Situation in Pakistan remains on edge: Report

Last Updated: Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 14:57

Washington: Pakistan continues to remain
on edge as the civilian government does not appear to have the
will or the ability to muster support for long-term reform,
even as army has succeed in some extent in curbing militants,
a study has said.

The Atlantic Council - a Washington-based think-tank
in its yet to be released report - has said that Pakistan can
begin to turn things around if given the resources and the
support it needs from the US, the international financial
institutions, and other friends.

But it will also have to take on some major tasks
itself, to reorder the political system, rearrange its
economic priorities, and truly return power to the people and
their representatives, says the report "Pakistan in the Danger
Zone: A Tenuous US-Pakistan Relationship."

"Without tackling these daunting tasks, Pakistan risks
political and economic slide," says the advance copy of the
report authored by eminent Pakistani-American Shuja Nawaz,
director, South Asia Centre of the Atlantic Council of the
United States.

"The situation in Pakistan remains on edge," says the
28-page report, which is scheduled to be released on Monday by
the former Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammed Khan.

Atlantic Council President and CEO, Frederick Kempe,
says that "no bilateral relationship in the world matches that
of the United States and Pakistan when it comes to its
combustible combination of strategic importance and perilous
instability."

In the report, Nawaz traces developments in the first
18 months of Obama Administration and the attempts to shore up
the US-Pakistan partnership.

But he comes to the conclusion that relations between
the United States and Pakistan "remain in trouble and require
change in how both sides are managing the relationship."

A weak civil government has been unable to muster the
momentum to change the underlying conditions that foster
insurgency and militancy. A military solution is not possible,
since it addresses the symptoms not the causes of the problems
besetting Pakistan today. Neither is external aid enough.

Pakistan needs to find its own solutions and will need help in
that regard, he concludes.

The report concludes, because the centre of gravity of
the war in Afghanistan is Pakistan, if the US and Pakistan
cannot work together, then the war in Afghanistan may well be
lost inside Pakistan.

"The United States and Pakistan appear to have
different objectives while speaking about common goals: while
both are fighting terrorism and militancy, the US is looking
for a safe military exit out of a stabilised Afghanistan while
ensuring that Al Qaeda does not re-emerge," it says.

Pakistan, on the other hand, seeks to secure its own
territory against an active homegrown insurgency, while
keeping a wary eye on India to its east. "Increasingly,
domestic political imperatives seem to be colouring the
rhetoric and pushing policy between these two allies," it
adds.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 14:57

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