The US “war on terror” strategy has come so badly unstuck in Pakistan since president Pervez Musharraf was humiliated in February’s election that leading politicians are being forced to push a new conciliatory tone.
Under Musharraf, Pakistan – which shares a long border with Afghanistan – played a key role in supporting the US and British occupation.
Anger at the way the war has “spilled over” into Pakistan was a major factor in the heavy defeat of Musharraf’s Muslim League party in the election.
The US Congress is set to discuss a tripling of the current aid budget to Pakistan in an effort to keep the country on board.
In January senior US officials struck an agreement with Musharraf to give the US military the right to launch missile attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas from unmanned Reaper aircraft.
The subsequent increase in air strikes caused outrage.
Officials say they have now been given assurances that there will be “close consultation” with the new government – not with Musharraf – before any future attacks.
Riaz Ahmed, whose beating at the hands of security police was reported in Socialist Worker earlier this month, has won his bail hearing.
This means he is not under the immediate threat of detention.
Many thanks to all those who sent him messages of support.