The Indian subcontinent is the focus of much international attention at present. While India goes to the polls in a massive polling effort spread over several weeks, Pakistan is confronting what maybe the worse crisis since the state was created 62 years ago. Recent developments in Pakistan’s northern Swat valley district may be key for the future of the region, and of the world’s stability as a whole. The worrying question is today: is Pakistan on the brink of a defining moment in its history, or will it once more re-emerge, phoenix-like, from the present political, economic and social crisis, as it has done countless times before?
A growing number of commentators both in and outside the country are converging around the view that this time round, it is truly on the edge of a slippery slope into chaos.
For most of them, the solution is to give greater power to the people. Others take the view that things will normalise once the US forces are out of Afghanistan – a bone of strong contention for Pakistanis, who have little affection for US international policy towards the Muslim world, and see the Afghanistan conflict as not being “their” war, albeit partly being fought on Pakistan’s soil – things will calm down. But is there time to wait for this to happen?
Unquestionably, Pakistan has repeatedly shown a resilience that has amazed many, by the perennial predictions of its imminent failure of a state. In the space of 18 months, it has successfully (and almost inexplicably) survived a recent history that includes an economic crash, the assassination of its best-known political leader, Benazir Bhutto, a secessionist insurgency and a wave of religious militant violence, without disintegrating. However, now, a number of seasoned observers of the Pakistani political scene both inside and outside the country, are deeply concerned about Pakistan’s future.
Dr. Emma Hooper, Senior Adviser to CIDOB’s Asia Program & Associated Professor, EADA
Fecha de publicación: 04/2009