Army's success in Swat upsetting Pakistan's 'fragile' internal balance of power

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Washington, July 22 (ANI): While the Pakistan government has been raising concerns over the expanding Taliban threat, it was the Army which ultimately took the challenge and succeeded in crushing the insurgents to an extent. The success of the military in the Swat offensive is upsetting Pakistan's 'fragile' internal balance of power.

The Swat military offensive has helped the security forces gain much public support and sympathy, while the government finds itself on the back seat primarily due to its failure to address the increasing threat perception from the Taliban and other extremist groups.

The government had tried to solve the issue by pacifying the insurgents through the Swat peace deal, but the move backfired resulting in large scale violence in the region.

The military, which until now had refused to fight any internal threat and remained focus on an unnecessary rivalry with an external one (India), was forced to hit back to prevent Islamabad falling into the hands of insurgents.

The Army's war against the Taliban and other extremist groups in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) could well mean that the military would now compete with the civilian government in Islamabad for supremacy, a Christian Science Monitor report said.

Pakistan has a history of military taking over the reigns of the country, so such move in near future can not be ruled out.

Moreover, President Asif Ali Zardari does not enjoy a massive public support in the country as he has faltered on several issues. His government is proving ineffectual against the economic crisis and has failed to provide relief for the Swat refugees.

Severe inter-party altercations and corruption charges have done no good, the report said.

The Army is reportedly stocking huge amount of nuclear weapons which are of little use for counterinsurgency. This is certainly a matter of concern.

However, Pakistan's democratic set-up does not face an immediate threat from the Army, as it is now engaged in Swat and expected to carry out an offensive in Waziristan soon.

As soon as the war against the Taliban concludes, a 'war for Islamabad' would begin, it went on to add.

If the government has to survive amid the struggle, it must start focusing on its own "right war"- dangerous power struggle with the Army, it concluded. (ANI)

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