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Pakistan shoul pull uop iutself: Int. Herlad tribune

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    Pakistan shoul pull uop iutself: Int. Herlad tribune



    Pakistan Ought to Concentrate on Pulling Itself
    Together


    By Stanley A. Weiss International Herald Tribune

    LONDON - The latest military adventure in Kashmir is yet another variation on a
    familiar theme, Pakistan's obsession with India.

    In 1947, after the birth of both nations, Pakistan sent Pashtun tribesmen to attack
    Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir; the attack failed. In 1965, Pakistan infiltrated large
    numbers of armed militants into Kashmir and ended up losingan all-out war. The most
    recent incursion appears to be out of the control of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

    It is the work of Pakistan's military intelligence agency supporting religious zealots so
    bent on integrating Kashmir that they are blind to the disintegration at home.

    Pakistan was an invention of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who promised a homeland for all of
    the Muslims living in British India. That dream has failed, since more Muslims live in
    India than in Pakistan, which is little more than a collection of tribes, warring factions
    and increasingly radical Islamists.

    The Pashtuns, whose homeland was cut in two by the British, come and go across an
    artificial border with Afghanistan, trading, smuggling and leading the Taliban militia's
    successful takeover of that country. In the mountains near the Khyber Pass, one cannot
    tell an Afghan Taliban from a Pakistani Taliban. They envision an independent
    Pashtunistan, incorporating Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province with much of
    Afghanistan.

    The Baluchis of southwest Pakistan feel closer to their ethnic brothers in neighboring
    Iran and Afghanistan than to the Punjab-dominated central government, which bloodily
    suppressed their rebellion in the early 1970s.

    Sindh, Pakistan's second most populous province, is ruled directly by Islamabad to keep
    order in violence-prone Karachi, the commercial center. It is being torn apart by fighting
    between the indigenous population and migrants (Muhajirs) from India and Bangladesh.
    Muhajir groups have begun killing each other.

    The Sindhis, like the Pashtuns and the Baluchis, are chafing under the domination of
    Pakistan's most important region, Punjab. With 56 percent of the population, the
    Punjabis run the country, staffing the officer corps, the civil service and just about
    everything else.

    Meanwhile, Shiite Muslims, around 20 percent of Pakistan's population, are being
    targeted by radical Sunni groups inflamed by the Taliban example. Last year almost
    1,000 people were killed in clashes between Sunni and Shiite militants.

    Many extreme Sunni Islamists seem to hate the Shiites more than the West, or India.
    The existence of the Shiites is an offense against these Sunnis' vision of a unified
    ''Muslim community of the faithful.''

    It is this vision that is promoted in more than 7,000 Islamic fundamentalist schools and
    seminaries that have spread rapidly as Pakistan's state education failed to push
    literacy rates above 40 percent. These schools are breeding grounds for ''mujahidin,'' or
    holy warriors who are sent to Talibanize Kashmir. Graduates also provide the
    manpower for radical Islamic political parties and for the Sunni Muslim gangs waging
    the murderous campaign against the Shiites.

    Add to this mix of ethnic conflicts and religious zealotry an economy still reeling from
    last year's post-nuclear testing crisis. Trying to keep up with India, a country with six
    times its GDP and 15 times its foreign exchange, Pakistan is running on empty. It has
    an external debt of $30 billion (half of its GDP) and has been bailed out by the IMF 17
    times. The lion's share of government spending goes to defense and debt service.

    The international community, including China, blames Pakistan for the flare-up in
    Kashmir. Pakistan's famous three A's - Allah, the army and America - may soon
    become AA, with the United States likely to reimpose trade sanctions and block further
    IMF loans.

    And, of course, there is the growing impatience of India.

    Incited by militant groups and ultranationalists, many Indians now say that their
    nation's problem has been the failure of Hindus to stand up and fight. They insist that
    Islam's intolerance and claim to exclusive truth have led to the destruction of Hindu
    treasures and the defiling of its holy places.

    They cite the centuries when Kashmir was the route of choice for conquerors who swept
    down from Afghanistan onto the Indian plains, massacring Hindus or converting them to
    Islam. ''Today Srinagar, tomorrow Delhi'' was the Moghul's fearsome cry. These
    Indians be-lieve that nothing has changed.Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority state
    in India's union. It affirms the country's nondenominational character - a single nation
    with a plurality of religions and cultures. Hindus and Muslims live and work side by side
    throughout India, contributing to every aspect of the nation's life. So much so that the
    father of India's ''Hindu'' nuclear bomb is a Muslim.

    The worst thing that could happen to Pakistan would be for it to succeed in wresting
    Kashmir and its 4 million Muslims from India. Led by Hindu extremists, the ethnic
    cleansing of millions of Muslims living in India would make Bosnia and Kosovo seem
    like a picnic. And a further flood of refugees would destroy Pakistan.

    Present and former Indian government officials, military leaders, businessmen and
    journalists - Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs - agree that this is an all too likely outcome.
    The partition of British India in 1947 created more than 11 million refugees and provoked
    almosta million deaths.

    Pakistan should revert to Jinnah's dream of a moderate, secular Islamic state. And
    when casting envious glares at Kashmir, it needs to remember the adage: Be careful
    what you wish for, you may get it.

    The writer is founder and chairman of Business Executives for National Security, an
    organization of U.S. business leaders.
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