Changing Pakistan after Peshawar: The Role of the State

Ali Minai in Brown Pundits:

Three long, agonizing days have passed since the unspeakable events in Peshawar on December 16. As people everywhere grapple with a tragedy that is beyond comprehension, the one thing that unites all Pakistanis – indeed, all those who care for humanity – is the desire to do whatever it takes to fight back against the forces that unleashed this horror. Knowledgeable Pakistanis and others have written insightful analyses, offered moving pleas, expressed new hope, and made important suggestions. There has been a gratifying upsurge of revulsion against extremists that is already producing some concrete results. But this is now, while the tragedy is still fresh in our hearts. What of the longer term?
As human beings, we all know that the solidarity that we see now will fade over time; the old differences will resurface; the grief will dissipate, except for the families that actually suffered the loss of loved ones. In this age of distraction, unity of purpose is ephemeral, and unity of action even more so. Thus, it is critical that this passing period of common rage and determination be used to set up concrete plans and policies that will outlive our rage and achieve our purposes.
The immediate response to the tragedy will come from the military, the intelligence services, the police, and the political leadership of the country. The military response will be swift and brutal, as it should be. And even the politicians may be able to overcome their petty differences sufficiently to put better policies in place. But the problems epitomized by the Peshawar attack were not created in a few months or years, and will not be solved quickly. The question is whether the state of Pakistan will make long-term changes that begin moving us towards a solution.
The cynic in me is skeptical, and this skepticism is shared by others who have followed the history of Pakistan. However, it is also true that great calamities sometimes produce permanent changes that had appeared impossible before. Perhaps this massacre of innocents will be such a “hinge event” for Pakistan, but to make it so will require answering some hard questions and making some difficult decisions.
More here. [Thanks to Omar Ali.]