Musharraf’s Revenge

By , 21 November, 2009, 2 Comments

Blogging from Islamabad has been delayed this week because, as perhaps I should have anticipated, I picked up a tummy bug soon after arrival that more or less incapacitated me for 48 hours and derailed my reporting. In my defense, it was in pursuit of a scoop that I allowed myself to persuaded into eating out with a source despite knowing that it’s best to stick to home-cooked meals here. [Then again, I ate at this lovely cafe today and seem to be doing just fine.] Ever the wit, my mother has diagnosed the whole business Musharraf’s Revenge.

One upside to the whole thing: I spoke to two doctors here, one with the government who happily proscribed a number of fancy Western antibiotics and one in private practice who proscribed a strict diet of green tea. There’s a nugget of cultural learning in there somewhere, I think.

In any case, the first week has been mostly devoted to getting the lay of the land and boning up on current policy debates. The major kerfuffle at the moment seems to be an internecine media squabble over a controversial piece in a right-leaning newspaper. Here’s my take, cross-posted from the Pulitzer Center’s Untold Stories:

…a story in the Nation suggesting that Wall Street Journal South Asia correspondent Matthew Rosenberg is a spy for both the CIA and Mossad.

The story has unleashed a firestorm and a petition signed by a host of international media outlets condemning the piece, and resulted in Dr. Mazari appearing for an interview on the leading liberal TV station, Dawn News, where Mazari repeatedly pointed out that Rosenberg is Delhi-based (though did not elaborate on the significance of that detail) and where she also pointed out the international press has not rallied to the cause of Pakistani journalists who have been threatened. Since then, most of the local Urdu-language press has rallied behind the Nation and Mazari has continued to publish along these lines. It doesn’t look like this issue is going anywhere anytime soon.

Factual concerns and journalistic implications aside, what is important for American Pakistan-watchers to note is the currency that the argument about an Indian-Israeli-American conspiracy has among locals.

Read the whole post, and watch the interview here.

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