ABSTRACT

Pakistan’s need to focus inwards is dire. While the country has been victimized by suicide attacks since 2002, 2006 witnessed a serious innovation in targeting. Following unilateral military strikes in Bajaur and a series of inept Pakistani military operations throughout North and South Waziristan, several groups employing suicide terrorism began targeting non-traditional targets such as the judiciary and troop formations in the tribal areas. Never before 2006 had such entities been targeted by suicide attacks. Suicide attacks became sanguinary in 2007 more than ever before with several more attacks on military installations, troop formations and high-value civilian leadership. With President Musharraf’s increasingly tenuous grip on power and the political instability following the assassination of

former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007, Pakistan is facing one of its most severe crises in governance. Even though democracy has returned to Pakistan since, with a fragile coalition government in power and a polity increasingly hostile to the US-led war on terrorism, it remains unclear whether and if so, how, Pakistan will be able to rein in the militant threat from within. Doubtless, the need to deal with its domestic turmoil diminishes Pakistan’s ability to project and secure its regional interests.