India-Pakistan: June 15, 2005

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 Pakistan is turning on Islamic militants in a big way. For over twenty years, the government has tried to use Islamic conservatism to deal with corruption and political stalemate. This has not worked, and has made matter worse as corruption and political divisiveness remain, and the Islamic radicals have decided to make war on the government. This has resulted in six assassination attempts against Pakistan's president in the last two years, and dozens of  terrorist attacks within Pakistan. One thing that is keeping the Islamic militants going is their activity in Kashmir, where they are trying to drive out Indian troops and civilians. But Pakistan is seriously negotiating a peace deal with India over Kashmir, which would allow Pakistan to go all out after Islamic militants.

Pakistan is a patchwork of tribes, clans and religious groups. The country is dominated by Sunni Junjabi clans, which own much of the arable land, and productive industry.  Islamic conservatism is popular with the Pushtun and Baluchi tribes on the Afghan border, and the urban poor. Corruption and violence have resulted in Pakistan being much less wealthy than neighboring India.

 

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