March 14: The much anticipated deadline the Lahore High Court set for the Pakistan government to clarify its position on the diplomatic immunity of CIA contractor Raymond Davis has come and gone, and once again Islamabad has been unwilling to take a stand. Six weeks after he shot two Pakistanis he accused of trying to rob him, Davis remains in a Lahore prison and faces trial for murder.
In this fresh episode of its continuing effort to kick a dangerous can down the road, the government reportedly told the high court that its foreign ministry had not clearly stated that Davis was entitled to the immunity Washington has outspokenly insisted he enjoys. In another instance of can-kicking, the high court then ruled that the immunity issue could be decided by the lower court that tries him. Continue reading “The Ray Davis Case: Kicking the Can, Again”
March 7, 2011 – Press reports today that Marc Grossman was holding top level talks in Pakistan with Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani and other senior leaders recalled for us his earlier incarnation in Islamabad in the late 1970s. In those distant days the seasoned diplomat who is now Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan was a lowly first-tour officer on a rotating assignment at the U.S. embassy there. He worked successively for both of us, first with Tezi in the economic section, then with Howie in the political. We wrote his first efficiency reports. As we remember, we gave him high marks and predicted that he would go far in the Foreign Service. We were right on target. Continue reading “Marc Grossman Returns to Pakistan”
March 6, 2011: Two assassinations in Pakistan: in January, Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab, by one of his bodyguards; last week, Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Minorities, outside his Islamabad home, with the Pakistani Taliban claiming responsibility. Both had called for changes in Pakistan’s blasphemy law, passed to put the power of the State, including capital punishment, behind a ban on offense to Islam, but frequently used to settle scores and otherwise oppress non-Muslims or, more generally, opponents. Continue reading “Requiem in Pakistan”
An obituary by Teresita C. Schaffer of American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, highlighting in particular his work in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Indians probably remember Holbrooke’s last assignment—Afghanistan and Pakistan—principally because of what it excluded: he did not have responsibility for India. He avoided any role on India-Pakistan issues, recognizing that this could only complicate his exceptionally difficult mandate. In a way, it is a shame he never had any direct involvement in U.S.-India ties. In the years before he took up his Afghanistan-Pakistan job, he visited India frequently, and was fascinated by the way it was emerging on the global scene. His twin passions for peacemaking and for power responded to different aspects of India’s post-Cold War foreign policy at a time when the United States and India were discovering how close their international interests had become.