What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dera Ghazi Khan, hunting and world politics

Remember that post here a few days back in which I followed the LWJ in covering how the Pakistani Taliban insurgency is spreading into parts of the Punjab now? There was that suicide bombing in Dera Ghazi Khan (DG Khan), at a Shiite mosque there, for instance.
Here's another mention the (Pakistan-wise important) town recently got in the world press. From your constant source of insider gossip from Islamabad and other nearby and interesting places, Syed Saleem Shahzad. If true, this is one of those little details that reveal a lot.
"Immediately after taking over as president last September, in a very high-handed manner, Pakistan withdrew the hunting privileges of two Saudi princes located in the district of Dera Ghazi Khan in southern Punjab. To add salt to the wound, the facility was given to a rival sheikh from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The action was taken at a time when Pakistan badly needed Saudi oil on deferred terms due to soaring prices, and the UAE was in no position to fill the gap. Islamabad now enjoys very good relations with the UAE - which is unable to help Pakistan - due to the family friendship between the Bhutto family and the UAE's rulers. But Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia and its two major allies - Qatar and Bahrain - are at an all-time low because of the insult to the Saudi royal family. (The issue of Zardari's Shi'ite background is a secondary factor.)"
If you're interested to find out more about Dera Ghazi Khan, here's a profile of the town and the surrounding area's politics (assembled by Dawn). And some analysis from June last year, by Tareq Saeed Birmani. But only in case you're really interested. But of course it's dynamics of regional and world politics that are creating the really big waves from the outsider's point of view.
As to hunting, it's always a big deal which Gulf state's noble elite gets what/how much/how many. The link I'm providing takes you to data from the 2007-08 hunting season, when Abu Dhabi's was apparently the greatest share anyway, in terms of the area covered by their permits (eight districts in three provinces); the UAE received ten permits overall, Dubai five, Abu Dhabi also five. The Saudis received seven permits. The two of these that were given so as to include Dera Ghazi Khan went to "Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz, Rajanpur and Layyah (via Dera Ghazi Khan) districts in Punjab; Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsin, Dera Ghazi Khan."
Of course, the 2008-09 hunting season's list would be the most telling to have here... Wait, I just happen to have it. From Dawn, of course. The UAE got ten permits, Saudi Arabia just two.

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