Entries in Politics (3)


Former Pakistani Leader Musharraf Begins Political Comeback

Photo by Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage(KARACHI, Pakistan) -- After four years in exile, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf arrived in Karachi on Sunday to mount a political comeback despite persistent death threats from the Taliban.

Musharraf, once the head of the powerful Pakistani military that seized power during a bloodless coup in 1999, only to be sent packing a decade later, will lead his party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, when parliamentary elections take place in May.

Although his bloc can only expect minimal gains, the fact that the 69-year-old Musharraf has defied the Pakistani Taliban to return is remarkable, given the group's purported creation of a death squad to kill him.

His reign was marked by numerous assassination attempts against him. However, Musharraf managed to come out unscathed and remained a close ally of the U.S. in an effort to keep al Qaeda and the Taliban from taking over Pakistan while a war raged next door in Afghanistan.

Things began to unravel quickly for Musharraf following the December 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto with many pointing the finger at the Pakistani president for allegedly organizing the murder.

While denying any involvement in the plot to kill Bhutto, Musharraf nonetheless left Pakistan in 2009 rather than face arrest.  He was able to return Sunday after the government granted him protective bail.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Gingrich to Afghanistan: 'Live Your Own Miserable Life'

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Monday that the unrest the United States was seeing in Afghanistan was just “the tip of the iceberg.”

“We’re not going to fix Afghanistan. It’s not possible. These are people who have spent several thousand years hating foreigners,” Gingrich said. “And what we’ve done by staying is become the new foreigners. And this is a real problem.”

Gingrich said that in his judgment, the problems the U.S. face in the Middle East are too big and complicated for military solutions.

“There’s some problems where what you have to do is say, ‘You know, you’re going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life because I’m not here — you clearly don’t want to hear from me how to be unmiserable,’” Gingrich said.

Gingrich was critical of President Obama last week for apologizing to Afghanistan after the burning of copies of the Koran sparked mass protests. Gingrich said the president should not have apologized since two Americans were killed.

On Monday, Gingrich also took a swipe at Afghan president Hamid Zarzai. “My prediction is, the Karzai government is playing us for fools,” Gingrich said. “So my view is that we need to be, we need to have a president who is prepared to tell the truth about who is trying to kill us.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


China Shuts Down Top Investigative Reporting Team

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- An investigative reporting unit led by one of China's top investigative reporters has been shut down in what a member of the unit told ABC News was a "shocking" move partly caused by government pressure.

Members of the China Economic Times investigative unit were told during a Monday-morning meeting of the Beijing-based newspaper's entire editorial staff that they would reassigned to other jobs as part of a "reshuffling."

Wang Kiqen, leader of the unit, would not comment when contacted, but fellow reporter Liu Jianfeng told ABC News that management said the paper needs to focus more on hard economic news.

"I was shocked," said Liu. Liu said that he thought the team had fallen victim to both internal and external politics. "It was due to a combination of a debate within the newspaper about the proper editorial direction," said Liu, "and pressure from a government agency above them."

A reporter for the paper told the South China Morning Post that the paper's publisher and chairman, Han Lijun, said that the China Economic Times should focus on "positive economic reporting" and limit negative reporting to "commercial injustice and corporate corruption."

The China Economic Times is officially published by a government agency called the State's Council Development Research Center. According to a blog maintained by the University of Hong Kong's journalism faculty, a Chinese political leader visited the newspaper Monday morning to talk to staffers about "political struggle."

A spokeswoman for the China Economic Times told ABC News that the disbanding of the unit was "just a normal reshuffling of editorial departments."

Wang Keqin, 47, is famed for his reports on such subjects as cartels. During a lecture in 2007 at Princeton University, he said he has been repeatedly threatened for his reporting. He was beaten by unknown attackers with an iron rod in May 2007.

Immediately after the Monday meeting at the newspaper, Wang took to Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, to make a cryptic comment about freedom, quoting a passage from German poet Heinrich Heine that is inscribed on a memorial at Dachau, the former Nazi concentration camp.

"At the entrance to German Concentration Camp, encarved a maxim," wrote Wang. "When a government began to burn books without opposition, then it would burn people next."

Journalists decried the disbanding of the unit. Bob Dietz, Asia program coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists, called the "apparent crackdown...a loss for China." Said Dietz, "The shutdown carries the hallmarks of a political measure to curb a leading news outlet's reporting that found disfavor within the government."

But observers did not place all the blame on the government. Zhan Jiang, a journalism professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, wrote that the China Economic Times investigative unit was not targeted by high-level leadership: "It should be understood as the intention of a handful of ignorant and incompetent people at the top of the newspaper." He wrote that there has actually been an "upsurge" in investigative reporting in China.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio