Af / Pak International Affairs — 28 September 2008
The Pakistani Crisis

The recent explosion at the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, has further highlighted to the West, the importance of Pakistan in the War on Terror.

There has been extensive talk among Western policy makers and think-tanks on how best to combat the rising levels of resistance in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

There have been a range of suggestions involving the use of soft and hard power, with the US favouring the use of hard power, which has characterised the War on Terror.

To date, the use of hard power, through military attacks by NATO and Pakistan forces has been witnessed in the tribal areas, such as in Swat and Bajour.

These attacks have done nothing but further destabilise a country that is already suffering from a growing socio-economic crisis and political mismanagement by the new coalition government.

Due to the growing crisis in Pakistan, there is the need for tough choices to be made by the Pakistani political elite.

Either to continue with its pro US foreign policy stance and collaboration in the War on Terror or pull itself away from the US and develop a foreign policy which centres on Pakistan’s independent interests at the national and strategic level.

It appears that President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilliani seem to be continuing with the same foreign policy of President Musharraf, and visits by Zardari and Gilliani to Washington have clearly pointed to this.

This is no doubt counter productive to bringing stability and security to Pakistan as the US views Pakistan as a key battle-ground in the War on Terror and is increasingly exercising its military muscle to further its cause, it much the same way it did in Iraq.

This is of no benefit to Pakistan or the region, as the outcome of US led violence has historically and currently been nothing but instability and insecurity.

Pakistan is confronted with serious domestic and international pressures and after over 60 years of independence, it still remains precariously fragile and unstable. Pakistan requires fresh thinking if it is to move out of this dire situation, and mist avoid repeating the sham democracies, military dictatorships or subservience to foreign interests that have bought it to it knees.

An alternative political model not just a superficial change of faces is needed, and it is my contention that this solution needs to be premised on Islamic political thinking, which has a history and resonance with the people of Pakistan as well as a track record of success particularly in multi ethnic regions. On this, I will elaborate further in my up-coming articles.

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