Washington, Mar 12 : With Pakistan all set to have a new democratic government soon, and the US apparently moving away from its long time anti-terror ally President Pervez Musharraf, Washington's concerns are regarding the effectiveness Pakistan's counterinsurgency operations in and near the border with Afghanistan under the new regime.
Teresita Schaffer and Jeffrey Ellis write this in the current issue of South Asia Monitor, published by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
In the article, they say that the new PPP-PML (N) coalition faces major challenges. While the two are opposed to Musharraf, they have been bitter enemies for decades. "As long as they are working together in government, they will have to compete for patronage and influence, and Musharraf is likely to fan these flames," wrote the duo in the publication.
According to them, besides encountering the problems like wheat shortage, water management and power outages, the most critical problem they will be facing would be the militant violence.
The PPP has been much more forthright than the PML-N in condemning suicide bombings and other extremist violence. Both parties have said that they want to get Pakistan out of the business of "treating our people like terrorists," with the implication that they will seek to reach political agreements and de-emphasise the military response to these problems, the Daily Times quoted the duo as saying in the article published in SAM.
It adds: "The Pakistani state has been the target of extremist violence in the past year. It will need wisdom, cleverness, and determination to reclaim its authority and restore security around the country. The new government will benefit from popular support and legitimacy, at least for a short period, as it develops its new approach. But it will inevitably be very preoccupied with maintaining itself in power and overcoming its built-in animosities. A difficult time lies ahead."