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Guest Voice

Pakistan's Zardari Goes to Washington

By Mansoor Ijaz

Pakistan has a split personality problem. Its citizens can rise up en masse on one day to depose a military dictator and reinstate honest judges, but the next day seem helpless to stop politicians from ceding strategic territory to enemies who publicly flog a 17-year old woman as a show of justice. Most American taxpayers, who are being asked to finance aid even as the country disintegrates, don't have the faintest idea how to decode what's really wrong there or where to begin to help. President Zardari could change that during his upcoming visit to Washington - but it would require his bold domestic leadership and a new direction for Pakistan and its relationship with the U.S.

Pakistan's central problem today is the systemic failure of its federal, provincial and local governments to provide for its citizens' basic needs, whether public safety, healthcare, education or employment. The Taliban is stepping in to fill that void. Hamas did the same in Palestinian enclaves throughout Israel when PLO leadership failed to offer disenfranchised Palestinians a structured way of life. You've heard it before: security is assured, albeit through intimidation and brutality. Basic daily staples like food and clothing come from Arab-financed hawala cash transfers. Education comes from Saudi-funded madrassa schools. Legal disputes are settled through harsh Islamic laws. Only geography makes the Pakistani case different from that of the Palestinians.

To make matters worse, America's visible role in Pakistan's internal affairs only helps the Taliban's cause. Pakistan's woefully inadequate leader, President Asif Ali Zardari, has been privately lectured and publicly admonished by Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. Those lectures have made him look like an American stooge playing to the often conflicting ways in which Washington wants Islamabad to act.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials order more drone attacks on Taliban and al-Qaeda hideouts, knowing their exhortations are falling on deaf (or worse, impotent) ears. Unannounced U.S. military actions make Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, army chief of staff, appear weak in his anti-terror campaign when in fact he is simply waiting for the civilian government to order him to take action. Unannounced drone attacks also raise serious questions about Pakistan's sovereignty. Innocent civilian life lost in each strike creates more Pakistani anger and frustration, almost all of which is galvanized by Pakistan's political opposition and unleashed on the cowering Zardari. He then runs to Washington for more aid to shore up defenses designed to attack his people even more savagely and indiscriminately.

This is not what American taxpayers signed up for. We need a different approach.

The Taliban movement in Pakistan must be destroyed at all costs. Pakistani politicians of all stripes have finally realized the severity of this threat (which must seem especially dangerous now that Taliban forces have gained so much ground that they could soon aim rockets and grenades at politicians' Islamabad homes from the surrounding hills.) They also know that the Pakistani army is the only institution capable of taking on that threat. And they have legitimate justification for doing so, since the vast majority of Taliban mercenaries are foreigners (Tajik, Uzbek, Afghan, etc.) operating on Pakistani soil. One can only imagine how Pakistani politicians would react if Taliban fighters were of Indian origin.

Forging political consensus in Islamabad that empowers Gen. Kayani through civilian orders to take back his countryside is the most urgent priority. Before Zardari heads to Washington (so not a single action he takes is seen as American puppeteering), he should call a meeting of his political allies and opponents, including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan's chief justice, Iftikar Muhammad Chaudhry, to agree to a way forward.

They should openly and unanimously declare that foreigners who conduct Taliban military operations are enemy combatants against whom all armed state action is justified. After that declaration, I propose they pursue this agenda:

-- Pakistan's corps commanders begin "Operation Zero Tolerance" to forcibly take back land politically ceded to Taliban forces in Swat Valley, just as they have begun taking back Taliban-infested areas in Buner district over the past two days, and to root out the Taliban in any other areas of the Northwest Frontier Province currently under their control.

-- Pakistani intelligence begins "Operation Clean Sweep" to disrupt supply routes and dramatically reduce the inflow of men, armaments, munitions, cash and other supplies that sustain Taliban operations.

- Pakistan's National Guard (with approximately 185,000 active duty personnel) and Frontier Corps (with approximately 60,000 active duty personnel) mobilize in tandem with army battalions to help citizens to return home and resume their daily lives - in essence, providing the same healthcare, public safety and basic staples for everyday living that the Taliban now offer.

--The leaders ask for India's assistance on intelligence gathering and for a firm commitment from India's army chief that while Operation Zero Tolerance is in progress, there will be no border movements by the Indian Army, no matter how heated the political rhetoric during India's current election cycle.

--The leaders seek NATO assistance in Afghanistan to close supply routes along the Afghan-Pakistani border, potentially moving up the announced time frame for U.S. deployment of 20,000 U.S. marines and soldiers in Helmand, Kandahar and Zabul Provinces in Afghanistan to restrict the poppy trade's cash flow to the Taliban.

These are bold steps by any measure. When Zardari arrives in Washington, he will need American help to turn that boldness into action. We should give it to him without the traditional strings attached; constrained American aid in small doses has simply not worked so far. Pakistan's army is not equipped to handle guerrilla warfare. American military aid should focus exclusively on first equipping and then training Pakistan's army in anti-guerilla battle tactics, rather than on providing F-16s, high-tech military upgrades and other traditional tank warfare armaments - even if that training must occur outside Pakistan.

America needs to help Zardari implement a national rehabilitation plan that focuses on aid for key government services to his fellow citizens. Congress's aid package, due for a vote while Zardari is in Washington, should include a component that funds Pakistan's equivalent of the Army Corps of Engineers, employing trained army personnel who would help reconstruct affected rural areas to improve poor infrastructure and living conditions for their fellow Pakistanis. We should send our nurses and doctors to Pakistan to help improve its healthcare infrastructure. We should send our teachers armed with books, pencils and paper pads to teach Pakistani children what madrassahs cannot or will not. We should offer assistance to Pakistan's robust agriculture sector so it can provide more food for its people. We should send ambulances to its cities and large volumes of medical equipment to its rural areas so health services reach even the poorest. USAID and other NGOs could handle the disbursement procedures, but the end objective should be to change the mindset of Pakistanis about why and how America cares for Pakistanis by giving our tax dollars in direct, tangible ways that visibly help people restore their lives.

Before leaving the United States, Zardari should make one very personal concession. Once every week, for two to three days, he must go to a remote region of Pakistan and live amongst his people. His people will follow him and work hard to restore Pakistan's place in the world when they know he is prepared to sacrifice, even if briefly, what they have had to sacrifice for an entire lifetime.

It seems incomprehensible that gangs of well-armed, black-turbaned mercenaries can bring such a dynamic and capable country to its knees. Pakistanis must stand together and resolve to take their country back. America must give them every resource possible to ensure that happens. Pakistan's resurrection will stabilize a region that is home to one sixth of humanity - no price is too high to pay for that goal.

Mansoor Ijaz, an American of Pakistani descent, is a venture capitalist and financier.

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Comments (37)

apjunkmail Author Profile Page:

Pak military and its proxies like Taliban will not be cooperative unless they are made to understand what they will progressively loose by not cooperating, NOT what they will gain by cooperating. We have tried the latter over last 8 odd years. Return of NWFP , Baluchistan and FATA to Afghanistan must be put on the table, it will provide the leverage US needs . It will either shock pak into compliance or Afghanistan gets access to Arabian Sea. Either outcome is pretty good. Bottom line for Pak is if they cannot control their own country they do NOT deserve to keep it in the current format. It must be rearranged. So smaller nation states that are created in the process will opt for peace.

pervezak Author Profile Page:

The Indian bloggers should not forget the Indian role in breaking up Pakistan. They should not forget their deafening silence when the Soviets rode down the Salang highway into Afgahnistan. They should not forget the mess they have created in Kashmir and nuclearizing the sub- continent.
The bloodletting of Indian muslims on regular basis. If they think that by destabalizing ( meddling in Baluchistan,Funding MQM and now Taliban) Pakistan, they make India safe ,they are mistaken. Pakistan will pull through, I have no doubt about it. Time is on Pakistan's side. Kashmiris will rise again, they want their birth right...self determination. A thousand cuts they say.. well who is cutting whom.

mohandjk Author Profile Page:

Another thing. It is very likely that, as the Pakistani Army puts the heat on the Taliban, the Taliban will seek relief by creating incidents to provoke a military confrontation between India and Pakistan. Again, this is something that can only be managed if the Indian and Pakistani security establishments establish extremely close communications and some degree of trust. I don't know if that's possible to do given all the conflicts of the past, but that is what the situation calls for. I hope they are working on it right now behind the scenes. These are surreal times for the subcontinent. This thing has taken 30+ years to build-up, and we'll be fighting it for the next 10-20 years. Get used to it.

mohandjk Author Profile Page:

Responding to some comments by other readers that India cannot trust Pakistan and shouldn't give the commitment that the Mansoor Ijaz is asking for. I disagree. Times change.

If Pakistan falls to the Taliban, this will be a major threat to India. The countries of the Indian subcontinent are tied together in their fate. As Indians, we can wish this were not true, but it is. If Pakistan collapses, there will both be an issue of extremism as well as separatism inside Pakistan. There is no way that the Baloch, Sindhi and other issues wont ignite. And history teaches us that when a large state like this in the subcontinent collapses, there is usually a chain reaction in the other states as well. What follows is a period of civil war and uncertainty.

It is overwhelmingly and obviously in the Indian interest that Pakistan secure its territory and establish a stronger state. The Indian government recognizes this, I think. Their issue is that they believe that the Pakistani army and other agencies are internally split. This may be true, but this Zero Tolerance thing looks like a serious attempt by the responsible players to establish the rule of law throughout Pakistan.

I think it is fine to establish some ground rules and extend cooperation to the Pakistani Army. Give them the space they need to carry this out and offer security guarantees on the Indian border so they can do this in a focused way. To Indians who oppose this, I would like to ask: Have you seen that girl being flogged in Swat? No matter how much you dislike Kiyani, do you want these madmen in control in Islamabad? I am afraid that too many people on both sides of the border only recognize a 60 year pattern and cannot see that something very dangerous to both sides has developed that DEMANDS that we break out of that pattern and cooperate. We don't have to like it, but we're going to have to do it.

MarkLai2 Author Profile Page:

Mansoor Ejaz says, "Ashfaq Kayani, army chief of staff [...] is simply waiting for the civilian government to order him to take action."

Really? Tell me, since when did a Pakistani COAS let a civilian government "order him" to do anything? Civilian politicians are convenient whipping boys in Pakistan, to be discarded when no longer useful. The army is everything.

I think Mansoor Ejaz is not facing up to the real problem, which is that the Pakistan army is internally half-hearted about the job of fighting the Taliban. No amount of money from the U.S. is going to fix that problem. And in fact, it may make things worse.

acpress Author Profile Page:

Mr. Mansoor is venturing into a territory beyond his reach based on expertise. Policies by world powers are not based on legitimacy of public needs. Iraq did not have WMDs but removal of Saddam was necessary and who can explain that a Shiite Iraq is a better choice? If Pakistan did not have nuclear power it will be ignored thoroughly. If Iran is not likely to develop a nuclear aresnal, it will be cajoled.People like Shah, Karzai and Zardari are stooges to deliver imperial interests. And that is all that matters. The day these interests are not served Pakistan will be dissolved and those days seem closer everyday.

DebChatterjee Author Profile Page:

Mansoor,

I hope you are right. But you know what: if wishes were horses, pigs would fly !

Pakistan was founded on anti-India/anti-hindu hatred.

Pakistanis would support militancy in the name of Islamic justice to oppose the existence of Kashmir with India. Militants (like Talibans, LeT, JeM) shall NOT evaporate. They are central to the existence of Pakistan. Whenever Pakistani govt. senses trouble, a terrorist attack in India like 11/26 in Mumbai will be staged to whip up anti-India passions. Worst still the Govt. would invite slaughter of its own citizens, and then blame it on India supporting Talibans. This tactic is well-known. That announcement ffrom the Pakistani govt. sets the stage for increased hostility between India and Pakistan, while the actual (social/infrastructure) problems of Pakistan remains unsolved.

The phoney baloney of "UN referendum/plebiscite" of 1949 is the rallying call for all Pakistanis, educated and illiterate. Little do they understand that to hold the plebiscite the *original* ethnic population needs to be restored according to UNHRC.

However aside this rallying cause, based on anti-India/anti-Hindu hatred, Pakistan is essentially a failed theocratic state. Both India and Pakistan had been given relief from British rule in 1947. What has happened since ? Pakistan has been functioning the way you have described, while India has soared high and is at least doing very very well. And, to remind you, Pakistan's SWAT valley disaster is its own doing; Pakistan had incorporated application of the Sharia laws in its Constitution to give it the "true character" of an Islamic Republic. That's why USA cannot ask Pakistan not to allow implementation of the Sharia, though USA is morally opposed to supporting a theocracy. If Pakistan does nlot have that provision in its Constitution, please enlighten me why then all head honchos of Pakistan have failed to oppose the Sharia's long arm - Islamic justice. (The SWAT valley fiasco is a direct product of such legal sanctions. The Taliban has a moral right to claim Sharia's rule -that's ingrained in the Pakistani Constitution.)

You know what, Mansoor ? I am afraid to travel to Pakistan declaring that I am a Hindu. But, I am sure that you as a Muslim shall not sense that fear and uncertainity in India, even if Indians know that you are a Muslim-American of Pakistani origin.

balasrini1242 Author Profile Page:

while the venture capitalist is theoretical&plan of approach is very american,the ground reality in pakistan is totally opposit,just like day here is night over there.
the whole pakistani problem is mainly due to "MANGOES".too much of it causing both verbal and anal DIARROEHA.that sad country has to develop a MIND,which has to think in order to CHANGE.all that is lacking just like so many other thing like the concept of "LIVE&LET LIVE".so it has to pay for its sins of both omission&comission to rise again if it can.

manishyt Author Profile Page:

www.dailyexception.com

For Mr Ejaz to say that General Kayani is just waiting for the order from the civilian government beggars belief. He knows full well that Pakistan's Generals havent waited for orders from civilians for 60 years. I have no doubt at all that Mr Ejaz knows this very well, so whats his motivation? This article is stunning in its deceit

manishyt Author Profile Page:

Is Pakistan’s Offensive Against the Taliban For Real?
www.dailyexception.com

On the surface, it appears that Pakistan’s military has finally decided that it is its job is to defend the Pakistani state. So, has Pakistan turned the corner? We think not. There is absolutely no indication that the Pakistan security services have made the necessary changes for the country’s long term security situation to improve. We do not believe that Pakistan’s military can continue to back one set of Islamist groups formed to fight in India and Afghanistan while waging war against another set of Islamist groups that have their sights set on destroying the Pakistani state. These two sets are intimately connected by blood and ideology. So, even if the Pakistani military stops the geographic expansion of some “bad” Taliban fighters in the North West Frontier Province in the short term, their continued sponsoring of other “good” Taliban groups will ensure that over the longer term the Taliban in general will gain recruits across the country, including in the major towns and cities.
http://dailyexception.com/2009/04/30/is-pakistan%e2%80%99s-offensive-against-the-taliban-for-real/

evenadog Author Profile Page:

This is a bunch of nonsense--and offers a glimpse into the delusional thinking that is characteristic of hedge funds folks.
First, Zardari is unlikely to be around in six months--the corruption has returned in spades and the economy is in near complete disarray. Second, there is no will to commit these sorts of resources to the task; in fact, there is widespread sympathy for many of the hard line Taliban positions. Third, there is no rational reason or political support for massive infusions of cash to Pakistan and any support is guaranteed to be fritted away as all aid to Pakistan is. Most importantly, however, the US must never agree to cease efforts to neutralize terror leaders; in fact , the effort should be stepped up. This author's claims that ending the attacks on terrorists by the US would somehow --magically--garner support within Pakistan for anti terrorist activities is simply absurd and delusional.

wasaUFO Author Profile Page:

Is Pakistan a friend or enemy ? . They've given the bomb to Iran & North Korea. They don't seem to like any kind of war with the Taliban. I realize they have Nuclear weapons, "BUT" are they our friend or Allie ? Seems to me the only diplomacy we have with them is to keep the money flowing. We're lots better friends with India, why not strengthen this friendship ? Oh yea, Pakistan is a Muslim country, I believe India is Hindu ? There wasn't anyone from India involved in 9-11 ... for some reason I feel India is a lots better friend, also more trustworthy.

adam20 Author Profile Page:


Hearing Pakistanis go on and on about being victims of the cold war is like hearing grown ups blame all their problems on bad parenthood.

Pakistan did what it did to help us in the cold war because it was in its own interest as well.

President Zia did what he had to do FOR PAKISTAN.

Stop the fussing and beggary for money and fix the problem.

adam20 Author Profile Page:


His solution is "They should openly and unanimously declare that FOREIGNERS who conduct Taliban military operations are enemy combatants against whom all armed state action is justified."

Stubborn refusal to accept that these are PAKISTANIS.

And this guy is their "intelligentsia".

We need to send these guys and their nukes back to the stone age. They are dangerous and stupid.

thetrajectory1 Author Profile Page:

Firstly, I would disagree that the people of Pakistan are helpless. The protest in favor of the CJ was supported by politicians for their own benefit and thus received much media attention. On the contrary the 'post protest' of the people in Lahore (http://thetrajectory.com/blogs/?p=473) was a similar expression of people's powers but did not receive any media attention. Its not the people of Pakistan, but observers of Pakistan who are to blame for selective emphasis.
Secondly, President Obama needs to emphasize in his interactions with President Zardari that 'AFPAK' is a strategy perspective for dealing with Afghanistan and the U.S. policy with regard to Pakistan goes beyond the concerns of AFPAK. (http://thetrajectory.com/blogs/?p=494)
President Zardari and ambassador Haqqani are using AFPAK strategy to potray Pakistan as a ticking bomb and wrestle concessions from the international community.

mosmond Author Profile Page:

I agree with Mansoor Ijaz on some issues he's addressed in his article. We must not forget that the Pakistani army has always played a bigger role in there local politics and to save the country from corrupt politicians.
We must not forget that the Indian government will have to play a bigger role since they have been supplying the talibans with guns and ammo through afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan. It's a fact reported by the MI5 and the CIA but still nothing has been done to solve this issue.
The Pakistani Army is a very powerful institution that doesn't require direction or permission to take action. There job is to defend there land at any cost. History shows that they are capable of taking care of business but they require proper leadership and equipment. The American government should support them in all there military needs. This is a global war!!!

desi2 Author Profile Page:

I am sorry but your esteemed guest columnist does not know how democracies operate when he makes the following statement -

"The leaders ask for India's assistance on intelligence gathering and for a firm commitment from India's army chief that while Operation Zero Tolerance is in progress, there will be no border movements by the Indian Army..."

The Indian Army chief takes orders from the Government of India not the other way around like in Pakistan. So the Indian Army chief does not make these decisions without the order from the peoples representatives. I guess his statement/proposal is either meant to be a satire, or sarcasm, on Gen. Mush's misadventure to attack Kargil, or the coup to remove an elected government, or the general meddling of ISI and Pakistani Army in government affair since Pakistan was created.

maz1 Author Profile Page:

From a Pakistani perspective Mansoor Ejaz has woefully lost the plot completely. While I agree with him that Zardari is ‘Pakistan's woefully inadequate leader’ (putting it too mildly that is!) but for Ejaz to maintain that: “Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, army chief of staff…is simply waiting for the civilian government to order him to take action” can only mean that Ejaz is living in cloud cuckoo land.

When it comes to mismanagement and corruption the Pakistan Army has always given a free hand to the politicians to disgrace themselves, but when it comes to matters of defense policy, any politician who dares interferes in such affairs is tossed out like four day old fish. Let me simply quote from today’s UK Telegraph which puts it a nutshell by stating:
“[US] Officials said that Gen Petraeus and senior officials in the Obama administration believe that the Pakistani army, led by Gen Ashfaq Kayani, is "superior" to the civilian government.”

It is not the corrupt/incompetent, etc Zardari-led Government that has been dillydallying about the Taliban - as they have no authority over such matters as you ought to well know Mansoor Ejaz - it is the Pakistani Generals themselves.

XMLMaestro Author Profile Page:

Root cause of the problem is giving so much importance to religion. One should keep it at personal level and not at national level.

Everyone knows that Taliban and Al Qaeda uses religion and/or Sharia as a ruse for destruction of civilization and Pakistan is the one which is bearing the brunt to begin with. In the process, Pakistan suffers from serious identity crisis.

US may have used Pakistan as a pawn in Cold-war era but that was about 20 years ago.

I do not believe Pakistan needs aid from US or any other country. In fact, no aid the better. That is one way for Pakistan to getting self-identity and dignity.

bosworth1 Author Profile Page:

Pakistan and Afghanistan problem was well addressed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,and Defense Secretary Robert Gates,before the Intelligence Appropriation Committee.However,the failure to look at their approach in an "HISTORICAL" context will not solve the problem,which Secretary of State Clinton,and Gates try to outlined in depth.Even though their approach is correct,it will take "Courage" to implement,given past mistrust.Notwithstanding,
Secretary of State Clinton,did articulate vociferously on the past policies of America, in that region,during the Russian's invasion.Thus,it is my hope President.Obama,will take the initiative on their recommendations,which is smart power,a phrase coin during his campaign,now adopted by Gates and Clinton.My view is,Stans,war can come to conclusion this year.How?
Contact:follywood@verizon.net

outlooker Author Profile Page:

No one is disputing Pakistan's role in ending Soviet expansionism, but what were the means used to defeat them? Jihad? When you want to unshackle a captive nation and make it part of free world you need to make the people do precisely based on those ideals and not based on religious fanaticism! That is what is the bit that has gone wrong here.

nrmr44 Author Profile Page:

An impressive list of duties, indeed, for the American tax payer! Send doctors, nurses, teachers, military trainers, etc., etc., etc., so that 'dynamic and capable' Pakistan will 'stand together and resolve to take their country back'? You mean, Mansoor Ijaz, that they refuse to do so otherwise? America is to virtually adopt Pakistan? So that that can serve as the excuse for its next step along its current trajectory?
Ashfaq Kiyani is sitting back so America can reflect on its recent lectures to him re democracy and civilian rule. He will move against the Taliban when he has the keys to government. Till then, Pakistan can fry!
Pakistan's stature as a modern 'nation' can be judged by the fact that in 62 years of self- administration it has spawned three contending centers of government - civil, military, and now religious. Even Saddam and Gaddafi did a better job of governance!
If Pakistan is to survive as a concept, Mansoor Ijaz, it will have to develop a sense of identity -- and it will have to do so all by itself. After 62 years of precedent, are you still optimistic?

taykaaf Author Profile Page:

Good job Mansoor! However, while you were at it, you ought to have refreshed the so-called Free-
world's memory as to what Pakistan has done for them. Haven't you noticed that the media has
simply deleted an entire decade(remember the 1980s? Does anybody remember the Soviet invasion
of Afghanistan after which the entire Free World
had gone knocking at Pakistan's door?). Not
long ago a Pakistan hater even "accused"
that country of being solely responsible for the
Soviet debacle in Afghnistan!!!!!!!!!!!
As for Pakistan haters of Indian descent(many of whom post here regularly and spend all of their free time spewing venom against Pakistan), they
ought to be thanking Pakistan on their bended knees. If it wasn't for Pakistan, they will still
be stuck in their old Socialist economy. India
is a country which,ironically, has benefitted the most from the end of cold war, while Pakistan has
been left to grapple with the debris left from
two proxy wars that were foisted on its unsuspecting populace.

windofchange Author Profile Page:

MAY GOD HELP US

mahaseer Author Profile Page:

Bearing in mind Pakistan's agenda to 'bleed India with a million cuts', it is relevant to ask whether or not Pakistan would move its army on the border if the shoe was on the other foot. Pakistan's proven duplicity suggests it would foment maximum trouble for India if the situation was reversed.

The Pakistani mindset is one of denial and blaming India for their problems. Denial kills you twice - once because you are physically unprepared for the moment of truth (Taliban at Islamabad's gates) and might die in the incident; twice because you are psychologically unprepared and, even if you survive, you are likely to be a psychiatric casualty when your house of cards collapses.

As a consequence of denial, Pakistan lies bleeding, and only Pakistanis can determine if their country lives... or dies.

outlooker Author Profile Page:

This is where the global jihad started in the name of freeing Afghanistan from Russia. It is not to say that it was bad to free Afghanistan. For years US glossed over the means to a self-serving end and encouraged short cuts and that is coming back and biting it. It is like lighting a small fire in a seemingly local powder keg successfully used to achieve a quick result and the thinking that it is insulated by continents and oceans. Not so in this 21st century. This outlook needs to be changed if it needs to survive and finally it is time to realize that means are the end.

Left to itself Pakistan would have evolved much better by itself, but for the muddle-headed support by US to any one who outwardly usurps it's interests. Means are the end.

khopdi Author Profile Page:

Pakistani intelligence agency (ISI) is actively helping Al-qaeda and Taliban. Unless and until they are stopped, there is no point talking peace in Pakistan.
NATO forces are helping Pakistan with arms and ammo. But eventually all that stuff is going to get in the hands of Al-qaeda and Taliban.
Anyway, good luck Pakistan.

allaboutchat Author Profile Page:

G___R
If all goes well for Obama,(according to his plan),the US will control the Mideast in 3 years?
At the very least his plan to abolish -religion and tradition- which will be replaced with global law; far reaching as it is, maybe our future reality.
I think it is more about making disposable friends in order to carry out "the dirty work" avoiding direct responsibility.
His skillfull manipulation of the media and the American public is reaching deep into world affairs at an alarming rate.
Remember we voted for "change" that would end the US expansion into the Mideast, we are seeing the opposite, but his followers (former war protesters) are now supporting a far more reaching plan then G.W.B had in mind.
Are we part of the problem or the solution?? The media is buzzing about the WOMD argument all over again. Are we headed into Pakistan ?

nasirdesai Author Profile Page:

One of the best article I read after long time. God Bless Pakistan. Only Alla Bless Pakistan

you-dont Author Profile Page:

Schizophrenia is wrongly mislabeled as a 'split personality disorder', when it's really a detachment from reality. The Pakistani people aren't displaying a split personality when they rise up against Musharraf but fail to react when Zardari cedes ground to Taliban - actually, they're being quite consistent. They rose up against Musharraf not because he was a dictator, since they actually supported his dictatorial coup, insisting that it would keep the trains running on time. No, the Pakistani people only got tired of Musharraf and rose up against him, when they saw he was becoming the American stooge to fight their beloved Taliban. Like the Middle Eastern proverb - "me against my brother, me and my brother against my cousin, me and my cousin against the infidel" - so too will the Pakistani public side with the Taliban against the infidel, even if they do otherwise chafe under Taliban's puritanical repression. Thus, the Pakistani public's non-reaction to Zardari's concessions to Taliban are completely unsurprising. This is the cognitive dissonance that all blindly populist totalitarian ideologies suffer from - including Islam.

conman29 Author Profile Page:

From the looks of it, it seems like the Army's just preparing ground for another coup in Pakistan and it will probably be the n'th time this is happening.

Little else can explain the loss of ground which an army claims it can easily win back especially when they know the terrain and people.

The U.S. has enough on it's hands right now with the home economy needing a push rather than spending money on bottle-feeding a foreign nation which has shown lack-lustre interest in defending itself in the first place - the Taliban isn't exactly using F-16s.

What Pakistan lacks right now is a unified purpose amongst the decision makers and more importantly the all-powerful army's blessings

abby0802 Author Profile Page:

If you allow terrorist organizations to exist and thrive in your country then your country will pay the price. Pakistan has turned a blind eye to the presence and actions of terrorist organizations. Now the government is facing a power struggle as those same organizations they allowed to exist in their country seek to wrest power from the government. I doubt if the government can even trust the military to support the government.

I cannot conceive of any responsible entity sending in help to Pakistan when the government and the military preferred to let the terrorists live and thrive in their country, when the government and military preferred to make "deals" with terrorists who seek to overthrow the government.

What is sad is that this situation could have been prevented if Pakistan had chosen the rule of law and honest and fair government and treatment of its citizens.

What is saddest of all is that the people of Pakistan and its neighboring countries will suffer while those in power in Pakistan no doubt have their secret bank accounts and alternative safe places in which to live.

aqilmund Author Profile Page:

The attitude of SPAMDUMP2718 is what has gotten in this mess in the first place and will keep us stuck. With great power comes great responsibility and America has never shirked it duty. I agree with Mr. Ijaz's article but what he failed to mention is the role of the clerics. As the recent speech by the Ameer of the Tablighi Jamaat mentioned what the Taleban subscribe to are not the teachings of Islam. It is purely a power play by those with guns using the shield of religious obfuscation and would not work but for the total failure of the state of Pakistan to provide even the basic needs of its citizens. The American government if it truly wants to help will go to its Arab allies like Saudi Arabia and have the Imam of Ka'aba and the Egyptians to have the Jamia Alazhar and to India and have the Islamic council in Deoband use the much maligned fatwas to assure those in the Pakistani population who may see this as a religious fight. Everyone in the country realizes that the Taleban are a threat to Pakistan and the region but who will stand up and proclaim them the enemy. Those in the ISI or Army headquarters who may have any sympathy with the Taleban cause are sure to be disgusted and afraid of the methods of the Taleban and if given the right cover and protection from the flanks could now be extremely useful in helping crush this aberrational movement and perhaps enable Pakistan to get rid of these foreigners (including the Afghans) once and for all. It is no help when the Pakistani public hears that India has 17 consulates in Afghanistan as compared to 5 in the USA. A destabilized Pakistan will be a threat to everyone including Iran, India and China. And my country can forget bringing back its troops from Afghanistan except in abject defeat and humiliation. I strongly believe the US armed forces deserve better.

subhajit_dasgupta Author Profile Page:

When you suggest that India commit not to make troop movements along the Pakistani border while "Operation Zero Tolerance" is in progress, do you mean that India should commit to this even when Pakistanis carry out terror attacks in India? After Pakistan's track record of aiding and abetting the Taliban and terrorism in India, I see a certain justice in seeing Pakistan getting a taste of its own medicine. As an American taxpayer, I would hesitate to give Pakistan a single dime in aid that cannot be audited, monitored and proven not to have been used to fuel terrorism in India or pocketed by its corrupt leaders.

rajeshraina_dr Author Profile Page:

As thou hast sown, so shalt thou reap. Pakistan must understand that what it is facing today is partly of its own making !

spamdump2718 Author Profile Page:

A further point: American nurses, teachers, etc. should not go to Pak, since that country cannot guarantee their safety, and many of them will merely become kidnap victims held for torture, ransom, and beheadings.

spamdump2718 Author Profile Page:

I disagree with this proposal. The U.S. is too bogged down in (and can barely deal with) Iraq and Afghanistan, which have much smaller populations.

The U.S. must not get involved in a civil war in Pak, a country with 160 million people. The only legitimate interest of the U.S. is to control Paki nukes, fighter jets, and missiles (none of which serve any role in a civil war anyway). This can (only) be done by buying off those in command.

Let the Paki pieces reassemble themselves with their own internal friction and chaos into one or more new political entities that will pose less of a risk to the world. The U.S. cannot and must not dump money into the endless hole that is Pakistan.

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