Steve Coll in The New Yorker:
The earthquake that struck northern Pakistan on the morning of October 8th left some eighty thousand people dead, perhaps a quarter of them children. It was a catastrophe without precedent in the country’s history, and the government was slow to react. In the weeks that followed, President Pervez Musharraf, who is also the nation’s military leader, faced sharp questions from civilian politicians, Islamic leaders, and reporters about why the government, and the Army, had not organized relief more quickly. In much the same way that the Bush Administration’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina embarrassed the White House, the earthquake-aid effort has threatened Musharraf’s standing. In the first days, Pakistan’s offshore independent channels televised the suffering, and the images were inescapable: people waiting in vain to be rescued; hundreds of thousands sleeping outside in cold rain, waiting for tent camps to be built; the injured, with bleeding wounds or broken limbs, staggering about in search of treatment.