Terrorism, floods and a dwindling economy haunted Pakistan during 2010 and they are likely to mar the progress of the country in 2011 as well.
The country-wide floods inundated one-fifth of the country and left millions displaced
2010, in many ways, has been the worst year for the people of Pakistan in a long time. An increased number of suicide attacks, devastating country-wide floods, a severe energy crisis, and an all-time high inflation, economic mismanagement and unemployment have shattered the lives of ordinary citizens.
The bloodiest year since 2001
Pakistan remained in the grip of terror throughout 2010
Terrorism continued to plague the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 2010. The year ended with one of the worst suicide attacks in the Bajaur agency, one of the restive Federally Administered Tribal Areas or FATA bordering Afghanistan. A burqa-clad woman blew herself up at the World Food Program's aid distribution center on Christmas Day, killing nearly 50 people and wounding at least 100.
2010 was the bloodiest year in Pakistan since 9/11. Nearly 1,300 people were killed and more than 2,500 injured in 52 suicide attacks since January.
With renewed suspicions about Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts and the reports about possible US ground attacks inside Pakistan, some analysts are of the opinion that things might get worse in Pakistan in 2011.
However, M. Ziauddin, editor of Pakistan's English daily 'Express Tribune', thinks otherwise. "Perhaps things will continue as they are now. Most of the attacks now are confined to the FATA. The attacks in the urban areas have gone down in the last two or three months," Ziauddin told Deutsche Welle in an interview.
Pakistani flood survivors jostle for a sack of flour distributed by volunteers
In July 2010, the unprecedented country-wide floods inundated one-fifth of the country and left millions displaced. It was a severe blow to a country whose economy relies on agricultural goods. According to estimates, Pakistan lost around 4 billion USD in structural damages, and approximately 500 million USD in wheat crop damages.
Many economic experts are of the opinion that the effects of the floods on Pakistan's economy are so great that they will harm the progress of the country for years to come. This might in turn lead to an increase in terrorist activities, many fear. But M. Ziauddin does not think the idea carries weight.
"Yes, the economy is in very bad shape, and I don't see any improvement in the immediate future. As far as the militancy and floods are concerned, I don't see a connection between the two," said M. Ziauddin.
Continued political uncertainty
WikiLeaks: Pakistan's army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani calls the shots
After more than two years in power, the civilian government still does not seem to be in control of things. The corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and some cabinet members were a hot topic in the Pakistani media throughout the year. The tense relations between the executive and the judiciary continued to affect the political environment of the country.
Veteran journalist M. Ziauddin, however, thinks that despite problems the two institutions have found balance. "I don't see a major clash between the judiciary and the government any more. As far as any political threat to the government is concerned, almost all political parties which contested the last elections are somehow stakeholders in the present set-up. So, I don't see any challenge to the government until the next elections."
On the other hand, the Pakistani army's continued role in politics was highlighted by the recent WikiLeaks revelations. The US diplomatic cables showed Pakistan's army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani at one point mulling over deposing Zardari and replacing him with a more 'military-friendly' president.
Author: Shamil Shams
Editor: Thomas Baerthlein