Neighbourhood Watch - Pakistan

Well to be frank those who were shocked by Benazair Bhutto brutal death, this was waiting to happen & I guess she had a hint of it coming, maybe she was a fatalist. For some people it is the reputation that they have to live up to, even if that means courting death. I guess she was that kind of a daredevil. But to say that all was lost for Pakistan & sanity in the neighbourhood's that day in Liaquat Park would be far from truth. I agree she was the best bet in such a violent crucible that Pakistan has become, but the country is not falling apart. Outside of the frontier areas of NWFP-FATA & Baluchistan there is a semblance of sanity & normalcy in Punjabi & Sindhi heartland. True there have been violence in settled areas of Swat & Rawalpindi's but these areas are the fringes of the Taliban territory & hence bound to suffer some collateral damage. The reason I believe that things can not go down further from here for Pakistan is based on 3 reasons

#1 Inability of Taliban to move beyond tribal areas - Insurgency is okay, but to run a parallel government requires you physically control huge swathe of settled areas of NWFP & Punjab. They have been unable to do so & their move into Swat valley failed miserably. They do not have so many foot soldiers to make their writ run outside of tribal areas. Taliban strategy has always been to thrive on confusion (Afghanistan) & master the tribal juggernaut (Waziristan).

# 2 Army,America & Bomb - Pakistan Army & America have huge stakes that things don't unravel further. Balkanization is one thing that America can not afford.The Bomb is one reason, Iran & Afghanistan is another, Bin Laden is third, 165 million angry people is fourth, & American standing in Islamic world & its pipe dream of making this country a beacon of democracy. One big unknown out here is the integrity of the Pakistani army.

# 3 Pakistani people - Nobody in the glitzy towns of Punjab & Sind want to be under a Taliban regime. I guess most of the middle & urban class would no like to live under veil & a beard. There are fringe sections to society that are more tuned to radical ideas but I doubt if they have the numbers to control the destiny of 165 million people.

So what the future holds, It is quite likely that things could worsen before they get any better, but I don't foresee state of Pakistan falling apart. Also U.S. would try to now to go behind covers as its masterly approach is being used by jihadis to fuel anger. The move to democracy will falter, instead a spring offensive next year when snow melts is very likely. Pakistan would then march into tribal areas, but the win would be pyrrhic indeed.

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