While at NUCHR I fully intended to blog each night about what had happened/what I had learned/who I had met/etc. each day, but after going for 13 hours a day and being loaded with so much information I thought my head was going to explode…I didn’t have it in me. I still need to sift through my notes and try to wrap my head around everything I learned and see if I can make any sense of this complicated thing called peacekeeping.
So writing those blog entries has been too daunting and time-consuming to do this week. There is something I do have a quick second to blog about though.
The protests in Pakistan lead by Tahir ul Qadri against government corruption were settled on Thursday after several hours of negotiation. Here is what the AfPak Channel has to say:
The four-day sit-in staged by the Pakistani-Canadian cleric Tahir-ul Qadri and thousands of supporters ended on Thursday after negotiations between Qadri and senior government officials resulted in a signed agreement called the Long March Declaration (Guardian, AFP, Post, AJE, BBC, LAT, Reuters, NYT). The agreement reportedly satisfies none of the cleric’s demands for the dissolution of parliament, the resignation of the government, and allowing the judiciary and military to play a part in choosing the caretaker government that will be installed for up to three months between the time the current government’s term expires and the elections. The agreement did promise Qadri’s political party a say in choosing the caretaker government, though.
Some consider this a symbolic victory, while others are writing it off as an empty concession that was used to get Qadri out of Islamabad and will not change anything. While I’m still unsure about this guy and it doesn’t seem as though he has accomplished that much, two things about this story are very promising: 1) the protests shut down Islamabad for four days and 2) the protests ended peacefully. Change may be slow, but small sparks have a way of starting fires.
Check out this Foreign Policy slideshow of the protest. And as always, here are the links to the stories.