Pakistan: Now or Never?
Perspectives on Pakistan
Some people have begun to voice what has been for some time an unspoken fear in Pakistan - that of a U.S. attack.
What would happen if there were to be another big attack on the United States that is traced back to militants holed up in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas on the Afghan border?
“Such an attack would immediately trigger massive bombing and an invasion of Pakistan by the U.S. and NATO,” says Riaz Haq in his blog Haq’s musings. “It could also result in the removal of the democratically elected government and installation of a new military regime in Pakistan,” he writes. “In addition to unparalleled death and destruction, such a scenario could turn Pakistan into a failed state with widespread unrest, homelessness, poverty, hunger and disease.”
Within the United States, he says, it would mean the election of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
A New York Times report about Pakistan threatening to postpone or cancel an American programme to train a paramilitary force because of last week’s U.S. air strikes has been widely picked up in the Pakistani media.
Eleven soldiers from the Frontier Corps died in those air strikes in the Mohmand agency in circumstances that remain unclear. But the U..S.-Pakistan alliance forged after the September 11 attacks has been deeply scarred as a result, says the report. It quotes former Pakistan Army chief General Jehangir Karamat as saying that the United States deliberately targeted Pakistani forces and that there had not been a statement from the United States that this was friendly fire and that the intention was not to attack Pakistani forces.
Pakistan’s Frontier Corps soldiers and U.S. led coalition-led troops just over the ill-defined border in Afghanistan must have been barely a few hundred yards apart on Tuesday night when 11 Pakistani soldiers were killed in an air strike that has touched off a new row between the two allies.
But their accounts of what really happened in the frontier region of Mohmand are very different and sketchy, and to add to the confusion, there is a third version from the Pakistan Taliban.