PAKISTAN TAKES POWER IN ITS HAND

By William Markiewicz

I'm surprised by the emotional and long lasting collective reaction in Pakistan to Benazir Bhutto's assassination. This is a population that knows extremists and doesn't fear them. The pro-Afghan fighters are localized on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. This region is Pashtun and was artificially detached from Afghanistan by the British. It's not Pakistan's job to tame the alien Pashtun population -- a practically impossible task. If the potentially secular Democrats win the election, Pakistan's fundamentalist western region will be practically autonomous because no democracy will ever be applied to them. In Afghanistan they fight foreign occupation but they also fight for their religion which denies freedom to other creeds and to women. What can the Americans do about it? Attacking Pakistan for their fundamentalist fringe wont be a solution. But Bush has promised to send this pro-democratic nation "to the stone-age" only because they cannot control their impossible western border. If Bush attacks, because it's the only thing he knows, there will be no end to the chaotic bloodshed.

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