What a killer piece by Osman Samiuddin on the whole security/withdrawal from the Champions Trophy issue. It's nice to see that he can be really hard-hitting; usually his pieces, even when critical, have this soft and cute quality to them (I mean that in a good way). Here's my favorite part:
The war on terror Pakistan is leading will not end overnight, because such nebulous wars don't. At best, within this country, it will have to be managed so that interference with life's everyday grind is minimal. Expect stories that Pakistan's place as co-hosts of the 2011 World Cup is under threat to be churned out from next year.
For countries like Australia it makes no difference, for they seem to have put their policy in place some ten years ago. They haven't toured even once in that time and have never shown a particular willingness to do so. Leaders they may be on the field, but on this matter they have been consistently disgraceful.
Zalmay Khalilzad - U.S. ambassador to the U.N - has been told in no uncertain terms to stop his BFF routine with Asif Zardari.
Mr. Khalilzad had spoken by telephone with Mr. Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, several times a week for the past month until he was confronted about the unauthorized contacts, a senior United States official said. Other officials said Mr. Khalilzad had planned to meet with Mr. Zardari privately next Tuesday while on vacation in Dubai, in a session that was canceled only after Richard A. Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South Asia, learned from Mr. Zardari himself that the ambassador was providing “advice and help.”“Can I ask what sort of ‘advice and help’ you are providing?” Mr. Boucher wrote in an angry e-mail message to Mr. Khalilzad. “What sort of channel is this? Governmental, private, personnel?”
Speaking of our good friend Zardari, check out this story from the Financial Times (courtesy Asad) in which we discover that Zardari might be suffering from mental health problems. [I will pause here for the inevitable and tasteless joke you are all thinking of]. Anyway, what's really interesting is how the "emotional instability" and "memory and concentration problems" arose:
Mr Zardari used the medical diagnoses to argue successfully for the postponement of a now-defunct English High Court case in which Pakistan’s government was suing him over alleged corruption, court records show.
The case – brought to seize some of his UK assets – was dropped in March, at about the same time that corruption charges in Pakistan were dismissed.
Hmmm. You guys have all seen that Ed Norton movie right, the one where he has a stutter?
Speaking of Zardari, please check out his and Sherry Rehman's pathetic attempts to blame external forces (read: the U.S.) for the PPP's failure to to keep their word on the judges. First AZ:
Mr Zardari admitted that he had signed “political understandings” with Mr Sharif, but asked the PML-N chief to realise the difficult situation they had come across after the resignation of President Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf. Without explaining, he said they had taken the help of “some friends within and outside the country in the ouster of President Musharraf”.
And now Sherry:
Federal Information Minister Sherry Rehman admitted that the PPP had signed agreements with the PML-N but claimed that “our other internal and external allies wanted us to take our own route after the resignation of President Musharraf”.
Meanwhile, the stock market is crashing, and whoever filed this report for The News is pissed:
The market today opened in an extremely pensive environment, as the KSE like others in the country felt duped and deceived by the dud leaders of the country, from whom, they had pinned great hopes of making the democracy work and steering the country out of the lurking dangers instead of fast taking back the country to the fearsome 1999 situation, when the country was about to be declared a failed state.
Leaving Pakistan for a moment or two, it appears that Barack Obama's choice of Joe Biden for veep was easily foreseeable. How? Why, flight patterns of course! (Via Slog)
Is the age of the Apple Aura of Invincibility over? I don't know how much this one data point counts, but I can tell you that my new iPod - bought in June 2008 - works considerably worse than the stolen one it replaced - bought in January 2006.
David Brooks argues that Barack Obama should ignore the advice of everyone not named David Brooks. The first sentence alone makes it worth your while to click on the article.
Last but not least, I am copying and pasting, without comment, the following question posed to a sex-advice columnist in the Mumbai Mirror (via India Uncut):
I am 29 years old and married. I had sex with my wife 15 months after she gave birth to our son. Can this lead to a second pregnancy? What are the safety precautions that we can take? Please help.
UPDATE: The more I read those quotes from Zardari and Sherry Rehman on external forces and the judges, the more I think they might be talking about Saudi Arabia, not the U.S. I don't know. What do you guys think?