Washington, Oct.10 : Pakistan is alarmingly teetering towards becoming a failed state and is still the most dangerous place in the world, says an Indian-American expert in an article for the Washington Post.
According to Sumit Ganguly, Director of Research at the Center on American and Global Security at Indiana University and an Adjunct Fellow at the Pacific Council on International Policy, Pakistan is in even scarier shape than most of the so-called experts are willing to admit.
He believes that this nuclear-armed state of 168 million is no stranger to political upheaval, and the crises that it is facing today such as the rash of suicide bombings, the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto last December, inflation as high as 25 percent and a resurgent Taliban movement, could spell further doom for it.
"The grim truth is that Pakistan is becoming something alarmingly close to a failed state. And that could have disastrous consequences for the United States, NATO and Afghanistan's struggle to hold back its own Taliban insurgency," Ganguly warns in his article for the Washington Post.
He also does not hold out much hope for Pakistan under President Asif Ali Zardari or former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
"Simply put, Pakistan is facing an existential crisis-on its streets and in its courts, barracks and parliament... I don't see much chance of a happy turnaround," he says.
Having studied Pakistan for almost two decades, Ganguly says that the roots of Pakistan's problems run deep, back to the failure of the state's founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, to plant deep democratic roots and create a tradition of compromise.
He says that the military has dominated the nation ever since, with disastrous results.
He also claims that the ISI and Pakistan's generals "have been playing a duplicitous game with the United States for nearly two decades."
"Pakistan's tragedy is that, from the beginning, no government, civilian or military, has fixed the underlying fragility of the state's basic institutions. Instead, democrats and dictators alike have subverted political parties, threatened journalists and cowed the civil service in their quest for short-term political gain and personal advantage," Ganguly feels.
So can Pakistan be reformed? Ganguly doubts it, and warns that the country could once again make a desultory return to military rule as its troubles mount.We need a stern, serious international effort-led by the United States-to put Pakistan back together again, reform its institutions and reorder its priorities. If not, we will face a terrifying prospect: Pakistan's collapse (slow or otherwise) into a full-blown failed state, armed with nuclear weapons, riven by ethnic tensions, infused with resentment and zealotry, with roving bands of Taliban sympathizers and bin Ladenists in its midst," he concludes.