India-Pakistan: July 8, 2002


  When a tribal council in the Pakistani Northwest Territories ordered a woman raped as punishment for a minor infraction of her younger brother, the government was given an opportunity to finally impose the rule of law on the tribal territories. Incidents like this with a tribal council are not unusual. For centuries, the tribes have been left alone to run their own internal affairs. But this now means that some tribes are harboring terrorists and Taliban leaders planning for a comeback in Afghanistan. For the last few decades, the present has been catching up with the tribes. Pakistan has been imposing it's rule in the towns and cities of the Northwest, but the tribes out in the hills maintained their independence. But just as tribal compounds increasingly feature satellite dishes, the media has increasingly been reporting the odd (to outsiders) events up in the hills. The tribes will resist the imposition of written law, but many of the younger tribe members have already seen how this superior form of government works on television. The present is catching up with the past. 

Pakistani President Musharraf is presiding over a corrupt nation where religion is used as a political weapon to further the financial interests of various ethnic and regional factions. The economy is kept afloat by enterprises that are technically illegal. Tax collections are more like extortion and everything is for sale. Musharraf wants to create a secular democracy like Turkey. But when Turkey did that 80 years ago, they had a functioning nation to start with. Musharraf has chaos, religious and tribal strife and nuclear weapons to contend with. Many Indians, and some Pakistanis, feel that the only solution is to start all over again. The problem now is, what happens to the nukes during the revolution?


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