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from Pir Panjal to FATA – what people (also) worry about in areas of conflict

We have been working close to places in Pakistan where a lot of attention was focused towards from the media recently, mostly without clearing the picture but often rather muddying it with everyone having a say in things noone really knows how to interprete. I would like to briefly point out some observations from there … 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

Pakistan’s Army and piety

Dexter Filkins, in his recent article for the New Yorker, makes a rare foray into accusing the US of complicity in the disappearance of Pakistani journalists, in this case of Saleem Shahzad. Continue reading

Aid, a weapon?

Especially the rural poor will often not give a damn what happens outside their brick kiln geo-politically and confronting them with opinions on radical islamist outlets may be of little benefit for assessing general support of these groups. On top of that, if they have an opinion, they may have a totally different conception of these groups’ connections (the authors offer four choices: Kashmiri tanzeem, al-Qa’ida, TTP, sectarian outfits). The understanding of Pakistani militant groups is very poorly developed in Political Science courses in the West and even less understood is how the am log perceives them (before they are even asked to judge them as good or bad). Continue reading

sissies and thugs – an alternative approach to explaining Karachi’s violence

Verkaaik looks at urban militancy in Sindh with a focus on Hyderabad where he researched intensively. As his choice of location suggests he is not prone to walking along stereotipical representation of Pakistan – while Hyderabad is by no means some small village, he is the first foreign author on Pakistan I read who is not based in Islamabad, Lahore or Karachi. On the other hand he does not present himself as theshalwar kameez wearing gora who has understood it all and is at par with the locals. His account is sober, but makes use of both – his intellectual background and understanding of cultural, political and historical complexities and his personal experience as a part-time resident of the city and member of the local society. Continue reading

exchange rate: $ to PKR

The US – Pakistan relationship dubbed as a double game – little understanding is there for the fact that the flaws of this bond should be looked for on both sides and how they deal with each other. Continue reading

Women Empowerment in Pakistani administered Kashmir

We have just finished a report on the impact of our Vocational Training Centre in Dhulli on Women Empowerment in Kashmir – whether that works on the societal and enterpreneureal level and how. It can be downloaded from our website here. Continue reading

swooping broad brush theories – refuting conventional wisdom

Two rather recent papers by Christine C. Fair and Jacob N. Shapiro aimed at investigating the foundation for militant and violence support in Pakistan, after in recent years studies in this direction have become numerous, but most were not so clear when it came to data aquiring and whether this would be representative for Pakistan. The most important problem was that ‘conventional wisdom’ on Pakistan is often taken as granted and used as a basis for such studies without further testing. Mainly conducted in urban areas and without considering the huge differences between the provinces, these studies become next to worthless – but they shape international policies. Fair and Shapiro have attacked these conventional wisdoms and I believe do give some scholarly backing to observations that are rather obvious to people with experience in Pakistan. Continue reading

Learning from recent experiences?

With the reconstruction in Kashmir having widely come to a halt (although far from complete in many areas) and the next reconstruction phase in the flood affected areas looming ahead, I want to direct attention to two very good studies that deal with the experiences in Kashmir – and are extremely valuable for the work coming up ahead in other parts of the country. Continue reading

Development Assistance and Aid in Pakistan

The presentation held in Vienna as a Talaash discussion round can be downloaded as a Powerpoint here (.ppt, 9.5 MB) in short form, or as JPG slides for the original slides (.jpeg, 2.4 MB) (I wasn’t able to downsize the original presentation to a convenient size). Continue reading

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