Pakistan

“Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.”  —President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009

“The US-led war on terrorism has left in its wake a far more unstable world than existed on that momentous day in 2001.“—Ahmed Rashid, Author, Descent into Chaos

The situation in Pakistan continues to deteriorate, while the US continues its myopic foreign policies in the region. Obama continues to authorize unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan, in direct contravention of international law, and despite the rise in civilian deaths and increasing hatred for US presence in the region. The Wikileaks controversy over Pakistan’s diversion of war funding to strengthen its hand against India continues to create a buzz in the media. This also reveals a basic lack of understanding vis-à-vis regional tensions between India and Pakistan. When will US policy-makers and the US media understand that peace cannot be achieved in the region if these long-standing issues are not resolved?

In view of recent events in Pakistan, we can’t help but ask the following questions:

  • What is Obama’s plan for Pakistan and how will unwelcome drone attacks help the situation?
  • How come there is no commitment to resolving the Kashmir dispute and on-going tensions with India?

We urge Obama to invest in restoring lasting peace in the region. In order to achieve long-term stability in the region, Obama must focus on settling the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. The constant threat of imminent war with India has bolstered the Pakistan army’s ties with the Taliban and Jihadi extremists. Once this threat is removed, instead of investing in military spending and supporting Jihadists, Pakistan should be encouraged to invest in its people by providing them with REAL education.

We urge Obama to invest in building Pakistan’s educational institutions and healthcare facilities. This will help erode support for those madrasas that produce ill-educated children who are groomed to become fighters in violent causes instead of becoming civlized citizens who use peaceful means to redress the country’s socio-political and economic problems. Education will also counter the power of uneducated mullahs who bully people through fear-based rhetoric and violence. We must help Pakistan become a more progressive state where women have equal rights and access to education and jobs.

We urge Obama to support Pakistan’s civil society activists— the country’s only hope for bringing about true democracy to counter extremism and corruption. Pakistan should be encouraged to revamp its military and intelligence structure, by acknowledging that reliance on a Jihadi movement to strengthen the country is in fact weakening its very core. Building the pro-democracy movement by supporting the lawyers and civil society activists is the best way of countering the Jihadi extremism, chaos, lawlessness, and rising corruption within the country.