I have never made a secret of my “love” for Pakistan-a nation that should have never come to exist. It was born out of local politics at the time of independence of the Indian subcontinent from Britain in 1947. The father of the nation, a man by the name of Mohammad Ali Jinnah (locally referred to as Quaid-i-Azam or “the Great Leader”-North Korea is not the only nation bestowing that title to its founder), had truly disjointed and contradictory views on what he had in mind about the future of his brainchild. Or, as about all politicians do, he played to the audience, and tailored his talks to match the desires of his listeners; whether he was being consciously deceitful or truly blind to his own contradictions is beside the point. The nation he founded has never been able to get this double nature. To make matters worse, its religious heterogeneity has only played into the hands of “generous” foreign players, each interested in radicalization of adherents of its own creed in the country. And hence, when the country is in the news (which is often), it is for less than flattering reasons.
And this is the most recent example:
Clashes at Pakistan’s largest and busiest airport left more than 20 people dead after militants armed with grenades stormed into a cargo area Sunday.
Violence erupted at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi around 11:30 p.m. Sunday and raged on for more than five hours as security forces fought off attackers, leaving some passengers trapped inside the airport.
Officials at Jinnah Hospital said the dead included eight members of airport security forces, two Pakistan International Airlines employees and one ranger.
All ten militants involved in the attack were killed, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa said. Two of them detonated suicide vests, he said.
And this is not even the only attack in one day, only the one getting the most attention (because it involved the airport).
Earlier Sunday, at least 22 people were killed in twin suicide bomb attacks in Taftan, Pakistan, near the country’s border with Iran.
So who’s behind the bloodshed? You guessed it:
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, have claimed responsibility for the attack that claimed at least 28 lives at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, as an act of revenge against Pakistan’s government for the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone attack in November.
The TTP is an Islamist group, which was formed in 2007 as an alloy of various militant groups in the region, and was banned by Pakistan’s government in 2008. The outfit is reported to be closely linked to al-Qaida and the Afghan Taliban with one crucial differentiating factor in that the TTP targets the Pakistani state while the Afghan Taliban does not.
The full article is worth reading as it lists TTP’s greatest “hits” during its short but deadly existence. And while I have called Pakistan a failed state precisely due to such incidents, according to at least one source, there is worse to come: we are told that according to the CIA and the National Intelligence Council, it will cease to exist as a united entity by 2015. Even I didn’t think it would come so early.
Forecasting a “Yugoslavia-like fate” for Pakistan, the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in a jointly prepared Global Futures Assessment Report have said “by year 2015 Pakistan would be a failed state, ripe with civil war, bloodshed, inter-provincial rivalries and a struggle for control of its nuclear weapons and complete Talibanisation”.
“Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction,” said the report quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to United Kingdom Wajid Shamsul Hasan in an article in the ‘ South Asia Tribune ‘.
In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the Central government’s control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi.
The authenticity of the report cannot be verified, but in light of the recent attack, even government’s control in Karachi is in question. And as for the capital Islamabad, the situation is even worse, as militants are already holding mass rallies there, with the country’s intelligence officers in attendance.
And what does this all mean for the rest of the world? Nothing good-we’ll just have to wait to see in what kinds of hands Pakistan’s nuclear weapons will end up.