintegrate, shedding its character as a moderate Muslim state, losing control over more and more territory? The country is in the metaphorical position of someone who has swallowed poison, sits on a keg of dynamite, is being shot at, all while an earthquake is rumbling through the neighbourhood.”  &gt;read more&lt;

 Turbulence in Pakistan has only grown more gnarly since our initial posting. We believe it has been obvious for some time that the spectre of a failed nuclear Pakistan is so potentially catastrophic as to warrant intense efforts to move both India and China toward a suitable resolution of the Kashmir issue. Since the bin Laden affair has brought more attention to the regional chaos, its our hope that sustained attention will build critical mass behind this sentiment. Stronger, healthier powers need to work harder fashioning a new approach for India/Pakistan peace.
Protests Flare In Kashmir: 2010 |  “Kashmir: The time has come”
Osama was the least of Pakistan&#8217;s problems

Pakistan faces severe problems beyond militancy that will not go away with [bin Laden&#8217;s] death. In the hours leading up to the fatal raid Pakistan&#8217;s president was busy cobbling together an unnatural political alliance to enable his government to pass legislation now that previous allies have parted ways with the ruling party. Meanwhile, and in response, a leader of the main opposition party was meeting with army chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, pointing to the role the military still plays in politics. Gas shortages have shut down industry in Punjab province and protests against power cuts are getting violent. The fiscal deficit is ballooning as the government fails to put in place an effective tax net. Recovery from last year&#8217;s floods remains slow for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods. Gujranwala saw protests this weekend against the alleged burning of the Quran by local Christians, a development that could easily lead to their trial for blasphemy. Literacy remains shockingly low, and is even falling in some areas. &gt;continue&lt;.

Inside the Pakistani Taliban | America&#8217;s Inscrutable Partner
Climate of fear over Pakistan blasphemy laws
Why US mistrusts Pakistan’s powerful spy agency
Why We&#8217;re Stuck with Pakistan
Acclaimed Baughman film: Bhutto

Sad, sad Pakistan. Your birth was romantic, even if marred by violence, your childhood idealistic, but somewhere along the journey you lost your way. - Hamza Usman ~ Not Jinnah’s Pakistan

Pakistan, Contingency and Kashmir

…The picture appears bleak enough to prompt concern for the survival of Pakistan itself. Stephen P. Cohen, author of The Idea of Pakistan, has authored an important new essay, Coping with a failing Pakistan”:

“…will it gradually disintegrate, shedding its character as a moderate Muslim state, losing control over more and more territory? The country is in the metaphorical position of someone who has swallowed poison, sits on a keg of dynamite, is being shot at, all while an earthquake is rumbling through the neighbourhood.”  >read more<

 Turbulence in Pakistan has only grown more gnarly since our initial posting. We believe it has been obvious for some time that the spectre of a failed nuclear Pakistan is so potentially catastrophic as to warrant intense efforts to move both India and China toward a suitable resolution of the Kashmir issue. Since the bin Laden affair has brought more attention to the regional chaos, its our hope that sustained attention will build critical mass behind this sentiment. Stronger, healthier powers need to work harder fashioning a new approach for India/Pakistan peace.

Protests Flare In Kashmir: 2010 |  “Kashmir: The time has come”

Osama was the least of Pakistan’s problems

Pakistan faces severe problems beyond militancy that will not go away with [bin Laden’s] death. In the hours leading up to the fatal raid Pakistan’s president was busy cobbling together an unnatural political alliance to enable his government to pass legislation now that previous allies have parted ways with the ruling party. Meanwhile, and in response, a leader of the main opposition party was meeting with army chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, pointing to the role the military still plays in politics. Gas shortages have shut down industry in Punjab province and protests against power cuts are getting violent. The fiscal deficit is ballooning as the government fails to put in place an effective tax net. Recovery from last year’s floods remains slow for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods. Gujranwala saw protests this weekend against the alleged burning of the Quran by local Christians, a development that could easily lead to their trial for blasphemy. Literacy remains shockingly low, and is even falling in some areas. >continue<.

Inside the Pakistani Taliban | America’s Inscrutable Partner

Climate of fear over Pakistan blasphemy laws

Why US mistrusts Pakistan’s powerful spy agency

Why We’re Stuck with Pakistan

Acclaimed Baughman film: Bhutto

Sad, sad Pakistan. Your birth was romantic, even if marred by violence, your childhood idealistic, but somewhere along the journey you lost your way. - Hamza Usman Not Jinnah’s Pakistan

4:53 PM

The bin Laden aftermath: Pakistan's militant milieu

The response in Pakistan has not been promising. By focusing on the raid into Pakistani territory and glossing over the fact that bin Laden was living on Pakistani soil, the army appears to be doubling down on obstinacy. Nor is it helpful that the government says it will refuse the U.S. access to those who survived the raid. The one glimmer of hope thus far was the statement earlier this week by the Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, that the government would launch an investigation into how bin Laden managed to live for so long in Abbotobad and whether his support system included any serving officials. It now appears the military has taken charge of the investigation, which does not bode well for transparency.

For too long the United States has relied on the army as its primary interlocutor out of perceived operational necessity, often with frustrating results. The military-to-military relationship is an important one, but over-reliance on the army is at odds with the aim of fostering civilian governance in Pakistan.  >continue<