Fragile and unsafe

pakistan41.jpgNews of the Year: “Pakistan may be one of the single most challenging places on the planet” | The Editors
Associated Press/Photo by Emilio Morenatti
The new year began with distraught Pakistanis rampaging through key cities in the week following the assassination and burial of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The rioters ransacked banks, waged shootouts with police, and burned trains and stations in an outpouring of anger and violence. Parliamentary elections set for Jan. 9 were called off by President Pervez Musharraf, who had declared a state of emergency a month earlier to battle terrorism and extremism. But Musharraf himself became the target of wrath: By August the army general, who took charge of Pakistan in a 1999 coup, announced his resignation.

A week later the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff convened a secret meeting of senior U.S. and Pakistani commanders aboard an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean to discuss how to combat growing violence along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.