Ron Moreau

Aftershocks In Kashmir

If there's a bright spot in quake-ravaged Kashmir, Lt. Col. Chiragh Haider has glimpsed it. The Pakistani Army officer sent out a rescue team, looking for a squad of five soldiers who had been on sentry duty at the Line of Control that divides the disputed former kingdom.


Early last week, three days after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake devastated Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, Lt. Col. Chiragh Haider dispatched a group of Pakistani Army soldiers two kilometers up a nearly impassable road to the Friendship Bridge.


Has Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf seen the light? He's been criticized for his ambivalent stance on extremism in his country--especially after it was learned that one of the London suicide bombers may have spent time at Pakistani madrassas.


A new kind of multinational corporation is emerging out of India, the hot newcomer in the global economy. It is the Tata Group, a family conglomerate that has gone professional without losing a distinct set of old-school values.


Philip Jones Griffiths, who to my mind is Vietnam's pre-eminent photographer, rightly focuses many of the frames in his new book, "Vietnam at Peace," on the country's children.


Air travelers arriving in Mumbai can be forgiven if they suddenly get the urge to turn around and go elsewhere. At touchdown, the city's sprawling slums are literally a stone's throw from the plane's wingtips, and visitors are sometimes welcomed by the sight of locals relieving themselves on the hillside next to the airport.


Soon after Mukhtar Mai was savagely gang-raped on the orders of a village council three years ago, she considered her options. She had never been accused of any crime. (The rape was carried out as supposed retribution for an alleged and implausible affair between Mai's teenage brother and a 30-year-old woman.) But according to rural Pakistan's strict Islamic code, she was forever "dishonored." The local Mastoi clan, which dominates the village council, expected her to keep her mouth shut or...

Green Profits

Two years ago, Indian corporate giant ITC set up a computer inside the modest, one-story brick house of wheat and soybean farmer Amar Singh Verma. Powered by rooftop solar panels and connected to the Internet by a satellite dish, the desktop links Verma and dozens of neighboring farmers to ITC-designed, Hindi-language Web pages that provide district-specific weather reports, the market price of soybeans and wheat and tips on modern growing methods.


It looked like a formula for disaster. Against all odds, Sonia Gandhi led her Congress party and its 15 coalition partners to victory in India's parliamentary elections last May.


India's robust outsourcing industry grew up in the country's major cities--New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, to name three. Prominent information-technology firms like Wipro, TCS and Infosys set up shop in those places, took advantage of smart but inexpensive technical talent, and flourished.

Drifting To The Right

Uma Bharti, a militant leader of India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has always courted controversy. A self-styled sanyasin, or Hindu ascetic, she's been at the forefront of the Hindu nationalist BJP's most confrontational anti-Muslim maneuvers in recent years.


In the war on terror, few foreign leaders produce results like Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. His security forces have arrested some of Al Qaeda's most-wanted leaders, including Osama bin Laden's operational whiz, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.


Mohammed Abbas and his brother, Mohammed Ibrahim, fled Kabul 19 years ago after Soviet forces occupied Afghanistan. They were among millions of Afghans who took refuge in neighboring Pakistan.

Ready For Prime Time?

The week began with a meltdown. As Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi--fresh from a surprise election victory that ousted Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party from power--worked to form a new coalition government, India's stock markets went into free fall.

More Miracles, Please

Probably no human being could do what's being asked of Manmohan Singh. The 72-year-old economist, widely known as "Mr. Credibility," took over last week as India's new prime minister.

Royal Return

Sonia Gandhi never harbored great expectations for this election. In 1999 the Italian-born leader of the Congress party, who had only reluctantly allowed herself to be dragged into politics the year before, had presided over her party's worst electoral defeat, in elections that brought Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee back to power.


Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is not the picture of health. The 79-year-old leader is overweight, has had both knees replaced and is physically feeble.

New Tales Of Graft And Greed

Indians can be forgiven if they are suffering from corruption fatigue. Almost daily they seem to be bombarded with yet another official scandal. Despite her vociferous denials, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was forced to resign this summer amid allegations that she was accepting kickbacks from a real-estate developer, tucking the money away in her 87 personal bank accounts.

Walking A Fine Line

Around 8 each morning, Afghan President Hamid Karzai emerges from his two-story residence within the sprawling grounds of Kabul's royal palace and walks to his presidential office, several hundred yards away.

Stepping Away From Doomsday

The peace gesture was as sudden as most declarations of war. Late last week India's prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, stunned Parliament with plans to send a new ambassador to Pakistan, resume air traffic and open peace talks with Islamabad. "The talks this time will be decisive," he promised. "I am confident I will succeed." Islamabad quickly confirmed the news. "Talks will begin very soon," said Pakistan's Information minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. "Things are moving very fast."The two...

Reining In The Warlords

Afghan warlord Ismail Khan, the governor of Herat province, tries his best to sound like a loyal subordinate. When asked if he submits to President Hamid Karzai's authority, Khan laughs and points to a portrait of the president hanging on the wall behind his desk. "If I didn't respect him and his authority I wouldn't have his picture hanging up there." But posters plastered on shop windows around Herat City come closer to the truth: they feature a large, imposing portrait of Khan with a smaller...

Pakistan: A Growing 'Talibanization'

For 40 years, Shaukat Khan has made a modest income singing and dancing to traditional Pashtun music at weddings and family celebrations. Now the 50-year-old performer, along with hundreds of other musicians, is being run out of show business in Pakistan's North-West Frontier province.

A New Game

President Pervez Musharraf thought he had the election all sewn up. His powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, assured him that Pakistan's Oct. 10 race would produce what he wanted: a friendly Parliament filled with "new faces." And he had no reason to doubt his spooks.

A Big Vote For Jihad

The Islamist leader could scarcely contain his glee. "This is a revolution!" crowed Qazi Hussain Ahmed, promising to evict not only U.S. troops but every trace of Western culture from Pakistan's soil.

Power And Privilege

A score of Pakistani peasants, dressed in shalwar kameez and turbans, stood nervously before a table piled high with land contracts. They had come to the sprawling Military Farms--a 17,000-acre dairy, meat and grain-producing agribusiness in the heart of the fertile Punjab--at the urging of its owner, the Pakistani Army.

Tailoring Democracy

In Pakistan, politics is often a family affair. This week's parliamentary election called by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is no different. For example, in the central Punjab district of Jhang, Syeda Abida Hussain, a handsome, gray-haired, Swiss-educated politician and landowner, is a parliamentary candidate for a pro-Musharraf breakaway faction of the Pakistan Muslim League, called the PML-Q.

Pakistan: Christians Under Fire

Since the start of U.S. military actions in Afghanistan last October, terrorists in Muslim Pakistan have attacked three Christian churches and a school with automatic weapons and hand grenades, killing more than 30 people and wounding more than 50.