Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Onward Pakistan

For all their faults, South Asians in general and Pakistanis in particular are steadfast. I've been pretty harsh on the Pakistani mindset of refusing to take responsibility or action for the problems facing their country. I'm not convinced that they are now taking responsibility, but at least the Army and the general population have recognized the threat the Taliban poses. They should, and I predict will, continue their actions in Swat and the NWFP, despite the increased bombings, kidnappings, and whatever else the Taliban can dream up. If they're shooting at you, you know you're touching a nerve. 
Yes, the Pakistani Army's tactics have been heavy handed, displacing 2.5 million people in order to chase several thousand. That's far from ideal, and I would certainly encourage restraint (shelling a town doesn't usually encourage your enemy to come out and fight, it only enrages and kills the local population), but the signs are encouraging. Pakistan moved several thousand troops from the Indian border, as many people around the world have urged them to do. So don't stop now because of some bombings and kidnappings.
All due respect to the very smart Amed Rashid, but Pakistan is not "on the brink" of collapse. The central government has never had much control over the NWFP, much less the FATA. The population, and perhaps just as important the Pakistani press, seem to have recognized the danger the Taliban pose and have embraced the offensive as an action that is good for Pakistan rather than doing the bidding of the evil Americans. 
Pakistan has plenty of problems, primarily the lack of good governance and the terrible economy, but the country working together against the Taliban could be a turning point. Perhaps this is what the army meant when it kept saying it could take on the Taliban whenever it felt the need. 
I will keep up the pressure on Pakistan, but they also deserve credit when they do a good job.
(image from Dawn.com, "Locals walk past an army check point, lifting up their shirts to show they are not wearing suicide jackets.") 

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