The ongoing process of privatising Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the resistance of pilots and workers has suddenly taken a sharp turn with the eruption of protests and a countrywide strike. The strike and protests are continuing despite government attacks and the vacillations of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) leadership, formed of representatives from the various linked PIA unions, from the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) to the ruling PML-N on the one hand and the PPP on the other.

As terrorists struck another educational institution, the attack has stunned even a society where terrorism is not an extraordinary happening. Wednesday`s attack on Bacha Khan University`s Charsadda Campus in which 21 mainly students were killed and more than fifty injured, has raised the two-day death toll to more than 30.

On January 11th 2016, the normally dormant, lifeless and visionless institution called the Senate did something unexpected and radical, even going against its core conservative characteristics. The Senate approved a resolution for lifting the ban on student unions, and a committee was formed to finalise recommendations on this matter.

Just days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan, there were two terrorist attacks: on the Pathankot air base in Indian Punjab and on the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. The hardliners of the region had struck with a vengeance. As in most terrorist acts there are many accusations and suspected individuals and organisations. A Kashmiri separatists’ alliance based in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, the UJC (United Jihad Council), claimed responsibility for the Pathankot attack, although the Indian media insists the attackers were members of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group.

Pakistan and India announced on Wednesday in Islamabad that they were resuming the dialogue on outstanding issues, ending a two-year-long stalemate. The “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue,” as it has been named, will include all elements covered under previous versions of the talks: peace and security, confidence-building measures, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial cooperation, counter-terrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian issues, people-to-people exchanges, and religious tourism.

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