Pakistan in Crisis
Pakistan is battling a rising tide of Islamic extremism. The militant violence has now reached far beyond the lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan and is penetrating the country’s main cities, threatening the very fabric of Pakistani society.
In this edition of Assignment, Jill McGivering, a former BBC South Asia correspondent, travels across the country, charting the corrosive effect of the violence. She visits the bleak camps in the North-West, now housing some of the 600,000 displaced people who’ve fled the fighting and have dramatic stories to tell of the impact of Taliban-style extremists on their lives. She meets wealthy Pakistanis in the capital Islamabad who fear their country’s future and hears some of the displaced talk of taking up arms against the militants. And she travels to Lahore, traditionally the country’s most liberal and cultural city but the recent scene of two bloody attacks by militants. Jill was in Lahore, gathering material for the programme, when Islamic militants stormed a police compound there and includes a dramatic first-hand account of the bloody eight hour siege that followed.