Friday, October 19, 2012

Pakistan squanders Malala moment


Since Pakistan’s founding, its military and intelligence establishments have relied on militants as an asymmetric asset in their rivalry with the larger, more powerful India. That reliance remains intact, despite occasional pressure from the U.S. and its counter-terrorism partners.

PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS TRIBUNE
Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Bloomberg | Views
By the Editors | October 18, 2012

Pakistan’s government is squandering its “Malala moment”: the chance to harness public outrage over the Taliban’s shooting of 14-year-old education activist Malala Yousufzai and take the fight to the terrorists who threaten the nation and its neighbors.

The fecklessness of the government’s current strategy against terrorism is captured in the offer of a $1 million bounty by Interior Minister Rehman Malik for aid in hunting down Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Eshan, who has defended the attack on Malala and warned of more to come.

If Pakistan really wanted to capture Eshan -- and it should -- a $1 million reward probably isn’t necessary. He routinely sends e-mails and text messages and makes landline phone calls to dozens of journalists, many of whom are under some form of government surveillance. Dollars to doughnuts Pakistan’s Inter- Services Intelligence agency, long thought to have ties to the Taliban and other terrorist groups, knows where Eshan is.

Since Pakistan’s founding, its military and intelligence establishments have relied on militants as an asymmetric asset in their rivalry with the larger, more powerful India. That reliance remains intact, despite occasional pressure from the U.S. and its counterterrorism partners.

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the leader of Pakistan’s military, has condemned the attack on Malala and her fellow students, praising her as “an icon of courage and hope.” He could follow up those comforting words with a military operation against the Taliban and other extremist groups such as the Haqqani network in North Waziristan.

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