Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Pakistan attacks the terrorists ?

After the devastating attacks in Mumbai late November 2008, the pressure on Pakistan escalated tremendously. For the last 2 decades, Pakistan has been using the policy of sponsoring terrorists (not only Pakistan, since after the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Pakistan along with the US and Saudi Arabia armed people to fight against the Russians, using religion as the driving force), and this is something that is confirmed by the intelligence agencies of many countries as well as by Pakistani politicians at different periods. As with many other Frankensteins that get created, this is one creation that is hurting people across the globe, including the state of Pakistan where the terrorists believe that the state is under the control of the infidel United States and that a pure religious state needs to come into existence.
All this was highlighted with dramatic effect on November 26th when a band of terrorists came to the Indian city of Mumbai, and with precision, caused major damage to the city and killed almost 200 people. Now, investigations that have been carried out (by Indian investigators and those of other countries (since nationals from other countries have also died)) have come to a conclusion that the attacks were planned by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and supported by many former intelligence officials and ex-army men. Inspite of Pakistani denials (maybe to provide the effect that the Pakistani nation does not buckle under pressure), the United States and other countries have applied a lot of pressure, and this pressure seems to be having effect:

After mounting pressure from the United States and India, Pakistani authorities raided a camp run by the militant group suspected of carrying out the Mumbai attacks, Pakistani and American officials said Monday. The operation on Sunday appeared to be Pakistan's first concrete response to the demands from India and the United States to take action against the militants suspected in the attacks, which have raised tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors to their highest point in years.
A senior Pakistani security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said about a dozen people had been arrested in the raid, which took place in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir. The raid on Sunday appeared to be the first step by the Pakistanis that at least tacitly recognized the American and Indian claims. Counterterrorism experts familiar with the behavior of the Pakistani security services said there was a need by Pakistan to be seen to be doing something to alleviate the American and Indian pressure, as well as to avert the possibility of an Indian military strike.

However, the reality is that Pakistan is facing tremendous pressure, which is limiting the ability to do much:
- For the first time, US and other western tourists were targeted, and given the soft nature of these targets, a successful attack such as this will make these tourists seem more susceptible to such dangers
- Pakistani politicians, because of their past projection of India as the enemy, cannot afford to be seen as acting against so-called Kashmiri freedom fighters under US pressure
- The Pakistani military as well as the Government are financially strapped and need desperate financial support (especially when China and Saudi Arabia have refused to provide support)
- The military has just shown how powerful it is in the running of the country, and it would seem that the civilian leadership is buckling under the pressure, especially with the ISI being seen as a rogue party
- These militants, at the same time attack many Pakistani interests (including a much higher rate of suicide and other bombings)
- The incoming US administration comes in with the understanding that Pakistani was deceiving them in terms of previous efforts against the militants, and a lot of the aid was not used as the way that the Americans intended
- The US remains dependent on the Pakistani authority for the war against the Taleban, given that the last few days have seen the support convoys for the Americans in Afghanistan getting attacked in Peshawar

With all these factors, many of them at cross-purposes, it is hard to really guess what the Pakistanis will do. For their own survival, and under tremendous US pressure, they need to show action, while carrying the military along, and yet the public projection should be as low key as possible to avoid being seen to be acting under foreign pressure.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 7:04 AM