Congratulations USA. You have just overtaken us Indians as the most unpopular nation on earth. I quote from The New York times – “Polling in Pakistan shows that a majority of Pakistanis blame America for the country’s internal violence. India comes in second place, and al-Qaeda and the militancy comes in third place. Any time that you are outpolling India as the bad guy in Pakistan, you’re in deep, deep trouble.”
This is by Bruce O. Riedel, an expert on South Asia, who has worked for the CIA, Pentagon, and The National Security Council. I strongly urge my readers to read the full interview.
Along with it comes another very interesting news item from a completely different source, high up within the Pakistani establishment. This is about the Pakistani resolve to flush out the Taliban from the Swat valley. I do not wish to elaborate and leave my readers to judge for themselves the seriousness of the problem from this news article.
The possibility of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of the Taliban and by extension, Al Queida has been a worrying thought for the West for quite some time. It does worry me too, but other, possibly more influential brains are perhaps already worrying over that possibility. Heavens help us all, if they are not.
My concern in writing this post is to highlight a factor that has not received the attention that it deserves. In fact, no important leader has thought through the possibility that if Pakistan and Afghanistan, do come under the control of the Taliban, and I give it a fifty-fifty probability, both the USA and India will have a major problem. That will be the fleeing refugees from Pakistan. How the Indian state and the USA will react, is anybody’s guess. Indians will react very violently. I have no doubts whatsoever on that score.
I am not an alarmist. There is a significant, educated minority in Pakistan which will not accept the rule of the Taliban and they will seek refuge firstly in the USA and other Western countries and secondly in India. I dread that possibility for what can happen to the latter and consequently to Indian Muslims with familial ties in Pakistan, and as a fall out, many other uninvolved Indian Muslims. It will not all be one sided and Hindus of India will also be affected and we may well see another blood bath comparable to what happened at the time of partition in 1947. Here is a pictorial depiction.
I urge my readers to do whatever it is that they can do to influence policy, towards the elimination of the Taliban, Al Quida, Lashkar e Toiba etal. If we do not do so, the cost in human lives will be greater than anything that the world has ever seen before.