Shrink the army and expand the police in Pakistan

S. Abbas Raza in Dawn:

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The present danger to Pakistan comes from the lawlessness and terrorism in the country and the government’s inability to effectively project authority and guarantee the safety of its citizens. Islamic jihadist organisations with foreign funding appear to have joined hands with the Taliban and their sympathisers to wreak havoc in the country with their ultimate retrograde dream of creating a mediaeval society where a draconian interpretation of the Sharia is enforced, women kept as chattel and modernity and progress defeated.

Some of these groups are determined to attack and intimidate, if not eliminate, religious minorities. Then, we have the heavily armed militias affiliated with political parties. Finally, there are the criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping, carjacking, extortion, armed robbery and murder.

The idea that the army can somehow defend the country against this lawlessness is ludicrous. How can the armoured corps help fight sectarian car-bombings in Karachi? How will yet another squadron of F-16 aircraft defeat the drug smugglers in Lahore? How does the infantry do the detective work necessary to bring kidnappers and carjackers to justice? How can the army deal with the creators of mayhem that are thoroughly dispersed within our population, in every town and every city? It cannot. Yet the armed forces consume a hugely disproportionate share of Pakistan’s federal budget.

More here.