Pakistan: 1...2...3...

Pakistani Flag
One
According to The Brookings Institute, Pakistan has a population of 185 million people (although the Index Mundi site, in its Pakistan Demographics profile 2012, puts the number at above 190 million people) and, in the words of Bruce Riedel "40 million of the 70 million 5 to 19 years old are not in school". Some reports say that less than a million Pakistanis pay taxes (a figure that excludes the majority of politicians; who do not pay any taxes). Power blackouts are frequent; there is insufficient clean water; and the economic growth (calculated at 3% last year) is not enough to keep up with population demand. Conclusion: Pakistan is structurally a mess. 
This is a nation where girls are harassed, if not shot in the head, for wanting an education; where children are in the labour force instead of being in school; and a nation where a politician who decides to change the course of things, for the love of its country and people, ends up dead. What kind of a future is Pakistan building for itself? A medieval one. 
Pakistani politicians should find a way to reach an understanding with the military and, invest heavily in education for all; lest it risks turning most of its young population into jihadists. 

Two
Radical Islamist groups are so at ease in Pakistan that they influence policies and judicial decisions (because, so far, the military believes that it cannot dispense with, what EuroAsia Review called, their "tactical weapon against arch rival India"). For instance, Islamists - to prevent the promotion of "immorality" - managed to sponsor official bans of late night call packages - offered by cell phone companies; those same Islamists convinced the judiciary to order the government to inspect TV programs for indecent and vulgar content; and they feel free to foray private parties and hotels to impose bans on dancing and music. 
How did the Islamic Republic of Pakistan get to this point? By having made the huge mistake of having nurtured and used Islamist militants, as a foreign policy instrument, from its inception (in 1947). We suspect that their ties with such groups are presently so entangled that it might take some time before Pakistan frees itself from the militant shackles (notwithstanding the army has admitted, for the first time in history, that Pakistan's greatest national security problem is "the enemy within" - nevertheless, we rather wait for actions than relying on words). 
But what worries people is that the voices of discontentment are beginning to be heard so loud (supported by the Pakistani community in the diaspora), that they fear a drastic civil uprising that may want to force the government's hand - will we witness an Urdu Spring anytime soon?

Three
Pakistan has been strengthening ties with India; it has improved the diplomatic relationship between the two nations and it even started the process of upgrading India's status to MFN (Most Favoured Nation). However, earlier this year Pakistani soldiers attacked Indian soldiers, in the border with Kashmir, and beheaded one of them. So, why would a country provoke another, from whom it seeks to obtain an economic partnership? We suspect Pakistan is now trying to please Greeks and Trojans - i.e. it seeks peace with India and the economic development that can sprout from it; while at the same time it assures the militants population that India remains "enemy no.1"...see where this is going? 
The question is, what can Pakistan expect from India: restraint (as appears to be almost always the case) or retaliation? Pakistan should understand that, one day, India might no longer choose to offer the other cheek, simply because the world is afraid of a conflict between two nuclear powers. 
Speaking of it, the international community should recall that these two powers have recently fought a war - The Kargil War in 1999 - and, none of their nuclear arsenal was used. Thus, the theory that India needs to keep restraining itself from standing up to Pakistan, for fear of a nuclear destruction between the two countries, is questionable. 
Besides, Pakistan may have an erratic behaviour but it is not totally irrational - just like the rest of us, its military leaders know very well the meaning of MAD

1...2...3...Pakistan has caught our attention; thus, later on, we will come back to this theme. Stay tuned!

Comments

  1. Max, you have me wondering again: Pakistani children go to work instead of school, but American children go to school and neither learn nor work, at a cost of $18,000 per year per child:

    http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/80-of-new-york-high-school-grads-cant-read-despite-being-no-1-in-school-spending/

    Thankfully, there are plenty of menial jobs for when they graduate.

    Then there is Spain where the kids learn(?), but more than 55% of them never find a job.

    I am wondering by what criteria we should rank these from worst to worster to worstest. ;-)

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    1. Hi Looney :D!

      Thank you for the article. The information contained in it is daunting: high school graduates who do not know how to read? That would never happen in countries like Portugal.
      I think public money is mismanaged everywhere; I mean, Portugal reached the conclusion that it would be cheaper for the government to pay for children's education in a private school than having them in public school...how is that even possible?

      "Thankfully, there are plenty of menial jobs for when they graduate."

      Let's assume that there were actually plenty of menial jobs: would they want to take those jobs? I am asking this because, in Portugal (for instance), many manufacturing businesses import foreign labour because the youth (nearly half of which is unemployed) doesn't want to fill those positions. Then they accuse the immigrants of stealing their jobs...it is a mess.

      "Then there is Spain where the kids learn(?), but more than 55% of them never find a job."

      lol yes "learn (?)". Again, they never find a job or they reject the job they do not want?

      "I am wondering by what criteria we should rank these from worst to worster to worstest. ;-)"

      I wonder that too. But surely you are not suggesting that it is better for Pakistani children to be working (without getting paid in proportion to their output) than going to school...
      And yeah, you can throw a joke like "At least there are jobs for everyone in Pakistan" (including being a jihadist)... ;)

      Looney, awesome comment: thank you ever so much for it :D.

      Cheers

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    2. There is the Rambo quote: "Better to die for something than to live for nothing". Of course I don't quite think the 'something' that Jihadis die for is worth anything.

      San Francisco has had some discussions on this recently:

      http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Anti-Islam-ads-return-to-10-Muni-buses-4346482.php

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    3. I hear you. You know, I could try to critique those ads but many of them actually contain some truths. They are aggressive but somewhat effective.
      As for Islamophobia: they say it is a term invented by the Islamists (will be back with that article).

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    4. Max, you are right that there are a lot of jobs the young don't want to do. At the same time, we have largely banned illegals from doing work except as a day laborer for cash, so the menial jobs are there for the youth. Any company that is caught with illegals, even if they operate under fake IDs, is subject to major penalties. We want to import welfare recipients, not workers!

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    5. Looney,

      "We want to import welfare recipients, not workers!"

      I see what you mean. Obviously, in trying to tackle one problem the government created another one...*nodding*.

      By the way, here's the article on Islamology 101 (it is very interesting):

      http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=3011

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  2. Looney, Max, to the best of my understanding, many children in Pakistan go to Madrassas. That may not be education as we would understand it, but it has a disastrous effect on the children who grow up with no other inputs. http://www.academia.edu/1790905/MADRASA_EDUCATION_IN_THE_PAKISTANI_CONTEXT_CHALLENGES_REFORMS_AND_FUTURE_DIRECTIONS

    Pakistan is a complex issue and defies simplistic solutions. As a very concerned Indian, I cannot help but be alarmed at what is happening there. The Taliban and Alquida have already announced that once the Americans leave Afghanistan, the next focus would be Kashmir and India and we all know what that means. http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2013/Feb/28/are-taliban-coming--12.asp There are other sources too,

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    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      Poor children especially attend Madrasas. I agree with you on the disastrous effect on them.
      Thank you so much for the links (valuable information) *bowing*.

      Pakistan is a complex issue because it involves more players than the media portrays.
      I understand why you would be alarmed: the tension seems to be rising beyond its usual level (today Kashmir suffered its first high-profile attack in 3 years - 5 soldiers dead, 3 injured civilians; militants hid among children playing cricket). Now, we are waiting to see what role India will play in containing Pakistan (that most certainly is servicing a certain Persian nation...but that is for another article).
      America cannot stay in Afghanistan forever (besides its military objective has been reached); and if the Taliban turn their attention to India; it is up to India to respond accordingly, I'm afraid.

      Rummy, thank you ever so much for your awesome comment :D.

      Cheers

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    2. What I know of Madrassas from acquaintances who have been on the inside is that they are all about rote memorization of the Quran with an emphasis on pronunciation. A student who asks the meaning of a word is scolded. Since modern Arabic is too far from classical Arabic, not even the native Arabic students understand what they are memorizing. Thus, to radicalize requires teachers with an agenda.

      That being said, I think the teachers with the agenda understand what the Quran actually says far better than the teachers without agendas.

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    3. Looney,

      Bob Baer would concur with you. And yes, radicalisation requires teachers with an agenda.
      Bin Laden wrote that recruiters had to be ignorant of the Quran so that Al-Qaeda could mould them properly - and this model became the Jihadist recruiter model for all radical groups. Their process of recruitment is quite sophisticated (mainly of those Muslims in the west).

      "That being said, I think the teachers with the agenda understand what the Quran actually says far better than the teachers without agendas."

      You may have a point there...

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  3. On top of everything Pakistan persecutes Christians. Our brothers are not safe in that country and Christian nations should absorb them. Oh Max, thank you so much for exposing this dreadful and disrespectful country.

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    1. Hi Patricia :D!

      I believe there were some incidents involving Christians last weekend - it is quite unfortunate that these things still happen in the 21st century.
      We are discussing Pakistan rather than exposing whatsoever; and as such, we address all sides of the coin. But stay tuned, we will be back to it later on :).

      Patricia, thank you ever so much for your comment :D. You were missed.

      Cheers

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  4. Hi Max!
    It’s been ages since i wrote here. How are you?
    You have some good points in your post which I totally agree such as public money and how it is used in education. But I have one question maybe not directly related to your post and comments.
    I just wanted to know your opinion about the reasons that pushing people of Pakistan to the further radicalization from day to day, making them see the terrorist organizations as "savior" and causing feelings of revenge against the West.What do you think about all these?
    Maybe you remember, a couple months ago Pakistan protested the film called ‘innocence of muslims’ or something like that? Thousands of people took to the streets, burned U.S. flags. However, one does not see the process of pushing the people of Pakistan to the radicalization. Note that, they protest the "USA" by burning flags, whereas the film's producers were not paid from the federal budget and these guys were not under the command of government, they were not even American (I think they were Coptic?). But again the U.S. flag is burned in demonstrations in Pakistan, Why? Because they are full of hatred against the U.S. Government, because for them, the U.S. is a country which bombed their territory and had destroyed its neighbor Afghanistan. For them the U.S is the source of all evil. A country that killed an 8-year-old boy can do anything in their eyes. I think that’s the reason why the most dramatic responses have been always coming from Pakistan; most of the anger is always being photographed there.
    Interpretations of radical Islam in the country is causing to become mainstream. Because the only value they have is Islam, it is the most powerful weapon against the West which they think bombing their lands and they think it is a philosophy that West wants to destroy. The "anger" I tried to explain above is making people hold to Islam tightly, but this anger doesn’t lead them to a better understanding of Islam. A woman who was being raped is stoned to death because she cannot find four witnesses, and it is interpreted as "adultery".However, find 4 witnesses is something that the person who is accusing that poor woman needs to find not the suspect herself. And the reason of 4 witnesses is to protect the suspect from the slander! Do you see how they turn the system upside down? Unfortunately these are all radicalism.
    Thank you for taking the time to read Max!
    Burcu

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    1. Hi Burcu :D!

      How're you, girl? I am fine, thank you for asking *bowing*.

      I wouldn't say that all Pakistanis see terrorist organisations as their "saviour". Those who heavily support these groups belong to the military and political elite, because they see them as a weapon against India and against the West (Islam is used as an excuse). And then, the people suffer the consequences of these alliances.

      Yes, on and after the 9/11 anniversary - the film producer is an Egyptian who pretended to be a Coptic Christian (there are signs that he was, in fact, a Salafist). That film was ghastly. But anyway, it was established that the movie and the widespread protests were part of a plan (just look at what has happened since then).
      So, are you suggesting that Pakistan is the root of all Islamic evil?
      They are wrong; the West doesn't want to destroy Islam. Prior to 9/11 the West was quite close to Islam (bordering political promiscuity, in the way we ignored Human Rights violations in most Muslim nations); now after Bin Laden and his buddies - imbued with the spirit of the Establishment of the Global Caliphate - attacked western targets...let's say they brought "evil" upon the Ummah (because innocent Muslims were put in the same bag as the guilty ones). The West had/has to protect itself.

      Even if rape could be considered adultery (although I do not see how, since adultery is consensual while rape is not), the Quran doesn't say that stoning women to death is the proper punishment:
      "(...) Once they are freed through marriage, if they commit adultery, their punishment shall be half of that for free women. (...)" (sura 4:25);
      "The adulteress and the adulterer you shall whip each of them a hundred lashes. Do not be swayed by pity from carrying out God's law, if you truly believe in God and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their penalty." (sura 24:2)

      And even so, Dr Rashad Khalifa stated that sura 4:25 "proves that punishment for adultery could not possibly be stoning to death as stated in the laws of corrupted Muslims" and about sura 24:2 he said "public witnessing of the penalty is the basic punishment. The lashes shall be symbolic, not severe".

      I see what you mean, Burcu. Radicals pervert the system and prevent Islam from evolving.
      You are most welcome; besides it was a pleasure reading your comment.

      Burcu, thank you so much for your input :D. You were missed.

      Cheers

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  5. Olá Max,

    The conversation is hot in here, just like in the old days, remember?
    Pakistan is a problem, period. And what is sad is that the west nurtured it for so long (specially the USA in its anti-Soviet fight) that Pakistani leaders got more and more brazen; so audacious that they think that they can do whatever to India and no one will tell them whatsoever.

    I agree with those voices who are calling upon the US to acknowledge Kashmir as Indian territory once and for (as per the international law). It would send a sign not only to Pakistan but also to Palestine and other occupying countries.

    Excellent post, Max!

    Tchau

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    1. Olá Celeste :D!

      lol Yes, of course I remember: those good old days :).
      Indeed, Pakistan has been pampered for too long and what is worrisome is their role in the Iranian nuclear programme - that is what we should be looking at right now.

      Well, the US haven't, so far, acknowledged Samaria & Judea as Israeli territory (as per the International Law) either; so let's wait and see if they someday will recognise Kashmir as Indian land. I hear on you on the sign that would be sent.

      Thank you, Celeste; I am glad you liked it *bowing*.
      And thanks for your super comment :D. Loved it.

      Cheers

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  6. Pakistan is another enigma of sorts. The more the nation tries to leap ahead the further behind it goes with its populace seeking a better quality of life and its polity just too obsessed with India. Somehow their is no light at the end of the tunnel considering the ambiguity among the masses and the very basis of foundation of the state. The government spends and loots almost all its resources by increasing defence spending by creating an artificial hysteria towards India. Hope the public at large can come together one day for creating a truly moderate and contemporary state that Pakistan desperately deserves.

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    1. Hi Kalyan :D!

      I agree, Pakistan is too obsessed with India (although its obsessions has served the Pakistani elite well).

      "Hope the public at large can come together one day for creating a truly moderate and contemporary state that Pakistan desperately deserves."

      Hear, hear!!

      K, thank you so much for your outstanding comment :D. Loved it.

      Cheers

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