Mon, 11 Jul 2011 11:47:28 GMT | By E Jayakrishnan, India Syndicate

Why Pakistan matters

If you are living next door to a state which has been called "the most dangerous country in the world" and 'terrorism central", what happens in that cauldron would matter to you. And, matter a lot.

Why Pakistan matters

If you add the fact that that country has the "fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world", plonked in a society that seems to be perennially on the verge of internal combustion, what happens there goes beyond just 'matters' but is 'critical' to your security and well being.

Now, top that up with the reality that treating you as an 'existentialist threat" is in that country's DNA, then events across the border not just matter but understanding and being cognizant of it is really a survival strategy. No less.

That is why India has no choice but be clued into events in Pakistan. Because, only when we know and understand the events and tendencies emerging across the border will we be able to prepare, react; effectively and sagaciously, as citizens who influence the government's, indeed the political class', response and policy towards our neighbour.

Therefore, this special focus on Pakistan - Pakistan Matters - is an attempt to decode and decipher that country and that society for you, the readers of MSN India.

We hope to unravel for you where Pakistan is today, by peeping into the past to understand the present; and analysing the present to predict the future. Make sense of the developments across the border and assess their impact on India - on our geo-politics, our security and our economy.

There is little at the present in Pakistan that gives room for optimism - visited it is by seemingly every malady that a country could imagine to be plagued with.

Pakistan in brief is torn between conflicting pulls, arising largely out of their inability to organise a coherent narrative about the idea of Pakistan. Consequently, it is constantly being pulled asunder by contrasting visions of Pakistan advocated by the various players in the polity.

But, fundamentally, Pakistan is a divided house between the vision of a "secular" state advocated by Jinnah and the Maudidi-inspired vision of a puritanical, if not fundamentalist, Islamic, Shariat-based, state.

A debate which has still not been clinched, even six decades after independence.

What has also not helped is the utter ineptness of the political class in providing a semblance of good governance; consequently leaving the political space to the big elephant in the room, the Pakistan army, which has intervened time and again to ostensibly "save" Pakistan, ostensibly from itself.

However, it has hardly been capable of stopping the mindless and tragic violence that has been unleashed by the radicalised extremists, most of whom have been fawned by the Pakistani establishment to fight for various causes -- from the search for the "strategic depth" in neighbouring Afghanistan to the cause of "liberating Kashmir".

Now, for some time the jihadi groups have turned against their former godfathers and combined with the Taliban insurgency on its Western borders, the pot is really boiling.

We at MSN India to bring you not only the daily cycle of events as it breaks but also the more substantial issue of Pakistan's continuing, if sometimes flawed, search for its moorings as a nation.

For matters Pakistan we invite you to watch this space, for it matters to us -- obviously and critically.

Source: India Syndicate

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