sabato, ottobre 25, 2008

Il Pakistan e la "tentazione" del dialogo

La situazione è chiara: la popolazione del Pakistan non ne può più dei continui attentati, e per questo vorrebbe che il nuovo governo intraprendesse colloqui con i talebani e le milizie tribali.
Gli americani però non sono d'accordo, perché temono che i talebani possano approfittare di una tregua per riarmarsi. E visto che il Pakistan è in trattativa con il Fondo monetario internazionale...

Pakistan rejects 'America's war' on extremists

• Parliament vows to end military action on border
• Relations with US will be strained by new strategy

* Saeed Shah in Islamabad
* The Guardian,
* Friday October 24 2008

Serious doubts multiplied yesterday about Pakistan's commitment to
America's military campaign against al-Qaida and the Taliban after
parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for dialogue
with extremist groups and an end to military action.

The new strategy, backed by all parties, emerged after a fierce debate
in parliament where most parliamentarians said that Pakistan was
paying an unacceptable price for fighting "America's war". If
implemented by the government, support for Pakistan from international
allies would come under severe strain, adding further instability to a
country facing a spiral of violence and economic collapse.

"We need to prioritise our own national security interests," said Raza
Rabbani, a leading member of the ruling Pakistan People's party. "As
far as the US is concerned, the message that has gone with this
resolution will definitely ring alarm bells, vis-a-vis their policy of
bulldozing Pakistan."

The resolution, passed unanimously in parliament on Wednesday night
demanded the abandonment of the use of force against extremists, in
favour of negotiation, in what it called "an urgent review of our
national security strategy".

"Dialogue must now be the highest priority, as a principal instrument
of conflict management and resolution," said the resolution. "The
military will be replaced as early as possible by civilian law
enforcement agencies." It also said Pakistan would pursue "an
independent foreign policy" and, in a pointed reference to US military
incursions into Pakistani territory, proclaimed that "the nation
stands united against any incursions and invasions of the homeland,
and calls upon the government to deal with it effectively".

The force of the resolution was unclear last night, with differences
in interpretation between the ruling People's party and opposition.
The document is not binding on the government even though it was party
to it. The army remains the ultimate arbiter of security policy. Some
analysts believe that differences between the parties will see a
tussle over implementation that could temper the resolution's thrust.
The US response was muted, with officials saying they considered it
rhetoric for domestic consumption.

But the intense American pressure on Islamabad to take on the
militants was underlined yesterday by another US missile strike inside
Pakistani territory, an instance of the heavy-handed intervention that
parliament railed against. The attack came in Pakistan's border area
with Afghanistan, at an Islamic school being used by suspected
extremists, killing 11. The madrasa was linked to Afghan Taliban
commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, who has an extensive network in

There have been about a dozen US missile strikes inside Pakistan since
the beginning of September and a ground assault, fanning widespread
anti-Americanism in the country. The US and Nato depend on Pakistan to
prevent its tribal area being used as a safe haven for Afghan Taliban.

Past attempts by Pakistan at making peace with militant groups in the
tribal area have allowed them to regroup and led to a sharp increase
in cross-border attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Yesterday a US official made clear what it expected. "Pakistan needs
to and is attacking insurgents in its northern areas," Patrick Moon, a
deputy US assistant secretary of state, said during a visit to Kabul.
"Sanctuaries for Afghanistan Taliban in Pakistan complicate our
security operations. Pakistani Taliban and other extremists such as
al-Qaida are posing a threat to the stability of Pakistan."

Pakistan is confronting multiple crises, political, security and
financial, which threaten to overwhelm the nuclear-armed country and
push it into chaos. It is heading towards bankruptcy, forcing
Islamabad this week to approach to the International Monetary Fund for
a rescue package. But the IMF bailout could be jeopardised if
Washington is not on board.

Ordinary people complain that the country feels like it is falling
apart, with a severe shortage of electricity causing blackouts of 12
hours or more in many areas, and crippling food price inflation,
running at up to 100%, swelling the numbers living below the poverty

The country's north-west, especially its tribal border area with
Afghanistan, is under the control of Taliban and al-Qaida, who are
connected to militant groups that have networks across the country.
Yesterday, in what is now a typical day for Pakistan, aside from the
US missile strike, eight anti-Taliban tribal leaders were killed by
militants in the Orakzai part of the tribal area, and the army killed
20 fighters in Bajaur, another part of the tribal belt.

In Swat, a valley in the north-west, the headless body was found of a
policeman, previously kidnapped by Taliban, and posters went up in
Swat warning women against shopping in markets, saying it was

"Our country is burning," said Senator Khurshid Ahmad, a member of
Pakistan's upper house of parliament for Jamaat-e-Islami, a mainstream
religious party. "We don't want Bush to put oil on the fire. We want
to extinguish this fire."

Sherry Rehman, minister for information, said the motion was a "firm
resolve to combat terrorism". But Talat Masood, a retired general and
security analyst, said: "The army will be disappointed there was not a
clear consensus. I think the army will continue with the existing


Pakistan's tribal territory, formally known as the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), is a legacy of the Raj, a 10,000
square mile sliver of territory that has become central to geopolitics
and the homeland security of the US, Britain and Europe.

The laws of Pakistan do not extend to the tribal belt, which is run
under its own punitive laws and tribal custom, a system developed by
the British. Fierce customs mean that men all carry guns, and guests,
including al-Qaida militants, must be protected.

Al-Qaida's leadership and thousands of Taliban escaped the US war in
Afghanistan after September 11 2001 by slipping into the tribal area,
which runs along the border.

Under a treaty with the tribes, the Pakistan army was not allowed to
enter the Fata, but the accord broke in 2004 under US pressure calling
for al-Qaida bases to be disrupted. This sparked a tribal insurrection
and pushed the locals towards extremism, creating a Pakistani Taliban.
Taliban militants killed hundreds of traditional leaders and now
control most of the Fata, imposing a rough and ready Islamic law,
though it is believed that most tribesmen remain moderate.


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