Re your cover story "How Pakistan Let Itself Down" [May 25]: Corrupt politicians are responsible for the deteriorating situation of the country. Ordinary Pakistanis worry about what's going to happen tomorrow but the ruling élite has no concerns. Their grand villas and big bank balances in Europe and America are waiting for them.
Hasan Raza Gondal, BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND
The role of the army is one of the most important factors in the crisis now facing Pakistan. The first coup under General Ayub Khan might have been justified under the circumstances, but having tasted power, the army went on to undermine the authority of elected governments and attain a privileged position in the country. Portraying India as the permanent enemy justified the allocation of a huge percentage of national GDP for defence. The army, particularly during the period of General Zia ul-Haq, also engaged in systematic Islamization of the state by bringing in the Wahabi concept of Islam from Saudi Arabia and discarding the more gentle type of Islam as it had grown up and was practiced in the Indian subcontinent. It was, among other things, a determined effort to cut the historical links with India and to project Pakistan as a part of the larger Muslim world in the Middle East.
Darshan Khanna, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
I was watching the results of the Indian general election when my copy of TIME was delivered. On one side of the border Indian political leaders were gracefully accepting defeat and congratulating the winners, while their neighbors on the other side of the border were struggling. Yes, India has more problems than Pakistan but it has decided to resolve them democratically. Pakistan needs to learn from India or her days are numbered.
Navin Joshi, LONDON
How did you manage to write a whole article in praise of nonsense without even one critical line [Buying Muslim, May 25]? As a veterinary surgeon working in the meat industry, I have seen halal slaughter: it is barbaric. Banks adopting sharia: are we talking about that same sharia that favors stonings and beheadings as legitimate punishments? I feel sorry for poor Khalfan who was shocked by the sight of women not covered from head to toe and poor Norini who was "so scared" of coming into contact with nonhalal products. This is what happens when the Middle Ages come to the 21st century, when superstition is taken seriously and made respectable.
Pedro Pinheiro de Almeida, ATHLONE, IRELAND
I'm a modern, non-Muslim, American woman who finds the idea of halal products appealing. As a health-conscious vegetarian, I'd really appreciate a new source of gelatin-free vitamins, cosmetics without animal fats and a purer quality of food products. And hotels without loud discos or guests wearing bathing suits in the restaurants? Many of us non-Muslims like the sound of this. Bring it on!
Roxanne Felfe, HEIDELBERG, GERMANY
Eat, Drink and Be Married?
The unmarried couples featured in the article "Everything but the Ring" do not understand the negative effect they might have on young people [May 25]. The breakdown of traditional family values is this country's biggest disaster.
John and Yvonne McMillan, COARSEGOLD, CALIF., U.S.
As it was only the men in the relationships who were quoted, your article only presented one side of the argument. It seems to me that there is often a discrepancy between male and female opinion. Among my friends, women often hope their partner will propose one day. Some continue to wait, while others have confronted their partners and decided to leave, even after five or six years together. In my opinion, many men continue to be commitmentphobes when it comes to having their relationship officially recognized. Instead, they say it is trendy to be unmarried.
Kristen Jung, AUGSBURG, GERMANY
Shedding Light on Adult Autism
Karl Taro Greenfeld expresses many of the emotions felt by parents and siblings of adults with autism [May 25]. The medical community's response has long been geared toward children. The attitude toward adults with autism has been one of intolerance, which leads to medicating with drugs that are inappropriate for the disorder.
Patricia Morin, FAIRFAX, VA., U.S.