Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hillary Clinton exits Benghazi probe looking stronger than ever

When Hillary Clinton went to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Republicans opened their bags of overly ripe conspiracy theories and moldering fruitcake ideas and tossed everything at her. Every shot missed.
Republican senators and congressmen on the foreign affairs committees of both houses had insisted that the departing secretary of State come in for a full day of hearings about the deadly terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Some of them must have thought this was a great chance to do preemptive damage to the most popular choice for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Instead, she made them look like the clumsy bad guys in an Aaron Sorkin political drama. The State Department's own independent investigative board has already answered most of the serious questions about the Benghazi tragedy in which four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The panel cited the failures of mid-level officials and suggested 29 ways to improve the system. Clinton said implementation of those steps was already 85% complete. A productive hearing would have concentrated on what else can be done to prevent similar tragedies in the future -- a discussion that would have also included examining why Congress not only consistently underfunds the State Department, but has blocked expenditure of money that has already been appropriated to shore up American diplomatic efforts in several international trouble spots. Instead, too many of the Republican committee members had been coached to dredge up old questions about the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. Last September, on the weekend following the attack, Rice went on the Sunday TV news shows and underplayed the terrorist connection, instead suggesting that the incident may have been connected with riots in other Muslim countries that were set off by an online preview of a never-made movie defaming the prophet Muhammad. Questions about why Rice said what she said have been answered repeatedly: She was parroting talking points provided by U.S. intelligence services. A useful line of questions would have followed up on that answer. An L.A. Times Op-Ed article by former Joint Chiefs of Staff aide Sarah Chayes suggests where such an inquiry would lead: "One lesson to be drawn from the Benghazi snafu is that powerful bureaucratic filters prevent crucial information from reaching senior U.S. government leaders. Whether the client at the top is the U.N. ambassador, the director of Central Intelligence or the president, bureaucracies consistently massage and filter information before passing it up the chain." But the Republicans did not want to explore the tendency for bad information to emerge from the intelligence bureaucracy, they wanted to resurrect a specious political attack that got them nowhere in the final days of the presidential campaign. In their wild imaginings, Rice's ill-informed comments were not just the result of bad information, they were part of an Obama administration effort to dupe the American people. Clinton easily slapped back this and other equally off-the-wall lines of inquiry. Unlike most of her inquisitors who seemed to be working from Fox News talking points, Clinton was working from fact-based briefings. With their cranky theatrics, Kentucky’s freshman Sen. Rand Paul and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson proved to be perfect foils for Clinton’s virtuoso performance. At the end of the day, Clinton left the stage looking stronger than ever. The only people who may feel worse about that than the Republicans are the ambitious Democrats who are contemplating a run for the Democratic presidential nomination next time around. On Wednesday, Clinton did not look too old, too tired or too vulnerable. She looked like she could beat anyone.

Equal participation of China, US crucial to Asia’s prosperity

The concept of "two Asias" coined by U.S. scholars has attracted extensive attention. It refers to the China-led "Economic Asia" and U.S.-led "Security Asia." They have presented a scenario of "two Asias" to see whether the two major powers can coexist peacefully in the region. "Economic Asia" is based on the fact that Asia's economic landscape has changed fundamentally. Due to China's rapid economic development and the reinforced trend toward regional economic integration, Asian economies have been more closely connected with China in trade, investment, and markets. Furthermore, the percentage of the trade with the United States in East Asian countries' total foreign trade volume has been on a steady decline. "Security Asia" shows that the United States is still trying to maintain its military dominance in the region through various means. However, since the end of the Second World War, it has taken the old path of relying on allies to strengthen bilateral and multilateral security alliances, and failed to take regional changes into consideration. This old path is out of step with Asia's economic integration, and is a dead-end. It is more appropriate to discuss the future of Asia from the following perspectives. The United States will continue to play an important role in Asia's economic affairs, and China will play a significant role in regional security affairs. It requires the joint efforts and mutual respect of China and the United States to establish a new regional order aimed at ensuring long-term prosperity and stability in Asia. However, the problem is that the United States does not have enough courage to recognize China's status as a great power sincerely, not to mention working with China to build a new type of great power relations featuring mutual respect and win-win cooperation. This is why the U.S. rebalancing strategy in the Asia-Pacific region has sent too many negative signals.

Senate Confirms Sen. John Kerry as Secretary of State

By an overwhelming vote of 94-3, the Senate has confirmed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to be the next Secretary of State. The vote was met with a long round of applause from those in the Senate chamber for the 28-year Senate veteran. He appeared on the floor, greeted by hugs and congratulations from his fellow senators. Voting against Kerry’s nomination were Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Texas Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. In a statement provided to ABC News, Drew Brandewie, a spokesman for Sen. Cornyn, said the senator decided after listening to Kerry’s confirmation hearing that he could not offer his support. “Sen. Kerry has a long history of liberal positions that are not consistent with a majority of Texans,” Brandewie said in a statement. Kerry voted “present,” in the vote for his promotion. Kerry will take office in the shadow left by outgoing Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who was praised by President Obama as “one of the finest secretary of states we’ve had,” on the TV show “60 Minutes” earlier this week. Secretary Clinton’s last day will be Feb. 1. In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Cynthia McFadden today, Clinton commented on her successor’s confirmation. “Obviously, we’ve been working with him and his team to come into the State Department,” Clinton told McFadden in an interview airing tonight on “Nightline.” “I think he’ll pick right up where I left off and represent us around the world.” Earlier this morning, by a unanimous voice vote, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Sen. John Kerry’s nomination to the full Senate for final confirmation. After that vote, Kerry made an appearance in the Foreign Relations Committee room to a round of applause from the committee he once chaired. The senator, clearly touched by the moment, hugged members of the committee and said, “I am honored beyond words, and I mean that. … What a privilege.” He added that the “urgency of our efforts cannot be overstated,” and said he looks forward to working with the committee in his new role. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., joked that the only person happier than Kerry was outgoing Clinton. In Massachusetts, a special election to fill Kerry’s Senate seat will take place on June 25, after primaries on April 30, Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin announced Monday. The only person formally declared as a candidate so far is Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Malden, Mass.

Clinton reflects on time as sec. of state

Obama: Time to act on immigration

Kargil, a 'four-man show'; Sharif 'not' kept totally in dark, retired Pak general says
The operation by Pakistani soldiers to capture strategic heights in Kargil sector in 1999 was a "four-man show" orchestrated by former army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf though then premier Nawaz Sharif was "not" kept totally in the dark, a retired general has said. Lt Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz, who recently created ripples by acknowledging in an article that regular troops were involved in the Kargil operation, said the "misadventure" was a "four-man show" and details were initially hidden from the rest of the military commanders. When the operation began in the spring of 1999, it was known only to Musharraf, Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Mohammad Aziz, Force Command Northern Areas chief Lt Gen Javed Hassan and 10 Corps commander Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmad, Aziz told the Dawn newspaper. Though former premier Nawaz Sharif has for long claimed that he had no information about the Kargil operation, Aziz said information he had gathered suggested Sharif was not kept "completely in the dark". Aziz said he was personally not aware of what information had been shared with Sharif but recalled that another general had told him that Sharif had once asked during an informal discussion: "When are you giving us Kashmir?" This suggested that Sharif was not completely in the dark, Aziz said. The former general's remarks are the first time someone from the senior military hierarchy has spoken in detail and with frankness about the Kargil conflict, the report said. Aziz said the operation was a "failure" and the actual figure for Pakistani casualties was still not known. "It was a failure because we had to hide its objectives and results from our own people and the nation. It had no purpose, no planning and nobody knows even today how many soldiers lost their lives," he said. A majority of corps commanders and principal staff officers were kept in the dark and even then Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Tauqir Zia learnt about the operation after it had begun, said Aziz, who was the head of the analysis wing of the ISI in 1999. Musharraf worked on a policy of "need to know" throughout his tenure as army chief and later President, Aziz said. Musharraf would issue orders to only those who were required to implement them instead of first consulting corps commanders and other officers. "The Pakistan army did not plan the operation because Gen Musharraf never saw Kargil as a major operation. Only the FCNA was involved in it and perhaps a section of 10 Corps," said Aziz. He claimed the operation reflected a "major intelligence failure for India". "It was a miscalculated move", he said, adding that "its objectives were not clear and its ramifications were not properly evaluated". Aziz said he first discovered that something was up in Kargil when he came across wireless communication intercepts that showed something was making "Indian forces panic". He added: "The intercepts worried me as I thought we were not aware of whatever was unsettling the Indians. I deputed two officers to figure out what was happening". The next day's intercepts were clear enough for Aziz to realise that the Indians' anxiety stemmed from the fact that someone from Pakistan had captured some areas in Kargil-Drass sector but it was not clear if they were mujahideen or regular troops. "I took these intercepts to then ISI Director General Lt Gen Ziauddin Butt and asked what was happening. It was then that Aziz was told by Butt that the army had captured some area in Kargil". Aziz said this was not right. "In his opinion, he should have been told about the proposed operation in advance so that he could have provided his analysis in advance," the report said.

Egypt: Human Rights Watch condemns state of emergency

Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the most recent implementation of emergency law in three Canal area governorates, calling the decision a “knee-jerk” reaction from the government that would infringe on the personal rights of citizens. “The government has the duty to take reasonable steps to protect security, but this knee-jerk response granting the police excessive powers is certainly not the answer,” said Joe Stork, HRW deputy Middle East director, in the report. “What is glaringly missing are orders to the police and the military to exercise restraint in their use of force and to warn that all official abuses will be punished.” On the night of 27 January, President Mohamed Morsy enacted a state of emergency in Port Said, Ismailia, and Suez after violence had spread in the governorates. One day after, the Shura Council passed a law granting the army the authority to arrest civilians. HRW reported that over the last two years, more than 1,000 protesters were killed as a result of police and military using excessive force. “Law 162 of 1958 also allows for trials before Emergency State Security Courts, which former President Hosni Mubarak’s government used for swift politicised trials since emergency court decisions may not be appealed,” the report added. HRW recommended the law be amended to limit the jurisdiction of the military justice system to military offences. Earlier this week Amnesty International called on Egyptian authorities to consider ways in which they could restore order through “less intrusive measures.”

Pakistani Working Women Face Harassment, Discrimination

Bahraini forces disperse anti-regime protesters in Manama

Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have brutally dispersed the protesters staging an anti-regime demonstration in the capital city, Manama, reports say.

Video: Hospital scans show Malala head injury

Departing U.S. general in Afghanistan weighs gains and uncertainty

By Kevin Sieff
Gen. John R. Allen was leaving Helmand province for the last time, his jet flying high above the desert moonscape that saw a bloody American military campaign and then an unprecedented withdrawal of U.S. troops. Allen arrived here 18 months ago, charged with two seemingly contradictory goals: to defuse an active insurgency and bring home 30,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines. Now, after the departure of a third of his force, it’s Allen’s turn to leave Afghanistan, where he says hard-fought security gains have often failed to bring about effective governance that would ensure long-term stability. “In some ways, it feels like I’m leaving family behind to an uncertain future,” he said, looking out at the rugged expanse of southern Afghanistan last week. Since 2001, there have been 11 commanders of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, five of whom, like Allen, also commanded NATO forces. But no other general was forced to focus in equal measure on both fighting a war and withdrawing from it. That meant putting Afghan soldiers in charge of combat operations even as many observers said they were unprepared. It meant building trust with an Afghan president known for intransigence, and fighting the Taliban while support waned in the United States. Those were the predictable challenges. Then there were the unexpected tests: the insider attacks, the burning of Korans on a U.S. military base, the Pentagon investigation into a trove of Allen’s e-mails for possible sexual impropriety — which cleared Allen of wrongdoing last week. As his command was buffeted, Allen impressed subordinate commanders with an ability to straddle Washington’s demands for a military endgame with Afghan demands for long-term reassurance. But he says he recognized that the U.S. drawdown would not coincide with clear-cut victory — in many cases, security gains have only brought more questions. With 11 days left in his tour, Allen says he’s proud of the growth of the Afghan security forces and the success of NATO’s troop surge in places such as southern Helmand, where four years ago the Taliban operated freely. But if security is not accompanied by effective governance, the Taliban could return, he says, or criminal networks could corrode gains. “Now what they face is an absence of governance and a desire for law enforcement and legal stability,” Allen said of civilians in parts of the country that have seen strategic gains. He has been pressing Afghan officials, including President Ha­mid Karzai, to deliver governance in places where military gains are visible. But in many cases, patronage networks have prevailed or corrupt leaders have remained in power as public confidence diminished. “General Allen works for his own country. We work for the national interests of our country,” Abdul Karim Khurram, Karzai’s chief of staff, said of Allen and Karzai’s sometimes divergent views. Meanwhile, there has been pressure from Allen’s own government. The next phase of the drawdown — and questions about Washington’s appetite for a military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 — have hovered over his command. Allen wants to keep between 9,000 and 15,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, according to American officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the subject, while the Obama administration is considering a force of about half that size. White House officials told reporters this month that zero troops might remain. “When you have political appointees talking about a zero option, it doesn’t make things any easier,” said a U.S. military official on Allen’s staff. Before Allen departed Helmand last week, the top Afghan commander there, Sayed Malouk, gave him a valedictory speech in a room full of top U.S. and Afghan military brass. “We have full confidence that you and your other generals will give the best advice to President Obama — to support this mission after 2014,” Malouk said, looking at Allen. “Blood and fight ours, tools and support yours.” Allen managed a tight-lipped smile while many other officers in the crowd laughed. “You might have seen me squirming in my seat,” Allen said later, as he returned to Kabul. Allen won accolades as a three-star general in 2007, when he seized on the tribal dynamics of western Iraq to persuade Sunni elders to resist the insurgency. His handling of the “Anbar Awakening” made him Obama’s first choice to replace Gen. David H. Petraeus in July 2011. In Afghanistan, Allen did not have the same resources as commanders in Iraq or his predecessors in Kabul. In Washington, he lacked their celebrity. But he still battled a potent insurgency. About 640 NATO and U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since Allen took over. “Those are the ones that are with you in the middle of the night, and you can’t sleep when you think about them,” Allen said, his voice breaking. As Allen and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force hand the reins to Afghan forces, fatalities have become a grim metric for the state of the transition. More than 1,000 Afghan soldiers died in 2012, about a 20 percent increase from 2011, a marker of who is doing the bulk of the fighting, U.S. and Afghan officials say. Allen “pivoted the Afghan army and police to take the lead while we were engaged in combat,” said Marc Chretien, Allen’s political adviser, who also served with him in Iraq. Afghan soldiers have paid dearly, Allen said, and “now the knockout blow needs to be delivered by the Afghan government.” “Meanwhile, those corps commanders are going to continue to bleed,” he said of the top seven Afghan generals. Poor governance could result in a Taliban resurgence or a rise in criminal operations, Allen said. Patronage networks and fledgling Afghan institutions are “locked in a death struggle,” he said. That institutional weakness in part prompted Allen’s recommendation to Obama for a post-2014 U.S. presence. His top priority for beyond 2014, he said, is to deploy a significant number as advisers in the Afghan ministries of Defense and Interior. Then, troop levels permitting, he would assign others to military training centers in Kabul and possibly keep some advisers at regional Afghan police and army commands. Traveling the country for the last time, Allen was eager to put Afghanistan’s woes in context. There are tensions with Pakistan, he noted, and a recent history dominated by upheavals. But the context Allen cites most in farewell speeches relates to what he calls “young democracies” – countries with flashes of promise but a great need for support and long, uncertain roads ahead. “I really believe we can win this thing,” he said, but “winning won’t occur between now and 2014. We will set the conditions to win during that decade of transformation.”

AFGHANISTAN: Frigid temperatures cause loss of children’s lives in refugee camp

The rights group Amnesty International says 17 people have died from cold weather conditions in Afghan refugee camps, and it warns against a repeat of last year, when 100 people died in the camps due to a lack of assistance. Amnesty made the announcement Tuesday, saying that most of the 17 who died in the first two weeks of January this year were children. A spokeswoman called the deaths “a preventable tragedy” and blamed “inadequate coordination of winter assistance” to the hundreds of thousands of people living in displacement camps across the country. She said the deaths demonstrate the need to protect the most vulnerable groups — children and the elderly — from the harsh winter weather. Amnesty is calling on international donors and the Afghan government to make sure aid is delivered to those in need. It says that in one incident in the western province of Herat, the provincial government had not delivered aid to internally displaced people because officials feared the aid would encourage them to stay in the area rather than to return home.

Malala to Receive New Skull Made of Titanium

Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl who survived a Taliban attack and became a global icon of resistance, will soon have surgery to repair her shattered skull and damaged hearing. In the next 10 days, Yousafzai will undergo a three-hour procedure to attach a titanium plate to a large hole in her head and to implant a cochlear hearing device to replace her destroyed eardrum. The procedures, which will be carried out by the same surgeons who treat British soldiers injured in Afghanistan, will set the teenager on a road to recovery that will allow her to kick-start her work as a global advocate for girls' education and to begin a relatively normal life in Birmingham, England. Yousafzai was shot point blank, three times last October. One of the bullets hit her left brow and traveled under the skin along her head. The bullet itself did not damage her skull, but its shock wave shattered her skull's thinnest bone and damaged the soft tissues at the base of her jaw and neck, according to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where she has been recuperating and where she will undergo her surgeries.
Doctors in Pakistan saved her life by removing a piece of her skull, reducing pressure on her brain as it swelled from the shock wave. The large hole that doctors left -- approximately one-third of one side of her head -- will now be covered in a surgery known as a titanium cranioplasty.Her doctors will shave her head and drape back the flap of skin covering the hole, exposing the dura, the fibrous membrane that covers her brain, the hospital said in a statement emailed to the media. The .6 millimeter-thick plate will then be secured to her skull with screws placed into 2 millimeter-deep holes drilled into her head. The flap of skin will then be draped back over the plate and stitched into place. Her doctors in Pakistan stored the piece of skull in her abdomen, hoping it would survive and be reinserted into her skull. It isn't clear why the surgeons in Birmingham decided to use a plate instead. The titanium plate "emulate[s] the piece of bone that's been taken away," said Stefan Edmondson, the hospital's principal maxillofacial prosthetist in video provided by the hospital. Edmondson created a 3-D computer model of Yousafzai's skull and shaped her titanium plate. "We start off with a flat sheet of the titanium, and we start pressing it within the two-part mold," he explained, holding the plate in what looks like a stamping machine. "And this is done over a period of one or two weeks, and we have to keep revisiting it, in a sense, to cut it down slightly, make modifications."
In the second procedure, the small cochlear device will be implanted to allow her to hear again in her left ear. The bullet that damaged her skull also destroyed her eardrum and all the bones she needs to hear, the hospital said.
Yousuafzai underwent emergency surgeries while still in Pakistan, and compared to those, her doctors in Birmingham have said these procedures will be less traumatic. They last only three hours, and she will be an outpatient within a week or two, they have predicted. Nine people will perform the surgeries, including two neurosurgeons and a burns and plastics consultant surgeon. Hospital officials have said Yousufzai shows no signs on long-term damage, is able to speak and read and is expected to make a full recovery. The hospital is holding a news conference this morning to reveal more details about her condition and the surgery.

President Zardari takes pride in upholding media freedom

President Asif Ali Zardari
on Tuesday took pride in upholding media freedoms and showing tolerance for dissent. He said, “We have extended the hand of friendship to all political forces, to the media and all stakeholders as well and we feel satisfied that this policy of the government has started paying dividends. He said the government is earnestly addressing issues of media freedom and in this regard a Press Council has been set up and its chairman has been appointed. It is now for the Press Council to move forward and move fast in consultation with all stakeholders,” he added. President Zardari said this while addressing the opening ceremony of the state-run TV’s English channel. He said Pakistan was a democratic and peace-loving country and its people are hospitable, courteous and hard-working. He urged the need for projecting these characteristics of Pakistanis and positive and soft image of the country at national and international level. He said that independent media was a guarantor of human rights, freedoms and liberties and its role was critical in furthering democracy. Commenting on the freedom of information, he said that the Ministry of Information has taken the ownership of the Freedom of Information Act as the government believes in providing genuine access to information for the sake of transparency and accountability. President Zardari expressed confidence that a Senate sub committee and the Ministry of Information are already working on the draft of Freedom of Information Act in consultation with all stakeholders to repeal the old Ordinance of 2002, and bring in a new Act of the Parliament. He directed the Ministry of Information to expedite finalisation of the Bill and table it in the parliament at the earliest. He stated that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister started the process of liberalisation of the media in the light of her vision It was for the first time during her government that the system of newsprint quota was done away with and it was in his government that cable news in Pakistan were introduced. Recounting some of the achievements of the Present government, he said that the government has taken far-reaching measures to consolidate democracy which includes giving self-rule to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, resolving the issue of distribution of resources between the Federation and the Provinces through 7th NFC Award, restoring the 1973 Constitution, reclaiming Swat and Malakand from the militants, fighting terrorists and extremists head on and empowering the parliament in helping frame security and foreign policies. Commenting on the state of economy, he said that although certain sections of the society object to economic performance of the government which he opined are not based upon facts, he said that standard of living of the people was on the improvement which was reflected by the enhanced sale of cars, tractors, motor cycles and other necessities of life. He said that performance of the Karachi Stock Exchange, increased remittances and increase in country’s export shows that economy was not stagnant but was growing steadily and gradually. He however urged the need for more vigorous steps for sustainable economic development. Commenting on current energy problems, he said that the government was deeply conscious of the energy problem which, he said was result of the circular debt left behind by the previous government. He said that during Shaheed Muhtarma’s second government Pakistan had surplus electricity and were even able to export power. However thoughtless reversal of the energy policy of her government led to the present day power crisis. He urged the need for all political parties and stakeholders to develop consensus on economic policies, particularly policies in addressing the energy crisis. The president while touching upon steps taken by the government to improve condition of the media, said that present government has taken a number of measures for improving the conditions in media and will continue to take more such actions. He called upon all the stakeholders to work together to improve government-press relations in the larger interest of the country and the people. On joint struggle for restoration of democracy in the country, he said that he has very close association with media persons as we together with many of the journalists endure hardship in the struggle for restoration of democracy in the country. APP adds: Speaking at the ceremony, Information Minister Kaira said the democratic government under the visionary leadership of President Zardari had demonstrated unflinching commitment to the freedom of expression, access to information and informed accountability. He said the government had unprecedented patience and endurance to the hard hitting criticism by media and independent commentators.He said no journalist was ever victimised on account of criticism in last five years of democratic dispensation. Kaira said the PPP leadership had taught the lesson of democratic patience and democratic dissent.He said today Pakistan is graduating into one of the most dynamic democracies of the world.He said he attributed the credit for the emerging democratic and political maturity to all political and democratic forces of the country.

Why Pakistanis Want To Leave Pakistan
Last year India suffered 1,171 deaths from terrorism (including leftist rebels), while there were 6,211 killed in Pakistan under similar conditions. Thus Pakistan suffered over five times as many deaths from terrorists and rebels as India (with six times the population.) In other words, adjusting for population, Pakistan is 30 times more violent than India, at least when it comes to terrorist and rebel caused deaths. In the last five years, Pakistan has suffered 38,000 terrorist related deaths, mostly in their northwest tribal territories. Relations between Pakistan and India continue to be frosty because Pakistan will not seriously go after Pakistan-based terror groups that have been making attacks inside India. Pakistan is has got itself into an absurd situation where it is providing aid and sanctuary to Islamic terrorists who often decide to make war on Pakistan. All this Islamic violence (against non-Moslems or other Islamic sects) has made life unbearable in many parts of Pakistan. Add to that the religious based terrorism built into the legal system and the rampant corruption, often by Islamic clerics making life miserable for you in other ways, it’s no wonder so many Pakistanis want to move elsewhere. The patterns of violence are different in India and Pakistan. The political and religious violence in India consists of three different problems areas; Pakistani Islamic terrorists in the northwest, tribal separatists in the northeast and communist (Maoist) rebels in the east. There are also smaller numbers of Indian and Pakistani Islamic terrorists all over the country. The three rebellions account for over 90 percent of the terrorist deaths each year. Because of a major government offensive against the Maoists, deaths from the battered leftists were down last year. Less terrorist infiltration from Pakistan has lowered deaths in the northwest (Kashmir). There has been sharp drop in deaths in the tribal territories of the northeast. The government has negotiated peace deals, or suppressed by force, many of the tribal uprisings in that region. Pakistan is a much more violent place,. That said, the violence is down from last year, mainly because of the unofficial truce between the army and the Taliban and other Islamic terror groups. It's the truce none dare speak of, on the record at least, especially if you're a Pakistani government official. This refusal by Pakistan to defeat their own Taliban groups makes it impossible to shut down the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan. In Pakistan, a lot of the deaths from organized terrorism are not caused by bombs, but bullets. Assassination via pistols or assault rifles is increasingly common. In Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, over 500 people will die each from political assassins alone. Karachi contains about 11 percent of the national population. Nationwide, more people are killed by small arms (mainly pistols) than bombs. But the suicide bombings are much more newsworthy, even though they kill fewer people than the assassinations (which are targeting, usually, political rivals.) But the political differences are often based on ethnic and religious ones. The million or so Pushtuns who have flocked to Karachi in the past decades, support parties, and criminal gangs, that kill leaders of opposing parties (who retaliate, and so on.) As the Pushtun tribal territories have become less violent, more are dying from terrorism in Karachi and Baluchistan (where a lot of the “terrorism” is at the hands of police and soldiers kidnapping and killing suspected terrorists.)