President George W. Bush is talking to Pakistan's civilian leaders, but the US presidential administration continues to exhibit a stubborn preference for maintaining close ties with the Pakistani military, an institution that is widely discredited inside the South Asian state.
Tens of thousands of protesting Pakistani lawyers and their supporters are marching toward the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, in what's been dubbed a "Long March" to demand the reinstatement of the country's chief justice and 60 other judges who were sacked last year by President Pervez Musharraf, who they want to resign.
After a two month lull in the violence that has plagued Pakistan's border regions, Islamist militants appear to have resumed the violence when a recent suicide-bomb attack in the northwestern city of Bannu killed five.
Pakistan's new government is close to signing a peace accord with pro-Taliban militants as part of a softer counterterrorism policy from Islamabad that deemphasizes military strikes and calls for U.S. forces to show more restraint in the area.
In light of increasing instability in Pakistan and the apparent decline of President Pervez Musharraf's influence, American analysts say the United States needs to broaden its approach toward Pakistan to include aid not just to its army, but to civil society organizations, political parties, the court system and police.
The Caspian Basin energy equation is growing more complex, with Iran, India and Pakistan now renewing a commitment to build a natural gas pipeline across South Asia. On November 28, Indian officials confirmed that discussions with their Iranian counterparts were continuing.