Chaos knocks on Pakistan’s door

Sum of all mistakes

Corps commanders of the Pakistani army are the real wielders of administrative and political power in Musharraf’s Pakistan. So when Lt Gen Ahsan Saleem Hayat, corps commander in Karachi was attacked by unknown assailants (as usual) in a bloody ambush that killed at least 11 soldiers it implies that the security situation in Pakistan has taken yet another plunge. The modus operandi of the assailants was quite similar to a previous failed attempt to assassinate Gen Musharraf himself – suggesting the involvement of both army insiders and jihadi terrorists working together. Karachi’s violent summer has already claimed 62 lives since early May.

The news in Karachi has overshadowed violent incidents elsewhere in Pakistan. The Balochi tribals attacked gas fields in the Sui area yet again, firing 50 rockets and injuring 12 persons. The security forces returned fire, again injuring 12 persons.

In Waziristan, the Faustian bargain with the tribals is off. The army has revoked the amnesty for al Qaeda related tribesmen and has issued orders to get Nek Mohammad and his clique of militants ‘dead or alive’. This follows the tribal attack on army camps that killed 40 people this week (Update: Death toll rises to 50). The alienation of the frontier region is near complete; even MPs elected from the frontier areas have withdrawn support to the Jamali government.

In Gilgit, in Pakistan’s Northern Areas (annexed Kashmir), taking advantage of the curfew imposed after sectarian clashes, the security forces have indulged in yet another land grab, demolishing 30 houses and arresting 20 women and children. As always, the Pakistani army is using repressive measures to impose order in Shia-majority Gilgit.

An editorial in the Daily Times puts matters in perspective

We have repeatedly said in this space that the state is responsible for putting itself in the belly of the beast. Today’s events can be traced back to a concerted effort at multiple levels by the state to pursue certain policies and, in doing so, create a certain kind of ‘Pakistani’. That ‘Pakistani’, now come of age, denotes not just a fanatic but also a mindset. Now that the state purportedly is trying to reform itself, the ‘Pakistani’ it has created wants to have none of that. He is striking back. And of course he is allied with international terrorism, much of which is emanating from Pakistan for much the same reasons of state policy in the past…

But even as General Musharraf has effected his volte-face externally, he remains unconvinced of the requirement to pursue that policy internally. This has created major contradictions; worse it has stirred a hornet’s nest and not prepared itself to face the consequences. The army still thinks it can run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. Well, it can’t. [Daily Times]

2 thoughts on “Chaos knocks on Pakistan’s door”

  1. A slightly orthogonal question:

    What do you make of Natwar Singh’s remark to Karan Thapar (on BBC’S Hardtalk India) that India was open to changing borders, if needed, in Kashmir? In that interview he also said that Pakistani insistence on the centrality of Kashmir was a stumbling block to successful negotiations.

    I’m not quite sure which border he’s talking about: the de-facto border (LoC) or the de-jure border stipulated by the Indian Parliament (J&K + POK + Gilgit etc.)? Given that he said less than a week ago that the LoC ought to be the border, just what was going through his mind? Yeah, it’s nearly impossible to know that, but give it a try 😉


  2. Kumar,

    In all likelihood, Natwar Singh implies that he is willing to be flexible on the de jure border; and settle for changing the LOC from a de facto to a de jure border.

    Hopefully Natwar’s ambiguity is a studied tactic, and not an indication of ambiguous strategy.

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