Though it remains overlooked in the media, "The Great Flood of 2010" is one of the worst natural disasters to hit Pakistan, displacing an estimated 20 million people and leaving countless de
In the Pakistani province of Balochistan, South Asia and central Asia bleed into the Middle East. Bordered by Afghanistan, Iran and the Persian Gulf, and well endowed with oil, gas, copper, gold and coal reserves, Balochistan is a rich prize that should have foreign investors battering at the gates. But for a half-century it has been the exclusive playground of the Pakistani government and its state-owned Chinese partners. China would prefer it to stay that way.
Even with near-daily terrorist attacks claiming 2,000 civilian lives last year and the frontier war against radicals taking an additional 1,000, most Pakistanis are not focused on the jihadis. Rather, the underlying cause of their upheaval "is a crisis of governance," says former commerce minister Zubair Khan.
As I've written previously, the Pakistani government has been taking some heat. On Wednesday night, the controversy finally came to a full boil, and officials are still scrambling to keep the pot from bubbling over.
The other day, I posted an interview with Gallup's Pakistan chief, Dr. Ijaz Gilani, in which he explained how electoral data belies the conventional wisdom that the present government is on the verge of political collapse. In the second half of our discussion, he applied a similar counterintuitive approach to substantive policy problems, namely the economy, counterterrorism, and civil war.
Where the first half of our chat focused on inside baseball, this one is pretty self-explanatory. But still, two significant implications:
When I started on this trip, I planned to post 1-2 videos a week. For the first month, that's not been possible, because Islamabad has pretty much outlawed videotaping anywhere in the city. I've been stopped and ID'ed and questioned several times while trying to snap still images, and even inside buildings, officials are unwilling to go on camera. Since Tuesday, however, I've been in Karachi, where the rules are a little more lenient. Hopefully more visual aids will follow.
Political reformers in Pakistan have long argued that economic growth would bring about a decline in the militancy that today threatens to tear the country apart. While economic deprivation is undoubtedly a cause of political instability, recent history suggests that growth alone is not a solution.
It's been a big week here in Islamabad. First off, there have two more bomb attacks, one at the naval compound down the street from where I am staying and one out in Pindi, the next town over. Secondly, Barack Obama finally announced his plans for the war in Afghanistan: 30,000 more troops now; phased withdrawal started in 18 months. Thirdly, Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani completed a tour of Germany and Britain.
The climate story of South Asia begins in the Himalayas, home to thousands of rain-fed glaciers that make up the largest body of ice outside the poles. In the winter, these glaciers capture the precipitation that makes it over the mountains. In the warmer months, they melt away water that feeds major rivers like the Ganga, the Indus, and the Brahmaputra. The system is a 'natural water tanker' for the 1.5 billion people living in the river basins below.The second important feature of the story is its extreme monsoon, in which half the rain for the season falls in only 15 days.
When Americans hear about violence in Pakistan, they think mostly of the Taliban or of jihadis on the Kashmir border. But the single greatest threat to Pakistan right now is a third insurgency: of ethnic separatists in the Baloch province, who have been pushing for secession for years.
This story also aired on KUOW on Oct. 26.
Like India, Pakistan has its share of call centers, offering everything from customer service and tech support to health insurance and home security systems. Jessica Partnow takes us through a night in the life of Ali Jaffri, a professional telemarketer in Lahore.