Toxic brew of militancy in Pakistan: Editorial

December 5th, 2008 - 1:21 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Dec 5 (IANS) Pakistan is “under a great deal of international pressure” in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks because of the “toxic brew of militancy” in the country but dealing with the myriad groups would not be easy for the government, an editorial in a leading English newspaper said Friday.”If Pakistan is under a great deal of international pressure then it is because of the toxic brew of militancy present in the country for a long time,” Dawn said in an editorial.

Headlined “US crisis diplomacy”, the comment came a day after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Islamabad to urge Pakistan’s proactive role in the probe into the Mumbai attacks.

However, the editorial cautioned: “The government must make the point that the various jihadi, militant, terrorist, sectarian and criminal groups here have morphed and overlapped since 9/11 in such a way that isolating one group is no longer easy”.

Noting that Pakistan is already “actively fighting” militants in at least two tribal agencies and the northern region, Dawn said: “There are links between the militants there and the so-called Punjabi Taliban, many of whom believe India is the original enemy because of its acts in Kashmir.

“All these linkages, spreading across the length and breadth of the country, have potentially grave ramifications that the outside world must be made to understand.”

“Simply asking Pakistan to bag militants or else deal with India’s anger will get neither India nor Pakistan anywhere closer to where they want to be. Pakistan must be in a position to win the battles it is already fighting before it opens new fronts,” it added.

As for Rice’s visit, the newspaper noted that in her remarks to the media, she appeared relatively relaxed and spoke of the “reasonable and responsible” discussions she had in New Delhi and Islamabad.

“Ms. Rice would not have left Islamabad in the mood she did had she not gotten some assurance from the civilian government and military leadership that Pakistan will act against any individuals or groups that India may show are linked to the Mumbai attacks,” Dawn said.

Saying that the government “must prepare for this possibility”, the editorial added: “Cracking down on militant groups that have deep roots in Pakistani society and have fanned out across the country will be a tough task that will require substantial groundwork.

“The government must also prepare for the possibility of a backlash from militants, with a new round of violence possibly engulfing Pakistan’s cities if the government goes after militants in earnest.”

Urging the civilian government and military leadership to “speak with one voice against the scourge of terrorism”, the editorial said: “Any signs of a rift in that relationship will further complicate matters and hamper Pakistan’s efforts to credibly respond to India.”

The Daily Times said Pakistan must support a “flexible approach” that protects the country’s interests “without challenging the international community into taking punitive measures”.

Thus, Pakistan would have to be “very careful” on how much “defiance” it displayed in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, the newspaper said in an editorial headlined “Let us not isolate Pakistan”.

“When we oppose even the slightest measure of flexibility in the face of international opinion it betrays our deep-seated fears; it doesn’t convince anyone of our bravery,” it noted.

“An internationally organised punishment to bring Pakistan to heel would be beyond Pakistan’s capacity to sustain,” the editorial added.

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