Pakistan in the Global Stage
In the 1970’s and 1980’s there was a popular saying: “When Japan sneezes, the world gets a cold.” This was of course when Japan was an economic power to be reckoned with. Today, with increased communication, and globalization, a seemingly inconsequential event in one part of the world can have huge ramifications for a lot of people and countries. Pakistan would be a good example to demonstrate this idea.
Over the past few months, Pakistan has been facing a long list of troubles. Apart from the fact that the civilian government has done an extremely poor job at handling relief efforts for the more than 20 million affected by the summer floods, there have also been attacks by extremist militant groups against Sufi shrines and mosques, the most recent attack on Thursday at the “Abdullah Shah Ghazi” mosque in Karachi, killing at least eight people. Add to these domestic problems the fact that relations between the U.S and Pakistan are at a very low point, culminating with Pakistan’s decision to close the Torkham border crossing which is used to ferry, according to some estimates, almost 80% of supplies needed by Western troops in Afghanistan. This was in response to NATO helicopter excursions in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border which have killed 2 Pakistani soldiers. The closure of the Torkham border crossing has also led to an increase in the number of insurgent attacks along other access routers between the two countries.
Pakistani authorities are not giving any definite date for the border reopening. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit on Thursday said that the supply route would be opened in “due course”. Experts are saying that the closure of the Torkham route is seriously affecting the US war effort in Afghanistan even though the government keeps denying it. The US is also pressuring Pakistan to extend and intensify their efforts to clamp down on military safe havens on the Pakistani side of the border. Following the September 11th attacks, Pakistan has received more than $15 billion in aid from the US and in return, Pakistan has given the US access to its land as a key transit route.
Amidst the accusations that Pakistani Intelligence officials have actually been working with the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the country, there also many corruption charges against top politicians in the Pakistani government. My international relations professor predicted last week in class that within a month, there will a coup in Pakistan resulting in the shift of power in the country. Both locally and internationally, Pakistan is in disarray, and the government is doing a seemingly poor job at handling the problems it’s faced with. It will be interesting to observe how Pakistan is going to emerge from its many crises in the next few months.