Bloggers on Nawaz Sharif's short trip to Pakistan

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Sept. 10 2007 6:55 PM

Sharif Don't Like It

Bloggers dissect a former Pakistani prime minister's much-anticipated arrival in, and brisk deportation from, the Islamabad airport. They garland late author Madeleine L'Engle, and boo Britney Spears' toxic performance at the Video Music Awards.

Sharif Don't Like It: Nawaz Sharif, who served two terms as Pakistan's prime minister before being ousted by Pervez Musharraf, briefly touched down in the Rawalpindi airport Monday, only to be charged with money laundering and sent back to Saudi Arabia, where he has lived in exile for part of the last seven years. According to the Economist, "It was unclear whether Mr Sharif had even, officially, entered Pakistan, despite a recent ruling by the country's Supreme Court that he had an 'inalienable right' to do so."

Pakistani bloggers have a wide range of reactions. On Breaking News Online, MisterDoc, an undergraduate in Karachi, comments, "Mohattaram(Respected)Nawaz Shariff was already ordered by Supreme court of Pakistan, to come and face his case, and Nawaz arrested him b4 16 Billion Citizens of PK,and Nawaz was Right that Mush totally Violates any Rule of Law IN PK." Commenting on All Things Pakistani, Deewana Aik points out that this may be a case of just deserts: "A person has been kidnapped and taken hostage with the approval of two Governments; Pakistan and Saudi Arabia… against Pakistani constitution and any International law. However it reminds me of times when Nawaz Sharif used to take MNAs/MPAs hostage and take them to Changa Manga, Muree etc." On the same blog, commentator Aamir Ali defends Musharraf by holding Sharif to his word: "Nawaz Sharif signed a written agreement to get out of jail and stay in exile for 10 years. Nawaz Sharif should either fulfill that agreement or be forced to fulfill it." The Pakistani Spectator's Ghazala Khan speculates, "The rationale of today's drama was that Nawaz Sharif hadnt got the 'Asheerbad' [blessing] of Washington, and US wants a Musharraf-Benazir setup in Pakistan and that is why Uncle Tom directed the whole affair."

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Back in the United States, at new blog A Journal of Politics, Brian Knox has a different take: "Disobeying an order from its own Supreme Court says to me that Musharraf is afraid of losing his power over the country. This country seems more of a dictatorship then a democracy. This reminds me of Saddam a little bit, but they actually have nuclear weapons! Let Sharif in!" For those unfamiliar with the Pakistani Supreme Court, Densaer's TWeeD provides some historical context: "A Pakistani judiciary finding its own identity (the Judicial branch in Pakistan has generally been sympathetic to whomever was in power, and not really independent) recently overturned that legal ruling, and set the stage for this morning's circus in Islamabad."

Captain's Quarters' conservative Ed Morrissey suggests that the deportation will inflame sentiments against Musharraf and empower opponents like Sharif and Benazir Bhutto.  But mahesh_tee, an Indian expat in Singapore, who sees Sharif as a friend of India's, believes that the deportation will hurt Bhutto and can turn out A-OK for Sharif. If Musharraf is deposed, "then the credit of it all most likely will go to Sharif.....the biggest loser in this has in my opinion been Benazir Bhutto."

Read more about Sharif's deportation. Read a profile of reinstated Supreme Court judge Iftikhar Chaudhry.

A Ring of Brightest Angels: Fans pay homage to prolific author Madeleine L'Engle, best known for her children's book A Wrinkle in Time, who passed away Thursday at age 88.

Personal reminiscences abound. On the National Review'sCorner, John Podhoretz recalls, "I wrote her the first fan letter of my life and, heart pounding, rode the elevator to 9 and slipped it under her door. Within hours a package was left at our door with an inscribed copy of its recently published sequel, A Wind at the Door, a box of baked chocolate chip cookies, and a response that was so appreciative I could hardly believe it, it was so gracious and thoughtful."

Writer Chris Allen notes his appreciation for Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. "I return to it often, and it reminds me that playing make believe has the power to bring me, like a little child, closer to the Kingdom of God." Gena Anderson writes about L'Engle's ability to get children thinking about both religion and science: "Her families were warm, and they had discussions about physics and God in the same breath, a fact that I was immensely jealous of."

Read more about Madeleine L'Engle. For those who have read only L'Engle's children's books, librarian Darla D recommends some of her writing for adults.

Toxic: Bloggers are struggling to come up with a diss worthy of Britney Spears' performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in Vegas last night.

On the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Big Blog, Dorothy Parvaz tut-tuts: "Never mind that the song itself sounded like a (bad) 90s club anthem. The poor thing wobbled through her moves while looking sad and a bit confused in her chosen 'outfit' -- a glittery bra and panty set. The over all effect was that of an out-of-shape hooker with an inner ear infection." WritesAnn Althouse: "The worst thing seems to be that Britney's own people sent her out there in a bra-and-panties outfit that is begging the entire world to call her fat -- when she could so easily have been encased in dark spandex that would make you look mean-spirited for talking about her weight."

TMZ.com puts it succinctly, while gossip maven Perez Hilton puts to rest any excuses that Spears might offer up: "One of the most falsely reported accusations is that Britney overheard that comedian Sarah Silverman was going to make fun of her two kids - calling them 'beautiful mistakes' - which apparently enraged her. Spin! Spin! Spin! Bullshit!"

But Brian Krasman is blasé about the schadenfreude: "This girl's life has been a self-induced plane wreck all year long, and we expected her to clean shit up for one night? People are shocked she can't lip synch worth a damn and has a gut. Uh, the papers report every thing she does, and it all pointed to what happened last night. So can we stop being so shocked at the totally expected?"

Gimme more about Britney.

Bidisha Banerjee is the San Francisco-based co-author of a forthcoming Yale Climate and Energy Institute/Centre for International Governance Innovation report on scenario planning for solar radiation management. She is collaborating on a geoengineering game and has written about geoengineering governance for Slate and the Stanford Journal of Law, Science, and Policy.

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