Pakistan, Behind the Headlines

| 1/7/2008 5:11:21 PM

Amid the torrent of coverage of Pakistan’s multiple crises, All Things Pakistan, a blog founded by Tufts University professor Adil Najam, offers refreshing and essential perspective through stories that are woven into a context that thoroughly studies and celebrates Pakistani culture as a whole.

To briefly review recent political events, on November 3 Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency and suspended the country’s constitution. In the ensuing crackdown, members of the opposition were rounded up, protest was suppressed (often violently), and independent media outlets were censored. On December 27 charismatic opposition leader and presidential candidate Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, just 12 days before the scheduled general election. In the wake of her assassination, Pakistan’s Musharraf-aligned Election Commission has pushed elections back, ostensibly for one month, though critics worry the suspension will prove to be indefinite.

Not only has All Things Pakistan been charting the build-up to these major political crises for well over a year, the blog tells a bigger story, because it follows more on-the-ground, local issues, such as recent severe shortages in staples like electricity, flour, and sugar. And while most news outlets have pigeonholed their coverage of this “dangerous” land, All Things Pakistan has managed, even during exceptionally tumultuous times, to file fascinating stories on Pakistani architecture, literature, music, and sports.

Jason Ericson

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