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

Photogallery US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

NYC mayor says, 'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' yet blizzard warnings, travel bans remain for several East Coast states More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid