Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Elsewhere

William Dalrymple, writing in the Guardian today:

Few had very high expectations of Zardari, the notorious playboy widower of Benazir Bhutto. Nevertheless, the speed of the collapse that has taken place on his watch has amazed almost all observers. Across much of the North-West Frontier Province - around a fifth of Pakistan - women have now been forced to wear the burka, music has been silenced, barbershops are forbidden to shave beards and more than 140 girls' schools have been blown up or burned down. From the provincial capital of Peshawar, a significant proportion of the city's elite, along with its musicians, have decamped to what had, until yesterday's attack, been regarded as the relatively safe and tolerant confines of Lahore and Karachi.

6 comments:

Geraldine Ryan said...

This is a truly worrying turn of events. What can we do?

Arabella said...

Pick an attractive yet practical hand-basket for the journey?
If you know what I mean.

word verification: panich

Rosaria said...

As usual, women and children are suffering first and foremost.

I never felt that Benazir Bhutto significantly bettered the lives of women in Pakistan. She was a show pony, and her widower husband a poor choice in a country of really poor choices for leaders.

In last week's visit to Washington, Pakistan's foreign minister assured the Obama administration the Taliban would not be in charge in the Swat Valley, which is about 160km from Lahore.

Yeah, right.

What's been happening in Swat is pure Taliban. The ceasefire with Taliban militants also includes a provision for sharia law. They're pushing to have it installed as soon as possible.

I'm talking yesterday, if not sooner.

The Pakistan government has said it will have the girls' schools re-opened, however I'm not holding my breath.

The Pakistan/Aghan border is porous and the rugged geography is perfect for militants' hideouts. That whole north region is becoming more restive by the day.

The Mumbai massacre, blsamed on Pakistan militants, and this week's shootings of the Sri Lanka cricket team add to the evidence that Pakistan is becoming a basketcase and a liability in the so-called "war on terror".

Robo said...

Rosaria summed it up nicely.

I'll add this -- the country is being run by a bunch of crooks who are acting like they're in high school. Petty, clique-ish, and thoroughly out of touch with the real world but think that they rule the schoolf. Sadly, anyone who tries to change the system for the better ends up either killed or ousted by political opponents in coups or sham elections. Benazir Bhutto had potential, but she squandered it. Zardari...it boggles my mind how a convicted criminal who spent time in solitary confinement and has a history of mental issues is allowed to hold office.

I'm pretty much ashamed and mortified to say my family is from Pakistan.

Belle de Ville said...

Rosaria and Roba have assessed the situation clearly. It such a shame because Pakistan has a large highly cultured and educated people who deserve better leaders.
At this point I would prefer a pro Western military Junta than ineffectual leaders that will allow the country to go back to the 8th Century except with nuclear weapons.

Geraldine Ryan said...

Yes, it's a truly shocking system. I'm appalled by what I read about what's going on in Pakistan. The government there seems just to be rolling over and allowing the Taliban to impose Shariah law without batting an eyelid.