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December 2007





Editors' Notes

Pakistan Blog



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Bhutto's Assassination: Letter from Lahore

Pakistan: The New Taliban

Pakistan: The "Other" Bhutto

Favorites for 2007

Russia: A Winter of Discontent



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Bhutto's Assassination: Letter from Lahore

Editor's Note: Given the chaos following the murder of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan this week, we have received a number of messages from the country about the situation there. U.C. Berkeley journalism student, Manal Ahmad, who is in Pakistan for a family wedding, sent us this email from Lahore.

Dear all,

Thank you for your emails... I am OK and so is my family. It's Friday morning and the whole city is pretty much shut down; people aren't going to work; all the markets are closed; even the gas stations. The streets are deserted save for police vans, and Lahore looks like a ghost town. Buses aren't running, neither are domestic flights and trains. Last night all mobile phone networks (except one) were down, but those are working now and so is cable TV and the Internet (sporadically), so we can at least watch the news (most news channels were restored after the emergency blackout some weeks ago). I am dying to go out in the streets with a camera and talk to people, but my parents have me besieged in the house so far because it's not safe.

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Pakistan: The New Taliban

Editor's Note: As campaigning continues for Pakistan's pivotal January 8 parliamentary elections, FRONTLINE/World reporter Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy files the third in a series of dispatches -- this one focusing on the rise of fundamentalist political forces challenging President Musharraf's government.

On the streets of Karachi, the religious political parties are campaigning hard for the January elections. Their army of madrassa (Islamic school) students are wall chalking, hanging banners, handing out leaflets and encouraging people to bring the Islamists to power.

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Pakistan: The "Other" Bhutto

Editor's Note: Despite all the talk of boycotting the January 8 parliamentary elections in Pakistan, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has returned to the campaign trail. So has President Musharraf's other main rival, Nawaz Sharif.

In her latest dispatch, FRONTLINE/World correspondent Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy visits the Bhutto ancestral home in the province of Sindh to interview former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's niece, Fatima, who has become a thorn in her aunt's side. Educated in the U.S. and fast becoming a prominent figure in her own right, the 25-year-old could turn out to be a serious political challenger to Benazir in the coming years. And there's no love lost between the two women. Fatima blames her aunt for the 1996 murder of her father, Benazir's brother, and calls her "one of the most corrupt leaders the world has ever seen." Watch excerpts from the interview and read more about Fatima below.

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Favorites for 2007

FRONTLINE/World logo

Thanks to all for participating!

And the official winners of our "unofficial" poll are:

1.Best FRONTLINE/World on TV in 2007: "Hero Rats" and "Extraordinary Rendition"

Runners-up: "Afghanistan: The Other War" and "News War: War of Ideas"

2. Best FRONTLINE/World online in 2007: "Nepal: A Girl's Life" and "Ghana: Baseball Dreams"

Runner-up: "Dubai: Night Secrets"

3. FRONTLINE/World all-time favorite: "Uganda: A Little Goes a Long Way" (KIVA)

Runners-up: "The Women's Kingdom" and "Saddam's Road to Hell"

4. Books: "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert; "What Is the What" by Dave Eggers; "The Lay of the Land" by Richard Ford.

5. Movies: "The Lives of Others"

6. Music: Amy Winehouse, "Rehab"

7. TV: "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report"

Our "Unofficial" Holiday Poll

It has been a memorable year for FRONTLINE/World. We broadcast our 25th episode in April, we won our first two Emmys in September, and we registered our highest Web traffic ever in October and November, thanks to our "Extraordinary Rendition" report and our stories from Dubai, Burma and Pakistan.

But before we officially declare, "It's a wrap" for 2007, we'd like to hear from you about which of our "stories from a small planet" mattered most to you this year. And we're also curious about what books you've been reading and would like to share, what music you're listening to, what (if anything) you like on TV, and what movies you'd recommend.

So, welcome to our first year-end holiday poll.

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Russia: A Winter of Discontent

police arrest protesters
Watch Video

Length: 4:37

Watch footage of the police crackdown on a pro-democracy march in
St. Petersburg.

Editor's Note: FRONTLINE/World producer and reporter Victoria Gamburg ("Moscow's Sex and the City") is covering the elections in Russia. Her story will appear in our television broadcast on February 26, 2008, just before the March presidential vote. This is the second dispatch she has filed from the campaign front.

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Pakistan: "The Liberal Dictator"

Watch Video

Length: 3:19

From left, Afia Zia and Nazish Brohi, founding members of the "People's Resistance" group at their weekly candlelight vigil outside the Karachi Press Club.

Editor's Note: When President Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule in early November, fired his entire Supreme Court and arrested hundreds of judges and lawyers, mass protests followed, and the country was thrown into political turmoil. To take the current mood of the country, we asked our long-time correspondent in Pakistan, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, to write a series of diary dispatches in the run up to the elections Musharraf says will take place on January 8. In her first diary entry, Obaid-Chinoy reports from Karachi, where, she says, the city is alive with political activity for the first time in 20 years.

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