chapter  8
19 Pages

Bordering the indefinite nation: Pakistan, the Taliban and desecuritised religion


Since the general election in February 2008, which marked the end of General Pervez Musharraf’s autocratic rule,2 Pakistan has faced numerous grave security challenges, none of which are likely to be resolved within the near future. The PRVW DFXWH LV WKH LQWHQVL¿HG µWDOLEDQLVDWLRQ¶ RI VLJQL¿FDQW SDUWV RI WKH UHJLRQ bordering Afghanistan. Apart from the unsettling developments in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as regards the military’s ability to counter Taliban militancy, activities of jihadi groups throughout the country and nationalist insurgents in Balochistan remain key security concerns amidst considerable numbers of suicide attacks since 2007. The Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008 and the involvement of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) resulted in pressure on Pakistan by the international community to take immediate retributive measures, and in January 2013 the permanent standoff between Pakistan and India along the Line RI&RQWUROLQWHQVL¿HGZKHQ,QGLDDFFXVHG3DNLVWDQLWURRSVRIKDYLQJEHKHDGHGDQ Indian soldier. In addition, the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 by US soldiers covertly operating on Pakistani soil and the extensive use of American drones on Pakistani territory have added further tension to the relations between the US and Pakistan (see Fair 2012a). 7RWKLVVKRXOGEHDGGHGWKHGHYDVWDWLQJFRQVHTXHQFHVRIWKHÀRRGLQJLQ-XO\DQG

August 2010 which brought about not only millions of internal refugees (Warraich et al. 2011), but also a precarious balance between the civilian government, the military and militants in efforts to help victims and gain legitimacy for their actions in the affected areas (for an analysis of the international response to the disaster, see Amoore and de Goede 2011). Most commentaries on Pakistan are, accordingly, profoundly negative about imminent positive change and provide bleak pictures in terms of solutions to current security predicaments.