"Know that your people
will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."
—President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009
"The US-led war on terrorism
has left in its wake a far more unstable world than
existed on that momentous day in 2001."—Ahmed
Rashid, Author, Descent
The situation in Pakistan continues
to deteriorate, while the US continues its myopic foreign
policies in the region. Obama continues to authorize
unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan, in direct contravention
of international law, and despite the rise in civilian
deaths and increasing hatred for US presence in the
region. The Wikileaks controversy over Pakistan's diversion
of war funding to strengthen its hand against India
continues to create a buzz in the media. This also reveals
a basic lack of understanding vis-à-vis regional tensions
between India and Pakistan. When will US policy-makers
and the US media understand that peace cannot be achieved
in the region if these long-standing issues are not
In view of recent events in Pakistan,
we can't help but ask the following questions:
- What is Obama's plan for Pakistan and how will unwelcome
drone attacks help the situation?
- How come there is no commitment to resolving the
Kashmir dispute and on-going tensions with India?
We urge Obama to invest in restoring
lasting peace in the region. In order to achieve
long-term stability in the region, Obama must focus
on settling the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
The constant threat of imminent war with India has bolstered
the Pakistan army's ties with the Taliban and Jihadi
extremists. Once this threat is removed, instead of
investing in military spending and supporting Jihadists,
Pakistan should be encouraged to invest in its people
by providing them with REAL education.
We urge Obama to invest in building
Pakistan's educational institutions and healthcare facilities.
This will help erode support for those madrasas that
produce ill-educated children who are groomed to become
fighters in violent causes instead of becoming civlized
citizens who use peaceful means to redress the country's
socio-political and economic problems. Education will
also counter the power of uneducated mullahs who bully
people through fear-based rhetoric and violence. We
must help Pakistan become a more progressive state where
women have equal rights and access to education and
We urge Obama to support Pakistan's
civil society activists— the country's only hope for
bringing about true democracy to counter extremism and
corruption. Pakistan should be encouraged to
revamp its military and intelligence structure, by acknowledging
that reliance on a Jihadi movement to strengthen the
country is in fact weakening its very core. Building
the pro-democracy movement by supporting the lawyers
and civil society activists is the best way of countering
the Jihadi extremism, chaos, lawlessness, and rising
corruption within the country.