Pakistan is in turmoil. Its 170 million inhabitants are watching hopelessly as endemic corruption of its political leaders, fattened incompetent military Generals (through repeated military coups) and disastrous U.S. policies in the region are bringing the country down. A few thousand illiterate, bearded, terror infested bunch of mullahs are trying to threaten the very existence of the State.
A country with ample fresh water supply from its five rivers, an extensive canal irrigation system, fertile land, rich in food, fruit and with hard working people trying to make a better life for themselves should never be in this predicament.
Ever since its creation in 1947, incompetent and corrupt Pakistani leaders have surrendered its independence and sovereignty to the United States and the West. Pakistan's participation in contentious SEATO & CENTO defense facts caused it to be the target of Soviet Union. The US U2 spy flight flown by Garry Powers in the sixties originated from a Pakistani air base and was shot down by the Soviets, causing Nikita Khrushchev to threaten Pakistan (the famous shoe incidence at the United Nations).
The successive U.S. Administrations have supported military dictators in Pakistan. George W. Bush's mantra of spreading democracy sounded pretty hollow while he was busy supporting Musharraf. The U.S. Treasury claims to have given $10 billion to Musharraf regime, where has this money gone? The people of Pakistan have certainly not seen it, nor benefited from it, so when the US Senators & Congressmen repeat the $10 billion mantra, people of Pakistan laugh and wonder what the hell they are talking about!
Even the current political dispensation in Pakistan was structured in Washington under Condi Rice's conniving scheme. The late Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari faced a number of criminal corruption cases in courts in Pakistan, Switzerland and U.K, but once a deal was cut with Musharraf, suddenly all of the cases disappeared in thin air. Mr. Zardari now occupies the Presidency - albeit democratically elected.
Most of the damage to State of Pakistan has been caused by the aftermath of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The prospect of Soviet Union controlling the Hormuz Straits, hence the world oil supply sent chills down Pentagon and White House spines. They came running to Pakistan to help them launch a proxy war to stop Soviets reaching the warm waters of Persian Gulf. Now the much maligned ISI of Pakistan became the corner stone of US policy as CIA knew little (if anything) about Afghanistan. With U.S. and Middle Eastern funding, Madrassahs were set up in Pakistan to indoctrinate/train Afghans and Pakistanis as Mujaheddin fighters, many of whom later became Taliban. Rumor has it that the current U.S. Defense Secretary, Bill Gates was involved in this effort and one of his charges was Osama bin Ladin.
No sooner had the Soviets retreated, the U.S. cut and ran leaving a fractured Afghanistan with no Government or political structures, a fragile Pakistan with three million Afghan refugees on its soil (one million Afghan refugees are camped in Pakistan) leaving behind thousands of stinger missiles and other weaponry in the hands of an undisciplined rag tag bunch of Mujaheddin. Not only did the U.S. leave Pakistan in peril, it also imposed economic sanctions on it leaving the country in a dire economic state.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton get it when they say "we are reaping what we sowed". No matter how good the intentions of U.S. leaders, people of Pakistan are reluctant to trust them again. They feel that U.S. does not have the stomach or the desire to resolve Afghan situation and it will cut and run in a couple of years leaving more turmoil behind.
The problem is that Afghan war is turning Pakistani Pashtuns into Taliban as they feel they are supporting their fellow Pashtun brethren in Afghanistan against foreign occupying forces. The increasing US drone attacks inside Pakistan are making the situation even worse as they feel Pakistan Government is complicit in these attacks and is therefore acting as an agent of United States.
The U.S. needs to change its Afghan policy and VERY SOON to pacify that country politically, not militarily. Karzai should be asked to bring all ethnic groups (including Pashtuns) to the table into a Government of national unity, so the healing can begin and foreign forces can leave.
In Pakistan, a huge development effort is needed in the two western provinces bordering Afghanistan. Economic opportunities need to be created, by a massive building program, schools, colleges, markets, roads, highways and airports need to be built to make the area more accessible. Young people need to taken out of madrassahs and enrolled in schools and colleges and they need jobs. Rather than spending hundreds of billions of dollars on war effort, a Martial type plan of (say) $30 billion would revolutionize this area into peace and prosperity within a few years. The Pashtuns are not looking to fight wars, except they have nothing else to do.
If the U.S. cannot do this to attain peace and prosperity in the region and to recompense Pakistan for the havoc wreaked by its policies, then I want it to get the hell out of the country and from that whole region.
Until recently the Pakistani public have been wondering, to what end has the country spent 50% of its budget each year on armed forces, so they can stage a coup from time to time and surrender Swat to rag tag mullahs? In fact there was even been a serious danger of military becoming irrelevant. But thank God the army has now taken the initiative to quell the self appointed sharia leaders of the region. And in this effort, the entire Pakistani nation is behind its military. General Kiyani is a serious man and so far he has set a good example of staying far away from politics. He needs to stay that way and focus on putting down the uprising once and for all. The mullahs may have the support of extremist elements, but not from a vast majority of 170 million Pakistanis. They want peace and prosperity for their country and want to put an end to past rivalries with neighbors. They want to turn their country into an economic powerhouse.
This is a defining moment for Pakistani politicians and its military. The politicians need to put aside their differences and come together to deliver what the people have elected them for - law and order, economic prosperity, health and education, peace and a great deal more. The Military needs to establish its writ over the rogue Taliban elements once and for all so they don't challenge the State of Pakistan ever again with their twisted brand of sharia law. GET ME MY COUNTRY BACK DAMMIT.