Based on earlier experience with the United States, from the very beginning there was an inherent element of doubt amongst political actors and analysts in Pakistan in the sincerity of the new ‘Afpak’ policy says Pakistan expert Karl Fischer who is authoring AAN’s next policy paper.
Asked for a summary assessment, many tend to revert to the description ‘old wine in new bottles’. However it stands out clearly that Pakistan favours a holistic approach including a broader involvement of Iran. It is realised that failure in fighting terrorism in Afghanistan will impact negatively on Pakistan’s security situation and, vice versa, improved security, political stability as well as economic and social development in Pakistan would help stopping the flow of human and material replenishments for Afghan insurgent groups and their operations.
Islamist tendencies mixed with a particular brand of religiously tainted patriotism and anti-American and anti-Indian sentiments are dominant in the armed forces of Pakistan. This stands in the way of unreserved action against the militants. Brutality of the latter against civilians and security personnel, inflicting heavy losses on the troops, promote the realization that the survival of Pakistan is at stake if Talibanisation spreads further into the settled areas of Pakistan and permeates society to a higher degree.
Despite the resultant ambivalence, US pressure on Pakistan to do more for the money it wants is gradually forcing attitudinal changes among military top-brass and ranks.
These major findings will be included in a new AAN policy paper to be published in the coming weeks. Its author, Dr Karl Fischer, is an experienced diplomat and specialist on India (where he was born) and Pakistan. Now retired, he served as the GDR’s last Ambassador to Pakistan till 1989, as Deputy UN-PRSG (UNSMA) and chief-of-staff (UNAMA) in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2003 and lived as an independent consultant in Islamabad until recently.
photo: Sebastien Trives
This article was last updated on 9 Mar 2020