Friday, March 6, 2009

Chickens come home to roost

The recent attacks on the Sri Lankan Cricket Team signals just how deep the problems are in Pakistan. After constant reporting about the Zardari Government cutting a deal with the Taliban in SWAT, the attack on the Sri Lankan Team clearly displays how Pakistan’s problems go well beyond the Taliban, but with the very militant organizations who Pakistan had given logistical, financial and military support targeted to fight the Indian Forces in Kashmir. Unfortunately for Pakistan, their chickens have come home to roost.

This attack has all the markings of the attacks in Mumbai in November. However, this time the attackers were able to escape due to internal support of police, military and intelligence personnel. Moreover, following reports that India and Pakistan were close to a deal on Kashmir prior to then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, the warnings issued by the United Jihad Council this past summer of waging war on the streets of Lahore and Islamabad are beginning to come to fruition. By attacking a cricket team, the most beloved sport in the region, this sends a clear signal that groups are ready to take the fight to the Pakistani Government.

Pakistan now has an opening to once and for all eliminate the militant threat that the Intelligence services helped to create for the purpose of combating India. With the mounting problems with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, Pakistan must eliminate the likes of Lashkar e Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish e Muhammad with prejudice. A deteriorating Pakistan continues to move Pakistan up the chain of ‘most dangerous states.’ It is clear that militant organizations for decades have enjoyed Pakistan as a safe haven, have united forces and have no concerns of their abilities to take on the Pakistani forces.

In order for Pakistan to restore confidence in the region, Pakistan must revisit the resolution with India regarding Kashmir. By doing so, both India and Pakistan could once and for all come together to eliminate the security problems that continue to plague the region by sinister forces that have little regard for human life and human rights. The people on both sides of the Line of Control in Kashmir have long suffered due to Islamic militants hell bent on creating a Sharia state and purging the region of all people non-Muslim or secular. The idea of making lines on the map irrelevant is a viable option for a majority of Kashmiri’s that only want peace and stability for their families.

Finally, by partnering with it’s decades long enemy, Pakistan will make creating a regional body involving all nation states in South and Southwest Asia all the more possible. Moreover, it will assert a clear leadership role in dealing with the problems that plague all of the regional players. The only way forward for Pakistan is to finally accept that the genie is out of the bottle and must not only be put back in the bottle, but that the bottle must be discarded in a way never to return.

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