Pakistan on the brink: reportOctober 23rd, 2008 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS
London, Oct 23 (IANS) Pakistan is on the brink of political and economic anarchy and a conflict that may be resembling a civil war, a British newspaper reported Thursday quoting US intelligence and Pakistani politicians.The Independent said the military offensive to root out Taliban militants in the north has created “a flood of up to 200,000 refugees and pitched Pakistani against Pakistani, Muslim against Muslim, in a conflict some are beginning to regard as a civil war.”
It quoted a new US intelligence estimate as warning that renewed insurgency, coupled with energy shortages and political infighting, means that the world’s only Islamic nation with nuclear weapons is “on the edge.”
Opposition Tehriq-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan told the paper on a visit to London Wednesday Pakistan is in the throes of a political and economic meltdown that “is leading to a sort of anarchy.”
“How does a country collapse? There’s increasing uncertainty, economic meltdown, more people on the street, inflation rising between 25 and 30 per cent. Then there’s the rupee falling,” Khan said.
“The awful thing is there’s no solution in sight - neither in the war on terror nor on the economic side,” he added.
Pakistan, which has asked the International Monetary Fund for a $15 billion bailout, is in turn being pressed by the US to deepen its fight against Islamic militants in regions bordering Afghanistan.
The country’s main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif of the PML (N) has said in a leaked letter, “Pakistan is going through the worst crisis of its history.”
“I have never known as much uncertainty as this,” said Khan, who is in London to see his children, the Independent said.