News / Asia

Disorganized Security Policy in Pakistan Causes Concern

Pakistani Christians block a main highway during a rally to condemn a suicide bombing on a church, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sept. 23, 2013.
Pakistani Christians block a main highway during a rally to condemn a suicide bombing on a church, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sept. 23, 2013.
Sharon Behn
— Protests erupted around Pakistan against a horrific church bombing that left dozens of dead and wounded Sunday, the worst attack against Christians the country has ever seen. Analysts worry the government is losing control over the country's security.

Shock and anger rippled through the country after a faction of the Pakistani Taliban bombed a Christian church, killing more than 80 worshipers and wounding more than 100 others Sunday in the country’s northwest city of Peshawar.  Protesters took to the streets, demanding the government do more to protect its minorities.
 
The double suicide bombing occurred less than a week after the Taliban killed one of the army’s top commanders, General Sanaullah Khan and two other soldiers with a roadside bomb, a rare attack on the top ranks of military power.
 
Speaking in London, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the latest attack threatened to put an end to proposed talks with the Taliban to negotiate an end to the violence in Pakistan.
 
"The government had started a process of talks in good faith, all political parties sat down and decided to talk, and there was no harm in starting such a process in good faith, but, sadly, the government now can no longer move ahead," said Sharif.
 
But Pakistan's Human Rights Commission lashed out at the government's inadequate response.  The aim of the attack, the commission said in a statement, was to destabilize the state.  As such, Pakistan could not afford its response to be "any less unequivocal."
 
Analyst Megha Kumar of the British-based Oxford Analytica group says the security situation in Pakistan is fragile.

“The civilian administration is most certainly and unequivocally stretched in key areas of domestic security," said Kumar.

Beyond promoting talks, Sharif’s government, voted into power in May, has yet to formulate a coherent and cohesive national security policy for the country.  
 
Retired General Talat Masood, now a security analyst, says this could lead to more violence.
 
"There will be a phase in which perhaps the militants will continue to sort of expand their space, because ultimately nobody sees that there would be any future if the Pakistan government only thinks in terms of talking to these militants, who have an agenda of establishing their own constitution," said Masood.

Pakistan Taliban have strongholds in parts of the northwest bordering Afghanistan, while Taliban factions operate in eastern Punjab province.  

Masood notes separatists control pockets of southwest Baluchistan province, and extremists and politically-influenced criminals have turned sections of the southern city of Karachi into virtual no-go zones.
 
“We have many areas in Pakistan where the government has lost its control and various both criminal as well as militant organizations are virtually in control," he said.
 
Analysts agree Islamabad has little it can concede to the Pakistan Taliban.  The militants have demanded the military move out of the tribal northwest, an end to drone strikes in the region, the release of more than 4,000 Taliban prisoners, and Sharia law, options neither the government nor the military will likely agree to.
 
But taking on the Pakistan Taliban in its strongholds in the northwest is difficult.  It is unclear how the Taliban and its affiliated groups would retaliate against any such operation and if the Pakistani public is willing to pay the price.
 
The pressure on Sharif's government to take action is expected to increase further as international forces leave neighboring Afghanistan by the end of 2014.  The strong liklihood the Afghan Taliban will have greater power there could further embolden the Pakistan Taliban.
 
There is also agreement among international observers and analysts that it would be crucial for the government to set out a clear policy before Pakistan’s long-serving army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, steps down in November and a new army chief is appointed.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid