August 24, 2011: In Pakistan, political, ethnic and religious violence in Karachi continues and the military refuses to go in and try to pacify the largest city in the country. If there were a military government, the generals would have no choice. This is a reminder of why military governments have been so popular in Pakistan. Another reason is economic performance. The economy grows faster when the generals are in charge. There is also less, or at least a different kind of, corruption. Consider the average annual GDP growth during the periods of military and elected governments. From 1947-58 there was a civilian government and GDP growth 4.02 percent. Then the generals came in from 1958-69 and growth was 6.77 percent. Civilian rule returned in 1971-77 and GDP growth was 4.84 percent, then came the generals again in 1977-88 and it was 6.45 percent. Elected politicians return 1988-99 with 4.74 percent growth, and then the generals returned in 1999-2007 for 5.4 percent. Currently, the elected government has, from 2008 to the present achieved 2.9 percent growth. Democracy has its virtues in Pakistan, but aiding economic growth is not one of them. Corruption is a, if not the, major problem. It gets little attention because so many key people are corrupt (including many in the media) and none want a lot of attention paid to this problem. But for most Pakistanis, the corruption is a daily reminder of why the country is a mess. Worse yet, the greater economic growth while the generals run things is achieved largely via obtaining lots of foreign aid and building up their own (military owned or controlled) economic empire. Even success is corrupted in Pakistan.
Take, for example, Pakistani support of Islamic terrorism. This began during the 1970s and 80s, when the military government decided that Islamic radicalism would work to defeat India in Kashmir. But many of the Islamic radical groups eventually turned against the Pakistani government. Most Pakistani officials do not even want to admit this connection. The Pakistani military continues to pretend to fight certain Islamic terror organizations (that continue to attack India), while actually protecting them. When cornered with proof, the Pakistani generals just deny everything and insist that there’s a conspiracy afoot. There is very little trust between American and Pakistani military officials when it comes to Pakistan based Islamic terror groups. U.S. officials consider the Pakistani military, especially the ISI (military intelligence) pro-terrorist and untrustworthy. The CIA and ISI still work together, but only with the understanding that the United States realizes the Pakistanis have divided loyalties. This lack of trust, and ISI determination to continue using terrorism, is the major problem the United States has, and has had, with Pakistan. To get around this, the United States is now basing its delivered foreign aid on verifiable accomplishments (usually against Islamic terrorists) by Pakistan. The Americans are ready to deal with all manner of clever game playing by the Pakistanis.
The Indian government has refused to provide military helicopters to states fighting Maoist rebels. Instead, the national government has allowed the states to hire civilian helicopters to support their anti-Maoist activities.
August 23, 2011: In Karachi, Pakistan, the MQM (one of the largest political parties in the country and a major participant in the violence in Karachi) called a day long strike in the city, to protest nearly a hundred dead from ethnic, political and religious violence in the city during the last week. MQM activists threatened to kill anyone who operated a business or went to work today, and the city ground to a halt.
August 22, 2011: In Pakistan’s North Waziristan, American UAVs killed four Islamic terrorists with a missile. Pakistani media and politicians continue to condemn these attacks, even though the military has allowed and supported the attacks for years. Now the military wants veto power over UAV strikes, to protect the terrorists still on the military’s payroll. The American’s will not allow this, and for this last three years have insisted that the Pakistanis tolerate the attacks, as this is the only way all Islamic terrorist organizations in Pakistan can be crippled. Meanwhile, Pakistani security forces only go after Islamic terrorist groups that are attacking the Pakistani government.
Despite the 2003 ceasefire between Pakistan and India, Pakistani troops continue to fire across the border. This has happened 19 times so far this year, 44 times last year, 28 times in 2009 and 77 in 2008. Many of these incidents are efforts by Pakistani troops to tie down Indian border guards while Pakistani-backed Islamic terrorists try to sneak across the border.
August 21, 2011: In Pakistan’s North and South Waziristan, Islamic terrorists clashed with soldiers in several actions, leaving two soldiers and three terrorists dead. Most of these actions are at military checkpoints. Army control of the few roads in the tribal territories provides major control over economic activity and leverage to force tribes to cooperate or, as was shown in this case, fight back.
August 20, 2011: In Kashmir, Indian troops caught a large group of Islamic terrorists trying to sneak in from Pakistan. The resulting gun battle left one soldier and 11 terrorists dead. In Pakistan’s tribal territories (near the Khyber Pass) two soldiers and five Islamic terrorists died in a battle. In Baluchistan (southwest Pakistan), one man was killed and six wounded in several clashes with tribal separatists.
August 19, 2011: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh), about a hundred Maoists ambushed a police convoy, killing nine policemen and a civilian. In Pakistan’s tribal territories (near the Khyber Pass) a teenage suicide bomber killed about sixty people in a crowded mosque. The attack was carried out by the Taliban, against a local tribe that opposes the Islamic terrorists. These kinds of attacks tend to turn even more tribesmen against the Islamic terror groups.
August 17, 2011: In eastern India (Chhattisgarh) police clashed with Maoists, leaving four rebels and one policeman dead.
In Baluchistan (southwest Pakistan), a large (36 kg/77 pounds of explosives) bomb went off in a two story building, killing at least eleven people (out of 40 inside the structure at the time).