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Situation in Pakistan remains on edge: Report

Pakistan continues to remain on edge as the civilian government does not appear to have the will or the ability to muster support for long-term reform.

Pakistan continues to remain on edge as the civilian government does not appear to have the will or the ability to muster support for long-term reform,even as army has succeed in some extent in curbing militants,a study has said.

The Atlantic Council – a Washington-based think-tank in its yet to be released report – has said that Pakistan can begin to turn things around if given the resources and the support it needs from the US,the international financial institutions,and other friends.

But it will also have to take on some major tasks itself,to reorder the political system,rearrange its economic priorities,and truly return power to the people and their representatives,says the report “Pakistan in the Danger Zone: A Tenuous US-Pakistan Relationship.”

“Without tackling these daunting tasks,Pakistan risks political and economic slide,” says the advance copy of the report authored by eminent Pakistani-American Shuja Nawaz,director,South Asia Centre of the Atlantic Council of the United States.

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“The situation in Pakistan remains on edge,” says the 28-page report,which is scheduled to be released on Monday by the former Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammed Khan.

Atlantic Council President and CEO,Frederick Kempe,says that “no bilateral relationship in the world matches that of the United States and Pakistan when it comes to its combustible combination of strategic importance and perilous instability.”

In the report,Nawaz traces developments in the first 18 months of Obama Administration and the attempts to shore up the US-Pakistan partnership.

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But he comes to the conclusion that relations between the United States and Pakistan “remain in trouble and require change in how both sides are managing the relationship.”

A weak civil government has been unable to muster the momentum to change the underlying conditions that foster insurgency and militancy. A military solution is not possible,since it addresses the symptoms not the causes of the problems besetting Pakistan today. Neither is external aid enough. Pakistan needs to find its own solutions and will need help in that regard,he concludes.

The report concludes,because the centre of gravity of the war in Afghanistan is Pakistan,if the US and Pakistan cannot work together,then the war in Afghanistan may well be lost inside Pakistan.

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“The United States and Pakistan appear to have different objectives while speaking about common goals: while both are fighting terrorism and militancy,the US is looking for a safe military exit out of a stabilised Afghanistan while ensuring that Al Qaeda does not re-emerge,” it says.

Pakistan,on the other hand,seeks to secure its own territory against an active homegrown insurgency,while keeping a wary eye on India to its east. “Increasingly,domestic political imperatives seem to be colouring the rhetoric and pushing policy between these two allies,” it adds.

Noting that the 2010 midterm elections and a sputtering economy at home feed the US desire to end the Afghan war,the report says an unfinished transition from autocratic presidential rule to a parliamentary system in Pakistan that pitted the civilian president against the military and other political parties in Pakistan has hamstrung Pakistani politics.

“The European allies in Afghanistan have been missing in action in Pakistan. They have not been able to establish their own relationship with Pakistan in a manner that would engender mutual trust and confidence. They have a minimal presence on the economic development scene in this key country bordering Afghanistan,” it says.

The report,among other things,recommends that the US should also use its new status as a strategic partner of both India and Pakistan to bring the two neighbours together to pick up on the resolution of solvable disputes while reducing tensions on issues that may require more time to mature.

First published on: 26-06-2010 at 13:08 IST
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