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Pakistan overplays its hand

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A Pakistani soldier poses for a photo under Pakistan's national flag planted atop the Baine Baba Ziarat mountain in Swat district, during a trip organized by the army May 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed/Files

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Pakistan is reportedly calling for a reduction in U.S. drone missile strikes against terrorists sheltering in its tribal border areas, greater transparency from the CIA regarding its counterterrorism activities inside Pakistan, and a reduction in U.S. military trainers in the country.

Following a meeting in Washington between the director of Pakistan’s intelligence service, Shuja Pasha, and CIA Director Panetta on Monday, a Pakistani official told The Washington Post that the CIA must share more information about what it “wants and is doing” inside Pakistan, adding, “They have to stop mistrusting [Pakistani intelligence] so much.”

The problem is that Pakistan’s handling of recent terrorism cases and its dealings with the Afghan Taliban have done little to inspire the trust Pakistani officials seek. Pakistan maintains links with the Afghan Taliban as well as deadly militant groups, such as the Haqqani network, that are responsible for some of the fiercest attacks against coalition soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan.

Growing religious intolerance in Pakistan spells demise of democracy

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Christians shout slogans to protest against the killing of Pakistani Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti during a demonstration in Lahore, March 2, 2011. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Today’s murder of Pakistani Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti by religious extremists establishes a pattern of growing religious intolerance. It is undermining Pakistan’s struggling democracy by shutting down free speech and political expression in the name of a ruthless ideology disguised as religion.

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