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Who wants peace in Pakistan?

Published Jan 24, 2016 01:39am


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The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.
The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.

IN his final State of the Union address, US President Obama predicted a decade of instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Af-Pak was always a bad construct for policy formulation. There are obvious security linkages between Afghanistan and Pakistan. But the circumstances and prospects of the two countries are significantly different.

Predicting continued instability in Afghanistan is an easy call. The Kabul government is beset by internal division and an insurgency that has momentum. Given the preconditions posed by Kabul, the recently created quadrilateral forum will find it difficult to get the Afghan Taliban to the table let alone secure an agreement for peace. A turbulent and fractured Afghanistan is the most likely prospect for the foreseeable future.

Pakistan is a different story. It has undertaken a massive and comprehensive counterterrorism campaign targeting the TTP, sectarian groups and political gangs. Action has now been taken also against a rogue pro-Kashmiri organisation. Terrorist and criminal violence has been dramatically reduced.

There are several external drivers of violence that need to be neutralised.

Unfortunately, as illustrated by the assault on the Charsadda university, it is premature to celebrate. To break the back of terrorism in Pakistan, the kinetic campaign will need to be continued for a considerable period and the social, economic and other components of the National Action Plan fully implemented.

However, national actions will not be sufficient to defeat terrorism. There are several external drivers of violence that need to be neutralised.

The TTP is the self-confessed culprit in the Charsadda terrorist attack. With 180,000 troops deployed on its western borders, Pakistan has crushed or chased out most of the TTP militants from most of its territory. Small groups hide ‘in the open’, in inaccessible valleys or in Afghan refugee camps. However, the major threat arises from the infiltration of TTP terrorists from their safe havens in Afghanistan.

While Pakistan has offered to help in promoting reconciliation between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban, there is little evidence of reciprocal action by Kabul to eliminate the TTP safe havens or to control cross-border infiltration. Kabul has refused to even revive the coordination mechanisms for border monitoring that were created with the US-Nato command.

Certain circles in Kabul, such as the National Directorate of Intelligence, are known to have collaborated with the TTP and sponsored Baloch insurgents to destabilise Pakistan. They were also responsible for scuttling the Murree talks and then blaming Pakistan for escalated insurgent attacks from Kabul to Kunduz. Now, they are asking Pakistan to attack the Afghan Taliban unless they agree to come to the negotiating table. This would bring Afghanistan’s war to Pakistan.

Islamabad must reassert its demand for action against the TTP by Kabul and its international patrons. If such cooperation is not forthcoming, Pakistan will need to consider unilateral actions to eliminate the TTP safe havens in Afghanistan. Peace and security within Pakistan is also influenced by the policies and actions of several other external powers.

Historically, the US has contributed, wittingly or unwittingly, to Pakistan’s destabilisation since the anti-Soviet Afghan war. The rump US-Nato force in Afghanistan is essential to prop up the tottering Kabul government. Obama is wisely averse to resuming a larger military role in Afghanistan. A Republican president, however, may be more adventurist, especially if driven by the misplaced desire to counter China’s growing influence and interests in the region. In this context, it is relevant to evaluate whether the US shares China’s vision that peace and prosperity can be promoted in Pakistan and the region through the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

India’s policies are more predictable. It has openly opposed the CPEC enterprise and is chary of China’s growing role in the region. Notwithstanding the Lahore embrace and the likely resumption of the Comprehensive Dialogue, India remains the godfather of anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan and can be expected to continue to encourage and support them in their use of the TTP and Baloch dissidents to spread mischief and turmoil in Pakistan. Since Pakistan is now constrained from playing the ‘Kashmir card’, it cannot hope to neutralise India’s subversive activities on the negotiating table; they will have to be defeated through direct action against the militants and muscular diplomacy with Kabul and its patrons.

Given Pakistan’s denominational composition, Iran’s policies will have an impact on Pakistan’s internal stability. Following its nuclear agreement with the major powers and the removal of international sanctions, Iran can be expected to remain on good behaviour on issues which do not affect its core interests. Tehran’s priorities are to retain its dominant influence in Syria, Iraq and the Levant; neutralise Saudi-led Sunni strategies, and maximise the economic benefits flowing from the lifting of sanctions. Iran can benefit from CPEC connectivity and closer linkages with China. However, Iran has a strategic relationship with India. A US-India-Iran axis is improbable, but not inconceivable. Pakistan needs to engage Iran and ensure that it does not try to play the sectarian card in Pakistan or attempt to forestall Pakistan’s emergence as China’s strategic link to the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

The GCC states have been Pakistan’s closest friends and benefactors. Relations were unfortunately frayed by the clumsy manner in which Pakistan spurned the Arab coalition that has intervened in Yemen. Since then, Pakistan has mended fences with Saudi Arabia. Similar conciliation with the UAE is outstanding. Some have conjectured that the UAE would consider Gwadar’s role in CPEC as a threat to Dubai’s commercial pre-eminence. In further exchanges with the GCC states, Pakistan should reassure them that CPEC will add, not detract, from their prosperity. But Islamabad’s first priority should be to secure an effective end to the flow of funds to sectarian and extremist groups from certain Gulf states.

It is only through such full-spectrum diplomacy, defence and deterrence that Pakistan can prove Obama wrong and achieve the peace and stability which is indispensable to implement the CPEC, realise rapid growth and emerge as Asia’s newest economic ‘Tiger’.

The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2016


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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (108) Closed

Jawaid kamal Jan 24, 2016 02:46am

Slow down you are going too fast. Asian tiger.your article missing home grown religiosity that puts fuel on fire.

Jalaluddin S. Hussain Jan 24, 2016 02:48am

We need to give peace and chance. India, Bangladesh and Pakistan - please keep the temperatures down.

Syed Chishti Jan 24, 2016 03:14am

Authors analysis is perfect

Atam Vetta Jan 24, 2016 03:23am

Who wants peace in Pakistan? I can name 3 countries, China, India and Iran. There is NOT and CANNOT be a USA-India-Iran axis. USA has nothing to share with the latter two in the region. She is better OUT. After Xi's current visit to Iran and his promise to increase Iran-China trade to $600B in 10 years, a China-Iran-India axis for peace in Pakistan is on the cards. China as well as Iran & India see their fortunes tied to the CPEC. This, indeed, is the reason for Iran's wish to connect Gwadar & Chabahar. Peace in Pak is essential for the prosperity of the four countries.

Kala Ingrez - کالا انگریز - काला अंग्रेज - কালো ইংরাজি Jan 24, 2016 04:42am

Let’s hope the terrorist are caught and tried in open court and none of them will be given a diplomatic immunity - a bad Pakistani practice of protecting few. I totally agree with the Iranian scenario and think Pakistan should assume Iran as a hostile neighbor.

lafanga Jan 24, 2016 05:47am

Very clear and precise thoughts, our PM would not have succumbed to several policy mistakes if he had your great brilliance and advice at his side.

taimoor khan Jan 24, 2016 05:53am

Sir, You are the wisest diplomat Pakistan has ever produced.

sonny afridi Jan 24, 2016 05:59am

China card should be used against India to effectively neutralize their strategies and influence in the region , Afghanistan once under complete influence of Pakistan and China will return to peace and development, which the two super powers fail to achieve , Pakistan and China together can do it.

Zak Jan 24, 2016 07:32am

Good article.

AnisAqeel Jan 24, 2016 07:59am

There are hard tests ahead and Obama may not be wrong after all. I believe a whole tsunami is ahead to dock and that needs a lot of purified work by our 'policy makers' and just absorb some middle eastern realities.

AXH Jan 24, 2016 08:20am

China just signed a US 600 billion trade deal with Iran. That alone will help is ensuring that Iran will not support India to disrupt CPEC's progress. As for the US, it has never been sincerely supportive of Pakistan. All of its (US) visible support has been smoking mirrors to further its own agendas.

sukhera Jan 24, 2016 08:22am

No one has the crystal ball to predict the future of Pakistan but one thing is for sure that we happen to be in a bad neighborhood. For the last 45 years since the Russian pull out from Afghanistan, the country has gone through the worst disasters you can imagine. For the last 14 years, America has been trying to bring peace in the country with massive economic/military aid and military force but did not achieve the desired results. When military analystst believe that Taliban have been defeated and wiped out, they spring back with full fury.The don't have any regular army or any sophisticated weapons but their will to fight has never been shaken against overwhelming odds. Now US is pushing for negotiated settlement with Taliban but the peace has been elusive and no end in sight.As long as there is no peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan will face terrorists attacks from across the border where Afghan army has little or no control.Pakistan will be a target for deadly attacks for decades.

Zafar Jan 24, 2016 08:27am

A pleasure to read your article, while being educated. Well said sir, the world needs more writers like you.

I would add that Pakistanis need to realize they are no less than anyone, in-fact have a lot of very capable with drive, vision and ambition to rival the best of the world. Drop the chip on the shoulder the British left for many Pakistanis, and do what you are capable of and stun the world how wrong they have been in the past 20 years in the view of Pakistanis.

Just do it. Lets win.

>:) Jan 24, 2016 08:38am

Great article. We need sensible diplomats like you in our foreign ministry.

Saleh Jan 24, 2016 08:48am

Every single word by Mr. Munir Akram reflects ground reality. Pakistan's biggest weakness is the inability of Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to devise an appropriate foreign policy. However, taking on Indian assets in Afghanistan and taking care of reactions of such actions would require increase in defense expeditures and collaboration with old partners like China and Iran as well as new partners like Russia.

N. Hanif Jan 24, 2016 08:51am

By the end of your article, your argument seems to support Obama's statement. The only thing different is the reason. You argued that it is due to reason other then the ones stated by the US.

observer Jan 24, 2016 08:52am

@taimoor khan 'economic Tiger'.... :D :D

lubna Jan 24, 2016 09:01am

the only thing which can bring stability to this region if people who represent afghanistan and people who reresent kashmir are given their due role and rights--since these are denied,thus the instabilty

SSH Jan 24, 2016 09:16am

To me, what Obama has stated is not a prophesy .. rather the agenda which Americans wants to pursue.

Atif Khan Jan 24, 2016 09:18am

Although Obama is a very informed President, he has got this wrong. I agree with the Author - a diplomat of diplomats, Pakistan's precious braintrust.

Gulbagh Singh Jan 24, 2016 09:36am

You are living in the past.

lucky Jan 24, 2016 09:37am

Good article

Malika Jan 24, 2016 09:59am

India used to blame foreign elements like pak or china for any hurdles it encountered. But it has stopped now and progress is leading the way. Pakistan must also let its actions speak instead of living in the blame game which would take it nowhere. Pakistan needs to forego its India centric policies and for a chance needs to actually develop policies for development

Sudhanshu Swami Jan 24, 2016 10:09am

What is wrong in India's policy towards CPEC ? We dont have problem with CPEC in 'Region'. We have problem with any foreign presence in Disputed areas which are claimed by Both Pakistan and India.

Sunil Jan 24, 2016 10:11am

Every common man wants peace, only some anti social elements, in the name of religion, ethnic background, caste, creed, language, nationality, gender, create violence.

khanm Jan 24, 2016 10:16am

Unfortunately we Pakistanis are overly sensitive, overly emotional, and jump to conclusion without evaluating the facts and figures....lack of understanding, lack of political sagacity, lack of statesmanship....above all lack of sincerity .. what do we really expect..The urgency is to be a sovereign nation. we need to clean up our house first and to achieve that the justice system has to be indigenous...justice should prevail... In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?

boobier Jan 24, 2016 10:25am

beautfully written article. I wholeheartedly agree with you.

Abdulla Hussain Jan 24, 2016 10:40am

Very thoughtful analysis. great eye opener.

Multinational Bhabi Jan 24, 2016 10:59am

@taimoor khan sarcasm ?

Asif Jan 24, 2016 11:20am

@Abdulla Hussain : This is the extent of our comment that is a great eye opener. So my fellow citizen what you have been reading or listening that did not open your eyes. I think it is true .. our nation is sleeping for some necessary reason and hopefully will wake up one day... only God knows when that day will come

AW Jan 24, 2016 11:36am

Today and tomorrow belong to Pakistan and India living side by side in peace like Canada and the US as envisioned by Jinnah; working together collaboratively to establish an economic block which includes Bangladesh and has the potential of becoming larger than the European Union. Successful implementation of CPEC is also in the interest of India as a beneficiary. Indian objections to CPEC are related to the Kashmir issue which can be resolved. On the other hand, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan are natural trade and defense partners and together the gateway to central Asia for expanded trade and prosperity in the region. Pakistan's foreign policy shift is in order to recognize this huge potential. A stable and peaceful Afghanistan as gateway to central Asia is in the interest of India, Pakistan, Iran and China so collaborative approach is needed to create peace within Afghanistan. Pakistan is the glue which can play a strategic and leadership role to make it all happen.

Shahid Jan 24, 2016 11:52am

Where by I agree with most of the assessment by the worthy writer, what if this is the US design and not US president's assessment or prediction

Kautiliya Jan 24, 2016 12:00pm

We all want peace in Pakistan and vice versa Pakistan must work towards peace with Afghanistan, Bangladesh,China ,Iran and India. President Obama has laid a challenge for Pakistan to resolve internal and and external problems with Afghanistan,Bangladesh and India

SunilChopra Jan 24, 2016 12:07pm

Unless people of Pakistan resolves these contradictions, no worthwhile peace can be established in Pakistan and the region. Its hopes on China is just an illusion which time will tell. The only solution lies in living together of Pakistan, India , Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Their fates are sealed to live together. Early people of these countries realise this better it is for their development, peaceful coexistence.

Really Jan 24, 2016 12:14pm

Pakistan Dreaming too much on CPEC. but thing is only education will change people lives. CPEC beneficiary for only China and Pakistan Politicians.

Hunzai Jan 24, 2016 12:16pm

Since the independence of Pakistan there is not a consistent peace process between Pakistan and Afghanistan.... There is only the way to peace in Pakistan and that is to seal the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan must maintain a visa system for traveling of people across the countries.

Ravi Jan 24, 2016 12:41pm

Please avoid mis-informing pak public by underinforming.

Correct the following sentence

India has openly opposed the CPEC to India has openly opposed the CPEC, because the route passes through disputed territory that it claims.

Correct contextual statement would help your nation to find solutions rather than creating conflicts out of thin air.

Saeed Masood Jan 24, 2016 12:45pm

It is the enemy jealous of CPEC and the friendship between Pakistan and China.

Mohammed Wani Jan 24, 2016 01:04pm

As long as Pakistan wont desperately seek peace with & in India it will not enjoy any peace in Pakistan either.

Ashraf Jan 24, 2016 01:06pm

The most important precondition to economic prosperity is peace with neighbors. If Pakistan is ready for a fundamental adjustment in its foreign policy & as such it's strategic priorities , it can in a relatively short time be on the path of peace & prosperity .

saz Jan 24, 2016 01:18pm

Pakistan made the right decision in Yemen war. Author is not right there though he made good analysis over all. If PK had chosen to participate in that war that could cost her a lot. The GCC countries are US allies and unfortunately pretty dangerous as they are mainly involved in sectarian violence and terrorism in PK and Afg and many other states across the globe. Keeping Arab gulf states wisely at reasonable distance would keep PK environment in peace. Bringing their influence will bring terrorism as well.

saz Jan 24, 2016 01:19pm

PK should diplomatically resolve her issues with Afg and India and give them an idea that stable Pakistan and peaceful region is in benefit of every state. If their neighbour is having fire that fire can reach to them with ease hence all neighbouring states should work jointly to bring peace in South Asia. PK should use current opportunity to have trade with Ira especially of oil and gas that would help her energy needs. Regarding Ira can play sectarian cards the writer is not right here again. There are no terrorist groups inside PK that are serving Ira. And stable PK is in best interest of Ira as that will help her to grow and allow her to do trade with neighbours.
PK has to control Ira PK borders so terrorist groups don't attack Ira soil. PK security forces and interior ministry has been inefficient in past in controlling such attacks. Those attacks caused breach of relationship. It is not in PK's interest to create unnecessarily enemies in neighbour.

ram Jan 24, 2016 01:48pm

Asia’s newest economic ‘Tiger’. :)

Ghosh Jan 24, 2016 01:48pm

@Jawaid kamal : How correct you are ! How accurate and correct !!

M.Saeed Jan 24, 2016 02:22pm

Obama is not wrong about Pakistan. What he has stated needs a little depth to understand. What he stated is factual from his own perspective because, that is what the US had been and is planning and doing all-along about Pakistan. It has planned its policy such that, it would keep the Af-Pak region on fire because it is the same fire that keeps its own broth perennially cooking and feeding it.

Wiqas Jan 24, 2016 02:22pm

Very well said. Good work Munir Akram.

shekhar Jan 24, 2016 02:29pm

its on people of nation that they are mature sensible enough to seek peace... its not in anybody else hands... unless u wipe out terrorist... not those poor who are holding guns but those who have given them guns ...

Krishna Jan 24, 2016 02:32pm

@Saeed Masood : Yes keep on blaming others

INDIAN Jan 24, 2016 02:45pm

@AXH It's not a trade deal. It's a hopeful commitment that the trade between the two countries would rise to 600 B USD in the next 10 years.

Anees Jan 24, 2016 03:03pm

No matter what Pakistan do to stabilise the region, unless it eradicate religious intolerance it cannot stabilises itself and that's what Mr Obama predicted.

Adeel Jan 24, 2016 03:03pm

We need to somehow, don't know how though, get capable people at key posts in our country. This culture of sifarish, baradri-ism, political malice and incompetence has brought us to a stage of collective failure.

Gustaakh Jan 24, 2016 03:47pm

Good Summary. Agree with the author that Pakistan now needs to take matters into its own hands in dealing with TTP hiding in Afghanistan. Otherwise, we will never get out of the cycle of violence and only delay our developmental initiatives (CPEC etc). No one can be expected to help us with this so we must do it ourselves.

Jimmyali Jan 24, 2016 03:50pm

@Jawaid kamal I think u said it all

Ibrahim Jan 24, 2016 04:07pm

Yet another a great piece by Mr Munir, thought provoking and well analyzed.

Eagle Strike Jan 24, 2016 04:17pm

Whether anyone likes it or not, What author said are absolute ground realities. 60,000 Pakistanis lost their lives. If we had advisors like Sir Munir Akram to PM. We would have given iron-fist reply to those who want destablization in Pakistan. Atleast for the sake of kids, students and CPEC we have to do it.

shahid Jan 24, 2016 04:18pm

Going forward biggest issue will be # of males in 18 to 30 year bracket , this age group will double, due to lack of jobs some of them will turn to extremist group.

Karthik Jan 24, 2016 04:24pm

@Atam Vetta Completely agree ..

Ashish Jan 24, 2016 04:39pm

@sonny afridi Do you think , China will go against India, India is a big market for China. China and India has good business relationship. Actually China is using Pakistan for its own interest. China is never worried about Pakistan issues. It is Pakistan who can resolve its own issues.

Burnol Jan 24, 2016 04:52pm

@Ashish, Actually, it is india using afghanistan to further their agenda of destablization and nothing else.

AKKS Jan 24, 2016 04:57pm

@Jawaid kamal You are absolutely right! He is over speeding!

Aib Jan 24, 2016 05:09pm


rsvpp Jan 24, 2016 05:30pm

A good article with too many ""if's and buts". Several prescriptions are good and well meaning and can be achieved. ut when read in totality with present circumstances, this article is an exercise at self deception".

Taimoor khan Jan 24, 2016 05:39pm

@Malika which world you are living in? India blame Pakistan for every incident in its territory. Even pigeons flying across from Pakistan are found suspacious. You Indians are destroying your credibility by lieing blatantly on social media.

Zeeshan Jan 24, 2016 05:55pm

Not a single NAP point is fully implemented yet.

dawn Jan 24, 2016 06:50pm

Obama has been wrong on many fronts.

Guldar Ali Khan Wazir Jan 24, 2016 06:53pm

Your article is based on ground realities.

Nader Hussain US Jan 24, 2016 06:53pm

Obama is 100% correct.

Arabinda Chakravarty Jan 24, 2016 07:01pm

@Ashish You are 110% correct. Sooner all Paks will realize it the better for them.

Ishrat salim Jan 24, 2016 07:11pm

Respected Sir, Mr Obama is not saying something from a vacuum. He and his govt knows what is ahead, that it what has made them most powerful country in the world. They do every thing even at the cost of human lives any where in the world just to protect their own interest and their people, You think they care a hoot about our country or Afghanistan ? You think they do not know where TTP and other terrorist are living near the border areas,nuristan, Kunar and nanghar. They were in Afghanistan for so long but till today they have not been able to control these areas. Mr Obama or for that matter any American President pursue their stated foreign policy. While we have become a nation who lives in a state of denial. That is the reason, NAP remain un - implemented with meek response from civilian govt.

AKKS Jan 24, 2016 07:17pm

Dear author, Obama has again asked Pakistan to do more in a interview today.

Saleem Jan 24, 2016 07:52pm

As long as Pakistan is lackeying behind the gulf states who give us no more importance than a policeman and source of cheap labour; the trouble will continue unabated. More and more sectarianism and worse economic situation. They will never allow Karachi and gwadar to take the place of Dubai. We must demand full respect for our citizens living there and zero interference in our affairs.

Agha Ata Jan 24, 2016 08:03pm

Obama is wrong simply because we are not at very good terms with America these days. Besides, the pressure of the religious political parties is sometimes irresistible, who would always oppose America; reasons known to them alone.

Nisika Jan 24, 2016 08:06pm

I am doubtful of your hope

Pak-citizen Jan 24, 2016 08:33pm

Pakistan Army must put all her Efforts to Save every Inch of this Country. All Pakistanis are unite at this Point and requesting rest of Asian's Government to make an United Asian Army. Only in this way we can secure the future of Asians.

Bipul Jan 24, 2016 08:42pm

Typical common Pakistani's optimistic review. It's not very far from reality but still bit far.

DesiKuri Jan 24, 2016 09:48pm

Mr. Akram, I agree to some extent with you

Moona Jan 24, 2016 09:50pm

Still doesn't explain why Obama is wrong.

MASALA Jan 24, 2016 10:10pm

Next President probably Mr Trump will be more tough on Pakistan

kublai Jan 24, 2016 11:30pm

@Zak got water electricity gasoline education security money zak?..thought so..

jamatics Jan 24, 2016 11:46pm

Some ambitious plans but can be done. National Action Plan must be implemented !!!! Across the board accountability and strong political leadership is required. KASHMIR issue must be settled and clear foreign independent (No Uncle Sam influence, No Arab influence and No Persian influence) policy must be exercised. Then we can think of stability and economic progress. Good relations with IRAN is the need of an hour ...

Farooq Moazam Jan 24, 2016 11:52pm

The esteemed Ambassador has elegantly put the facts into perspective, the information is concise and should be held in archives for correcting the historical facts.

Farooq Moazam Jan 24, 2016 11:54pm

Furthermore US should now stop considering Afghanistan as a country at all, which in reality is controlled by mafias, tribes and lords, Ashraf Ghani and rest are confined to rule within Kabul or few other cities only rest is wilderness. Whereas as truly stated Baharat is feeding the governments, politicians and elites against Pakistan exploiting talibans and similar factors.

Putho Jan 25, 2016 12:12am

Blaming every one else won't solve the problem, one cannot change others, change yourself that is the one and only solution.

Farooq Moazam Jan 25, 2016 12:29am

A poor comment by Obama, he must review history and put everthing collectively into the perspective .... without further affecting Pakistan's perception.

Farooq Moazam Jan 25, 2016 12:32am

Intentions of Bharat must not be overlooked

Muneer Jan 25, 2016 12:53am

Brilliant analysis, Mr Munir you are a grm we need people like you in the foriegn ministry.

bongasamaj Jan 25, 2016 01:10am

President Obama is absolutely correct about Pakistan sir most sincerely he doesn't speak without substance but has the worlds best security & intelligence apparatus giving substance to his words Pakistan's rulers must practice what they preach as the world including Pakistan is fed up of losing innocent lives due to terrorism. It is to our own benefit to make the price of terrorism too high for the terrorists Pakistan is headed in the right direction and hopefully more will be done so we can get rid of this cancer and our men women and kids can live safer and healthier lives no matter where they are in the world.

Michael Khatana Jan 25, 2016 05:10am

The ambassador is right on the button, and policymakers must listen to such learned diplomates.

Steve Boston Jan 25, 2016 05:10am

@Saleem Rspect is earned notdemanded

james Jan 25, 2016 06:23am

@taimoor khan that is not saying much!!!.. if he is the best pakistan has

Maher USA Jan 25, 2016 08:13am

The Afghan administration know that their days are numbered as US & NATO forces withdraw. Alliances will appear & it will be a war zone again.Main actors of the past will be back in full swing. Will be interesting to see how Pakistan handles the situation.

Ayer Jan 25, 2016 09:19am

In the 1960 -70s Pakistan was touted as the next Asian Tiger with its economy doing very well. Its been downhill since 1971 for various reasons
And Mr Munir Akram says that Obama is wrong ? Ground realities don't point to any change /improvement in Governance and merely going for a military solution isnt going to solve the problem, without the healing touch to people of various ethnicities and minorities.

Dhaval Jan 25, 2016 09:56am

Economic tiger,?? How can one project be a hope and finality of the entire country?? Can one project of road construction be of that importance?? I doubt it..

Khurram Jan 25, 2016 11:03am

It is very rare to see such a well balanced & nice article based on logic and facts and keeping the emotions out. Great job Mr. Munir.

I for sure totally fail to understand why everyone keeps asking Pakistan to do more. Pakistan has suffered the most due to this war OF terror, just a few days back with the latest rounds of killings at the university in Charsadda which of course has a link to Afghanistan and very probable that safe heavens for these anti Pakistan activities are fully sponsored and financed by Enemies of the state of Pakistan. And even though there may be substancial evidence available that could clearly prove the foreign states involved in funding and organizing these terorrist activities in Pakistan but no one in our country has the guts or courage to bring this on record and openly blame these countries for their role in further destabilizing Pakistan.

AC Jan 25, 2016 11:04am

@Taimoor khan What credibility you have in hand? Look on yourselves in the mirror first before calling other ugly.

suvashish chowdhury Jan 25, 2016 11:43am

obama is 100% right.

otmfifty Jan 25, 2016 12:05pm

@khanm: Wow, a great monologue descending directly from Shakespeare's play! :)

IBN E ASHFAQUE Jan 25, 2016 12:06pm

To break the back of terrorism in Pakistan, the kinetic campaign will need to be continued for a considerable period and the social, economic and other components of the National Action Plan fully implemented. Yeah social and economic components of National Action Plan...........Economic planning means in Pakistan all the shady deals are done by the munshi the two brothers and their families........Social planning means what in Pakistan?......But one thing is for sure that National Action Plan ensures that is no empowering of the people of Pakistan.......that is for sure......

A Khan Jan 25, 2016 12:36pm

One would expect a man of Munir Akram's calibre to bring some out of the box , new thinking to the paradigm. Well written, but we kinda know all this.....

komberi Jan 25, 2016 12:43pm

India is aware that Pakistan's prosperity will help the region by driving young minds away from extremism. Most of the Pakistan's problems are from its internal actors such as religious extremists, mercenaries and rouge elements of the State. It is better to fix these issues instead of blaming neighbors.

Zahid Ali Jan 25, 2016 02:28pm

If Indians are sincere with Pakistan then they should solve the issue of Kashmir at first. It is better to practically do something in this regard than giving simple statements. Struggle for the liberation of Kashmir is a difference between terrorism and resistance.

putar Jan 25, 2016 02:55pm

all good and loud thinking. But nothing substantial will materialize till every body finally agrees that peace is only the road to prosperity. This can only happen when their is true democracy in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Shamshad A. Quraishi Jan 25, 2016 02:58pm

Instead of asking Pakistan to do more, U.S. should do at least a little by eliminating TTP from Afghanistan.

Ravi Vancouver Jan 26, 2016 02:03am

India blames Pakistan non state actors for terrorism, now Pakistan is have same complain against Afghanistan. TTP is creation of wrong Pakistani policy of tolerating some terror groups to operate in their country, some of these groups are now driven out and they are striking back with support of local sympathizers. Pakistan is trying to act against terror groups, but it shall be long drawn struggle with these groups which are well established in Pakistan for long time but now they are becoming big problem and need to be finished.

Venkatesh Jan 26, 2016 09:20am

Irrespective of the problems India has with pak vice a versa, the natives of both nation working abroad stay peacefully n this illustrate the respect for one another still exist. The pak dream to grow along with Chinese will only lead towards dissatisfaction as China would take maximum out it and the remaining would land in pak political bracket leaving very little or nothing to general public. Rather it should focus on self help.

Adil Jadoon Jan 27, 2016 09:04am

@sukhera "For the last 14 years, America has been trying to bring peace in the country with massive economic/military aid and military force but did not achieve the desired results" on the contrary, It is in American interest to keep Pakistan destabilised!

Adil Jadoon Jan 27, 2016 09:04am

@SSH Precisely!

Don't ask Jan 27, 2016 10:19am

@Sudhanshu Swami Those haven't been the signals picked up elsewhere.