Threatening statements of Pakistan and Indian leadership have created great stir and terror in the minds of the people. Both the countries have been hinting at the possibility of using nuclear weapons. Most of the tribesmen think that if India and Pakistan start a war this will be the success of terrorists. The people of tribal areas situated on the Pak-Afghan border are already at war, but the expected Indo-Pak war has created more terror in their minds. According to the tribal areas, both the nations can use the nuclear war. It is true terrorism exists in Pakistan, but no one can deny the fact that this menace has also roots in India. How the terrorists had made their way to Mambai from Pakistan? It is certain that they will certainly have connections with the groups active in India. Terrorism is an international problem.
If the world wants to control terrorism then it should strengthen the administrative system in tribal areas. The army cannot control the situation alone. The United States can play a big role in this regard if it is really serious about eliminating terrorism. The people of tribal areas have attached great expectation with Obama as most of them see him a savoir. I think the United States has been playing a positive role as now the situation has begun to become normal. A newspaper commented on the present situation.
The temperamental Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who does most of the tough talking from India, says “no ultimatum has been given to Pakistan to act against terrorists”. If that statement is challengeable, what he says next can be taken as normal and even helpful. He concedes that Pakistan has committed not to allow its territory to be used for terrorist activities and that “India would share whatever information Pakistan required once the investigation was over”.
To confirm that the threat of war from India has subsided, the Indian and Pakistani Directors-General of military operations (DGMOs) talked on the Islamabad-New Delhi hotline on Sunday. This signals the end of the period of threat in South Asia.
The international community has weighed in against India’s policy of escalation against Pakistan, and that should make us realise that Pakistan should never isolate itself internationally by issuing belligerent statements. Hence the PPP government should be congratulated for adhering to a moderate line while public passions were understandably high in the country and accusations of “speaking for India” were being levelled against it. Now that things are back to normal, and Pakistan’s commitment against the terrorists in no way diminished, one must think of Pakistan’s other trouble.
A suicide-bomber has killed 34 people including four children at a polling station in Buner in the Malakand-Swat division as the by-election for a National Assembly seat was taking place there. The killers were the very members of the local Taliban militia that the Buner community had challenged some months ago by killing six of them for brutalising the local population. The incident reminds us that we have to face up to this far more dangerous challenge within the country. The battle in the Malakand division has not gone well amid rumours that we might have withdrawn some troops to beef up our defence against a possible Indian attack on the eastern border.
The world wants us to do what we know we have to do to survive as a country. We have to take in hand the war against the foreign and local terrorists and in doing so we have to eliminate those who strike across our borders and endanger the security of our neighbours in the region. There is no doubt that we have to collaborate with India and earnestly pursue the punishment of anyone found to be involved in the Mumbai attack. The international community that has pressured India to back off today will be relentless in its insistence that we do what we have pledged to do.- Advertisement -
The pressure will be considerable because of our economic plight. We are in serious trouble with 12 to 14 hours of nationwide load shedding cutting at the base of our industrial production. The financial breather we have got in the midst of fears of bankruptcy has come in the shape of a deal that we have made with the IMF. It is all very well to unleash the “kashkol” rhetoric on the TV channels, but the reality is that the IMF package will go some way in pulling up our credit ratings. As we approach macro-economic stability, and the memory of PAF flying its fighter aircraft in our skies fades, economic activities can go back to normal.
In the days to come, Pakistan will have to give up the jingoism that conceals our economic weaknesses. Because of the economic turndown, the government’s tax-receipts are going to decline and there will be less money available for development and for repairing our abysmally damaged infrastructure. Oil will be cheap for some time but our capacity to narrow the payments gap will be equally minimal. We will not be able to improve our income tax collection and that includes taxation in the agricultural sector where we expect to see growth. The problem number one will be our war against terrorism in the Tribal Areas and its containment.
Political instability has been our drawback for some time. It persists today as the politicians jostle each other for the upper hand in their drive for power. The biggest danger is their relapse into patterns that they have sworn not to repeat after the Musharraf interregnum. Playing off the army against the incumbent government should be avoided at all costs as that will erode our capacity to liberate the state from the clutches of those elements that the world will have to confront in the final showdown if we fail. Pakistan can get out of its current difficulties if the politicians make the right decisions.