Once-tolerant southern Punjab has become a base for jihadist groups. Socio-economic grievances, political alienation and poor education provide a near endless source of recruits. To reverse the tide, the government must end a climate of impunity, block hate speech, improve rule of law, and refocus counter-terrorist action to target all jihadist groups.
01 June 2016
Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour killed in U.S. drone strike near Afghan border 21 May (see Afghanistan); Pakistani interior minister said strike against international law, U.S. said its rul ...
Pakistan remains the greatest impediment to a polio-free world. The link between the disease and Islamist anti-immunisation campaigns is clear but without an appropriate political response. The authorities must tackle extremist networks, step up health services, and make sure that health workers are safe.
Pakistan’s six-month-old counter-terrorism strategy has failed to end the operations of violent jihadi groups, while military-led measures continue to undermine the civilian government. A winning strategy will have to include structural and governance reform, both to stop jihadis exploiting the absence of rule of law and to address the root causes of extremist violence.
In Pakistan, women’s security and political, social and economic status are under attack by religious extremists, undermined by discriminatory legislation and unprotected by the state. The government must stand by its pledge to end gender inequity and violence against women, especially in the conflict zones of north-western Pakistan and the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.
As Pakistan seeks to consolidate its fragile democracy, it should seize the moment to improve relations with its Afghan neighbour. Its biggest challenge comes from within. The civilian government has to regain control over national security and foreign policy from the military.
To combat religious extremism and sectarian violence, Pakistan must reform its education sector by boosting resources to public schools and updating the school curriculum to improve quality and remove divisive and discriminatory narratives.
Jihadi and criminal violence is wreaking havoc in Pakistan’s provincial capitals, eroding stability and public confidence in the government’s ability to restore law and order and enforce the writ of the state, while exposing Pakistan’s religious minorities to ever intensifying confessionally-driven violence.
To consolidate democracy, Pakistan’s new parliament needs institutional reform and strong cross-party determination to fend off an interventionist military and over-reaching judiciary.
Drone strikes alone will not eliminate the jihadi threat in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Extension of Pakistani law and full constitutional rights to the region is the only long-term solution.
To overcome the security challenges and curb extremism in Pakistan’s Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA), its national and provincial leaderships should reclaim the political space ceded to the military.
Protecting Pakistan’s Threatened Democracy
21 August 2014
Emergency Rule or Return to Democracy?
6 Jun 2007
Pakistan's Displacement Crisis
23 Feb 2010
Pakistan’s Worsening IDP Crisis
15 September 2010
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