Sunday, January 6, 2008

Pakistan - world's most dangerous place'

4 Jan 2008, 2058 hrs IST

LONDON: Using a dramatic illustration of a hand grenade in the colours of Pakistan's national flag, the world's arguably most authoritative journal has anointed Pakistan "the world's most dangerous place".

The Economist newspaper, staid and doughty campaigner for free trade, free speech, in fact freedoms of every sort – within parameters - has succinctly declared that "for some time Pakistan has been the main contender for the title of most dangerous country on earth. Since the murder of Benazir Bhutto on December 27th its claim has been strengthened."

The Economist's depiction of Pakistan as a dark and frightening country, possibly the most dangerous on earth, has got the chatterati going in many Western capitals. In London, which twins with Washington in the possibly delusional line that gives former General President Pervez Musharraf license to rule, the characterisation is seen as a huge blow to Western attempts to gloss over Pakistan's obvious lack of democracy.

The Economist , which quaintly styles itself a newspaper in the way it was more than 150 years ago, offers many reasons that Pakistan may now "seem a frightening place". It points out, in its newest issue, that Bhutto's December 27 assassination frighteningly illustrated that "terrorists could strike in Rawalpindi, headquarters of the Pakistani army, despite having advertised threats against Miss Bhutto, and despite the slaughter of some 150 people in Karachi on the day she returned from exile last October, (which) suggests no one is safe".


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