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April 15, 2005

complete ban on women in advertising. 

Pakistan's hard-line Islamist political parties have spent months in protest campaigns against President Pervez Musharraf. But recently they have changed tack, concentrating on women's issues.

Last week the six-party religious alliance that constitutes one-fifth of the country's parliament, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) introduced a bill in parliament seeking a complete ban on women in advertising.

The move follows the MMA's recent successes in stopping women from participating in outdoor sports.

Political observers in Pakistan are intrigued by the sudden shift of emphasis in the MMA's politics.

Islamists in Pakistan are opposed to Gen Musharraf's alliance with the United States and accuse him of subverting the nation's Islamic identity.

But they now seem to be placing a greater emphasis on an agenda of cultural orthodoxy.

April 06, 2005

Saturday, April 02, 2005

I arrived safely after four connections and many delays. All of my luggage showed up (miracle) even though they had hand written check tags on them… apparently continental’s baggage computer couldn’t understand why I would have so many bags and so many connections.

The flights to London and Dubai where full of US contractors on there way to Iraq. They are so obvious and loud it’s really scary. Half of them walked around the airports with there ID cards hanging out around there necks…. Who hires these people? Idiots.

"Friends in low places" is the phase of life I am in. I use to be a high rolling diplomat in this country, VIP lounges and special security arrangements for me, it was nice. However my new network is a lot closer to the spirit of the network in fight club.

I got off the plane at my destination (country X) to find an airport security guy standing there with a sign with my name on it. I admit I was taken a back for a second; my first thought was to wonder if I had traveled in time, and then I figured I was in trouble.... I have such a clear conscious. As it turns out it’s the cousin of a friend, so his guys took my bags and he took my passport, had some dude stamp me in and I was off. It was a good thing he showed up cause if they would have opened my bags it would have been a circus.

So I am here. The weather is amazing! They had 12-13 feet of snow this winter, there are a couple piles left in the shade. The Mountain View is amazing and the air is clean and cool. I am in jeans and a t-shirt today. Everyone was very happy to see me and I am humbled and really happy to be here.

All of my recommendations from my last trip are being implemented (they started 2 days before I got here) and things are going ok.

Today the country is having a wheel jam and a business strike that was called by a new group that is a consortium of Islamic extremist political parties. My first weekend here and I had to canceled one of there planned outings… sad but required.

I am in the midst of two major projects here that are enough work to fill three months of 12 hour days…. But I don’t have that kind of time. I am also trying to take a full load of school via the internet. The internet has been down all day. If I can pull all this off, I am going to either loose the plot all together, or reach a new level of enlightenment.

Some people run marathons to push there bodies to the limit. I bite off more than I can chew and wait to have a heart attack.

I got a new gun! 8mm riffle, looks like an AK-47. Pretty cool. I will be taking the boys out to do some training in the next month….. Should be fun. I really should have brought my body armor with me though. 

I am sitting here listening to Bon Jovi….. The same album I listened to at the same time of day in the same place as I did when I was in 5th grade! How’s that for continuity.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Been to the Capitol twice now, one day the traffic was so bad coming up what takes an hour normally took 3.5 hours. I was with all the kids on that trip. Traffic was so bad for many reasons. The first thing we encountered that trip was an amazingly gruesome motorcycle accident in which the passenger went through a truck window and then came back out when it stopped (head on), he was not wearing a helmet and was dead in a pool of his own blood in the middle of the road. So all the kids got to enjoy even more trauma in their young lives. (I remember all the very bad wrecks I witnessed on this road as a child). Then we got to the Shiite village where they where having processions because it was the 40th day after Muharram. So their wounds were fresh. From that point on there was no good reason for the delays; however we saw three more piles of broken glass in the road so I assume there were many terrible accidents.

My next trip (yesterday) to the capitol was a dental trip and I meet up with some very good friends. I got a full mouth X-ray and a filling replaced for $75. I have to go back before I leave for a filling and a cleaning.

Other than that I am staying very busy but feel very much at home here.

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