Winning: Blowback

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January 29, 2012: While Pakistan reduced its terrorism deaths 40 percent last year, to about 3,100, the non-tribal areas (Sind and Punjab provinces, where most Pakistanis live) achieved a reduction of over 50 percent. Moreover, over 90 percent of the terrorism deaths still take place in the Pushtun (northwest) and Baluchi (southwest) tribal territories. Thus the government has not been able to halt all the terrorist violence, but it has managed to get most of it confined to the tribal areas, where most of the terrorists come from.

While the fact that 90 percent of the population only suffers ten percent of the terrorism fatalities, seems like good news, it ignores the fact that Islamic terrorism, the source of most of these deaths, is thriving in the non-tribal areas. This is no accident. For over half a century politicians and military leaders have sought to use Islamic conservatism as a weapon to intimidate opponents and rally supporters. This has backfired, with conservative Islamic clergy now using this "more Islamic than thou" power to bully politicians and generals alike. Even the legal profession (judges and lawyers) are intimidated. Moderate Moslems risk their lives in opposing this faith-based bullying. While most Pakistanis don't want to be ruled by a religious dictatorship (as the Taliban demand) they are also fed up with their corrupt politicians and military leaders. Now, in addition to the corruption, there's the growing use of violence to intimidate and dominate. Political parties and religious partisans both use mob violence, bullets, and bombs to pressure their enemies. Shia Moslems, various Sunni sects, and non-Moslems are all the target of attacks, mostly by Sunni Moslem terror groups.

While lowland Pakistanis are glad they don't suffer as much terrorist violence as do people in the tribal territories, they are also aware that they suffer more terrorist violence, per capita, than neighboring India. Worse, it's all self-inflicted by a military intelligence (ISI) effort to develop a cheap and decisive weapon (Islamic radicalism) to bring order to Pakistan and disorder to India. Quite the opposite happened and most Pakistanis are not happy with that at all.

 

 

 


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