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trade, migrants and satellite imagery – a visual approach to border posts

We have recently interviewed a number of ‘illegal’ migrants from Pakistan to Austria (excerpts are up here and will hopefully soon be out in an English/Urdu version as well). When talking about the trip from Pakistan to Europe, borders played a major role. Crossing from Pakistan into Iran is not an easy task, being shot … Continue reading

Election 2013: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) chances in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

This article is part of a series of evidence-based analysis of Pakistan’s current political spectrum with the use of statistics, GIS and data visualization. We will further explore the position of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s electoral tsunami in the upcoming general elections 2013 to forecast if it has a realistic chance to win the next elections.  Read … Continue reading

on migration in Pakistan

I have recently written on migration in Pakistan from different angles. The most recent is a book review for DAWN on Fragments of the Afghan Frontier by Hopkins and Marsden and Under the Drones which includes a number of contributions. I explain here, why the latter lacks in what one would expect from the catchy … Continue reading

Tsunami: PTI’s rise in Pakistani politics

This article is part of a series of evidence-based analysis of Pakistan’s current political spectrum with the use of statistics, GIS and data visualization. We will further explore the position of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s electoral tsunami in the upcoming general elections 2013 to forecast if it has a realistic chance to win the next elections.  Pakistan … Continue reading

Hijacked Drones (II) – walking/mapping the unknown space

Apart from a number of other approaches, I think understanding the space the public debate is refering to when talking of ‘the lawless regions of Pakistan’, ‘the tribal belt’ or ‘the Northwest of Pakistan’ is a fundamental prerequisite to discuss the drone war and then taken further the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Continue reading

Hijacked Drones – History, Law and Ungoverned Space

The debate on the use of drones in the Afghanistan – Pakistan borderlands has been hijacked, by its defenders just like by those who condemn the drone war. Statistics, legal arguments and some dramatic personal accounts can all be used to argue for or against. What these debates all fail to do is to describe what significance the drone war actually has for the population in the targeted areas – they are largely used to keep people who are far away from the Predator’s impact busy. People like me. I am just acting in perfect bhutto/zardari-like fashion – have a say in it all while keeping my assets save here in Switzerland. Continue reading

Trailers and Tractors – Stories of Migration from Afghanistan to beyond.

In the Afghan’s carpet shops letters and photos of female Swedish NGO workers are passed around while a family member just returned from Waziristan talks about his experiences with a Mehsud lashkar which he left to take some days off in cooler Kashmir. Continue reading

Water War Mongering or Untapped Potentials?

Literature on the nexus between Water and Conflict is extensive and the debate on very basic principles of the discussion is very much in process. A number of papers are simply dedicated to give an overview over different publications and viewpoints1. With increasing stress on the resource around the world, in quantity and quality and to different degrees in different parts of the world, the issue is gaining considerable weight. And with that, hyperbole. Continue reading

Pipelines voller Spekulationen – Teil VI der Sino-Pak Serie

Es ist nicht ganz klar wie stark China hinter dem diplomatischen ‘good-will’ Vorhang auf Pakistan Druck ausübt. Während die kürzliche Geschichte um Stationierung von PLA Truppen aber ziemlich sicher Unsinn sind, und die Besorgnis der ganze Norden Pakistan’s sei schon mit chinesischen Soldaten besetzt eine beliebte aber ebenfalls aufgebauschte Geschichte ist, ist es aber doch offensichtlich, das China nach aussen weit weniger Druck auf Pakistan als auf zentralasiatische Staaten ausübt. Warum? Continue reading

Contrary to the widely held simplified view – Teil V der Sino-Pak Serie

Der Mangel an ernstzunehmenden Analysen zur bilateralen Beziehung zwischen Pakistan und China wurde wiederholt dargelegt. Auseinandersetzung mit China’s Zentralasien Politik ist dagegen schon fast zu populär. Niklas Swanström hat als Teil der Silk Road Studies Program Serie ein weiteres Paper in diese Richtung vorgelegt (China and Greater Central Asia: New Frontiers? Silk Road Paper, Dezember 2011). Nichts weiter neues oder besonders lesenswertes, manchmal auch etwas zu viel der Starr’schen New Silk Road Gebete (Zuglinie zwischen Tajikistan und Pakistan, whatever…), aber er richtet seinen Blick auf Greater Central Asia (GCA), zählt dazu auch Pakistan und macht einige wichtige Bemerkungen. Continue reading

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