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Pak Army responsible for country's existential confusion: Mira Sethi


March 14, 2011 - Washington

Pakistan's existential confusion is the outcome of the "grand strategic designs" of its army, which advocates an anti-India ideology, shelters jihadists and cows liberal civilian politicians, Mira Sethi, assistant books editor at the Journal, has said.

"The failure of the political classes to initiate democratic, constitutional reform after Pakistan's separation from India in 1947 enabled the military to quickly define "national interest" as an anti-India ideology," Sethi, a native of Lahore, wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

"This ideology, a type of Islamic nationalism, is one from which the Pakistan military has reaped rich dividends. It has kept civilian politicians on the defensive and the people numbed," she added.

Sethi said that Pakistan's former military ruler General Zia-ul-Haq's "children" have come of age. Extremists of all stripes- the Taliban and the mujahideen- roam the streets of Lahore and Karachi unchecked by the security agencies who once thought that it would be a good idea to arm them. Anger and frustration fueled by inequality are making young Pakistanis turn to religion for answers, she added.

Sethi said that the the United States is beginning to understand that Pakistan's existential confusion is the result of the grand strategic designs of the Pakistani military, an army that has carried out three coups to thwart the development of a democratic political system.

"In the process, Pakistan's civilian leadership has been eliminated- Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hanged, Benazir Bhutto, [Salman] Taseer and [Shahbaz] Bhatti assassinated- the country dismembered, ethnic subnationalism, regional tension and inequalities aggravated," she added

Sethi warned that the US must support civilian supremacy and recognise the Pakistan Army's game for what it is.

"Alarmed by the idea that if America leaves Afghanistan its U.S. funds will dwindle, the military is loath to crush the Islamist warriors who can be "calibrated" to deliver strategic value to it," she pointed out.

"Until the US recognises this, Pakistan's military will continue to hold the world to ransom," she added.

ANI

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