Saturday, 3 November 2007

Bits and Bobs and BB

Most outlandish statement of the day award goes to Shabaz Sharif, (brother of Nawaz Sharif who is now once again enjoying the hospitality of the Saudi government), who mentioned in a speech that he would like to see Bangladesh become part of Pakistan once again! What planet is he living one again?

CBS' 60 Minutes has finally 'outed' the intelligence source "curveball", who was the source that the American government based their allegations of Iraqi mobile chemical weapon laboratories on. The neocons still insist that Iraq had WMD.

The Grand Strategy Blog tries to figure out why BB is "so" popular in Pakistan. I have some alternative suggestions, but nows not the time to get into them. I would question though, whether she is as popular as the blogger seems to suggest. I would suggest that the PPP is more popular than BB herself is in Pakistan and that has something to do with building organized mass movements. As for her popularity in the western media - it may have something to do with the $250,000 PR campaign she launched to build up her image as this informative blog reports.

I should note here that I am undecided about which way I will vote in the coming elections, and that the PPP is one possibility. If I do vote for the PPP though, it will be despite Benazir Bhutto, not because of her. After all, as William Dalrymple wrote in the Guardian:

Few would argue with the proposition that democracy is almost always preferable to dictatorship; but it is often forgotten the degree to which Bhutto is the person who has done more than anything to bring Pakistan's strange variety of democracy - really a form of elective feudalism - into disrepute. During her first 20-month long premiership, astonishingly, she failed to pass a single piece of major legislation. Her reign was marked by massive human rights abuse: Amnesty International accused her government of having one of the world's worst records of custodial deaths, extrajudicial killings and torture. Bhutto's premiership was also distinguished by epic levels of corruption. In 1995 Transparency International named Pakistan one of the three most corrupt countries in the world. Bhutto and her husband, Asif Zardari - widely known as "Mr 10%" - faced allegations of plundering the country.

And here is a BBC article reminding us that even though the BB-Musharaf deal has led to the dropping of all the corruption cases against her and her husband in Pakistan, there are still plenty of cases abroad, including her involvement in the oil-for-food scandal in Iraq which allowed Saddam Hussain to evade sanctions and build up his personal wealth. Funny that the American media doesn't latch onto that one...

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