Will Pakistan emerge from the implosion - united or split?

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ppgj, Dec 16, 2009.

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Will Pakistan split in future due to current turmoil?

  1. Yes

    55.8%
  2. No

    25.0%
  3. Not sure

    19.2%
  1. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    Will There Always Be a Pakistan?

    Fissures within the military could tear not just the army but the entire country apart. It's coming sooner than you think.

    BY SETH CROPSEY | DECEMBER 11, 2009

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    As another 30,000 U.S. troops get set to deploy to war, most everyone in the White House and the Pentagon knows that the success of their mission won't only be determined in Afghanistan. The most important battle is in fact next door in Pakistan, a country that, even more than Afghanistan, risks not just failure but utter collapse. The nuclear neighbor has become a haven for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, and its powerful military has been reluctant to take them on. Even when it has, its clumsy, heavy-handed tactics have displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians. All the while, the elected government of President Asif Ali Zardari has only grown weaker.

    But here's the really bad news. Pakistan's military -- the lynchpin keeping the chaotic whole together -- isn't getting stronger. It's threatening to fracture from within. And today's fractures may well turn into tomorrow's chaos.

    Back in the mid-19th century, the British set out to create a secular, professional Indian army that would neutralize warring ethnic groups and tribes. Pakistan was part of India then, and its army remained secular after the partition in 1947. Officer clubs served liquor. Religion and ethnicity were not proper subjects of discussion. Muslim society was something that existed outside the military. Pakistan's generals looked to standardized testing and merit-based promotion, drawing on modernity, not Islam, as a model for their professional army.

    When Gen. Muhammed Zia ul-Haq overthrew Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977, he had other ideas. Zia assumed the presidency in 1978 while still chief of staff of the Army -- a position from which he encouraged greater religiosity in Pakistan's armed forces as part of his broader Islamization of the state. Suddenly, military leaders were keeping tabs on which sects of Islam their soldiers belonged to. Members of radical Deoband and Wahhabi sects infused the military education system. Drinking at military clubs was forbidden, with a predictably chilling effect on camaraderie. Prayers once thought optional were strongly encouraged.

    Some of this was merely a product of the times; Zia's opposition to the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, for instance, was largely predicated on the religious fervor of the Afghan resistance. But Zia's Islamizing policies within the Army were more deliberate. Whether motivated by piety or political calculation, he reopened the fissures within the contemporary Pakistani military that British colonial policy had never wholly succeeded in papering over. Indeed, when Zia died in a 1988 plane crash, the Islamization of the military and its most powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), continued. By the time Pervez Musharraf tried to return the military to its more secular roots as Army chief of staff, the trend was already too strong to reverse.

    In 1999, Musharraf removed from power Nawaz Sharif, who had been re-elected to a second term as prime minister. His coup reinforced Pakistan's history as a military-run state, and 10 years later, the risk of a coup still looms. Meanwhile, the wave of officers who were recruited during Zia's Islamizing years is moving into the leadership ranks. The youngest of them are now field-grade officers. Signs are emerging that this is far from a unified military, with widening splits between secular and religious officers as well as problems among different Islamic sects. With official encouragement, for example, some Sunni officers have decided to grow out their beards, while Shiite officers are markedly absent from Sunni-led prayers.

    In Pakistan, all this means more than just a troubled fighting force. The Army is rightly seen as the country's strongest institution -- the glue that holds the state together. Though not officially in power, the military has a strong hold over the civilian government and retains de facto veto power over much that gets done. If infighting weakens or shatters the military's cohesion, the implications for the future of the state itself are dire.

    First, such events would be great news to Islamists looking to get their hands on nuclear weapons. Pakistan's nukes are even more likely to see action if a military officer seized power and invaded Indian-held Kashmir, the territory that both Islamabad and New Delhi claim as their own. Such aggression might lead to a nuclear exchange with India, the country's long-time rival and fellow nuclear state. The fallout, both literal and political, would be felt deep into Central Asia; indeed much of the region would be destabilized. India's economic progress would be set back significantly, perhaps by decades, and the nuclear threshold will have been crossed.

    A less apocalyptic (though still very bad) outcome would be for Pakistan's paranoia about India to reach fever pitch. Islamabad has long suspected that the rise of the Northern Alliance, the mostly Tajik and Uzbek coalition that helped eject the Taliban from Kabul, or another anti-Islamabad political group in Afghanistan could be a boost to New Delhi. (India is playing a nasty game of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend,' the Pakistani leadership reckons.) Pakistan is already backing a host of violent groups in Afghanistan, and further meddling could destabilize the surrounding Central Asian states.

    Or, there is the prospect of ethnic, sectarian, and geographic implosion. Pakistan's sense of nationhood is tenuous at best. In the military, Punjabis predominate in the enlisted ranks while Pashtuns and Mujahirs fill most officer posts. The few Sindhis and Baluchis who are national leaders (such as President Zardari, a Sindhi) are the exception rather than the rule. The North-West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the regions along the border with Afghanistan, resemble the worst drug-infested, gang-ridden parts of American cities -- except that the Pakistani authorities have largely abandoned any pretense at control. It's a nebulous group of ungoverned spaces held together by a center that itself is now fragmenting. When that gives way, it could launch the kind of tribal bloodletting and ethnic or religious strife that strategic forecasts and white papers around the world routinely posit.

    Meanwhile, the Army itself is under attack. Punjab-based jihadi groups, often referred to as the Punjabi Taliban, recently claimed responsibility for attacking the Army's general headquarters in Rawalpindi, Pakistan's equivalent of the Pentagon. Jihadi groups operating out of Punjab have traditionally focused on Kashmir and sectarian issues, so their willingness to target the center of Pakistan's political gravity -- as well as its most important source of military leadership -- is unsettling.

    In their coldest light, these attacks show the intensification and turning-inward of the struggle for the very character of the Pakistani state. The divisions pulling Pakistan apart at the seams are the same ones reflected in the military -- and neither set shows promising signs of resolution.

    Pakistanis understand these dangers. When Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister, was assassinated in Rawalpindi two years ago, rioters in Sindh chanted Pakistan na khappay, or "Pakistan no longer exists." Zardari, her husband, tried to quiet the crowd, telling them Pakistan khappay -- "Pakistan does exist." He was right. For the moment.

    RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images

    Will There Always Be a Pakistan? | Foreign Policy

    Seth Cropsey is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 1985 to 2004 and as deputy undersecretary of the Navy during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
     
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  3. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    the author puts up a case based on plausible and realistic status. but US who is the principal actor in this area being paranoid about the nukes (which they indirectly facilitated and now haunting them) will never allow the split to happen till they lay their hands on it.
    also from their geostrategic calculations, a divided pakistan will erode their influence. various pakistan provinces which may emerge from the split may become satellites of their bigger neighbours in their own interest.
    for ex -

    1. sindh, northern areas and india.
    2. NWFP and afghanistan (if ofc a'stan is united)
    3. baluchistan and iran.

    etc...

    so i doubt the split will happen.
     
  4. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    some of the points i noted in my post answered.

    Stabilising Pakistan main US goal, says Biden
    By Anwar Iqbal
    Wednesday, 16 Dec, 2009

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    The US vice president also emphasised the need to work with Pakistan to undo the Haqqani network and defeat the Pakistani Taliban.Photo by APP

    WASHINGTON: Stabilising Pakistan and defeating Al Qaeda are America’s main strategic interests in South Asia, US Vice President Joseph Biden said on Tuesday. He stressed the need for a long-term partnership with Pakistan.

    In an interview to MSNBC television channel, Mr Biden also emphasised the need to work with Pakistan to undo the Haqqani network and defeat the Pakistani Taliban.

    Also on Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the US and Pakistan were at odds over the Haqqani network, which is headed by a militant leader called Sirajuddin Haqqani, because Islamabad has turned down Washington’s demands to help dismantle the terrorist outfit.

    The report claimed that while the Americans believed the network was responsible for attacking US forces in Afghanistan, Pakistanis saw this group as a ‘strategic asset’.

    In his interview to MSNBC, Mr Biden pointed out that in his policy speech on Dec 1, President Obama had clearly laid out US national interests in the Pak-Afghan region: ‘Defeating Al Qaeda and stabilising Pakistan.’

    While explaining how the administration planned to achieve those objectives, Mr Biden said that over the next two years, the US would provide ‘more direct assistance to Pakistan as it relates to stabilising their economy, building their infrastructure, as well as getting them to move on our mutual interest, which includes the Haqqani network and includes the Taliban in Pakistan’.

    Mr Biden acknowledged that achieving those objectives was ‘a hell of process’ but the US was determined to succeed.

    One of the participants of the talk show interrupted Mr Biden to suggest that defeating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was also one of America’s main objectives in that region.‘Al Qaeda’s not in Afghanistan,’ said the US vice president.

    His response led to a discussion on how US policy-makers insisted that their main strategic interests were in Pakistan, yet they were spending 50 times more money in Afghanistan.

    Asked to explain why, the vice president said: ‘Yes. And our focus should be Pakistan and Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.’

    He then explained that those were America’s strategic interests but ‘we would be in real trouble if a vacuum is created and there’s chaos in the government and Afghanistan falls’.The consequences of such a failure were unfathomable, he added.

    ‘No one knows what the Iranians do with that. No one knows what the Pakistanis do with that, no one know what the Russians do with that, no one knows what the Chinese do with that, no one knows what the Indians do with that.’

    That’s why, Mr Biden said, he believed that the US troop surge in Afghanistan would also help stabilise Pakistan. The Americans were in constant contact with the Pakistanis on this particular issue, he added.

    The best way to deal with extremists in that region, according to the US vice president, was to allow the natural process of events to continue.

    ‘If I had (said) a year and a half ago … that Gen Musharraf was going … to step down without bloodshed, there was going to be an election that took place without bloodshed, not particularly the greatest candidates in the world, but an actual election — a peaceful transition,’ nobody could have believed it, Mr Biden observed.

    Within the same period, he added, the Pakistani army, for the first time in its history, moved in force into Fata, and worked with the US to get rid of Baitullah Mehsud.

    ‘Are they doing enough? No, but it’s amazing … how reality has a way of intruding on people’s plans. When they (the Taliban) went and took the Swat Valley, all of a sudden the Pakistanis went, whoa, they’re 60 clicks from Islamabad!’

    DAWN.COM | World | Stabilising Pakistan main US goal, says Biden
     
  5. sky

    sky Regular Member

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    I dont think i'm alone in thinking the seeds to there future destruction have already been sowed. The path they have taken can only have a sad ending,if they looked across the border at either india or china and put kashmir on the back burner. Concentrate more on growth they could have been able to stabilize there country and give a better future to there people.

    Only ecconomic growth can liberate the poor of pakistan and reduce the power of the terrorists.The GOP have failed to realise this and now i think its too late.
     
  6. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    The center of gravity in Pakistan is a lot lower than people think. There is no palpable evidence suggesting that the Pakistani Army has lost its ability to exert control over the functional aspect of the state (decrepit as it may be). The PA has controlled, and for the most part governed, Pakistan for decades. They have a long tradition of surviving turmoil and upheaval. With this ability intact they can keep Pakistan together.

    Pakistan's future however rests with its educated youth and diaspora. Pakistan may survive as a militarized state but it will never thrive. Only healthy economic development (not aid based facades) and the growth of the middle class can assure genuine progress.

    In the long run, the schism in the Pakistani youth will be far more important than the supposed one in the military. The next generation of aspirants who wish to build a future based on pragmatism and positivity who are able to establish a more sensible concept of nationalism will be pitted against those who fall into the clutches of parasitic demagogues who excel at exploiting the feeling of humiliation, insecurity and despondency among many young Pakistanis. This group is being fed a dangerous (and ultimately a dead end) version of nationalism based on historical revisionism and phantasmagoria.

    It is the victor in this fight who will ultimately decide the fate of Pakistan.
     
  7. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    right. this was done thro' education. by feeding hate ideology and a blatant interpretation of its history starting in late 60s, whole generations have been fed this and are ultra nationalistic youth now.
    add to this wahabi culture which was alien to the subcontinent in pakistani masses has had a profound and destructive effect on the state of pakistan.
    unless they set these right there is no hope and this will in any case take decades to change. there is no sign of any intent though.

    this has become a revenge case for pakistan especially after 1971 culmination in bangladesh. settling scores so to say.
    they need to come to terms with reality on this so they can move forward in any worth while way.

    even if they want to now, they have to stabilise the country which has exploded in the last couple of years. terror has struck length and breadth of the country. controlling the whole is near impossible case.
    a folly of nurturing the monsters to create trouble in the neighbourhood for a perceived gain has backfired badly.
    now, with such a status on security who is going to invest? and pakistan can't generate funds via taxes for the growth.
    so the present state will continue for a long time to come.

    unfortunately because of part 1 of my reply, the masses refuse to beleive the terrorists are local. hence tacitly support the culprits. so, where do we go?

    GOP & PA both have been part of this mess and they refuse to acknowledge it and hence they wont look forward.
    even those who speak truth are branded indian agents!!
    it is tragic that pakistan is going through a mess, self created. they have to solve it lest they break apart.
     
  8. mehwish92

    mehwish92 Founding Member

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    I don't think Pakistan will break up anytime soon. The possibility is there but i think the Pak Army is disciplined enough to do anything to prevent its country from breaking up. When the time comes, they will unite and fight this menace.

    I can never see Pakistan as a prosperous state, however. It will remain a rogue state, a menace to its neighbours and the world.

    The only way to disintegrate it is with external force (India or US?). Too bad US is too busy trying to do the opposite at the moment. Thats bad news for us.
     
  9. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    I tend to agree with Energon here. As long as the army is around, the state will continue to exist. There are no opposing forces powerful enough to challenge the army as of today. The TTP and other militants control a very small percentage of both territory and population. However, we will continue to see violence and instability in the country. The worrying aspect is the direction that the politics of the country will take as a result of continued violence and trauma.
     
  10. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Here is what I see as the intermediate future of PAK.

    * As the Talibs keep hitting, the government will continue to weaken
    * The people will demand change of political leadership away from US
    * The military steps in to take over as it always does
    * They will withdraw troops from tribal areas
    * They attempt peace deal as they always do
    * Talibs will play the game until they can surround the capitol
    * Growing support for Talibs will trigger a civil war
    * Who knows who wins, but either way, it isn't Pakistan
     
  11. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    while i agree with you and Energon on the gist, the problem is -
    from post #1.
    now that is a problem.
    however as i have been saying, US will not let the split happen for their own reasons which i have previously said.
     
  12. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    US are the catalyst. With every drone attack and suicide bombing, the Pakistani people blame the US and the assumed puppet government in Islamabad. The military is playing this card to drive a wedge. There is nothing Americans can do to stop it. It is in the hands of the Pak military and Taliban. The government means nothing.
     
  13. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    I disagree with the author's conclusions (see note below). Equating growing Islamic influence in some sections of the PA to a schism in its core has always been a trap for Western analysts. Some of them fail to realize that the PA who is currently marred in a civil war with other Islamic extremists has to adapt and present an Islamic face to maintain support of the misinformed masses and maintain morale.

    The first thing to realize here is that the PA essentially fills the role of the national governmental structure (even if not elected). Governments or large political parties for that matter are never monolithic, so in this regard the PA isn't unique; heck even the Chinese Communist Party has factionalism. The question is, as a political entity, can the organization survive despite the infighting? Generally, well financed political parties with pedigree and public support always keep it together. The PA has a hallowed pedigree (saviors of the nation), increasing public support amongst the influential masses and is still the most well financed and well organized institution in the country (and will remain so for the foreseeable future); they also have no competitor worthy of mention. Also, unlike India, the military in Pakistan is still considered one of the best employers, which enables them to attract a healthy share of the valuable human capital.

    The second point to remember is that over-empowered and unchallenged governmental institutions always end up working for themselves, and not the people. The PA seems to be in this position; and it is also the reason why it will never initiate a doomsday scenario or a full monty showdown with India. Point being, that this organization despite its internal factionalism, differing fundamental beliefs etc. etc. will probably still have the capacity to stand firm, because it is first and foremost designed to ensure its own survival. Also time and time again, the elite ruling class of the PA (yes they have a ruling class) has always shown its ability to only exploit Islamic fundamentalism, not necessarily expound it themselves. I highly doubt this has changed.

    Lastly, it is prudent to remember that the new shape of nationalism among the common educated Pakistani also has an Islamic bent, counter intuitive as it may be. But this version of religiosity does not come at the expense of the military institution. The military if anything is getting stronger as their title of "saviors of the nation" is currently being carved in stone (fighting India-zionist-US backed anti Pakistan insurgents of course).

    I think for the Pakistan Armed forces, the biggest challenge threatening their ranks currently is stupidity, not religiosity. To quote Seymour Hersch's recent piece:
    It is virtually impossible for anyone with half a functional brain to believe the words of Zaid Hamid. If this trend is really true (Hersch has no reason to make this up, nobody in the West even knows or cares about Zaid Hamid) and continues to grow, the PA will end up being an army of !di0ts. But there is no palpable evidence of this at the moment either.

    Just a note, if you look across the board in foreign policy think tank wonks, there is very little support for this author's assertions. Even Mary Ann Weaver who has done some excellent research on the make up of the PA and is one of the staunchest pessimist, does not ascribe to this theory.
     
  14. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    I agree with most of the comments here. This "talking head" Seth Corspey guy is just trying to over extrapolate and create some fantasy doomsday scenario for Pakistan.

    I dont think that Pakistan is going to explode or that there is going to be a civil war within the PA, despite different factions with differing idealogies. It is not that uncommon to find various faction within a military establishment of any country.

    The other factor that this author fails to mention is that while the mass majority of Pakistanis may support the Jihadis and hate the Americans; the levers of power in Pakistan are by and large controlled by the more western educated and trained elite of the country regardless of weather it is the military or civilian establishment.

    These folks are not crazy, and they are not going to let the country or the Army break up.

    The only plausable scenario where the entire Pak Army and Civilian establishment is overthrown by the religious wing-nuts, is one where there is some kind of religious leader like the "Ayatollah Khomeinei phenomenon in Iran".

    This is never going to happen in Pak because there is no one such spiritual leader in Pakistan.

    It is a weak feeble article.
     
  15. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    The most basic condition for Pakistan splitting up is that atleast two powerful armed factions should be in a position to control significant parts of territory. That condition is completely missing. There are no separatist movements powerful enough to overcome the army. The entire population of Balochistan itself is too tiny to mount any challenge, and the Pakistani public is in no mood for letting the province split away ala Ireland from the UK by making peace with the nationalists.
     
  16. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Very well put Energon. You should seriously consider making a career out of this. Your posts are better that a lot of what I read from paid columnists.

    Regarding Zaid Hamid, he has emerged as a sort of "mullah for the middle class". He has managed to re-interpret and re-invent the propoganda that gets dished out in extremist madarassas, but without the associated burkhas, backward social practices and corporal punishment that turns off most well-heeled Pakistanis. In times of turmoil, people look for a figure that can justify their suffering and provide easy answers, as well as a clear enemy to blame. His popularity is only growing as more of the Pakistani youth turn to him. I was pretty shocked recently to learn that one of the singers of a hugely popular rock band had become one of his biggest supporters, because the band was promoting peace and friendship not too long ago.
    His brand of "modern" Islamism is important because those who are opposed to this ideology have emphasised its backward aspects like promoting the enslavement of women, medieval laws and practices. However, by dissociating its interpretation of geopolitics from its roots in religious fundamentalism, he has tapped into a latent audience who find their political ideas reinforced without having to give up their "westernized" lifestyle.
     
  17. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    PA is the glue that holds thee nation together. Admittedly under Musharraf the glue did get a tad bit unstuck but recent events and the deft handling of the situation by the COAS Gen. Kayani have more than made up for the lapses made earlier.

    By keeping a low profile General Kayani has ensured that the people have forgotten about the Musharraf days and also the presence of the Taliban just 60 Kms from the national capital have made the people look upto the Army as their saviours. To add to this is the inept handling of the nation by the political class.

    Also as Energon as pointed out in his earlier post unlike in india, in Pakistan a job in the armed forces is a very lucrative option. Not only is it very well paying but along with this lots of powers and perks come with the job which we in India can see in our Babus in administrative services. With the economy failing to take off this is the best job available for the youth of Pakistan, short of going to the Gulf for seeking employment.

    Also over the years the PA has been diversifying their recruitment away from the Punjab province. This has been a gradual process and has been going on for more than a decade and half.
     
  18. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Robert Oakley a former US Ambassador to Pakistan has recently come up with a strategy paper on the same lines as this thread. this paper is for the National Defence University.

    The Key points of the paper are

    The full article is here.
     
  19. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    a bit old but worth reading.

    Can Pakistan Survive?

    It is not surprising to see that some experts do not expect Pakistan to survive by the time 2025 rolls around, at least not in a form that even remotely resembles the nation that exists today. Time to ponder three fundamental questions.

    Ahmad Faruqui Web | Jan 23, 2009

    There is an abundance of dire predictions about the future of Pakistan and a dearth of rosy ones. The latest dystopia comes from the US Joint Forces Command.

    Its Joint Operating Environment report was issued just as the Mumbai attacks were unfolding, which means that the negative effects on Pakistan's security of that event did not get factored in. Even then, in its worst-case scenario, there was "a rapid and sudden collapse" of Pakistan.

    That Pakistan may succumb to a "violent and bloody civil and sectarian war" was made more dangerous by concerns over the country's nuclear arsenal. Picking up on the latter theme, David Sanger notes in the New York Times that the many threats to that arsenal constitute Barack Obama's worst nightmare.

    Another dire prediction is from the National Intelligence Council (NIC), a branch of the CIA which conducts such assessments every four years. In Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, we encounter the following scenario: "The future of Pakistan is a wild card ... the North West Frontier Province and tribal areas will continue to be poorly governed and the source or supporter of cross-border instability. If Pakistan is unable to hold together until 2025, a broader coalescence of Pashtun tribes is likely to emerge and act together to erase the Durand Line, maximising Pashtun space at the expense of Punjabis."

    Eight years ago, just as Pervez Musharraf was arriving on the scene, the NIC had sketched a bleak future. It predicted that by the year 2015: "Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction. Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. Further domestic decline would benefit Islamic political activists, who may significantly increase their role in national politics and alter the makeup and cohesion of the military — once Pakistan's most capable institution. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the central government's control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi."

    Towards the end of the Musharraf era, rosy scenarios were being mass-produced by his prime minister. Just as political chaos was about to reach a crescendo, 2007 was declared as the Visit Pakistan Year. The bloom on Musharraf's rose faded as abruptly as it did on Ayub's Great Decade.

    Pakistan's current situation — not just the dystopian futures painted in the two American reports — is a far cry from the vision of Pakistan 's founding fathers, Iqbal and Jinnah. They had envisaged a nation that would unite the Muslims, not divide them.

    Jinnah laid out a clear prescription for getting there: "If we want to make this great state of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses of the poor. If you will work in cooperation, forgetting the past, you are bound to succeed."

    Alas, the advice to focus on the future was not taken as the nation soon plunged into reliving the battles of the past. The storm over Mumbai will eventually pass but what about the gathering storm in Swat and the full force gale that is blowing through Fata? The tussle between the ISI, the army and the civilian government continues. A new tussle appears to have emerged between the civilian president and prime minister, both of the PPP. There are few signs that the judges will be restored or that the nefarious constitutional amendments dating back to the Zia era will be annulled.

    Pakistan, one would think, is destined to limp along from crisis to crisis. That was in fact how Herbert Feldman captioned his history, which surveyed developments in the 1962-69 timeframe. A man who made his mark during that period, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, took power saying he was a man of crises. Unfortunately, the crises got the better of him. The decade of the seventies was the worst in the nation's history.

    Thirty years later, the situation has gone from bad to worse. So it is not surprising to see that some experts do not expect Pakistan to survive by the time 2025 rolls around, at least not in a form that even remotely resembles the nation that exists today.

    Those who believe in conspiracy theories will dismiss these scenarios because they originate in the US. However, it is time for Pakistan's leaders to ponder three fundamental questions. Is a meltdown avoidable? Is it possible to envision a rosy future? What will it take to get there?

    To avoid a meltdown, first and foremost, a change in political culture needs to occur. Extremism has to be taken out and replaced with tolerance. The government cannot do this by fiat. The clergy, the academics, the literati and the media — they have to bring this about, from the grassroots up.

    Secondly, law and order has to be restored on the streets. It is not possible to envision a rosy future if kidnappings, robberies, murders and beheadings dominate the headlines.

    Under such conditions, who will invest in Pakistan? Not even the Pakistanis. Without investment, there will be no growth. Without growth, there will be no reduction in poverty. With poverty comes extremism. To get out of the rut, the nation's priorities have to shift radically. The number one focus has got to be on human, social and political development and not on religion or the military. This does not mean that people have to become irreligious. They just have to expunge religion from politics. Tolerance of differences should be the motto, since strength comes from diversity.

    Nor does it mean that there should be no military. It simply means the military should play no political role. Pakistan is a textbook case where the sole focus on the military has ruined not only the territorial dimension of national security, as it did in 1971 and as it now threatens to do in Fata, but also sown the seeds of discord among the people and the provinces.

    Given its talented workforce, Pakistan could one day become a haven for foreign investment. Given its natural beauty, it could even become a tourist destination. But barring a change in its strategic culture, such a rosy scenario cannot be envisioned.

    .....................

    Ahmad Faruqui has co-edited Pakistan: Unresolved issues of State and Society, Vanguard Books.

    www.outlookindia.com | Can Pakistan Survive?
     
  20. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    A Fractured Pakistan Fights for Survival

    Written by Ahmed Rashid
    Tuesday, 20 October 2009

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    Enemy within: Pakistani army has launched an offensive against Islamist Taliban in the country's South Waziristan region.

    The Pakistani military has been sleeping with the enemy while keeping the civilian government down

    This article, by South Asia’s most knowledgeable author on the Islamist upsurge in Pakistan and Afghanistan, originally appeared in YaleGlobal, the flagship publication of the Yale University Center for the Study of Globalization. Reprinted with permission.

    After nine suicide attacks in just eleven days that killed 150 people, including many from the security forces, the Pakistan army has finally started its long-awaited offensive in South Waziristan where the Pakistani Taliban are based.

    The success of the offensive, against the backdrop of a serious civil-military division in Pakistan and unresolved debate in Washington, could be critical for the fate of Pakistan, which is financially broke and politically paralyzed.

    The army and the civilian government are once more at odds over policy towards the US and India, the insurgency in Baluchistan, and how to deal with militant Punjabi groups who are linked to the Taliban. Moreover, still unresolved and now an issue of growing international concern, is the sanctuary being given to Afghan Taliban in Pakistan.

    Dozens of soldiers and police officers have been killed in suicide attacks from October 5 to 15 that included an embarrassing 22 hour siege of the army headquarters in Rawalpindi and the deaths of eight soldiers and three simultaneous attacks on police training camps and intelligence offices in Lahore. The spate of attacks could have been designed to prevent or delay the expected army offensive on its stronghold, but they also aimed to topple the government, impose an Islamic state, and, if possible, get hold of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

    The recent attacks have proved more deadly than those in the past because they took place in three of the country’s four provinces, involving not just Taliban tribesmen from the Pashtun ethnic group, but extremist Punjabi and Kashmiri factions who were until recently trained by the Interservices Intelligence (ISI) to fight Indian forces in Indian Kashmir.

    Moreover, several within the militant leadership had direct connections to the army or the ISI. The so called Dr Usman, the leader of the nine man group that attacked the army’s general headquarters on October 10, was himself a member of the army’s medical corps. Police officials say that the Rawalpindi and Lahore attacks had help from inside because the terrorists were able to bypass the stringent security measures in place and had knowledge of the layout of the complexes.

    While the armed forces are unwilling to admit what many Pakistanis now believe – that there is some degree of penetration by extremist sympathizers within its ranks – the civilian government refuses to admit that the largest province of Punjab and especially its poverty-hit southern part has become the major new recruiting ground for militants.

    The Punjab provincial government is run by Shabaz Sharif, the brother of Nawaz Sharif and leader of the opposition in the country. The Sharif brothers who ruled the country twice in the 1990s are known to have close ties with the leaders of several militant groups, including Hafez Saeed, the leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba whose militants carried out the massacre in Mumbai India last year.

    Saeed, wanted by India and Interpol has been freed twice from jail in Punjab, on account of lack of evidence to hold him. The Sharifs have refused repeated requests by the Americans, British, Indians and the federal government to crack down on militancy in south Punjab where it is strong and providing recruits for the Taliban.

    Meanwhile the federal government has suffered increasingly fraught relations with the army. Last week at the height of the suicide attacks, the army chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani chose that moment to blast the civilian government for agreeing to a US $ 7.5 billion five-year aid package from the US for civilian and developmental purposes.

    The army was furious that the government had agreed to US imposed conditions, which only insisted that there be civilian control of the army, democracy be maintained and the fight against extremism continued. The army with its deep tentacles in the Pakistani media and among opposition politicians, whipped up a storm of public opinion against the deal, with some commentators accusing the government of President Asif Ali Zardari of treason.

    Neither the army nor the politicians seemed to notice that the country is nearly bankrupt, barely subsisting on life support loans from the International Monetary Fund worth a total of US$11.3 billion. Pakistan has been holding out a begging bowl for the past year, while factories, farms and schools are shutting down because of a chronic shortage of electric power, which is off in major cities for up to 10 hours a day.

    The civilian government has also tried repeatedly to end the long running separatist insurgency in Baluchistan province by declaring ceasefires and the promise to hold talks with insurgent leaders. However Baluch leaders accuse the army of sabotaging any such political reconciliation by continuing to assassinate or carry out forced disappearances of Baluch activists.

    Meanwhile as the policy review over Afghanistan and Pakistan continues in the White House, both the army and government are being directly accused by US officials of continuing to harbor the Afghan Taliban leadership and allowing them to pump in recruits, logistics and other supplies into Afghanistan.

    As long as only British and Canadian troops in Helmand and Kandahar faced the effects of the Taliban’s safe sanctuaries in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, the former Bush administration was quiet. But now that there are over 10,000 US marines in Helmand and Kandahar who are taking casualties, the Obama administration has made the sanctuary issue a major plank in its future relations with Pakistan.

    But the dithering in Washington over the future of US policy towards Afghanistan is leading to greater justification by Pakistan and other neighbors of Afghanistan to hedge their bets for the future in case the Americans withdraw or reduce their commitment, by backing once again their favorite Afghan proxies just as they did during the 1990s civil war.

    Pakistan has been saving the Afghan Taliban leadership for just such an eventuality. But now Iran, Russia, India and the Central Asian states are all looking at their future in the country in the light of a US lack of resolve to stay the course in Afghanistan. US relations with Pakistan’s military remain troubled – everyone knows that it is still the army and not the civilian government that calls the shots when it comes to policy towards India and Afghanistan.

    However it is the worsening relations between the civilians and the military over domestic issues that are causing growing consternation at home. It is unlikely that General Kayani would like to overthrow the civilian government, but the army is resisting any attempt by the civilians to change the broad ambit of foreign or domestic policy.

    Zardari is known to want peace and trade with India, an end to interference in Afghanistan, improved ties with Iran and better relations and more aid from the West to strengthen the economy and democracy.

    However, Zardari’s attempts to build up public support for these logical civil demands have been stymied because of public disillusionment with the civilian government, which is considered to be corrupt, ineffective, incompetent and unwilling to rebuild moribund institutions of governance.

    The key to future stability is to bring the army, civilian government and the opposition onto one page with a common agenda to fight extremism, while amicably resolving other internal disputes, but so far that looks extremely unlikely.


    Ahmed Rashid is the author, most recently of "Descent into Chaos: The US and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia."

    Asia Sentinel - A Fractured Pakistan Fights for Survival
     
  21. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    Will Pakistan Break Up?

    George Perkovich, Selig Harrison Wednesday, June 10, 2009 – Washington, D.C.

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    The United States should support the implementation of the provincial autonomy provisions of the 1973 Constitution to reduce the dangerous growth of ethnic tensions that threaten Pakistan’s survival, and should condition future aid on action to disarm Lashkar-e-Taiba to prevent a new attack on India, recommended Selig Harrison, director of the Asia program at the Center for International Policy. In a session moderated by George Perkovich, Harrison discussed his latest report, “Pakistan: The State of the Union,” which highlights the dangers of ethnic tensions in Pakistan.

    Harrison explained that Pakistan is an artificial political entity which consists of four ethnic groups—Punjabis, Pashtuns, Baluch, and Sindhis—that have historically never co-existed in the same body politic. Punjabis, with 45 percent of the population, dominate the Army and the state, and treat the minorities, collectively constituting 33 percent of the population, as pariahs, even though the minorities regard 72 percent of Pakistan territory as their ancestral homelands.

    All of the minorities oppose Punjabi domination, and the Baluch have waged a non-stop insurgency since their forcible incorporation into Pakistan. The Pashtuns have been radicalized and many driven into the arms of Al Qaeda and the Taliban by the civilian casualties resulting from U.S. drone aircraft attacks.

    Accommodate the Baluch, Return to the 1973 Constitution

    The Baluch insurgency is fueled by Punjabi economic exploitation of Baluchistan. Forcibly incorporated into Pakistan by the Army in 1958, Baluchistan has never received a fair proportion of the revenues generated by its gas supply to other parts of the country. These tensions have created political instability:

    • The Pakistani Army and the ISI have tried to divide the Baluch by buying them off, assassinating their leaders and incarcerating 900 Baluchi and Sindhi activists without access to lawyers or courts.

    • The Baluch have begun to form alliances with the Sindhis to pursue the goal of a sovereign Baluch-Sindhi federation stretching from India to Iran. This goal is not likely to be achieved unless Lashkar-e-Taiba stages another attack on India, a new India-Pakistan war erupts, and India abandons its present policy of supporting a stable Pakistan and adopts a new policy of support for separatist policies there.

    • Although Pakistan has accused India of supplying arms to the Baluch for years, these accusations are not credible because Baluch insurgent groups use ineffectual small arms. However, India could easily supply large-scale sophisticated weaponry and funds. Even without Indian assistance, the insurgents’ paramilitary capabilities are likely to increase in the future.

    • Pakistan needs to implement the 1973 constitution and devolve power to the provinces to prevent the Baluch insurgency from derailing its economic development.

    Prevent the Merger of Taliban and Pashtun Nationalism

    Harrison pointed out that only 50.5 percent of the Pashtun electorate had voted to become part of Pakistan in 1947, in a referendum which did not provide the option of an independent “Pashtunistan” proposed by the elected Pashtun leadership of the Northwest Frontier Province. Post-1947, Pakistan’s right to rule over Pashtun areas has been challenged by all the regimes in Afghanistan, including the Pakistan-supported Taliban. Pashtun resentment against Pakistan has only grown in the last few years:

    • The sense of Pashtun victimization at the hands of outside forces resulting from the drone attacks has allowed the Taliban to pose as a champion of both Pashtun nationalism and Islam.

    • If the merging of Pashtun nationalism and Taliban is to be reversed, the United States must stop drone attacks and focus on encouraging local peace deals. It must also support the political goals of the FATA Pashtuns, who do not want to be ruled by the Punjabi dominated central government, and push for the integration of Punjab FATA and NWFP.

    • The United States should encourage the creation within Pakistan of “Pakhtunkhwa,” a unified Pashtun province which would bring together FATA, NWFP and the Pashtun areas of Punjab and Baluchistan. Such support for the Pashtun desire to be politically united would improve the psychological climate necessary for Pashtun cooperation in the campaign against al Qaeda.

    Restructure U.S. Aid to Pakistan

    Harrison concluded by outlining immediate steps that the U.S. should take to reduce ethnic tensions in Pakistan and to focus its attention on Punjabi Islamist groups.

    • Implement the provincial autonomy provisions of the 1973 Constitution.

    • Reduce military aid for Pakistan substantially because it is used mainly on the India front, not the Afghan border, and the Army is the main obstacle blocking the constitutional reforms necessary to stabilize the federation.

    • Condition aid to Pakistan to disarming Lashkar-e-Taiba, which poses a greater threat to Pakistan than the Taliban. Another attack on India by Lashkar-e-Taiba could lead to Indian retaliation or support for the Baluch cause, which could lead to a break up of Pakistan.

    In the Q&A session, Harrison argued that the Al-Qaeda threat should be managed by covert operations rather than drone strikes, in order to minimize civilian casualties and radicalization of the Pashtuns.
     

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