Can Pakistan be saved ?

“The Pakistan of the Army, followed closely by the Pakistan of the civilian politicians, has long put the freedom of Kashmiris from Indian rule ahead of the freedom of Pakistanis from illiteracy, inequality, and poverty.” writes Council for Foreign Relations’ Mahnaz Ispahani in her review of two recent books on Pakistan in the New Republic, titled Can Pakistan Be Saved?

The article is quite a cogent analysis of many of the issues that make Pakistan the dangerous entity it is. Her proposed solution however, is to give Pakistan more of the same – development aid, trust in Musharraf. Most US analysts tend to take Musharraf at his face value. Even they should be aware of his famous double dealings. The C-130s the Bush Administration gave him for the war on terror were used to ship missiles from North Korea. Far from addressing the nation to cleanse itself of terror and extremist madrassas, he has resorted to more exciting themes like building dams to solve water problems which are likely to appear in 2050 !

Musharraf’s duplicity becomes all the more dangerous given the nuclear dimension. Given its ‘strategic assets’ are as important as the ‘Kashmir cause’ it is reasonable to assume that Musharraf is likely to dupe the US on this account as well.

The Guardian reported yesterday that the Saudis are planning to acquire some nuclear weapons as well. Given the deep bonds between the two countries, as well as suspicions that Saudi money was used to partially fund Pakistan’s Islamic bomb a nuclear nexus between these two countries cannot be ruled out. This nexus is a strategic threat to India, the United States and Israel.

There is no point in giving any aid to Pakistan without simultaneously strengthening its democratic institutions and disarming its military-intelligence complex. It needs more of a MacArthur like intervention which reforged Japan into a dynamic modern nation.