What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Potentially, it ain't no fun in Punjab

Sorry for the idiotic title, but this is really something I cannot make sense of. How the Pakistani-state-as-such missed this development that even I have also been warning of since a while now - me, i.e. the total outsider.

I mean it's one thing when one uses 4GW enthusiastically against one's closest and historically most important enemy (India) after one had experienced 1) this thing being successfully used against oneself (when East Pakistan/Bangladesh broke away), and 2) successfully using the same thing oneself, against a superpower for a decade (in Afghanistan, against the Soviet Union). The latter kind of saved one, potentially, from being torn to pieces as a state (with e.g. Baluchistan and Pashtunistan carved out).

It's yet another thing to support a regime (the Taliban in the 1990s) in a neighbouring country in hopes that it might in the best of cases even recognise one's common border with that country (the Durand Line... but of course the Taliban did not recognise it, eventually). Or at least this might aid one in one's regional trade and avoid having said neighbouring country become part of a gigantic military pincer move helping one's already mentioned close and historically most important enemy undermine one's conventional defence plans... (focused partly on making a grand stand at one's wide-flowing rivers, safe from the back, before converting one's forces into the largest guerrilla army in the world, defending Islamabad from the strategic depth of Kandahar... plans, that were a bit more significant while one was not in a position to contemplate the alternative: wiping a few towns off the map in India, with a lot of Muslim inhabitants by the way, as a trade-off for having one's country wiped off the map, in the nuclear stage of the regional insecurity complex).

But what about giving up area after area to an insurgency, upon agreeing to pull soldiers out, leaving justice affairs to the insurgents, paying them compensation, and then deterring outsiders from more freely intervening? That is a completely different thing. And it seems that is essentially the Pakistani 3D approach as Zardari put it the other day, "democracy, development and deterrence." I almost forgot, add 30,000 rifles to villagers' hands for greater horror effect.

Now - thanks for the link to Jari Lindholm - here is this good article from The News' Ayaz Amir. Not everything agreed in it on my part, but with much to tell us. I'll excerpt something Jari did not focus on so much.
"Far from being defeated, much less crushed, this revolt is spreading. Hitherto it was confined to the Frontier Province. But on February 7 we saw this revolt cross the River Indus for the first time when a police check post in Mianwali (Qudratabad near Wan Bachran) was attacked by Taliban fighters. On Feb 11 another police outpost near Essa Khail came under attack.
Mianwali and Bhakkar along the River Indus are vulnerable districts, open to infiltration from the Frontier. If the Taliban acquire any kind of foothold here, God help us. My district of Chakwal is a short ride away, as are the districts of Sargodha and Khushab. From there to central Punjab is but a short haul."
Of course, Jari points out the most interesting section of the article with safe hands. "Beware of Punjab's underclass," "the have-nots are flocking to Mehsud's banner." "If this were Nepal this would be a Maoist uprising." "Every Punjab town, large and small, has a mosque, if not more than one, sympathetic to the Taliban brand of Islam. So at least there is a handy network."

Illustration: Caught Mumbai attacker Ajmal Kasab's home village, Faridkot (in Punjab), with a sign on a wall that says "Go for jihad. Go for jihad. Markaz Dawat ul-Irshad," according to McClatchy's Saeed Shah.

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