What's the Problem With Pakistan?
Targeted killings of enemy leaders have high costs, high risks, and limited benefits -- but are still a sensible way to combat al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan.
The Pakistani military’s offensive against the Taliban is meant to root out instability in the country. But will a growing refugee crisis only make the situation worse?
Beyond its implications for religion and free speech, Pakistan's recent ban on Facebook holds a deeper story -- that of the country's changing power structure and the shifting roles of its three institutional pillars: the government, the judiciary, and the military.
Pakistani authorities banned the Web site Facebook for nearly two weeks with the support of religious parties and, surprisingly, many journalists. The ban has now been lifted, but anti-blasphemy laws may mean that some forms of censorship are here to stay.
An influx of working poor into Pakistan's cities is leading to violent competition over land and political loyalties -- not to mention changing the very social fabric of the country. Will Karachi, and Pakistan as a whole, be able to adapt?
As the uproar in Pakistan this week shows, meddling in politics is a specialty of both the country's judiciary and its military. There is a silver lining though. Pakistan's two major parties -- long enemies -- have worked together this time to fend off the threat.
Stephen Philip Cohen is the author of numerous books on Indian and Pakistani security issues. Before joining the Brookings Institution in 1998 he was a Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Illinois and served in the State Department's Policy Planning Staff from 1985 to 1987.
C. Christine Fair is a Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation. She has authored and co-authored several books, including, most recently, The Madrassah Challenge: Militancy and Religious Education in Pakistan.
Sumit Ganguly is a Professor of Political Science, holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations and is the Director of Research at the Center on American and Global Security at Indiana University at Bloomington. He most recently edited, with C. Christine Fair, Treading on Hallowed Ground: Counterinsurgency Operations in Sacred Places.
Shaun Gregory is Director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at the University of Bradford. His latest book, Pakistan: Securing the Insecure State, will be published in 2009.
Aqil Shah, a former Rhodes Scholar, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University.
Ashley J. Tellis is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. From 2001 to 2003 he served as Senior Adviser at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, and in 2003, he also served on the National Security Council staff as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Strategic Planning and Southwest Asia.