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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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 to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid