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Showing posts from January, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Talking to Terrorists: A Personal Journey from the IRA to Al Qaeda Author: By Peter Taylor

Thank you Peter Taylor for the email..& the kind words..you made my day (28 Jan 2012)

Peter Sent a Signed Copy ...(26 March 2012)..


Published in Daily Times / Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal

When Peter Taylor, BBC’s acclaimed investigative journalist, hunts down ‘terrorists’, he just wants to talk. Churchill’s philosophy of ‘Jaw-jaw instead of war-war’ appealed to the audience in one episode of the 2007 BBC Doha debates titled ‘Talking to al Qaeda’. A former ISI chief present on the occasion admitted that they had already established secret channels of communication. But as the host pointedly asked, to what end given the American National Intelligence report that the enemy regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability regardless.

Since then this region has watched hastily made peace deals crumble and efforts at diplomacy fail. Five years down the line however, the Taliban are toying with the idea of opening a liaison office in Qatar.

This part memoi…

VIEW: Coups: Bloody, Medium, Rare

Published in Daily Times / Saturday, January 14, 2012

By Afrah Jamal


One cannot initiate a change of guard in Pakistan without sending the entire nation into a paroxysm or rattling the international community. Not when said change comes atop a war of (some very mean sounding) words between the state and its military.

The New York Times (NYT) editorial, ‘Pakistan’s besieged government’ (January 12, 2012) appears concerned about the fate of Pakistan’s democracy. They hint at “disastrous patterns” and bring up the olden days, implying that a repeat of those times is perhaps in the offing. They then observe that “no civilian government in Pakistan has ever finished its term” and hope that this one would be allowed to do so. Their concern is touching.

The latest crisis precipitated by the firing of the Defence Secretary and the prime minister’s ill-timed statements against our omnipotent military commanders triggered warning bells for Pakistan’s fledging democracy. These back to back incid…