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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pakistan is at last finding its voice. The US would be wise not to gag it

Mohsin Hamid writes: The US, for its part, will need to adjust to a Pakistan in which anti-America sentiment could seriously undermine US interests. The US can best do this by offering Pakistan not the appearance of an alliance but the equality and mutual respect that constitutes the substance of one. Pakistan's people have already demonstrated through the ballot that they reject the Taliban worldview, and the number of Pakistanis who died in terrorist attacks last year alone exceeds the number of Americans killed on 9/11. Pakistan should be allowed to determine how best to fight extremists on its soil. Pakistani solutions are likely to be slower and more cautious than US ones, but also, crucially, more sustained and popular, and therefore more effective in the long run.


Through ballot they have, for now. But the key question is whether the people can withstand their bullets? After all the chaos in Afghanistan following the Soviet withdrawal the Afghanis did welcome Mullah Omar's Talebans the first time around.

Will it be repeated in Pakistan? WIll there be a rural urban divide? One embracing the neo-Talebans the other rejecting them?


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