The cover of the Oct 29, 2007 issue of Newsweek has a picture of bearded, young, angry Pakistanis with their fists punching the air. The caption says: The Most Dangerous Nation in the World Isn't Iraq. It's Pakistan.
The crux of the argument it offers is captured in a quote from Bruce Riedel, former senior director for South Asia on the US National Security Council. Here's the quote: "If you were to look for where Al Qaeda is going to find its bomb, it's right in their backyard- in Pakistan."
If you are curious to find out more, here's a link to the Newsweek story: http://www.newsweek.com/id/57485
Needless to say that our greatest threats come from within our own Pakistani society, but we also face potential threats of preemptive action from the international community (including our neighbors such as China and India) fearing for their own security.
This Newsweek story, in my view, represents only the tip of the iceberg of growing concern in the West and our own neighborhood about developments in Pakistan. It's in our best interest to pay attention and do our part to stem the rising tide of religious fanaticism as manifested by the scourge of suicide bombings killing large numbers of our fellow Muslim Pakistanis.
In a recent op ed piece in the Guardian newspaper, author Pankaj Sharma argues:
"Apparently, no inconvenient truths are allowed to mar what Foreign Affairs, the foreign policy journal of America's elite, has declared a "roaring capitalist success story". Add Bollywood's singing and dancing stars, beauty queens and Booker prize-winning writers to the Tatas, the Mittals and the IT tycoons, and the picture of Indian confidence, vigour and felicity is complete.
The passive consumer of this image, already puzzled by recurring reports of explosions in Indian cities, may be startled to learn from the National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) in Washington that the death toll from terrorist attacks in India between January 2004 and March 2007 was 3,674, second only to that in Iraq. (In the same period, 1,000 died as a result of such attacks in Pakistan, the "most dangerous place on earth" according to the Economist, Newsweek and other vendors of geopolitical insight.)
To put it in plain language - which the NCTC is unlikely to use - India is host to some of the fiercest conflicts in the world. Since 1989 more than 80,000 have died in insurgencies in Kashmir and the northeastern states."
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