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Sunday, October 24

When will Pakistan opinion experts stop punching Americans in the face?

On Friday Foreign Policy magazine's 'AFPAK Channel' went into overdrive, probably trying to do Foggy Bottom a favor, and published no less than eight op-eds under the heading "Is there any way to fix Pakistan?"

Below are the titles of the pieces and the names of the authors; most of the names will be tiresomely familiar to Pakistan watchers. The only fully honest opinion piece among the lot is by Mariam Mufti. She tells it like it is, and adds this dead-on remark:
Furthermore, vulnerability of the Pakistani state needs to be examined at yet another level and that is the dependency of the government on foreign aid and its alliance with the United States for its sustenance.
The opinion piece that's the most insulting to Americans is the one by Shuja Nawaz; I can't remember whether he eventually became an American citizen but anyhow his view is typical of how Pakistan's rulers see Americans. He details how Pakistan's tax evaders are doing their part to destroy what's left of the country:
In Pakistan, almost nobody who is powerful enough to get out of doing so actually pays taxes; the leaders of government, opposition parties, and high society do their utmost to avoid them, even as they demand that the state provide them with extensive services.
As to what's to be done about this:
Under pressure from the International Monetary Fund, a new economic team has begun making efforts to change that system and move Pakistan to a higher tax-to-GDP ratio than its current 9 percent. But these efforts will likely run into a roadblock in parliament -- and as always, the key test will be whether the country can actually implement them at either the federal or the provincial level, where reform efforts in the country usually go to die.
So, nothing is going to change. As to what do about that:
For friends such as the United States, it means being ready to support the flailing country before things get even worse. It's time to move from talk to action.
Nawaz projects onto America the way things are in Pakistan: the U.S. government is entirely independent of the wishes of the American masses. So, naturally, he sees nothing strange in arguing that because Pakistan's ruling class will not change it's up to the U.S. government to carry Pakistan on its back.

We've been nursing vipers. What the hell's wrong with us?

Pakistan After the Floods
By Wendy Chamberlin and Qursum Qasim

Playing politics with pakistan's floods
By Mariam Mufti
Mariam Mufti is currently completing her dissertation on elite recruitment and regime dynamics in Pakistan at Johns Hopkins University and is a visiting scholar at the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto.

Karachi's Downward Spiral
By Nadia Naviwala, October 22, 2010

Don't Underestimate the General
By Imtiaz Gul

Pakistan's Rich Tax Evaders Are the Least of Our Problems
By Shuja Nawaz

Don't Just Rebuild Infrastructure, Rethink ItBy Ahmad Rafay Alam

Spend Aid Money on DevelopmentBy Nancy Birdsall, Wren Elhai, Molly Kinder

USAID disaster relief chief Mark Ward on the difficult delivery of flood relief
FP interview with Mark Ward
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