Violence without limits and Pakistan’s challenge

A H Nayyar & Zia Mian in Himal South Asia:

Guns The murderous assault on Bombay by Islamist militants, at least some of whom were from Pakistan, has exposed once again the grave danger that radical Islamist movements pose to Pakistan, its neighbours and the world. The urgent challenge now is for Pakistan and its neighbours, together with the international community, to work together to confront the risk of Pakistan spiralling into chaos and collapse.

Ten years ago, the political thinker and activist Eqbal Ahmad wrote that “conditions for revolutionary violence have been gathering in Pakistan since the start in 1980 of the internationally sponsored Jihad in Afghanistan.” He argued that “revolutionary violence in Pakistan is likely to be employed by religious and right‑wing organizations which have not set theoretical or practical limits on their use of violence.” He then warned that Pakistan “is moving perilously toward a critical zone from where it will take the state and society generations to return to a semblance of normal existence. When such a critical point of hard-return is reached, the viability of statehood depends more on external than internal factors.”

Pakistan’s leaders have failed for a decade to heed this warning. Sadly, the recognition of the need to act against the Islamist violence that now imperils Pakistan has come not from the terrible war that jihadi groups have unleashed on state and society, wreaking havoc from remote border areas to the heart of the capital city, targeting both the powerful and the powerless. It has come due to external pressure.

More here.