Pak power politics putting grave economic, terrorism challenges on back burner

June 14th, 2008 - 2:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 14 (ANI): The power struggle in Pakistan is distracting the Government from coping with grave economic and terrorism challenges facing the country, a senior South Asia expert has said.

Lisa Curtis, South Asia expert of the Heritage Foundation, said at a Senate subcommittee hearing on Thursday that the most worrisome trend in the country is the advance of Taliban militants and the Islamabad’s lack of a strategic approach to roll back the rising extremist threat.

Curtis said that US officials’ frustration with Pakistan is mounting as the army and the new civilian Government engage in indirect negotiations with extremists that appear unwilling to give up support for international terrorism and the destabilisation of Afghanistan.

Washington and Islamabad share the common objective of uprooting terrorism from Pakistan, but they are yet to develop and agree on a comprehensive joint plan to achieve this goal over the long run, the Daily Times reported.

Curtis added that unless the US and Pakistan work more closely on an operational level to address the terrorist threat emanating from Pakistan’s border areas and engage in frank diplomatic discussions, maintaining friendly US-Pakistan ties will become increasingly difficult.

Curtis also said that the US must tread cautiously with Pakistan at this delicate juncture to avoid tipping the balance in favour of anti-US elements who may be seeking to cause a rupture in the relationship.

Washington, Curtis suggested, should step up efforts to encourage peace building and greater military-to-military co-operation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. (ANI)

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