India-Pakistan: The Rules


January 10, 2011:  In Indian Kashmir, the Indians have halted road construction along the border, because of Chinese pressure (in the form of Chinese troops crossing the border and ordering the civilian road crews to go away). This has been a contentious issue in the Indian government and military, but so far the consensus is to not confront the Chinese on the issue.  There is still terrorist violence in Indian Kashmir, and 458 civilians, terrorists and police were killed because of it there last year. But more than twice as many people (1,169) died from leftist (Maoist) violence in eastern India. For most Indians, the terrorists threat has shifted to the leftists, although Islamic terror groups remain a threat. The Islamic militants are seen as a declining one, while the leftist rebels are growing.

In Pakistan, the army and police continue to skirmish with Islamic terrorists outside of the Taliban haven of North Waziristan. The Taliban continue to try and spread their control from North Waziristan, and force the Pakistani government to stop the CIA UAV missile attacks. These American missiles continue to kill terrorist personnel, and some Islamic terrorist leaders have allowed themselves to be arrested, so they would be safe from the missiles (even if they were restricted to a military safe house or prison.) More Islamic terrorists are leaving Pakistan, or not entering Pakistan to begin with. Central Asia is a new favorite destination, despite Russian and Chinese cooperation in hunting down terrorists in that region. The biggest problem the Pakistani Islamic terrorists have is lack of cohesion. Many Islamic radical factions refuse to obey "the rules" (don't attack government officials, and Western targets, and you are free to go after targets in Afghanistan and India). "The Rules" are no secret, nor is Indian and Western contempt for the Pakistani leadership, which can't enforce these self-serving "rules", or run the country with any degree of effectiveness.  

January 9, 2011: Police operations against Maoists continue in eastern India, and today nine rebels were encountered and killed. In Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, 20,000 demonstrated in favor of the blasphemy laws, which make mandate a death sentence for insulting Islam. The laws, which are mainly used to intimidate non-Moslems, those who oppose Islamic radical groups, or anyone you don't like, are unpopular with the majority of Pakistanis. But the minority who do support the laws, are willing to use lethal force to keep the laws on the books.

January 6, 2011:  The Pakistani government has backed off on economic reforms when a key component of its parliamentary coalition threatened to withdraw support (and force new elections). Thus the government has restored the 10 percent cut in gasoline (petrol) subsidies enacted January 1 (which raised the price of gasoline to about $3.70 a gallon, from $3.40.) So many wealthy Pakistanis cheat on their taxes that the government is essentially bankrupt and highly dependent on foreign aid and loans. The donor nations and institutions had insisted that Pakistan increase tax collections and cut spending, but by backing away from cutting the gasoline subsidies, the government has shown itself incapable of doing either. The big problem with the Pakistani government (be it elected or military) is not lack of cooperation, but lack of competence.  

January 5, 2011: While Islamic terrorist groups took credit for the murder of Pakistani governor Salman Taseer, many Pakistanis openly accuse the killer of being an Indian agent. This belief that India (and the West in general) is responsible for everything that goes wrong in Pakistan, is very popular. Partly because it means no one in Pakistan has to take responsibility for the mess (broke, ungovernable, corrupt) the country is in.

January 4, 2011: In Pakistan, Punjab province governor Salman Taseer was shot dead by one of his own bodyguard. Taseer had openly opposed the blasphemy laws (enacted in the 1970s), which is why his bodyguard turned on him. While no one had ever been executed because of these laws, many are accused and jailed each year, and often condemned to death (and later reprieved). But 30 of those accused have been murdered by Islamic fanatics, who are a large, and violent, minority of the population.



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