The Pakistan Army and civilian democracy

April 28, 2009

The Pakistan Army has been getting a lot of flak over the past week or so for its alleged failure to take a tough line against Taliban militants expanding their reach across Pakistan’s north-west.  And although Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani issued a statement promising to fight the militants and security forces began a new offensive, doubts remain about the military’s willingness to take on Islamist groups that it once nurtured as part of its rivalry with India.

Among a spate of articles about Pakistan’s powerful military, Newsweek ran a piece headlined “Pakistan’s Self-Defeating Army”. It argued that far from serving as a bulwark against chaos, the military had helped destabilise Pakistan by undermining the development of a civilian democracy in the decades since the country was founded in 1947.

David Kilcullen, a counter-insurgency expert, called during a Congressional hearing for “fundamental, root and branch reform of the Pakistani military, and bringing it firmly under the authority of civilian elected officials”. Arguing that U.S. aid should be channelled into building up the police rather than the military, he said this ”would protect the Pakistani people, improve counterinsurgency performance, enhance the rule of law and weaken the stranglehold of the army over the civilian leadership of Pakistan.”

The arguments in favour of civilian democracy were well rehearsed when President Pervez Musharraf was forced out of office last year, and then endorsed by the administration of President Barack Obama. Kayani himself has so far stressed his commitment to civilian democracy. So to some extent the latest talk about the role of the Pakistan Army is a rehash of old news.

What I have not seen however, is a coherent and clear explanation of how the army is supposed to do more in fighting the Taliban, while also doing less by subsuming its power to that of the civilian government. Were the civilian government determined and united in fighting the Taliban, there would be no contradiction – in a constitutional democracy, the army is supposed to follow the orders of the political leadership. But there seems to be something of a suggestion creeping in that the army should be ready to take the initiative, with or without the backing of the government.

My impression, and readers will correct me if I am wrong, is that this suggestion crops up far more in the foreign media than in the Pakistani (English-language) press, which acknowledges the ambiguity of an army that is supposed to rescue Pakistan from the Taliban while also reducing its power.

According to the Daily Times, “the army cannot act in a political vacuum at home. It cannot fight a war on which there is no national consensus, and politicians are scared of losing popular support if they stand up to the Taliban challenge”.

Dawn newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying before the latest offensive that the Pakistan Army had said it would launch a new military operation only after clearance by the provincial and federal governments.

Before everyone piles in with comments, this is not meant to be an exhaustive piece about the role of the Pakistan Army (defence analyst Brian Cloughley has a round-up on the Bradford University website for anyone who wants to read more.) What is interesting is the ambivalence of the outside world about what the military should be doing. Should it only obey orders from the government? Or is it seen as the ultimate safety net that would guard Punjab (and Pakistan’s nuclear bombs) if the Taliban posed a real threat – even at the price of launching a coup?

Fox News had an interesting line in a follow-up article on its interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she fretted publicly about the keys to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of the Taliban and al Qaeda.

“A senior U.S. official travelling with the Secretary said whatever concerns Washington has about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal are longstanding and unrelated to the Taliban’s recent advances,” it said. “The official indicated that if the Taliban were to succeed in toppling the government of Pakistani President Ali Arif Zardari, the United States believes the likeliest event would be a coup by the military similar to the one that placed Pervez Musharraf in power in 1999.”

So which please? Does the United States want the army to cede ground to the civilian government in the interests of the long-term stability of Pakistan? Or preserve its power, just in case everything goes wrong and it needs to step in?

Comments

Myra
Rightly so, the Pakistan Army is wise enough not to plunge itself fully into an unpopular war. We all know what happened when US Army did that in Iraq and its outcome. If I remember there were large scale anti-war rallies in London and elsewhere in the world and every one shouted ‘no war for oil’. For the Pakistan Army to conduct any largescale military operation, which may risk Pakistan going into civil war-like situation, the government of Pakistan needs to garner political support and mobilize the people. The civil society needs to come out on the srteet like when they did in March to have the independent judiciary restored. That is the kind of mobilization we need before Army can act decisively against Taliban. As for the will and capability of Pakistan Army, here is the official statement after Hillary Clinton stated that Pakistan is abdicating to millitant, Army chief gave an official statement and said Pakistan Army is both willing and capable and that Pakistan and its people are capable of dealing with any challenge in the world:
http://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o= t-press_release&date=2009/4/24

Pakistan Army has a very sound chain of command, it was demonstrated during the 1999 coup, while Army chief Musharraf was returning on a commercial Pakistani flight from Sri Lanka, his plane was not allowed to land in Karachi. The captain radioed Karachi ATC, word got out like wild fire. Within minutes the entire Army mobilized on orders given by Musharraf who was in the cockpit. The Army’s 111 Brigade in Rawalpindi secured Islamabad and key installation arresting the civil leaders. The corps commander of Karachi got control of Karachi airport and within minutes the plane landed. There is never a chance of breakdown in chain of command in the Army. However, the US would like to see more junior officers ousting the seniors one in a coup and military take over and create a real strong front against Taliban. Such an attempt would be disaster. Also, as long as the civil leasders do not unneccessarily interfere with the Army, the Army chief stated it wants to work under civil leadership.

Secretary Hillary Clinton is simply over panicking about Pakistan, with all the fear mongering going on, can someone imagine an unkown layman to get hold of a warhead, have access to the Codes, and launch the nuclear device, how? on an F-16 or a ballistic missile? I mean one needs training and capability.

The Newsweek article, well I dont agree with it, while yes the Army did undermine deomacracy to an extent. But than did India do any less harm, right after independence in 1948 there was war in Kashmir. Pakistan never got full share of finances, the new nation couldnt get on its feet so easily, there were enormous problems in initial years. Lets not just put all the blame on the Army. Also, the article argues that Pakistan’s internal security role must be given to an paramilitary force like in India under interior ministry, we saw how flawed that was when Mumbai was attacked and NSG Commandoes were stranded at New Delhi airport because they did not have their own jet to fly to Mumbai and deal wth the crisis.
Handing over nukes to civilians in Pakistan? hmm, can we trust the leadership here, we all know the Zardari led government has to show lot of competence and integrity to prove to the people of Pakistan its abilities.

For now there is no simple answer as to what kind of policy US wants to have towards the Army. The Army itself is of the view that it will survive at the cost of absence of US aid, but it will certainly not risk loosing valueable men in an unneccessary conflict seen as ‘America’s war;.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Ordinary folks in Karachi have resigned to the misfortune of a Taliban take-over. They wait with fear. After the brutalizing in Karachi, I guess there could be a government change in Islamabad and another truce with Taliban would follow. Such a course would mean doom for Pakistan.

Posted by Rashid | Report as abusive
 

Myra wrote, “What I have not seen however, is a coherent and clear explanation of how the army is supposed to do more in fighting the Taliban, while also doing less by subsuming its power to that of the civilian government.’

Myra any defence analyst or military officer can give your a fairly simple response to that question. In any insurgency, you have to lead from the lowest level organizations. That would be local law enforcement authorities (LEAs). The Army should only be taking on areas where the insurgency has fully taken root. The west is re-learning these lessons in Afghanistan (after learning them in Malaya, Iraq, Algeria, etc.). Pakistan has yet to grasp them. While in Afghanistan we have to rely on the military option because we are still building up the police force, in Pakistan there is no excuse. The Paks have starved their police forces to build up a military which is focused on war, which in all likelihood is not going to come any time soon.

The government of Pakistan has to move to start re-building local governance not just for law enforcement, but for education, health services, justice, etc. That’s when this insurgency will be solved. Otherwise, the pot will just continue to heat up until it boils right over. At that point, Pakistan could have the largest army in the world and it won’t make a lick of difference if the threat is internal….after all could the Pakistan Army kill Pakistanis? Even if it was to save Pakistan? We’ve seen their performance on this issue to date. Better to change the paradigm. Make it a law enforcement issue. And then the cops can take on the Taliban who will deal with them according to what they are: an insurgency that basically acts like a criminal organization with an Islamic veneer.

To do this of course it requires the Army to ceede authority to the civilian government. Not just titular authority but a real transfer of power. This means having to go through things that the armed forces of other democracies experience: ie. parliamentary control of foreign and defence policies, parliamentary control of defence budgets, adherence to government policies and guidelines on operations, strict adherence to government instructions on internal operations (counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism).

Perhaps, if the Pakistan Army had a little more respect for the Pakistani government, we would have seen more than the tepid show they put on in Buner.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Myra I am sure that at some point or another you have had or will have the opporturnity to chat with LGen Talat Masood (ret’d). I have chatted with him twice on this issue. And on both occassions he was quite open and fortcoming. In his view, Pakistan continues to fail because the Army does not let civilians governments learn and make mistakes. They make a few minor mistakes and the Army uses them as excuses to overthrow the government complaining about how corrupt the politicians are…Of course, the generals never discuss their own personal wealth in public. It’s quite curious to see Generals who are so exceptionally wealthy in the military of such a poor country. After overthrowing the government, the Army sticks around for a bit, till it makes itself unpopular and then brings back democracy. Of course, the civilian politicians have been out of practice. They will naturally screw up again in short order, which will then give the Army the excuse it needs…..rinse and repeat.

Doesn’t the phrase go something like this, ‘Most countries have armies. In Pakistan the Army has a country.’

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Keith I would like to contest your following points:

1. In any insurgency, you have to lead from the lowest level organizations. That would be local law enforcement authorities (LEAs).

2. The Paks have starved their police forces to build up a military which is focused on war, which in all likelihood is not going to come any time soon.

look, Keith most of your reasoning holds true regarding Pakistan Army respecting the civil leadership and I agree to that, it should be that way in an ideal situation.
However, on above two points, look Pakistan since its inception faced real threat from India, thats why the LEAs were neglected while focus remained on the larger threat India and consequently all resources went to strengthen the Army.
And, If you think India and Pakistan are not likely to go to war, wait for another Mumbai style attack on India and see how soon the fire works begin. We are as ready as the threats are real. And if there is any absurd notion that nuclear weapons will not be used in an Indo-Pak conflict I would challnege those. After loosing half of its state to India in 1971, if someone thinks India can again try another misadventure and Pakistan will not use nukes than you are mistaken. For Pakistan its a matter of use it or loose.
Most hurdles in the way of policy of Pakistan to fight the millitants are due the historical and geo-strategic nature of different aspects of the Pakistani state, its external threats, its internal dynamics. The insurgency in Pakistan is far more complex and we need to get back to basics to solve it. If the west think it can be impateint and loose nerve, than go ahead by all means. Than see how you loose whatever current leverage youo have over Pakistan, and I bet you will regret what happens after that. There is ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING the west can do except for working together with Pakistan.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair writes: “After loosing half of its state to India in 1971, if someone thinks India can again try another misadventure and Pakistan will not use nukes than you are mistaken.”

These guys are itching to use their nukes without realizing the long term effects. The India-paranoia is haunting them to the core. Looks like India really has rattled them without doing anything. They are psyched to such an extent that they are pointing their gun at a rope thinking it is a snake.

If an ordinary citizen of Pakistan can talk this irresponsibly about the nukes, one can imagine how safe the nukes are in this rogue country. It is time a concerted effort is made to take the nukes out of such nations. These guys are very emotional and lose their minds very quickly. It runs in their blood. Emotions and power do not mix. Emotional people kill first and think next.

India does not have to repeat a Bangladesh episode again. It is going to happen on its own. And there is no need to waste money and resources for the eventual end. I don’t think the Taliban will take over Pakistan entirely. But it will surely weaken it considerably. Their military is shaking in its pants already.

 

Keith
“And on both occassions he was quite open and fortcoming. In his view, Pakistan continues to fail because the Army does not let civilians governments learn and make mistakes. They make a few minor mistakes and the Army uses them as excuses to overthrow the government complaining about how corrupt the politicians are…Of course, the generals never discuss their own personal wealth in public.”

You seem to be very anti-Pakistan Military despite being allied to it. So let me defend Pakistan Army here, when you try to hijack a plane carrying the commander of Pakistan Armed forces who sit over a nuclear stockpile of weapons what do you expect for an Army as professional as Pak Army with an excellent chain of command ? The Nawaz led civilian govt. just screwed up and Army chief did what he was supposed to do. On one occassion an Army chief Generl Jehangir Karamat resigned due to civil politicians fighting in the 1990s. Another occassion there was a coup attempt in the Army in 1993 with a goof Lt. Gen Tajammal Hussain Malik and some other Islamist minded officers wanted to over throw the govt and tke over the Army High command and lead the Army. Purged by the ISI, again the excellent chain of command of Pakistan Army. On another occassion, the Army chief made both the Prime minister and President resign (Gen. Wahid Kakar grad command and staff college Canada) and the fools President Ishaq Khan and Nawaz Sharif had to resign.
The Army again stepped in just couple of months back to sort out the confrontation between Zardari and Nawaz Sharif and supreme court judges were restored.
Pakistan is in no position of another blunder from Zardaris. Pakistan Army! bravo. You are the saviours of Pakistan, keep firm control of atleast defence policy, I wouldnt mind if the civvies control the foreign policy.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

The entire purpose of nuclear weapons is deterrence. I would suggest to you that if you have to use them you have already failed. At the point at which Pakistan is nuking India, it will have already failed. Imagine the scenario for a second.

1) Another terrorist attack that originates in Pakistan leads to an all out war.
2) Pakistan decides that it will nuke major Indian cities.

Now what do you think will come next? Do you think the Indian Army would say, ‘They got us. Let’s call it a day.”? Of course not, they would probably keep advancing and go for the jugular. In the meanwhile, a few major Pakistani cities would probably suffer the same fates as their Indian counterparts.

Using nuclear weapons is a two-way street. There’s always a return address where the receiver and send a postcard in kind. Is Pakistan willing to trade Lahore or Islamabad for Delhi? Or what about Karachi for Mumbai? Are you so sure that your friends and neighbours are that willing to be incinerated just to see some folks they don’t know a few hundred miles away suffer the same fate?

From now on, if you are going to talk about nuclear weapons, let’s have some rationality and talk about the consequences for Pakistan in such a scenario. I am sure that Pakistani military planners do game such things out. They have worked out just such scenarios. They know that a nuclear strike on Delhi probably means strikes on both Islamabad and Rawalpindi. If I were you, I would consider the consequence of advocating for nuclear war while you live in the former.

As to the West options, sure we have to deal with Pakistan. But workarounds are being constructed. I worked on a project a few months back to start planning a northern supply route. The US has already started on that. It’s quite a big deal that these days the US is willing to work with the Russians over Pakistan. Once the supply line alternatives are developed….the dynamic will change. And I would not be so sure that the US will tolerate Pakistan’s tolerance of the Taliban. Yes, the west has to (and wants to) work with Pakistan regarding the Taliban. But the west does not want to hand over blank cheques for no real effort either.

We recognize that after the Soviets left Afghanistan, that Pakistan faced some real challenges and that there is understandably some trust issues among the Pakistani leadership about the west’s intentions. That’s why today so much aid is being put in to Pakistan. To prevent a repeat of the late 80s and early 90s. But I would argue that Pakistan’s duplicity is making the worst fears of the Pakistanis vis-a-vis the west, come true. If the ISI keeps maintaining contacts with the Taliban, of course, the US is not going to share information. They kinda get touchy when their targets reguarly seem to miss the Predator strike by 5 mins. We also begin to wonder how sincere Pakistan is when the government and Army barely lift a finger against a group that looks set to take one eighth of the country, and one which has already offered to shelter Bin Laden…in a sanctuary located within a hundred miles of nuclear weapons. When I brief senior officers on points like this, they themselves murmur whether this is a friend or a an ally. These kinds of actions make Pakistan look like a basket case which of course results in tougher conditions for Pakistan, fulfilling the Pakistani stereotype that Westerners don’t care about Pakistan but that they must deal with it anyway.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan isn’t falling
http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2009/04/27/pa kistan-isn%E2%80%99t-falling/

ANDERSON COOPER 360° CNN

Peter Bergen says with all of its problems, Pakistan isn’t in danger of being taken over by religious militants.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

I read the Amrikan certification on Pakistan not being a failed state. But one sentence in that should irk you a lot.

“Pakistan has fought three major wars with India and has lost each encounter, including the 1971 war in which one half of the country seceded to become Bangladesh.”

He says clearly that Pakistan lost all its majors war to India. This must make you restless.

 

Keith
You know very well how the Russians manipulated Kyrgyzstan and the closure of Manas Air Base. Pakistan had offered Peshawar airbase for Gary POwers for the famous U2 spy plane doing reconaissence over Russians. The Russians in return threatened nuclear retalitaion on Pakistani cities. Pakistan has a deep sense of betrayal, I see the wide gulf between us, there is a trust deficit. The Russians are selfish but they put a price on cooperation, while Pakistan has always cooperated with the west and what did we get, wheat and grain for F-16 fighter jets we paid for. Our Air Force was short of spare parts to keep the F-16s in Air, we were slapped with sanctions, we have our greviences. We want to live with honour and dignity and want to be treated equally, the Army and ISI is rightly increasing the costs for the west. Pakistanis are easy game and Russians are difficult to deal with? isnt it. They ventured into Gerogia last year with full force when Sakaashvilli made the blunder of attacking South Ossetia. What could the US do, just condemn it. You still prefer Russian over Pakistan.
Any northern supply routes running into Afghanistan will be vulnerable and stretched, very difficult to consolodate and ensure a steady supply of logistical support to International forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan acts in duplicity because the sense of betrayal is too much. Really I can tell you in Pakistan the top commanders say we could survive without the west’s aid if we have to, but we will not survive if we keep loosing our men and resources for some useless cause.

When the west thinks whether Pakistan is an ally or adversary, it should if Henry Kissinger stating US doesnt have friends, it only has interests. Probably Pakistan has got too strong to jostle with super power to protect its interests. Bravo Pakistan!

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

ou seem to be very anti-Pakistan Military despite being allied to it. So let me defend Pakistan Army here, when you try to hijack a plane carrying the commander of Pakistan Armed forces who sit over a nuclear stockpile of weapons what do you expect for an Army as professional as Pak Army with an excellent chain of command ?

The Army again stepped in just couple of months back to sort out the confrontation between Zardari and Nawaz Sharif and supreme court judges were restored.
Pakistan is in no position of another blunder from Zardaris. Pakistan Army

- Posted by Umair

I am not anti anything. I have relayed here some of the relevant points (to the topic at hand) from a conversation with a retired Pakistani general. How could that be anti Pak mil. You will notice that my example had to do with more than Musharraf’s rise. It covers the span of Pakistani history.

When it comes to the issue of Musharraf and Nawaz, I would suggest this: how would it be handled in any other democracy? Of course, in another country the PM would do no such thing. But even if the Army saw it fit to intervene, what was the need to overthrow the government? Why not seize the airfield and bring down the plane safely? Then they could have commenced some dialog on the matter. Why did the Army have to overthrow the government here? That he is the commander of a military organization with nuclear weapons is irrelevant. In any real democracy, the authorization and judgment to use those weapons would reside in the Commander-in-Chief, the President of Pakistan. If we assume, that this was the case, then Musharraf dying in a plane crash (while definitely detestable on the part of Nawaz) would represent no threat to the strategic chain of command.

You complain that politicians bicker and that’s why it’s lead to coups in the past (90s). But isn’t that what democracy is? Have you ever seen a democracy where politicians don’t bicker? Heck, I live in a country where the PM sparked a constitutional crisis to save his job. Yet, it’s not like I got together with the other captains on my floor and launched a coup. For democracy to develop, you have politicians who succeed and fail and you have to let voters pass judgment on them. Voters don’t need the Army to judge for them. They can do it themselves at the ballot box.

Lastly, even in the country with the most powerful military on the planet the civilians still control defence policy. You will notice that in most countries there is a distinct division between the armed forces and a civilian ministry of defence. The job of the armed force is to execute the policy which the defence ministry/department makes. If the US military can take direction from civilians at the Pentagon, I am fairly confident that Pakistan would survive such a process. It’s not like these policies are a surprise anyway. They come out in things like National Security Strategies, National Defence Strategies, white papers, etc.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Mauryan helps himself and lift his spirits:
“He says clearly that Pakistan lost all its majors war to India. This must make you restless.”

Actually as long as Pakistan is not failing, Pakistan stands a chance of settling all scores with India in one go. We did just that when we detonated 6 nuclear devices in one day on 28 May 1998, to settle all scores with India from 1974 to 1998.
So for now Mauryan, I am sitting back relaxed and sipping coffee.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

One last topic before I hit the sack. The issue of ‘non-state actors’. I have always been curious to hear the thoughts of an average Pakistani on non-state actors.

There was the whole show about Kasab post-Mumbai. But then the Pak government comes out and says that all this does not count because the LeT is a non-state actor.

Do citizens accept this logic? If that’s the case is it equally acceptable for groups that attack other countries as well (Taliban vs. US/NATO/Afghanistan or AQ vs. the West)? Would Pakistanis feel the same way if AQ launched an attack on a western city from the FATA? And how would Pakistanis view any attack by a non-state actor in Pakistan? Would be acceptable quid pro quo for Afghanistan to harbour Balochi nationalists who blow stuff up in Quetta? Or say the Indians starting to back other separatists in Pakistan. Would Pakistanis be non-nonchalant about any attack inside Pakistan by non-state actors from outside if they know that the Pakistani government does not accept responsibility for the actions of non-state actors who operate from Pakistan?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

The Newsweek article isn’t earth shattering. Most of those suggestions are exactly how it’s done in the rest of the world and in neighbouring India.

The point always comes up about the poor Indian response to the Mumbai attacks. But again that’s a law enforcement issue. Can anyone imagine a military deployment in New York City if the same attack happened there? No. They would send out the SWATs and bomb squads and such and that would take care of it. Worst case scenario: a few reservists or national guardsmen. Not every security issue is a military problem, if you have a well trained local police service and paramilitary force. In India’s case, local law enforcement in Mumbai was pathetic and their paramilitary forces were poorly trained and equipped for counter-terrorism missions…and poorly stationed….all in Delhi instead of dispersed throughout the country at major cities.

The separation of the nuclear programs was an interesting suggestion…it could make Pakistan a candidate for a deal similar to the one India got. Given how badly Pakistan needs more energy, I think this a great idea.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

Before talking about the usage of nukes, I suggest that you read/study the consequences. It does n’t matter which country/city gets nuked, would you support the nuclear bombing to kill innocent people/kids? Do you have some senses to think of the level of catastrophe? It ain’t as easy to see that, as writing a mindless comment while sitting in your office/room. My heart will go out if anything like that happens anywhere in the world. So, stop boasting of your country’s nukes. List the good things which you and your country has done for the world and I will be happy to applause.

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive
 

Keith,

Your point about starting with local law enforcement agencies and building upwards is a long-term solution.

My question is about what happens in the short term. Depending on who you listen to, Pakistan faces an immediate crisis which cannot be deferred until civilian institutions are built up over the coming months and years, leaving little option but to turn to the army.

More specifically, I’m interested in how the United States views the solution. There appears to be a suggestion that while civilian democracy is well and good in the longer term, it would like the army to retain its power just in case it has to resolve a short-term crisis. And that seems to be contradictory.

Umair, others,

On the question of Pakistan and India, how many troops did Pakistan move from west to east following the Mumbai attacks? I ask because I remember reading at the time that the Indian Army chief said it had moved just three brigades – or around 15,000 men. I checked myself with another analyst who said it was nearer to 17,000 men. That is nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands of Pakistani troops that were moved to the Indian border during the 2001/2002 standoff. If confirmed, it would sugggest the Pakistan Army did not seriously expect any threat from India at the time. If you have any links, please post them.

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Kiyani is the chief of Pak army but I wonder does he really conrol all the support and loyalty of the other generals?

We have seen report from the world press about how certain sections of the Army are sympathetic towards taliban. One wonders if that is the reason why the army has not thrown its full force against Taliban. There maybe other generals who probably refused to fight against taliban.

As regards to the prefessionalism of Pak Army let me quote Umair.

“Pakistan Army has a very sound chain of command, it was demonstrated during the 1999 coup”

I only wish pakistanis could understand the irony in that statement.

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive
 

Keith,

Your point about starting with local law enforcement agencies and building upwards is a long-term solution.

My question is about what happens in the short term. Depending on who you listen to, Pakistan faces an immediate crisis which cannot be deferred until civilian institutions are built up over the coming months and years, leaving little option but to turn to the army.

More specifically, I’m interested in how the United States views the solution. There appears to be a suggestion that while civilian democracy is well and good in the longer term, it would like the army to retain its power just in case it has to resolve a short-term crisis. And that seems to be contradictory.

Myra

- Posted by Myra MacDonald

In the short term, we have to accept Pakistan’s deficiencies. I think the rest of the world already does recognize many of the challenges Pakistan faces. For the near term, Pakistan will have to employ an Afghanistan-lite strategy in NWFP. Basically this means having the military conduct counter-insurgency operations, peace-support operations after that and concurrently assist in the build-up of local LEAs and other local faculties (justice, education, health care). In sum, the Pakistan Army is going to have to do in the NWFP and FATA what NATO is doing in Afghanistan: nation building. These areas were ignored for a very long time by governments of all stripes in Pakistan. Now, Pakistan will have to pay its dues and help out the people who live there. It will take blood and treasure. There’s no doubt about it. But it has to be done. Both for the good of Pakistan, and the world at large.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Nick writes: “Before talking about the usage of nukes, I suggest that you read/study the consequences. It does n’t matter which country/city gets nuked, would you support the nuclear bombing to kill innocent people/kids? Do you have some senses to think of the level of catastrophe?”

This is an effect of radical Islam on the people. Non-Muslims do not count as human beings. Killing them helps them go to Allah’s paradise. And if they die in a nuke attack, they all become martyrs and go to heaven as well. This firm belief, combined with an utter superiority complex over India/Hindu and the repeated loss of face in each encounter with India, the inability to swallow that hurt etc is burning their hearts. They have tried everything in the ACME manual like the coyote and the road runner has been running without getting hurt. So the frustration has become overwhelming and vents out in this form. Interestingly almost all Pakis are unanimous in this hatred and nuking India. But we are used to saber rattling of this kind. Their support for terrorist activities inside India and their paranoia about India doing the same to them is another example of this complex that has pushed them to the state of insanity. It is unfortunate. But it is going to get worse as their military will find it hard to contain the Taliban under international pressure and begin to fail. That frustration will need to be vented somewhere. They still live under the myth that India is a weak Hindu nation. And realization will have to come the hard way.

 

Nick – “So, stop boasting of your country’s nukes. List the good things which you and your country has done for the world and I will be happy to applause”

You hit the nail on the head, Nick. The only ‘accomplishment’ Pakistanis have had is, build nukes with stolen technology & Chinese help. They can’t talk about anything good that they’ve given to the world because they simply haven’t. Their only contribution to the world is terrorism via ‘non-state actors’. I suggest every Pakistani should fix a sticker on their head which reads “WE HAVE NUKES”. It will do wonders for their ‘low self-esteem’.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

So which please? Does the United States want the army to cede ground to the civilian government in the interests of the long-term stability of Pakistan? Or preserve its power, just in case everything goes wrong and it needs to step in?

- In the short-term, It is hard to envision Pak Army under full civilian govt control. Wiith majority of Pakistanis against WOT, for short-term benefits from US POV, US will prefer Army since it is not easy to pressurize a fully responsible strong democratic govt into decision making. Historically, a strong civil democratic govt might not have become a US ally in WOT –like Musharraf-led Pak became –since the consensus would have been against it. But throw in the leverage of economic aid, US might have arm-twisted Pak civil govt to vote into action. But this forced decision would not be liked by the Army since they are the ones who are going to be fighting this war against fellow Muslims. I will be glad if in next 10yrs Army comes under civil govt control.
It is striking how much the Army enjoys advantage over pol. leaders. What we see is that Pakistanis have a blind faith in the Army. The civilian leadership does not enjoy that benefit. Zardari will be called Mr 10% or leaders as corrupt, but Pakistani Army officers, who acc to reports are also into money making (real estates and other properties) are not seen that way by the most. Considering not-so-great report card of pak Army, it is surprising the kind of advantage Pak Army has—-Army executed popular civil leaders (eg., ZAK Bhutto), waged and lost wars against arch rival India, killed millions of its own people in E. Pakistan, lost half of the country in the process, started a terrorism-based proxy war against India and Taliban-based “strategic-depth” strategy against India, started Kargil war at the wrong time, spoiling India-Pak relations, and all these together are now backfiring on Pakistan. With these strategic blunders, Pakistan Army still enjoys the support. Of course we can say that propaganda by Army/ISI and the pride in army prevents the citizens to realize how much they have suffered due to Army’s actions. At the same time pak wants to go for democratic rule. It will take some time before Pak army offers itself to be controlled by Civil govt. But for that to happen, Army would like to make sure there is no immediate danger to Pakistan and terrorist-Army/ISI connection has to go.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@Actually as long as Pakistan is not failing, Pakistan stands a chance of settling all scores with India in one go. We did just that when we detonated 6 nuclear devices in one day on 28 May 1998, to settle all scores with India from 1974 to 1998.
-posted by Umair

-Umair: If Army Chief Kayani shares your views, that makes him a suicide bomber.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev, It’s a fact that the Pakistani army is the biggest scam artist of the world. For decades, it has fooled & misled the illiterate Pakistani population through false media propaganda against India. It has made sure that the Pakistani people always feel insecure about India & therefore look up to the army, to protect them. That’s the only way, the Pakistani army could command & justify a lion’s share of the country’s revenues & foreign aid. Like most other countries, the Pakistani army officers are not the defense professionals that they are supposed to be but rather, they are more of real estate professionals & power-brokers. Unfortunately, the Pakistani population has become too illiterate & radicalized, to see this scam & question their army. There are some liberal voices in Pakistan, who are starting to point fingers at the army but I very much doubt that it’ll catch up with the general public.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

For a Democracy to succeed in the real sense, it has to be coupled with education. Stalin was once asked, ‘Will you ever give democracy to your people?’ he replied “I will give them democracy but before that I will give them education”

If the people electing a Government are not fit enough to differentiate between right & wrong, they will always elect the wrong people. The Pakistani civilian leaders have given their army every reason to overthrow them. Whoever came to power, plundered the country & filled their personal coffers at the expense of the common man. Zardari & Nawaz Sharif are among the top 5 richest men in Pakistan. It’s not that Indian leaders are saints. We all know, India has had (& does) it’s share of corrupt leaders but the good thing with India is that with economic progress, the Indian population is becoming literate by the day & slowly but surely, I feel, the quality of the Indian leadership will keep getting better.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev,

Do remember that some analysts also blame the United States for encouraging the power of the Pakistan Army since it found it an easier partner to deal with. Tariq Ali makes the case forcefully in his book “The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power.”

What will be interesting will be to see whether the administration of President Barack Obama ends up going in the same direction, despite its commitment to democracy.

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Myra writes: “Do remember that some analysts also blame the United States for encouraging the power of the Pakistan Army since it found it an easier partner to deal with.”

The world was very different twenty years ago. Cold war was about to end. The US had the highest priority of bringing down the evil Soviet Union, if not control its expansion. In that pursuit they had to go to bed with countries they normally would not have liked to deal with – China is one. Pakistan is another. The Carter administration went down hard on the CIA after Vietnam and when the Soviet Union walked into Afghanistan, Carter had to make an about turn. Zia Ul Haq was disliked for “murdering Bhutto” and radicalizing the nation. Until 1983, the Afghan Mujahideen were fighting their own battle, backed by Pakistan. It was the efforts of Charlie Wilson, Joanne Herring and a CIA operative named Gust, who helped manipulate things due to their mutual hatred for commies, that the war began to get American support. At that time the Defense appropriations committee chairman was staunch enemy of dictators and he loathed Zia Ul Haq for building the Islamic bomb. It took Charlie Wilson to use his Israeli connections to modify and retro fit weapons and help the Mujahideen. Interestingly, the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan brought Israel and Pakistan on the same side. Wars make strange bed fellows. But it was for a good cause. The US was forced to turn a blind eye to Pakistan’s clandestine nuclear procurement. At that time Pakistan was the only conduit through which the Americans could fight the Soviets using locals for surrogate warfare. By the time the victory was achieved, Pakistan had completed its nuclear work and China provided them with a complete blue print for a 25 kilo ton nuclear bomb.

After the Soviet Union collapse, the US got too busy with other issues – helping past communist countries stand up on their feet, Iraq war, Yugoslavia and so on. The priorities were different and this allowed the Afghanistan problem to fester leading to the rise of Taliban. I wouldn’t blame the Americans entirely. Sometimes things created for a specific purpose suddenly begin to go out of hand. Look at the Taliban. It was created by the ISI to bring stability to Afghanistan and set up a friendly regime there. But Pakistan is fighting Taliban as the monster has begun to have its own head.

It is hard to blame anyone as no one foresaw what was coming. But we are in the middle of it now and something needs to be done quickly so that the future generations do not blame today’s decisions.

 

More specifically, I’m interested in how the United States views the solution. There appears to be a suggestion that while civilian democracy is well and good in the longer term, it would like the army to retain its power just in case it has to resolve a short-term crisis. And that seems to be contradictory.

- Posted by Myra MacDonald

I believe that there is a new consensus emerging among western governments that Pakistan’s civilian government needs to be strengthened and bolstered. A lot of that has come out of the experience of having to deal with the Pak Army….which any westerner who has had the pleasure will tell you that for all their training and skill, can be an incredibly frustrating experience….notice what’s going on now….we ask them to tackle the insurgency and they dispatch F-16s to drop 500 lb bombs on mud huts. There is consensus building that the return on investment could well be greater by working with the civilian government to build up local LEAs and paramilitary forces who would be far more successful in countering the Taliban.

Westerners are learning that they have to break the cycle of Pakistan’s history of alternating back and forth between military and civilian governments. Will they work with the military now? Of course. The world has no choice because they are power brokers today. But at the same time, we are starting to see a real emphasis on non-military assistance to Pakistan which will empower the civilian government and civil society. Look at recent aid announcements. Very little of it is going towards the Pakistani military. We in the west, understand that the issue is not going to solved over night. And we understand that our interests are best preserved by having a strong and vibrant democracy there. As such, I doubt that there are many who are advocating throwing the civilian government under the bus just so we can push the Taliban back a few miles.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Keith,

Thanks for your reply. I’d like to pick up on this line from you:

“Westerners are learning that they have to break the cycle of Pakistan’s history of alternating back and forth between military and civilian governments.”

My impression — although it is always difficult to tell for sure — is that the Pakistan Army is trying to do something similar by letting the civilian government take the lead.

I just saw this article from the Center for American Progress where they make the same point:

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2 009/04/first_impressions.html

The authors write that, “The risk of another coup by the Pakistani military seems minimal for the immediately forseeable future. The Pakistani military does not want to take the blame for the country’s massive economic problems or inflicting civilian casualties in operations against the Taliban. The military seems to be looking to the democratically elected civilian government for leadership and political cover, which is seen as lacking.”

As you know, for the Pakistan military to hold back and let the civilian government call the shots — possibly to the extent of letting it make its own mistakes on the Swat peace deal — is quite unusual in the country’s history.

The response from Washington last week suggested that it suddenly got very uncomfortable about this, as shown in the spate of media reports asking what the army was doing and why it was not fighting harder.

In other words, the alarm expressed in Washington was as much to do with the unfamiliarity of the Pakistan Army’s behaviour as the reality of the Taliban turning up in Buner.

As a very rough analogy, you could compare the United States to an addict which is used to depending on the Pakistan Army and, having renounced military rule, is suddenly alarmed to discover it does not have that possibility to fall back on.

I’m aware that there are lots of other interpretations, and many other factors, out there. So I’m still trying to pin this down. Maybe I should ask the question in a different way. You have argued that westerners are shifting their thinking on the balance of military/civilian power in Pakistan. Is that shift also coming from within Pakistan, and from within the army?

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Myra:
If Pakistan is still under Army rule, I do not think the primary reason is US. Yes during cold-war and in WOT it is easy to deal with Pakistan under control of Pak Army. All said and done, US experience with Pak Army/ISI this time has been bitter. Before Musharraf was arm twisted, Pakistan has been directly/indirectly courting all sorts of terrorists (Al-Qaida/Taliban and all Kashmiri terrorists) for their dumb strategic reasons against India. Pak became ally due to US anger at that time and $$$ in the process.

Whether Obama supports democracy in Pakistan or not, only time will tell. Pakistan has provided all the valid reason for US to favor democracy rather than trust double cross Pak Army/ISI. Howsoever corrupt, Pakistan politicians are better than Hamas or Taliban. They better get used to the saddle before radicals start exerting their influence.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

The Pakistan Army does not overtake,IT TAKES OVER! Their motto is :Those who dare, govern. I believe it is the most corrupt entity and solely responsible for the troubles of Pakistan.
I feel the US was right in asking the army intervene.The army is the only force which has the weapons to confront the militants.The Police and others can’t even fight small time thiefs let alone these armed,sophisticated _astards from the Tribal areas.
The army I feel is again getting into a very strong position.Now everyone will clamour around the Pak Army to do more and they would just do piecemeal attempts till the situation worsens so much that people say it would have been better if the army ruled and then there will be a military coup, maybe the army chief after kayani would be plotting it.
It’s only the love of Power which the Pak army has not the love of the country!I am so disappointed in these army generrals leading such duplicitous lives.
Disband the pak Army and start an all volunteer army.No country would want to attack pakistan,who would look after 180 Million people with 30% of them being so heavily armed etc.The army currently has the perfect scapegoat : the current government.The clock is ticking.

Posted by Suleman Maniya,Goteborg,Sweden | Report as abusive
 

As a very rough analogy, you could compare the United States to an addict which is used to depending on the Pakistan Army and, having renounced military rule, is suddenly alarmed to discover it does not have that possibility to fall back on.

I’m aware that there are lots of other interpretations, and many other factors, out there. So I’m still trying to pin this down. Maybe I should ask the question in a different way. You have argued that westerners are shifting their thinking on the balance of military/civilian power in Pakistan. Is that shift also coming from within Pakistan, and from within the army?

Myra
- Posted by Myra MacDonald

I would agree with the addict analogy and go one step further. One of my colleagues compared it to ‘battered wife syndrome’ on the part of the Yanks. The PA beats them up and after they are done crying about their abusive partner they go back for more. However, in many Americans I’ve met there’s a growing awareness that this relationship is flawed and needs to be fixed yesterday, if the west is to succeed in Afghanistan.

When it comes to Pakistan itself, it’s hard to say. There are days when I think Kayani gets it and days when I think otherwise. After the Mumbai attacks, he only moved two divisions off the western border towards India. The problem, of course, was that two divisions was a significant amount of combat power keeping the Taliban pinned down in the NWFP and FATA. On the other hand, he has done much to refocus the Army on its core mission: the defence of Pakistan…not business. Yet, at the end of the day can he truly accept that the threat within Pakistan is growing and is greater than the threat from outside? One can only guess. And this issue fundamental to civil-military relations in Pakistan.

For most of its history, the PA has justified its budgets, its corrupt practices, its ties to non-state actors by pointing east. But if the threat is inside, this has severe implications for the Pakistan Army. This means that Pakistan has to focus on the things that matter to most citizens everyday so as to head off insurgent complaints: efficient delivery of justice, provision of social services, infrastructure, etc. These are things that armies don’t do very well. Providing these services means that the Pakistan Army will have to accept budget cuts (to free up fiscal room for social programs) and a change in how they do their business. The latter change involves dropping flashy projects like ballistic missiles, new tanks, new fighters, etc. and going back to basics: better soldier kits, improved training, building up of paramilitary and police forces. That choice means that the Pakistan Army will have to accept that it cannot maintain the same level of hostility with India that it does today. Is it there yet? I don’t know. But I think the civilian government is moving there slowly but surely.

And that is a good thing for peace and security in the region….after all no two democracies (real ones where there is civilian control of the armed forces) have ever gone to war with each other.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

On a different note, Is there anyone who can throw some light on the “investigation” of Benazir assassination? With her widower at the helms, this investigation should have been completed by now. I wonder why I never heard about this.May be I missed related news!

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive
 

unable to post, test.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

unable to post, test.
- Posted by Umair

Your post must have contained hatred, insult or idiotic words

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

The whole relation of Pakistan and U.S is now interdepandant on relations of their respective Army.As far as the relations of pakistan civilian government and army is concerned it is good because of Army Chief Ashfaq Kiyani.He repeatedly said that Army is under Civilian Government and it will work under orders of Government.So those who r talking that their co-relation is strained are talking ruthless.Also the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan is under tight security and no one in dreams cant reach that. U.S and NATO had also look to this aspect that who is funding taliban in Pakistan.The answer is very clear.The Indian 13 consulates in Afghanistan are actually funding talibans in Pakistan to destabilize Pakistan and World peace.The World had to question India?Y it they are destroying peace of Pakistan in particular and the whole World in general.

 

Myra
The US wants close relations with Pak Military:
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/news/…/us-wants-in creased-ties-with-pakistani-military–szh
Views of Michele Flournoy, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

It is right that US is eager to have close military relations with Pakistan. It wants to see quick results on ground and same time it is getting impatient with Pakistan Army. On the other hand Pakistan Army is doing the right, it is working together with the civil government. The Army wants to make all decisions under political cover from the government.
But the US policy is inconsistent, they are criticizing Pak Army and want to have close relations. At the same time, US wants to strengthen the democratic government and even increase civilian assistance. So there is no clarity, some even argue that US would like to see a coup in the Pak military where more junior officers would over throw senior ones and than create a real strong front against Afghanistan.
On the other hand Pakistan is in a very precarious government, if US just keep pumping aid into a sham democracy, Pakistan will get addicted to aid. Unless US promotes responsible governance the institution building will not take place. the 47.5 billion assistance for next 5 years, if ever is misused than things will only get worse. At later stage whenever US downgrades Pakistan’s importance (though unlikely due to Pak strategic importance) US could withhold aid. At that stage if there is unrest in Pakistan it could lead to civil war like situtation.
In absence of real political leadership, the Pak Army is genuinely concerned and mindful of above factors. Therefore sometimes it’s ‘behavior’ might not be ‘understandable’. It is important for US to work with Pakistan Army and help it to do what right things it wants to do.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Taimur
I agree with you here, the US Pakistan military relations are close and entire US-Pak relation is heavily military centric.
The word is the same from Islamabad, someone(INDIA*) is supporting the millitants from outside who are creating havoc inside pakistan.
But I have always heard Indians making noise they are an emerging super power, they are very good guys, they never do bad things, infact they are saints, they are respected world wide, they are smart and responsible, they contribute a lot towards the world. How can they disturb the pece in pakistan and the world in general? I am sure if India is really supporting millitants in Pakistan, ISI must have some good strategy to counter this.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Myra/Umair/Keith et al.

@ Patience with Pakistan
–I mentioned earlier also that ~1 decade ago (Jan 2000), US under Clinton admn was advised to declare Pakistan a state that sponsors terroism—it was building up bec of nuclear proliferation but was precipitated by the reckless ISI-supported hijacking of Indian plane (Dec 24 1999)that led to the release of future JeM chief Azhar (whose right hand man killed Daniel Peral). Hijackers were all Pakistani.

A decade later situtation has become worse and same issues are discussed. Pakistan has not made any self-effort to come out of it. Pakistan has been trying to become a regional player by using terrorism as policy. not befitting a self-respecting nation. Is it not enough of patience?

If you look at it the current situation and US publically speaking about Pakistan is precipitated post-Mumbai attack (of course Mr, Obama means business). There is one difference though–Pakistan’s survival is at stake.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Myra/Umair/Taimur

@ISPR propaganda of India backing Taliban

1. During the Golden days of pakistan ruling Afghanistan through Taliban and later Taliban views India as enemy. They have no business with India but even they are further brainwashed by Pakistan by Muslim bro-bro theory that India is the enemy. One eyed Mullah Omar openly stated that. Think about Taliban/Pakistan/ISI collaboration in hijacking the Indian plane for the release of the JeM chief Azhar at Kandhar under Taliban rule.

2. Taliban openly stated that they will support Pakisan against India–Based on Muslim bro-bro (post Mumbai attack). To Pakistan Army’s discredit, the professional Pak Army has not rejected the offer till date.

3. Holbrooke Af-Pak envoy says “If the Indians were supporting those miscreants in Pakistan that would be extraordinarily bad, really dangerous, but they are not doing so. There is no evidence that Indians are support miscreants in western parts of Pakistan or in Balochistan,” he said in an interview with a private TV channel.
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp  ?page=2009%5C04%5C25%5Cstory_25-4-2009_ pg1_8

4. ISI has no proof of the allegation against India.

With all this only an insane can give this idea. ISI is not insane they know it is not true and selling the lies and since it is anti-India, Pakistanis happily buy.

Pak: Quit these talk and focus on your duties. Justify the $$$$$$ -the sweat and blood of Americans.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Taimur writes: “the Indian 13 consulates in Afghanistan are actually funding talibans in Pakistan to destabilize Pakistan and World peace.The World had to question India?Y it they are destroying peace of Pakistan in particular and the whole World in general.”

13 consulates? Where did you dig up that number? You guys are psychos. You are hearing misinformation spread by whoever it is on the street and are building up a momentum of misunderstanding and hatred towards India. Do you know how much it costs to run a consulate? We have better things to do. One guy says there are 7 consulates. Another one says 13. You guys keep increasing the number of consulates. Be reasonable. We don’t want that many and cannot afford it. So please reduce the number in your false claims. When you lie it should sound reasonable and convincing. And Pakistanis have the reputation for duplicity and lying. Look at how wonderfully your whole country dodged the truth on Mumbai attacks. Or even Benazir’s assassination. But remember one thing. Lies repeated over time become truths and such truths lead to self destruction. You are already witnessing it.

 

“The Indian 13 consulates in Afghanistan are actually funding talibans in Pakistan to destabilize Pakistan and World peace.The World had to question India?”

Idiocy at its best.

Where are these 13 consulates ?

Do somebody has addresses ??

Poor ignorant pakis.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

I asked that idiot Umair to provide the names of the cities in which the 7 alleged Indian consulates are in Afghanistan. I wanted him to provide non-Pakistani source of reference. The guy slipped off quietly and never raised that topic again. But he still believes now that there are about 7 to 13 Indian embassies inside Afghanistan whose only goal is to dig Pakistan’s grave. If this was the goal, the idiot does not wonder why we have to go to Afghanistan to do it? We could do it from across our borders that we share with them. These guys are so warped that they can only think along warped lines.

This is the human psychology. If one is a pathological liar, he will think everyone else so a liar. If one is a criminal he will always blame others for being one. Pakistanis are in this state of mind. They have learned the art of deception, sabotage and insurgency. So they think everyone else is doing the same. They share a mindset similar to that of the White supremacists who believe in the superiority of the Aryan race and think the world is out to destroy them. They motivate their youth to go and attack others and live in denial. I see no difference here. But here an entire nation is doing it. But these beliefs lead to self destruction and we are seeing it already. I feel sorry for them.

 

But here an entire nation is doing it. But these beliefs lead to self destruction and we are seeing it already. I feel sorry for them.
- Posted by Mauryan

What can you expect, when on every Pakistani TV or radio channel & newspaper, all you have is Retd. Generals & politicians concocting conspiracy theories & blaming India for all problems 24/7? The Pakistanis on this blog are simply parroting what they hear all day long on media channels and from family & friends. It seems, Pakistanis have simply lost the ability to differentiate between fact & fiction and they simply aren’t rational enough to question the misinformation, they are fed on a daily basis. It’s sad!

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

“if one is a pathological liar, he will think everyone else so a liar. If one is a criminal he will always blame others for being one. Pakistanis are in this state of mind. They have learned the art of deception, sabotage and insurgency.”

Mauryan,

Lieing, and lieing especially against worthless Kaffirs like you is just and religiously sanctioned and so is blame, that is the game to avoid shame. Entitled hatred of non members means you can lie and deceive, twist the facts and it is not considered a sin to most pakistani’s.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

So much for Islamic brotherhood in the paradise called Pakistan. In their lingo it is called kissing in public.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/80 25903.stm

 

Myra,
@Role of LEA and paramilitary force for internal security
—-One example of the use of police/paramilitary forces (minimal use of Army) for successful eradication of terrorism is the Indian Punjab—the Sikh militancy (for records: supported by Pakistan 1980 to mid 1990s). DG Punjab Police KPS Gill led state police fought from the front, supported by central reserve police force. Indian Army was used mainly for operation “blue star”. Initially State police was no match at all and low on confidence and not good enough to fight terrorists with superior fire-power. Gill introduced advantages of army into well-trained local police for anti-terror operations. Matching fire-power was introduced into police & army played the role of training ~6% of the state police and young/energetic civil volunteers in SWAT tactics. Police had advantages of better intelligence network and information gathering. Education institutions-terrorist networks were broken. All this tilted the balance in favor of police. Political support came late-but it did come, eradicating this terrorism. Political mistakes started this terrorism and political support finished this terrorism. But bad guy was seen as bad guy not a fellow co-religionist. That is a difference in Pakistan’s case—fellow Muslim stuff. In Punjab KPS Gill, himself a Sikh, took it upon himself since he knew the psyche of the terrorist.

For Pakistan, the problem has been the lack of will and sincerity. Military or paramilitary question comes later. For now, their answer lies in the Army.

1. Any one: Is radio in SWAT still singing or jammed?
2. Is neutralizing Taliban and other militants on the West Pak enough or will Pak have to clear up Kashmiri terrorists too?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev asks: “Is neutralizing Taliban and other militants on the West Pak enough or will Pak have to clear up Kashmiri terrorists too?”

They are all the same, to be used interchangeably in Kashmir, Swat, Afghanistan etc under the carpet to subvert nation building efforts in Afghanistan and cause trouble to India. The presence of US too close to their borders has caused the terror elements to stagnate and cause a blow back. So I do not know how many they really are eliminating. They will not want to reduce their stock for Kashmir operations. So ISI must be trying to redirect them towards Kashmir in order to buy peace inside Pakistan. But I do not know how much the Taliban will trust the ISI. The Taliban is becoming like Sant Bhindranwale, who began to take off on his own after gaining power. So it is going to be difficult for them to contain this monster. Kashmir is relatively silent now, if you observe. Usually one sees escalation of activities by the spring season. But Swat has turned the attention inwards. Pak will never clear up any terrorists. Terrorism is a weapon that they have relied on since the Soviet departure from Afghanistan. Their goal now will be to somehow diffuse the internal tension and redirect all of it towards India/Kashmir. This will give them a lot of breathing time and help restructure everything so that Buner like blow backs do not happen. They must be working on strategies to keep the efforts focused towards India/Kashmir without raising the attention of the US and its allies. India’s RISAT is going to be a problem for them. It will slow them down. In the past the US turned a blind eye to everything in Kashmir. Now India has the support of the US. So the Pakistani military/intelligence system must be spending sleepless nights trying to work out a strategy to channel the Taliban, dodge the Americans and use them for their covert operations inside Afghanistan and Kashmir. Their patience with democratic government must be part of a plan to wait out the American departure from the neighborhood. With economy on the edge, it is possible for a quick American retreat. So there is a moderate Taliban being projected for them to get fooled. And their clients Al Qaeda might help by increasing insurgency in Iraq to divert troops and efforts over there. They are trying to tire out the Americans by taking some hit on themselves. They probably believe that it will help them in the long run. No matter what happens, they do not want to lose sight of their goals against India and the control of Afghanistan. If a few soldiers and ordinary citizens die, they have no value for such things. To me the whole thing looks like a well planned and staged drama. The jackals are up to something.

 

Q: “Is neutralizing Taliban and other militants on the West Pak enough or will Pak have to clear up Kashmiri terrorists too?”

@They are all the same, to be used interchangeably in Kashmir, Swat, Afghanistan etc under the carpet to subvert nation building efforts in Afghanistan and cause trouble to India. The presence of US too close to their borders has caused the terror elements to stagnate and cause a blow back.
-posted by Mauryan

Mauryan/Myra/Keith:
WE know that all these bunch of terrorists which are used by Pakistan are all the same and from Pakistan POV they are targeted against India. West wants to neutralize the Al-Qaida, #1 terrorist organization, and its host Taliban. Their reason: 1. If not eliminated A-Q will attack the West and 2. This is especially dangerous bec of NUKES in pakistan that may land in terrorists hands for the dirty bomb etc. OK, Makes sense. Assuming their objective is achieved: A-Q is finished (Although I don;t know what that means and how it will be known. Myra/Keith can help here) and Taliban are finished and/or rendered powerless. Does that mean now this trillion dollar operation with so many lives lost (troops and civilians) in WOT has given enough guarantee to the West to sleep peacefully? In my view—NO.
Acc to US think tank, Islamabad is loosing its grip on Kashmiri terrorist group LeT. Lahore attack was by them.
US labels LeT as #2 (after A-Q) terror organization with global goals meaning after A-Q is gone, LeT will be #1. I think these Kashmiri terrorists will be a threat to the West, are becoming a threat to Pakistan. The only country who is used to them is India. How would the US/West they deal with this.

With oxygen supplied by US, IMF and FOP (and CHINA of course) Pakistan is surviving. Pak economy forcast is bad. Tighten this noose around Pakistan’s neck to finish Kashmiri terror group. From what we have seen the West does not prefer this approach. Turn LoC in Kashmir to international borders and have 2 kashmirs lole 2 Punjabs. Public will not mind that since they have witnessed mayhem by Taliban’s power in Pakistan and they will not like to see that by Kashmiri terrorists now. In the end all said and done people want peace.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev,

The west has no interest in tackling anything but AQ. The Taliban sided with AQ and that’s why they are on the sh*t list. Had they handed over all of AQ and dismantled their training camps, etc. immediately after 9/11, I really doubt the US would have gone in. Mullah Omar overplayed his hand. He thought he could take on the Americans just like he took on the Soviets (he forgot that he had a superpower backing him then). And so we are where we are today. The only reason we are in Afghanistan is because we want to make sure the country is not a safe haven for AQ again.

LeT is not a concern yet. They don’t operate like AQ. There are characteristics that make AQ particularly dangerous:
1) AQ does not have a core cause or goal. It just wants to kill westerners and non-muslims
2) AQ is ethnically diverse, which means that they can operate anywhere making it possible to migrate should another failed state be available to migrate to. Right now the FATA is good but Somalia is mentioned occassionally.
3) AQ sets up franchises. AQM, AQI, etc.

LeT as of yet, is largely a problem for India and increasingly Pakistan. And it is largely based in a state where the government is still functioning. There is no need for outside intervention. If the Pakistanis have the will they could wipe out LeT fairly quickly. AQ would be far more challenging.

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