It seems that terrorists have succeeded in creating a rift in the coalition against terrorism as two important partners in the war on terror are now becoming bitter enemies. Now Pakistan forces have been ordered by the government to fire at the helicopters or drones found entering into Pakistani territory. The incident of firing at the NATO helicopters in Waziristan tribal region by Pakistani security forces has created great terror and fear in tribal areas as now the tribesmen see imminent war between Pakistan and United States. This time the battleground will be again the tribal areas.
On the other hand Pakistani security forces have failed to halt the rapid advancement of terrorists. Security agencies failed to stop suicide bombers. Officials within the Pakistani administration have still been facilating the terrorists. There will be no denying the fact that Pakistan has been passing through a very critical time. Newspapers comments and editorial have been discussing the situation, but no one knows the solution. Daily Times in its editorial discussed the situation.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's cabinet meeting of Wednesday is making waves in the country because it "expressed concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the country." - It clearly attributed the Marriott Hotel tragedy to "intelligence failure."- The words used were "miserably failed"- and "get your act together"- in regard to the acts of terrorism taking place in the country.
The prime minister pointed to the heart of the problem when he sternly directed that "law of the jungle cannot be allowed to persist and we are deeply concerned about the life and property of the people of Pakistan."- The meeting also looked into the kidnapping of the Afghan ambassador-nominate from Peshawar and took due note of the increasing dereliction on the part of state institutions.
The cabinet in Islamabad is confronted with a general breakdown of the state. The collapse that was at least three decades in coming gathered momentum on clearly defined lines after those who ran the state de facto decided to adopt policies that came to threaten the ability of the state to control its institutions. After 2001, however, the state was required by the international community and the UN Security Council to re-establish its writ. That was the moment when Pakistan began to realise that it had allowed the internal sovereignty of the state to erode beyond the point of return.
Today, it is Punjab, the best-governed province in the late 1990s, which is fraying at the edges, administratively. According to a report, efforts by the chief minister, Shehbaz Sharif, to whip the province into shape are coming up against obstacles. It is quite obvious that the bureaucracy is not responding to the chief minister as effectively as it did a decade ago when he acquired the reputation of a good administrator. It has required constant shuffling of officers to arrive at the right level of competence. But even then the tendency among the officers is to seek transfers out of Lahore rather than face up to a system that has broken down.
The road to this loss of internal sovereignty began with jihad against the Soviet Union and then against India, which created several centres of power away from the state institutions. Those who dealt with these anomalies in state authority developed an independence of policy-making which divided their loyalty and inclined them to challenging the writ of the state on the basis of morality rather than law. When democracy returned in the 1990s, it found its playing field thoroughly skewed. But fragments of order still survived and governance was still possible.
It is in the eight years of General Musharraf that the mind of the state institutions began to be infected. Institutions became unsure of the morality of their conduct, and individual functionaries of the state were enabled to think in opposition to the policy of the state. Not only was the authority of the state weakened, it was used by individual functionaries in accordance with their own thinking. This began concrete with the decision by General Musharraf to employ a policy of strategic ambiguity vis-à-vis the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The unfolding of Musharraf's policy took place in the open, under the adversarial scrutiny of an independent media and subject to the review of an exceptionally independent Supreme Court. The judiciary at the lower levels was already hamstrung by the inability of the state to protect the judges against the violence of the "banned"- jihadi militias; the Supreme Court now began to question the legal clarity of actions taken by state institutions against individuals thought to be challenging the country's law and order. This bred a lack of moral certainty among the state functionaries. In many cases it bred the routine of not taking action on orders issued by the government.
The media challenged everything because of its inherent function of acting as a protector of the public good. Not only the people but state functionaries also absorbed the message of the media that seriously called into question the legality and morality of most decisions made by the government under General Musharraf. Moral uncertainty gradually developed into the slogan of "take no responsibility"- and "avoid taking action."- The civil service drew in its horns after the implementation of the scheme of devolution of power to local governments.
The intelligence services were not immune from this conflict between the functionary of the state and the state itself. In fact they were the state institutions that directly handled the process of creating additional centres of power in the country. They never intellectually dissociated themselves from their charges after 2001 when the orders went out to fight them in the war against terrorism. Therefore, far from being a solution, they are a part of the problem now. The state used to employ "informers"- in pursuit of its security; today it may have to contend with "informers"- inside it.