ISSUE BRIEF

Beginning of the Countdown to Sectarian End-Game in Pakistan?

April 27, 2012

Kayani’s comments on Siachen and other recent Pakistani overtures being made to India on trade and other issues need to be seen in their correct perspective: against the backdrop of the ever worsening sectarian divide in Pakistan, the ever widening chasm in relations between the Pakistani establishment and the Taliban and other Deobandi Islamic zealots on both sides of the Durand Line, the ever increasing economic crunch facing Pakistan, particularly the Army, due to stoppage of US and other international assistance, and the continuing failure of the economy to sustain the ever mounting military expenditure. It is a moot point whether if the Afghan Taliban and their associates come to power in Kabul by overthrowing the Karzai regime, they would remain loyal to the Pakistani establishment or gravitate towards supporting the struggle of their coreligionist TTP and its Punjabi associates against the Barelvi dominated Pakistani state. The Pakistani leadership has apparently come to the point where it realises that for the survival of the country and its structures created by Jinnah, it must buy peace for the present with its arch-enemy India. In their minds a tactical move to mend fences with India would allow them to divert military resources from the eastern to the western borders where the uncertain Afghan situation might be becoming critical. India should not bale Pakistan out without the latter making an effort to extricate itself from its present predicament by making tough choices and taking hard action.

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