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Reporting and analysis

May 01, 2011

The streets of Karachi are deserted tonight. Earlier today, five people were killed and over 20 vehicles and a bank were torched. Businesses were shut down and the city’s streets were choked with panicked traffic as residents rushed home from work.

This chaos had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. It had to do with Karachi’s on-going ethnic and political violence, which flares up repeatedly and claimed hundreds of lives last year. It is a reminder that, despite the symbolic victory of bin Laden’s defeat, Pakistan faces severe problems beyond militancy that will not go away with his death.

March 01, 2011

In 1995, Justice Arif Iqbal Bhatti, along with other judges of a Lahore High Court bench, struck down allegations of blasphemy against two Christians. In 1997 the judge was shot dead in his office. The next year a man owned up to the crime, but has apparently disappeared from custody since then.


Since the creation of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, at least 38 cases of extrajudicial killings (some of which involved the active involvement or wilful neglect of the police) of people alleged to have directly committed blasphemy have been documented. Arif Bhatti’s was a relatively unusual case at the time. More recently, though, two uniquely courageous Pakistanis lost their lives for defending victims of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

February 14, 2011

In a gas-rich province crisscrossed by pipelines, explosive attacks on infrastructure, a means of weakening the Pakistani state, have been a part of the Baluch separatist toolkit for many years. They are one of the standard modes of attack in a conflict that has its roots in a desire to separate that is as old as Pakistan itself.


The legacy of the resisted annexation of Baluchistan and continued unfair treatment of the province is something that has come back to haunt the Pakistani state. Unfortunately, it is the people of the province who are bearing the brunt of the fallout.

August 08, 2010

At any given point, Karachi’s violence can be attributed to Islamist militants, criminals peddling various contraband goods or people fighting land grabbers. Everyone but the political parties who could stop the fighting if they wanted to.  

July 27, 2010

Amidst the Western media’s focus on Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, the war’s political implications for Barack Obama and how Afghanistan is carpeted with Taliban IEDs, Pakistan simply has too much at home to worry about. Perceptions of the country in the West take a back seat when severe electricity shortages, spiraling food prices and devastating terrorist attacks confront us every day.  

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