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About Irfan Husain

Irfan Husain is a columnist with Dawn newspaper in Pakistan.

Articles by Irfan Husain

This week's editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Pervez Musharraf, the commando who couldn’t

The legacy of Pakistan's former general-president is one of political and strategic failure for which his own people are paying the price, says Irfan Husain.

China and the Olympics: a view from Pakistan

A firm Beijing-Islamabad alliance extends from politics to the track, says Irfan Husain.

Pakistan’s rivalrous coalition

The fissures in Pakistan's new government are allowing the country's dangerous problems to fester, says Irfan Husain.

Pakistan’s tough inheritance

A new government in Pakistan must address the difficult political legacy bequeathed by the country’s discredited president. Irfan Husain assesses the challenge.

Pakistan’s judgment day

Pakistan's election was a major defeat for the Islamists, the president's allies, and most of all for Pervez Musharraf himself. But what happens next? Irfan Husain assesses a big moment and the challenges ahead.

Pakistan’s critical moment

Pakistan's election is being fought in the shadow of assassination, insecurity, and economic hardship. Can it - despite everything - offer a path to progress, asks Irfan Husain.

Pakistan: a post-election scenario

The prospects both of electoral advance and internal schism reveal Benazir Bhutto's mixed legacy to her party, says Irfan Husain.

Benazir Bhutto: the politics of murder

The killing of the Pakistan People's Party leader upsets but does not halt the country's political bandwagon, reports Irfan Husain.

Pakistan: the election and after

An accelerating election momentum only highlights Pakistan's unresolved political problems, reports Irfan Husain.

Pakistan: a question of legitimacy

Pervez Musharraf's plan is working but the opposition to his rule will not be subdued, reports Irfan Husain.

Pakistan’s multi-faceted crisis

A combination of political opposition, economic pressure and rising insurgency is draining legitimacy from Pervez Musharraf's leadership, says Irfan Husain.

Pervez Musharraf’s desperate gamble

The Pakistani president's martial-law decree is targeting lawyers, human-rights activists, political opponents and the media. Can it work? Irfan Husain, in Karachi, reports.

Pakistan’s poker-game

The return and expulsion of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif is part of a larger political power-play in which Washington is deeply involved, says Irfan Husain.

Pakistan: the enemy within

The violent aftermath of the Lal Masjid siege in Islamabad is clarifying Pakistan's political battle-lines, says Irfan Husain.

Sir Salman in the sea of blasphemy

Pakistan's politicians are fomenting outrage over the knighthood granted to the novelist Salman Rushdie. How deep does it go? Irfan Husain reports.

Pakistan: sliding into anarchy

The combative Islamist leadership of the Lal Masjid compound in Islamabad have provoked a dispute that highlights the major faultlines of Pakistani politics. These are desperate times for Pervez Musharraf, says Irfan Husain.

Pervez Musharraf's bed of nails

The decision of Pakistan’s president to suspend the country’s supreme justice has precipitated a major constitutional crisis, reports Irfan Husain.

Sri Lanka: giving war a chance

A bloated Colombo government and a resourceful Tamil Tiger movement remain locked in a prison of violence, reports Irfan Husain.

Pakistan: zero-sum games people play

The "hudood" law regulating Pakistanis' private and public morality is a focal-point of the country's great cultural and political divide, reports Irfan Husain.

Pervez Musharraf: in a vice


Pakistan’s president is caught between Washington’s demands and his own people’s anger, says Irfan Husain.

How democracy works in Pakistan

The authorities in Islamabad have many ways to ensure the right result in elections. Irfan Husain tells some tales from the polling booth.

The Baluchi insurrection

The killing of a leading Baluchi nationalist leader in Pakistan's restless western province may backfire on Pervez Musharraf's regime, says Irfan Husain.

Lebanon: the view from Pakistan

The war in Lebanon has forged a new unity between secular and religious political forces in Pakistan against Israel and the United States, reports Irfan Husain.

Hell in Helmand

The British forces sent to fight the Taliban in southern Afghanistan are facing a formidable enemy steeled by history, ideology and poverty, says Irfan Husain.

The state of Pakistan

Pakistan's classification as a "failed state" reflects the collapse of Pervez Musharraf's authority, says Irfan Husain.

Musharraf's own goals

By embittering his foes and alienating potential allies, Pakistan's president is diminishing his room for political manoeuvre, says Irfan Husain.

Kabul vs Islamabad: a war of words

While insurgency rages across their borders, Afghanistan and Pakistan are locked in a series of bitter political disputes. Irfan Husain explains the background of a historic rivalry.
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