Posted on 30-10-2009
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

A comment to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her refreshingly frank tour of Pakistan has irritated me more than it should.  During an exchange she was told that Pakistan “was fighting America’s war”.  As Clinton herself acknowledged, the United States did abandon Pakistan when the Soviets left Afghanistan.  But Pakistan’s current situation is the result of the terrible choices made by its security and political establishments in the past 20 years and beyond.  Pakistan’s failure to create a viable educational system or develop its economy delegates a vast section of its population to madrassas where they emerge as radicalized youth with no career skills ripe for harvesting by terror groups.  Pakistan’s security establishment turned a blind eye to many of these groups because they could be used to bleed India in Kashmir.  The ISI created and funded the Taliban’s rise to power in the 90s and Pakistan was one of only three countries (along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) to recognize that brutal regime.

After 9/11 the Musharraf dictatorship avoided many hard choices with respect to the terrorist establishment and in fixing Pakistani society.  Instead, it used American aid replenish its military arsenal against India.  Pakistan has been riding the jihadi tiger for the last 20 years and is now finding out that it is very hard to get off without being bitten.

For the  last decade the Pakistani establishment has acted as if it could continue business as usual in launching terrorists against India and pretending all was well in its unruly Northwest.  The American drones were used because the Pakistani army would not or could not launch anti-insurgency operations in Waziristan.  After the Mumbai attacks last year and with the increasingly brazen attacks on army and civilian targets inside Pakistan in the past few months, it is clear that things have to change.  Its time the Pakistani people stopped blaming everybody else and took a close hard look at the ruin they have created from its founder’s dreams.

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