Time for a new dawn

The Muslim Times Editor for Pakistan

Credit: Xpress Tribune

Published: December 14, 2013
The writer is a defence analyst who retired as an air vice-marshal in the Pakistan Air Force

There are two games in town these days: what happens to South Asia post-2014; and what will become of India and Pakistan post the Indian elections of April 2014. The latter with a hint of a foreboding remorse since Narendra Modi has been all over in the four regional elections where his party, the BJP, has virtually swept. Both are engaging and vital to the region, and remain enigmatic.

The post-2014 scenario is centered on Afghanistan and the American drawdown, as some want to call it. I still think, it will be a withdrawal; in effect, if not physical. Though, the physical, too, will follow soon when the futility of it all becomes obvious. For the moment, though, let things be, in any number under the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA). That will only help save the fracas of a debilitating bloodshed.

And if the Afghans can just be kept off the impending civil war long enough, just because Afghanistan will still not wholly belong to them because of a continuing American presence; and it will not be up for grabs as would be if the Americans were to leave lock, stock and barrel, they may just forget to brandish their weapons on each other, instead slipping into an ensuing order that may just become their default new normal — more pacifist, more civil.

This will be good for Pakistan and the region. Militancy may subside and terrorism may lose its centrality in how business is conducted in Afghanistan. Without doubt, it will need a decent helping hand by those around; and this is where India and Pakistan will become relevant to the Afghan issue, as they have been till date in an insidious and competitive proxy juxtaposition. South Asia, thus, is correctly placated; and Afghanistan for reasons known to it alone has decided to join this compact called Saarc to suck in all what Saarc had on offer. Mostly obnoxious, at the hands of its two principals: India and Pakistan.  More

Categories: Asia, Pakistan

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