Tuesday, May 17, 2011

After Bin Laden, Don't give up on Pakistan: CNN Opinion article

Don't give up on Pakistan
By Hassan Abbas, Special to CNN, May 17, 2011
Editor's note: Hassan Abbas is a fellow at the Asia Society, director of the society's Pakistan 2020 Study Group, and a professor at Columbia University's South Asia Institute in New York. He is also a former senior adviser to the Pakistan government.

(CNN) -- In recent years Pakistan has stumbled from one crisis to another. Reeling from a deadly insurgency on the country's western border, its democratic government has struggled to establish even a modicum of stability. The people of Pakistan have shown amazing resilience even as they face rising terrorist activity, severe economic distress and perennial regional tensions.

That Osama bin Laden was hiding in plain sight in a compound less than a mile from Pakistan's national military academy is troubling, to say the least. If Pakistan's intelligence missed him completely, then it was a case of criminal negligence. If there was collusion of some sort, that will be an even more dire piece of news.

Yet Pakistan needs more attention and understanding from its most important ally, the United States, and from the rest of the world. Now is not the time for the world to turn its back on Pakistan.

Pragmatic and durable policy options aimed at improving Pakistan's prospects with a long-term vision are needed. A new Asia Society study group report attempts to provide them, drawing on the insights and guidance of 30 Pakistani and U.S. scholars, former senior officials and experts.

Some of the major recommendations of the report, titled "Pakistan 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future," are:

• The process of democratization must continue, as there is no other way to expand civilian control over all institutions of the state. Pakistan has been ruled by generals for half its history -- another military takeover would set the country back yet again.

• Pakistan's military expenditures should be made more transparent, and there should be an increased civilian role in defense spending and security policy decisions.

• Independence of the judiciary -- a major Pakistani achievement in recent years -- needs to be further strengthened through respect for the separation of powers enshrined in the constitution and by providing financial autonomy to the country's judicial institutions.

• To fix the education system, spending on schools needs to rise from less than 1.5% to at least 4% of gross domestic product -- so girls don't drop out, boys don't end up in radical madrassas, and Pakistan overall can take part in Asia's boom.

• Along with proper upkeep of existing hydropower dams, more dams are needed to meet Pakistan's current and future energy requirements.

• Without a drastic overhaul of law enforcement, Pakistan's internal security situation could worsen further. Major financial investment is needed -- for example, half of U.S. funding allocated for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency support could be directed toward enhancing the forensic capabilities of law enforcement and supporting scientific investigations.

For complete article, click here

Asia Society Pakistan 2020 Report website: http://asiasociety.org/pakistan2020


Rai Azlan said...

points are interesting and valid and sure they can be the core for the growth and success but every time our melody dies at the point of implementation. a good plan is an evil if there is worst or no implementation.

Anonymous said...

Islamabad: The Chinese leadership has asked Islamabad to "mend its fences" with all its neighbours, including India, and expressed concern over terrorists still "flourishing" in centres on Pakistani soil, a media report today said.

The message from the Chinese leadership was conveyed during Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's visit to China that ended yesterday, The News daily quoted diplomatic sources as saying.

While expressing "unflinching support" for Pakistan's security, integrity and solidarity, the Chinese leadership "advised Pakistan to mend its fences with all of its neighbours and try to win international blessings for its national (and) international goals", the report said.

The Chinese leadership asked Islamabad to make efforts for the "removal of irritants with Washington and New Delhi", the diplomatic sources were quoted as saying.

The Chinese leadership expressed regret that "terrorists were flourishing in various centres and Pakistan had yet to take an effective action to remove such centres", the report said.

It added that this was an "obvious reference (or) signal about madrassas".

Pakistan was also asked by the Chinese leadership to play a "more effective role in Afghanistan where the chances of peace are getting brighter", the report said.

Gilani's visit to China came at a time of fresh tensions in Pakistan-US ties following a raid by American commandos that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2.

The Chinese leadership, the diplomatic sources told The News, had agreed in principle to help Pakistan to bridge its budget deficit and to provide a soft loan for rescuing its economy.

The leadership, however, "declined to oblige the desire expressed by Islamabad for fiscal assistance", the report said.

Beijing said that China, as part of its policy, does not "give hard cash as financial assistance to any country", the report said.