Before leaving on a two-week trip to Pakistan, many friends and family asked NewsHour’s Daniel Sagalyn the same question: Is Pakistan a safe place for Americans to visit?

View his photo essay here.


Photos above by Daniel Sagalyn

Before His Death, Dawn Editor Razvi ‘Wouldn’t Leave Pakistan for the Moon’
"I have lived in several countries and felt at home; ditto for my wife," Murtaza Razvi wrote in an email to the NewsHour just two days before his brutal death. “But we’re raising our three daughters in Pakistan because if people like us left, we felt we’d be abandoning this country to the forces of darkness.
"We wouldn’t leave Pakistan for the moon, just yet. We holiday abroad to show the girls what the ‘normal’ world is like, and that we too should be like them. Of course, the girls will make their own choices when they grow up."
On Thursday, Razvi, the editor of the magazine section of Dawn Media Group in Karachi, was found in an office apartment building, apparently strangled to death. His death — though not connected at this point to his journalism — still serves as a reminder of the perils journalists face in the bustling port city of Karachi and elsewhere in Pakistan.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, which tracks journalism deaths around the world, ranked Pakistan as having the highest number in 2011 at seven. In 2012, it had eight. Journalists’ deaths where the motivation is connected to their work have been on the rise since 1992, the group has reported.
(Photo by Ann Hartman/East-West Center)

Before His Death, Dawn Editor Razvi ‘Wouldn’t Leave Pakistan for the Moon’

"I have lived in several countries and felt at home; ditto for my wife," Murtaza Razvi wrote in an email to the NewsHour just two days before his brutal death. “But we’re raising our three daughters in Pakistan because if people like us left, we felt we’d be abandoning this country to the forces of darkness.

"We wouldn’t leave Pakistan for the moon, just yet. We holiday abroad to show the girls what the ‘normal’ world is like, and that we too should be like them. Of course, the girls will make their own choices when they grow up."

On Thursday, Razvi, the editor of the magazine section of Dawn Media Group in Karachi, was found in an office apartment building, apparently strangled to death. His death — though not connected at this point to his journalism — still serves as a reminder of the perils journalists face in the bustling port city of Karachi and elsewhere in Pakistan.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, which tracks journalism deaths around the world, ranked Pakistan as having the highest number in 2011 at seven. In 2012, it had eight. Journalists’ deaths where the motivation is connected to their work have been on the rise since 1992, the group has reported.

(Photo by Ann Hartman/East-West Center)

Pakistan: Land of Contrasts

Despite switching only years ago from military to civilian rule, and a continuing struggle to provide basic public services and control pockets of battling militants, the social fabric of Pakistan remains strong. But looming strikes and rolling blackouts still reflect the country’s contrasts within daily life. 

Take for example the bridge in Karachi called “Native Jetty,” where people go to jump to their deaths. Others frequent the same spot to toss dough balls into the water for luck. Even trucks and buses are brightly painted against neutral-toned concrete buildings. A few days after five members of Pakistan’s dominant political party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, were shot and killed, life in Karachi returns to normal. At the Sunday Bazaar, shoppers can find anything from fruits and vegetables to the latest Twilight vampire series. 

This juxtaposition of hope and despair is just one of the contrasts in Karachi — and in Pakistan as a whole.

Slideshow and more

(Photos by Larisa Epatko)

Pakistan’s Plan for Internet Firewall Draws Concerns
"We think it’s political dissent that they’re targeting. But it’s really just blanket surveillance," said Sana Saleem, CEO of Bolo Bhi ("Speak Up"), a group that focuses on digital freedom.

Pakistan’s Plan for Internet Firewall Draws Concerns

"We think it’s political dissent that they’re targeting. But it’s really just blanket surveillance," said Sana Saleem, CEO of Bolo Bhi ("Speak Up"), a group that focuses on digital freedom.

Middle-class youth in Pakistan are smitten with Imran Khan, a former cricket player-turned politician and anti-corruption champion. Despite his popularity, however, many are skeptical he can actually win. 

Middle-class youth in Pakistan are smitten with Imran Khan, a former cricket player-turned politician and anti-corruption champion. Despite his popularity, however, many are skeptical he can actually win. 

Al-Qaida Names al-Zawahri as bin Laden Successor, Political Uncertainty in Greece

A month and a half after the death of Osama bin Laden in a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a statement attributed to al-Qaida said his deputy, Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahri, 59, has succeeded him as head of the organization. The group’s statement, which was posted on an Islamist website, said al-Zawahri would lead the fight against the U.S. and Israel.

(AFP/Getty Images)

Al-Zawahri said in a video euology earlier this month that “[t]he sheikh has departed, may God have mercy on him, to his God as a martyr and we must continue on his path of jihad to expel the invaders from the land of Muslims and to purify it from injustice.”

The BBC analyzes the succession:

The BBC’s Middle East correspondent, Jon Leyne, says priorities for al-Qaeda’s new leader may include attempting to to mount a big attack to show the organisation is still in business.

In addition, he says, Zawahiri will want to turn the wave of unrest in the Middle East to al-Qaeda’s advantage - perhaps building more of a power base in Yemen and working to intensify the instability there.

You can read a series of statements his statements, dating back to 1998, here.

Al-Zawahri, who was formally trained as an eye surgeon, was seen by many as the automatic successor to bin Laden. Analysts say he is effective as an organizer but is less charismatic than bin Laden.

Large Protests in Greece Fuel Political Uncertainty

After riots broke out in Athens, with protesters decrying austerity measures being considered by members of parliament, Prime Minister George Papandreou is looking to reshuffle his cabinet and shore up his Socialist Party, which has seen growing division over the issue in recent days.

Papandreou was expected to call an emergency session on Thursday.

The austerity measures being considered would need to be in place by the end of June in order for Greece to receive an aid package to address the country’s steep debt from the International Monetary Fund and European Union. The measures have been controversial within the government and have spurred the demonstrations, which police used tear gas to contain on Wednesday.

Reports: Town on Pakistan Border Stormed by Militants

Pakistani officials say an estimated 200 heavily armed militants crossed the border from Afghanistan and raided the town of Mamoond, injuring local residents. The attack comes weeks after a similar raid in the Upper Dir region of Pakistan, which killed 25 Pakistani troops.

The border area is a sore point for both countries, as well as NATO forces in the area, and Pakistan’s northwest tribal areas pose a difficulty for rooting out insurgents.

Blast Targets Police Headquarters in Nigeria

An explosion at the police headquarters in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, created a thick plume of black smoke and destroyed nearby parked cars, according to witnesses. A police spokesman said two people were killed in the attack.

The body of a suicide bomber is also said to have been recovered. Though there have been several recent bombings, the use of suicide bombers remains relatively rare.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but a militant Islamist organization known as Boko Haram has launched several recent attacks on government and police facilities.

Violence in Vancouver After Stanley Cup Loss

Fans took to the streets of Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday night, rioting and looting following the Canucks’ 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in the Stanely Cup finals. Vehicles — including several police cars — were set on fire and shop windows smashed in as disappointed and drunken fans gathered in Vancouver’s streets. There were no reports of serious injuries.

Vancouver’s mayor, Gregor Robertson, said “Vancouver is a world-class city and it is embarrassing and shameful to see the type of violence and disorder we’ve seen tonight.”

Video from the scene shows cars being destroyed in the street and rioters being arrested.

(Source: newshour.pbs.org)

Unemployment Rises to 9.1%, 54,000 Jobs Added in May

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Employers added only 54,000 jobs in May, according just-released numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and unemployment rose to 9.1 percent. The jobs numbers are the worst in eight months and contrasted with an average rate of 220,000 new jobs over the past few months.

Local governments, which have been especially hard hit by the economic downtown, continued to shed jobs, and private employers slowed their hiring from the pace of spring. High gas prices, a crippled housing market, natural disasters (both in the United States and Japan) and hits to manufacturing were all cited for the weak hiring.

The numbers demonstrate the slow pace of recovery from a financial crisis and recession, and there may be little imminent relief, according to the Wall Street Journal:

After all the money spent fighting the financial crisis, the government has few tools left to stimulate the economy. The Federal Reserve, which sees unemployment around 7.8% at the end of 2012, is expected to keep interest rates close to zero this year to lift the economy. But the central bank is unlikely to expand its balance sheet further as concerns of stoking inflation outweigh the potential benefits for stocks.

Pakistani Troops Fight Militants Near Afghan Border

Pakistan’s military is battling an influx of insurgents near the Afghan border after several days of fighting left an estimated 63 dead, including 25 soldiers, 35 militants and several civilians. An estimated 400 militants crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, targeting military assets and schools in villages in the Upper Dir region.

Pakistan’s government called for “stern action by the Afghan army, U.S. and NATO/ISAF forces in the area against militants and their hideouts in Afghanistan and against organizational support for the militants.” Afghanistan and Pakistan share a 1,600-mile border, much of it remote terrain and difficult to seal.


Mass Funeral Held in Yemen for Victims of Latest Violence

Thousands of Yemeni protesters perform the weekly Friday prayer outdoors as part of their protest movement against the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh on June 3, 2011 in the city of Ibb, 190 kms southwest of Sanaa, as loyalist troops and dissident tribesmen clashed in the capital. (AFP/Getty Images)

Amid rising tensions between the government, tribal leaders and protesters in Yemen, ten of thousands gathered Friday in Sanaa for a mass funeral to commemorate 50 people killed in the latest round of fighting. Both the capital and Taiz in the south have been targets of a stepped-up government crackdown. As fears of civil war grow, opponents are calling on President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for more than three decades, to step down.

Reports Friday also said that shells might have hit Saleh’s compound and that he may be slightly wounded, according to an official quoted by the Associated Press.

16 Reported Dead in Iraq Mosque Attack


Iraqi officials said at least 16 people were killed and dozens wounded in an attack on a mosque in Tikrit, which is 80 miles from Baghdad, including members of the police force and a member of the provincial council. The bomb struck worshippers at a Sunni mosque who were attending Friday prayers. No group has yet claimed responsibility. It is also not clear if the explosion was the work of a suicide bomber or if there was a bomb planted in the building itself.

The attack came one day after another bomb killed six people in Ramadi.

North Korea Vows ‘Retaliatory Military Actions’ Against South Korea

North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric in response to reports that members of the South Korean military used photos of Kim Jong Il and his son, Kim Jong Un, for target practice. North Korea said South Korean troops had “staged such rowdyism as setting up a target and daring fire at it, a thrice-cursed criminal act.”

North Korea also rejected recent discussion of talks, attacking South Korean President Lee Myung bak, whom they have called “human scum.” President Lee has taken a tougher approach to dealing with North Korea than recent presidents, who have been more leery of confronting the regime.

Tensions have been especially high on the Korean Peninsula following the shelling of Yeonpyeong island in November, an attack that angered South Koreans and escalated military preparations.

Headlines: 41 Killed in Yemen Clashes, Space Shuttle Endeavour Lands

By News Desk

At least 41 people were killed early Wednesday in Yemen’s capital Sanaa in the latest round of clashes between the government forces of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and tribal fighters.

According to the Associated Press, street fighting broke out overnight:

Fighting raged until 5 a.m., and witnesses said Presidential Guard units shelled the headquarters of an army brigade responsible for guarding sensitive government institutions. Army officers who have defected to the opposition say the government suspected the brigade commander was about to join forces with the movement to oust Saleh.

In recent days, supporters of Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, a powerful tribal leader who has sided with protesters against Saleh, have clashed with army units. In retaliation, President Saleh has blocked electricity and water supplies in the neighborhood where al-Ahmar resides.

On Tuesday’s NewsHour, Margaret Warner spoke to Barbara Bodine, former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, and Benard Haykel of Princeton University, about the breakdown of the cease-fire and what’s next for Saleh.

Space Shuttle Endeavour Completes Final Mission

Space Shuttle Endeavour made its final landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a two-week mission to the International Space Station. NASA plans to phase out its space shuttle program this summer, sending Atlantis on its final mission in July.

"It’s sad to see her land for the last time, but she really has a great legacy," said Commander Mark Kelly, whose wife, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is still recovering from being shot in January but was allowed by doctors to travel to Florida to attend the launch.

The NewsHour put your questions before the Endeavour’s crew in a live interview from the International Space Station.

Read More

Steve Coll- president of the New America Foundation and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is author of “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001” and “The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century.”

Coll is scheduled to appear on Monday’s NewsHour broadcast

From his piece in the New Yorker today

"…The initial circumstantial evidence suggests the opposite is more likely-that bin Laden was effectively being housed under Pakistani state control. Pakistan will deny this, it seems safe to predict, and perhaps no convincing evidence will ever surface to prove the case…"

(Submitted by Hari Sreenivasan)

Christian Science Monitor article providing interesting details on Abbottabad, Pakistan.

(shared by NewsHour librarian Sandi Fox)