Asia Report N°24918 Sep 2013 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS Because of repeated direct or indirect authoritarian interventions during Pakistan’s history, its parliaments have either been absent, short-lived or rubber stamps for the military’s policies, their proceedings hollowed out and meaningless. Even under civilian rule, an overactive judiciary has repeatedly encroached on parliamentary prerogatives, while the executive branch has dominated the governance agenda; legislative advice and consent has been more a matter of form than substance. Five and a half years after the democratic transition began in February 2008, the legislature is still developing its institutional identity. The thirteenth National Assembly (2008-2013), led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), was far more assertive. Some of the most prominent committees exercised their authority to oversee the executive and to engage the public. But the political system will remain unstable so long as the legacy of military rule is kept alive. The current legislature must resume the unfinished work of democratic reform if it is to fully restore parliamentary sovereignty and stabilise a volatile polity.
Hawkish assumptions embedded in newspaper coverage — and one article that shined above the rest. Conor Friedersdorf Reuters Syria coverage in America’s newspapers is the latest example of purportedly neutral, “objective” press coverage that’s bursting with contestable assumptions, often without the reporters and editors involved quite realizing their biases. The core news: President Obama asked Congress to vote on intervening in Syria. The way it’s being framed in accounts billed as straight news?