India-Pakistan: August 20, 2003


  Attempts to start peace talks between Pakistan and India are going nowhere. Pakistan has a major problem with Islamic radicals, whose political powers are trying to take over the government democratically. Then, the Islamic radicals openly admit, they would establish an Islamic Republic that would allow no more votes to remove Islamic rule. Pakistanis are backing the Islamic radicals because over half a century of democratic rule in Pakistan have brought only corruption and economic stagnation. The popularity of Islamic radicals in Pakistan has allowed the Afghan Taliban to openly maintain bases in western Pakistan. Similarly, Islamic radicals maintain over fifty camps in eastern Pakistan from which they send fighters into Indian Kashmir. The Pakistani government denies that it supports these Islamic radicals, but for years the army and police have largely avoided any contact with the Islamic radicals. There is some police action against Islamic radicals who make attacks in large urban areas and against Islamic radicals who are operating mainly against other Islamic groups. The Pakistani government plan is to somehow deal with the pervasive corruption that strangles the economy, and turn people away from Islamic radicalism. But that's long term, if it can ever be made to work. In the near term, the Islamic radicals are on a roll.  

In Kashmir, rebel violence during the last week left at least 44 dead and many more wounded. 


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