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Pakistan - Somalia and Darfur of Asia
A huge blast on Wednesday, in Lahore, rocked Pakistan once again. It revealed that Pakistan is sitting on stockpiles of nuke arsenals and it will be ruined one day. The fire, with which it was playing against India, has 'backfired'
ON WEDNESDAY, May 28, 2009, a huge car blast rocked Lahore, killing more than 24 people and injuring 300 plus. Reportedly, one ISI agent and some police personnel have also lost their lives in this dastardly act, allegedly perpetrated by Pakistan-based Taliban. Interestingly, Lahore is not too far away from SWAT.

Pakistan seems to be sitting on a stockpile of explosives, which, ironically, has been amassed by Pakistan itself. The most striking thing in this attack is that it took place near ISI and Police Chief Offices, which is suggestive of the fact that militants and terrorists are capable of striking and attacking anytime, anywhere, in Pakistan. In fact, the ongoing military onslaught against Taliban in SWAT and Mingora has baffled the Taliban. Thus it has started making its presence felt in a much bigger way.

The so called war against terror in Pakistan and Afghanistan has converted the region into a war zone, and India has been unnecessarily made a part of it. The US has miserably failed to tame Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, even after hundreds of billions of dollars have been injected into the entire exercise. With every passing day, the situation becomes worse and the hopes of illusive victory in this strife-torn country are far from sight. Pakistan is becoming the Somalia of Asia, and Rwanda and Darfur of the region.

Incapable political leadership – The political leadership in Pakistan is in nadir. Initial euphoria after the elections is over, and now Zardari has to swallow the bitter pill of the Military-ISI-Taliban nexus. The situation in Pakistan is fast moving away from normal. The stand-off between Zardari and Nawaz may be over on the issue of reinstatement of Justice Chaudhary but hatred and suspicion between them are still high. Now with the recent verdict by the Supreme Court, allowing Nawaz to fight elections, the tussle may assume some more dangerous proportions.

Capture of SWAT and repercussions thereafter – Even before the recent spurt in incidents of violence, the security situation in Pakistan has been fast slipping out of the hands of the government. The complete surrender of the Pakistan government in SWAT valley – which is hardly 100 km away from Islamabad – to the Taliban, was the testimony of the ever growing power of the Taliban in Pakistan. The purchased peace in SWAT – once an alpine tourist valley – in exchange of introduction of Shariat law, had stopped the guns for the time being, but the authority of the government had been thoroughly undermined. The lapis lazuli mines of SWAT valley have reportedly been brought under the Taliban’s control. The poppy cultivation in many areas in Pakistan by the ‘jehadis’ and the Taliban is also adding to their coffers. According to one estimate, Taliban controls more than 2/3rd of the illegal arms and drug trade, which is approximately 3-4 trillion US dollars. Such is the economic and military strength of these elements.

Impact of these developments on India – India has been the softest target of Pakistani militants, right from its (Pakistan’s) birth. We all know – and it is too obvious and simple a proposition to be discussed – that the humiliating defeat of Pakistan at the hands of India, thrice, has forced it to switch over to proxy war, and subsequently low intensity war in Indian territory.

The SWAT coming to the Taliban’s hegemony is of immense strategic importance. SWAT is hardly 100 km away from Islamabad and roughly 70 km away from Peshawar. It these distances are calculated, the Indian capital, New Delhi, is hardly 758 km away from Islamabad and only 427 km from Lahore. Obviously, our western command will be very near to the SWAT Valley. Pakistan has developed intermediate and short range missiles like Abdali and Ghaznavi, Ghauri I and II, medium range Ghauri III (ICBM) Shaheen I, II and III, etc.

SWAT is just a sojourn of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and if allowed to consolidate their position, will not only threaten the very existence of Pakistan but will hawk on India also. Unfortunately, the Strategic Plan Division (SPD), the command and control system of these missiles and nuclear warheads, are in the hands of the military, rather than civilian government. The startling revelation of A. Q. Khan only a few years ago has revealed that nuke technology might have slipped into terrorists’ hands. Imagine what situation Pakistan is trapped in. Is it not sitting on stockpiles? Has it not become Somalia and Darfur? Unfortunately, this situation will probably spill over into India, too.

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