Pakistan in 2010

From the Economist:

By its recent chaotic standards, Pakistan had quite a good 2009. Admittedly, more than 2m people were displaced by fighting between the army and Taliban militants. The economy was in the doldrums. And a threat of political crisis, pitting President Asif Zardari against his main rival, Nawaz Sharif, loomed. Yet his government, a coalition led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), looked stable. An injection of IMF cash—and a promise from America of an extra $1.5 billion a year—kept its creditors at bay. And the army, despite much suffering, won the biggest victories of a floundering eight-year campaign on its north-west frontier. Without catastrophic violence—an important assassination or a terrorist attack in India—Pakistan will be messy, but stable after this fashion, in 2010.

The army will also make a bit more progress against the militants. Goaded into action in early 2009, after the Taliban seized areas of North-West Frontier Province alarmingly close to Islamabad, it pushed them back ruthlessly. Compounding the Taliban’s troubles, their supreme leader, Baitullah Mehsud, who was responsible for a two-year suicide-bomb spree (and allegedly for the 2007 murder of Mr Zardari’s wife, Benazir Bhutto), was killed by an American missile last August. And in October the army launched an assault on his former fief, in South Waziristan. Alas, it has shown no interest in pursuing members of the other Taliban, Afghanistan’s former rulers, who have found refuge in Pakistan. More:

1 Response to “Pakistan in 2010”

  • The mistreatment and and viceonle perpetrated against women in most societies around the world (not merely Afghanistan) is caused primarily by religious, cultural, and authoritarian factors. All of which happen to be self-reinforcing, which is how this becomes such a difficult problem to solve.There are still good ways to solve it, if you can accept the process requiring several generations. One way is to greatly expand economic opportunity for women (preferably inside the country, but outside also helps). If you give the vast majority of women the choice of an alternate lifestyle centered on independent action rather than marriage and traditional mores, a lot of them tend to take it. Whether by desire, chance, a sense of adventure or independent spirit, opportunities given tend to become opportunities taken.Another method is thorough, cross-gender education from early ages. This a more centralized, more heavy handed approach. Still, it works if employed evenly, with clarity and honesty. Further, if one teaches a wide variety of useful topics, the education process can expand economic opportunity at the same time.The most direct approach is to directly attack the existing authoritarian power structure and undermine it in every way possible. This a very difficult way to change society, because it leads to the formation of revolutionary and reactionary groups like the Taliban. Worse, the more resources you put into such a fight, the harder they fight back. An effort to overthrow existing authorities can only create a lasting change if it is lead by local citizens with their own best interests at heart. History demonstrates that trying to accomplish it purely by external means is pointless and fruitless.

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