Pakistan seems to be waging a war on two fronts these days. One, against the insurgents doing so much damage to the country’s stability. The other is a sustained PR assault on the international stage in search of money.
“Pakistan needs the unconditional support by the international community in the fields of education, health training and provision of equipment for fighting terrorism,” Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said earlier this week, before warning that his country is fighting for its very survival.
Then yesterday the Pakistan’s ambassador to the US criticised Washington for spending money on car company bailouts instead of helping his country. Pakistan and Afghanistan deserve more resources than ‘some car company whose achievemetn is that they couldn’t make cars they could sell,’ said Ambassador Husain Haqqani.
Meanwhile a suspected foiled terrorist plot in Britain has led to the arrest of 11 Pakistani nationals. It prompted Gordon Brown to call on Pakistan to do more to root out terrorism within its own borders. But how much more can the Pakistani government do on its own? There have been four bombs in Islamabad this week alone – the country clearly has its hands full dealing with the terror threat on its own soil. Can it be expected to think about, let alone fund, counter-terrorism in other countries too?
President Obama has already pledged $7.5 billion dollars to Pakistan over the next five years, in recognition of the pivotal role Pakistan now plays in global security. Do you think that’s enough? Or should the coffers be opened further? Compared with the amount of money made for bank and car bailouts doesn’t the Ambassador have a point that it is actually very little. But then again, how much more can the world give in good conscience to a country with an already unstable government, especially at such a difficult economic time?
Pakistan has six months before it descends into chaos, a leading counter-insurgency expert told US Congress this week. So, however expensive it might be, it is right to act now to prevent a total collapse of the country?