Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Spare a thought for Pakistan

Something dramatic is taking place in Pakistan.

No, I am not talking about the latest emergency / dictatorship / martial law.

That is old hat - or should it be old military topee?

What is different was pointed out in the Indian Express article 2 days ago.

Pakistani army forces on the Indo-Pak border are at an all time low. Not because peace has broken out - but because Pakistan is now fighting an all out war on its north western frontier. And inside its own territory.

There seems to be an all-out civil war in Swat - a beautiful mountainous region of Pakistan - where Taliban-like forces seem to have dug in. The difference between the Talibs and the locals seem to be virtually none at this point. The dogs of war have returned with a vengance. Years of rhetoric (and support) of jehadi activities in Afghanistan and Kashmir seems to be pushing a fragile state to its limits.

There is no joy in my writing these things. As we look across the border, it is with sadness that we see the inevitable taking place. The good book says that those who live by the sword will die by it.

Though we have our own insurgencies of various scales, India seems to be on the ascendant, while the rump state of what was to be the land of the pure looks increasingly precarious. A state cannot be based on a relgious identity - which is the raison d'etre of the birth of modern Pakistan (the two winged bird without a body is what Rushdie called it once). More so when the Bengali Muslims defected and formed their own country of Bangladesh.

Our prayers need to be directed to see that this radical shift towards a total breakup of our fragile neighbour will be averted. We need a solid, freedom-loving and open neighbour. We do not want one where the car bombs go off everyday. Someone has said that after Iraq the most people killed to terrorism are from India. I don't know the truth of it, but we see a vast belt of discontent of the most violent sort spreading out from Iraq and Afghanistan. Pray hard that this will be rolled back - and that our dear friends between here and Jerusalem will live in true Shalom.

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