Tag Archives: Huma Yusuf

Capacity Building in Pakistan’s Media

Pakistan mediaMonday’s presentation by Dawn reporter and Woodrow Wilson Institute Scholar Huma Yusuf examined the state of Pakistan’s media and offered excellent insights into the at-times-controversial institution and provided suggestions for addressing issues confronting Pakistani journalists and media consumers.

Beginning the event, “Who Watches the Watchdog? The Pakistani Media’s Impact on Politics and Society,” Huma recounted a story from July 2007. It was during this month that a standoff between religious militants and government security forces occured at the Lal Masjid in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.

As militants were holed up in the mosque, Pakistani journalist Kamran Khan called and urged the militants to surrender. The cleric leading the group agreed to a surrender if they were assured free passage. Kamran Khan then called the government and, for all intents and purposes, began acting as a negotiator between the two sides. This was a pivotal moment, recounts Ms. Yusuf, when Pakistani media transcended its role as an informational institution and began to leverage its considerable power to shape public opinion to become a political actor.

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Can the US trust Pakistan?

US President Barack Obama with Pakistan's President Asif Zardari

Following the release of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Annual Review last week, and then a New York Times article suggesting ISI involvement in the outing of the CIA station chief in Pakistan, some are wondering if Pakistan is a trustworthy ally in the fight against al Qaeda and other extremist militants. While many evaluate this question based on discreet metrics such as the number of Pakistani military offensives, a better way to find the answer is to ask whether the Pakistanis believe they can trust us.

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