New year, old problems for Pakistan :Trend News commentator (video)
Darina Ibrahimova, Commentator at the Trend Persian Desk
Pakistani National Security Advisor Mahmud Ali Durrani's dismissal once again demonstrates the lack of coordination in the country's government and military. The military is a significant and perhaps decisive force in Pakistan. For years, the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been referred to as a "country within a country." The agency only reports to the government on select cases.
Pakistan Intelligence Interagency is said to support the radical Taliban movement. This accusation was reiterated in a recent Human Rights Watch report. The report says the agency has provided the Taliban with clothes, ammunition and training. Experts say the recent disbanding of the agency's political wing in no way affected or reduced its influence on domestic or international affairs. The agency gathers data both inside the country and abroad. Durrani's dismissal was the result of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai (Bombay), India. For the second straight month, the attacks have been a cause for concern for India. This is unsurprising as the attacks led to the deaths of over 170 people with 240 wounded.
The terrorists attacked Mumbai during the day at the Taj Mahal and Trident Oberoi hotels, as well as the Nariman House Jewish residential complex.
India suspected the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayba organization of being involved in the incident.
International observers believe the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence is linked to Lashkar-e-Tayba. Sources in India say 10 terrorists who were involved in the attack were trained in Pakistan.
Until recently, Pakistan has denied all charges, asserting that it had nothing to do with the incident. A month ago, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said Pakistan was in no way connected to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Furthermore, Pakistani officials refuse to extradite individuals suspected of participating in the attack to India. Islamabad has also refused to organize a joint commission to investigate the attacks, justifying this by saying that Pakistanis should be judged by the Pakistani government - and no other nation. Pakistan's behavior hints that the country may not be completely innocent. However, until recently, the government has managed to keep its statements consistent and claimed not to have been involved in the attacks.
Everything went according to plan until Wednesday, 1.5 months after the attacks in Mumbai. National Security Adviser and Pakistan's former Ambassador to Washington Durrani admitted for the first time that the only terrorist to have survived the attacks, Muhammad Adjmal Kasab, is Pakistani. "On the same day, the national security adviser was dismissed for giving an interview to media outlets on national security issues without consulting the prime minister," Pakistani PM Yusuf Rza Gilani said in a statement.
It's unclear what forced him to make the statement almost two months after the attacks. The reason may have been that India offered a report of its investigations into the incident to Pakistan a day earlier. The 100-page report has concrete evidence of Pakistan's participation in the attacks, detailing calls and conversations with the terrorists. In these conversations, the terrorists received instructions about their further actions.
The evidence left no room for Pakistan to negate its role in the attacks. However, the national security adviser's dismissal after he confirmed that the only terrorist to survive is Pakistani creates the impression that Pakistan still hopes to convince the international community of its innocence. Regardless, the Pakistani government must work with the international community to limit the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence's influence on domestic affairs. Unless an agreement is reached between state structures, officials and intelligence units, there will never be stability in Pakistan or South Asia.
It is unlikely that these events will lead to a military conflict between India and Pakistan, although Pakistan openly stated its readiness to engage in a conflict in December. No one needs a new conflict. Wars cost money and with the looming global financial crisis, money is short, and launching a war is a rash act. The insufficient financing would surely favor the destabilizing forces inside Pakistan such as the Taliban.
However, if Pakistani troops are cast into a war with India, control over the border regions where the Taliban is located will become more difficult. Starting a war with India will mean giving the Taliban a chance to create an Islamic state in Pakistan. Indeed, the new Pakistani government has not had enough time to strengthen itself.
Since gaining independence in 1947, India and Pakistan have been in constant military confrontation in the Kashmir and Jamma regions. The conflicts are rarely reconciled. But launching a war would be unwise for the unstable region at the moment and the countries' officials know this fully well.India's Defense Minister Arakkaparambil Kurian Antony said his country does not plan any military actions against Pakistan. His Pakistani counterpart said the same about India.
"Pakistan does not want a war," said Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. "We want peace and stability in the region."
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