This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Will The New Pakistan Please Step Forward?

"Sharif seems to have taken some steps which the terrorists clearly are angered by. The terrorists are continuing their quest to purify Pakistan of all religious minorities and those who don't conform to their limited vision."
"There is no sign that the military strategic calculation has changed."
Farahnaz Ispahani, former Pakistan member of parliament

"Sharif is suffering a blowback. Pakistan is today a victim of terrorism, and the world needs to understand that without constantly accusing it of being a perpetrator of terrorism."
Rohan Gunaratna, International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

"There is a complete network that has to be uprooted and destroyed. The Punjab government talks a lot but there's no action. Unless you move against jihadis, their hideouts, their logistics, their personnel, their contacts, their complete network -- these things will keep going on."
Ikram Sehgal, chairman, Pathfinder Group, Pakistan security company

"Our goal is not only to eliminate terror infrastructure but also the extremist mindset which is a threat to our way of life."
"We must take this war to the doors of terrorist outfits before they are able to hit our innocent countrymen."
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
epa05232899 Relatives of the victims of a suicide bomb blast cry outside a hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, 27 March 2016. At least 52 people inlcuding women and children were killed while dozens injured in a suicide bomb attack that targeted a recreational park in Lahore. EPA/RAHAT DAR
Fun turned to anguish after a blast tore through a children’s park in Lahore on Sunday, killing 70 people and injuring about 200 others   ©EPA

Pakistan's Sharif has called for his country to become more "educated, progressive, forward-looking" into the future. He is behind a movement to improve the lives of religious minorities; Hindus, Christians and Shia Muslims, as well as Pakistan's women. Sectarian violence has targeted minorities in the country and honour killings have continued to threaten women's lives in the traditional and culturally-accepted belief that a woman's chastity is responsible for family honour and death of a woman accused of bringing dishonour to a family represents the restoration of honour.

When Taliban jihadis attacked an army school in December of 2014 by storming their compound a massacre of 134 students ensued, many of whom had been shot point blank in the head. That event represented a variation on the usual military or police base targets. It also led to new measures to reduce the violence of terrorist assaults. Some analysts view this latest assault on Easter Sunday not as an attack against Pakistan's Christian minority particularly, but rather a plan to target Nawaz Sharif's aspirations toward a new, civil, inclusive Pakistan.

Over 60,000 people have died in Pakistan as a result of Islamist terrorism since 2001. Taliban jihadis whose bases are in the border mountainous regions near Afghanistan view Pakistan's reach toward democratic values as anathema to Islam. They are intent on having universal Sharia law applied in Pakistan. And they have plenty of support among the population. Even while official Pakistan is engaged in convincing its Western allies of its sincerity in battling terrorism, the ongoing links between its intelligence services and the Pakistan military with Islamist groups continues.

And a virally Islamist nation rife with various jihadist groups, some of which conspire with the country's military to mount attacks on the disputed Indian-held part of Kashmir and across the border into India to foment unrest and disruption through bloody ambushes and assaults has a deeper, more sinister faultline. That this unstable country riven with polarized versions of Islam, resentful of its neighbours India and Afghanistan, is a nuclear-armed country.

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