By Fatima Rizvi
FOR PAKISTAN

Not AloneIn todays interconnected world no country is alone because the media makes sure that everything is splashed across in headlines and breaking news breaks. One just has to take the time to survey the world. Right now the Somali terrorist group Al Shabab is carrying out bombings in Somalia and Kenya. Sudan is facing the atrocities committed by Boko Haram. Al Nusra is fighting in Syria and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has declared an Islamic Caliphate in the areas it has captured. Iran and Syria are supporting opposing sectarian factions and Israel is supporting an independent Kurdistan. Syria and Iraq could lose parts of their territory. Iran could intervene strongly and this could spark a long drawn out sectarian war in the Middle East with possible spill over into South Asia. Thailand is under military rule after a coup. Myanmar is having anti-Muslim riots. Egypt has had an election that has elected its former Army Chief after an amazing 98 percent turn out but protests continue!! The Taliban are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s military is carrying out decisive operations against insurgents. Much much  more is happening across the world.

In the UK the media is reporting details of at least six separate probes into allegations of sexual abuse of children. This comes after the exposure of the Catholic clergy’s involvement in child abuse. Two celebrities — Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris have been tried and convicted of sex crimes. Rolf Harris — a much loved entertainer — has betrayed the trust reposed in him and stands disgraced. There are allegations that politicians were involved in sex abuse of children in the 80’s and that their activities were reported but covered up by a complicit bureaucracy. A former Home Secretary has been questioned over rape allegations. In France the former President is under investigation. China has violence in its Sinkiang region. India’s north east has long running insurgencies. The list is endless. These are mind boggling events that defy understanding.

A fly on the wall looking dispassionately into Pakistan would see a military machine that is the glue holding the country together. Rangers and Frontier Corps troops officered by the Pakistan military are battling separatists in the south western Baluchistan province and criminal mafias and extremists in urban areas especially the port city of Karachi. The military has undertaken a decisive operation against insurgents — the Pakistani Taleban — in the western border areas and may be called upon to do much more should there be a backlash in the cities. The military’s intelligence agency — the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) — is the premier intelligence organization in the country. In spite of this massive support to the elected government there are debates on civil-military relations and the military’s intentions! Political activity that should have abated and been relegated to the back burner continues full tilt with threats of a march on the nation’s capital. The only consolation is that Pakistan is not alone — the world is in turmoil. Pakistan has an elected government, democracy, strong established institutions and a strong cohesive military. Pakistan needs leadership to set it on the right track. Not being alone may be some consolation but it is not enough. Pakistan is alone as far as charting its destiny is concerned.

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