Beyond bombs and bullets in Pakistan
June 1st, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Beyond bombs and bullets in Pakistan

The following is a transcript of my interview with Nancy Birdsall, President of the Center for Global Development.  We discussed the Center's latest report: Beyond Bombs and Bullets: Fixing the U.S. Approach to Development in Pakistan. The Center brought together a wide variety of experts and policy-makers from the U.S. and Pakistan to examine how the $7.5 billion of U.S. aid over five years is being spent - and what the main challenges are.

Tim Lister: Would it be fair to say that the overall tone is somewhat gloomy?

Nancy Birdsall: I would say the overall tone is gloomy about what’s happened so far but there is a possibility that it could get better going forward subject to a lot of serious thinking going on inside the government.

There is potential in Pakistan - it is a democratically elected government; there is an independent judiciary and a free press; there’s a very large, sophisticated urban middle class…I think in some ways it’s ahead of where Egypt is today.

The potential is there but the challenges are enormous in terms of demographics.

Well, the biggest challenge is this youth bulge at a time when the economy is not growing any more. And that’s really a problem for job creation. If you are not able to address politically the need for structural reforms, then a youth bulge can be a very dangerous thing, especially in a country where the sense of frustration and injustice is fuel for religious extremism.

What about the problem of education in Pakistan?

The sad thing about Pakistan is that education has been unattended for two decades now. For every 100 children that start school in Karachi (Pakistan’s biggest city) only one graduates from secondary school.

There have been some changes - in Punjab, reforms have gone quite deep and there’s potential for them elsewhere. In the big cities almost half the children are in private schools, and they are primarily organized and run by women who did manage to get some education a generation ago. That’s a huge change because it shows there’s very active demand. At least now there’s a situation where families want their children to get to school.

As for the U.S. role in Pakistan, what are the problems with the way U.S. aid is planned and delivered?

The USAID program for Pakistan is integrated inside the State Department with the diplomacy and security programs. So it always comes last in a long line of demands. First the focus is on Afghanistan - that maybe gets 80% to 90% of top leaders’ attention. And in Pakistan the focus is on the link to Afghanistan and terrorism. So the security issues have eclipsed clear thinking about the long run.

There’s also a lack of transparency about the way the money is spent - which has led to skepticism and conspiracy theories in Pakistan about what the money is spent on. And the U.S. has to clarify that the goal is not just to disperse money - the goal is to be helpful. The accounting requirements nowadays often make projects impossible.

But in a country where corruption is rife there has to be a balance between getting the money to those who can use it and accounting for the way aid is spent.

Absolutely. Richard Holbrooke (who was President Obama’s special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan) introduced a big change in channeling more money through governments and local organizations rather than U.S. contractors. That makes sense but it took about 18 months to 2 years to make a list of some 100 NGOs in Pakistan that were eligible. You wonder whether the balance is right. There has to be a sense of humility - that the U.S. can’t accomplish that much. If the Pakistanis aren’t ready politically, we can’t expect miracles overnight.

Add to that: the devastating floods last year meant that the (Obama) Administration had to take about one-third of its aid money and redirect it to the flood response, so USAID staff on the ground said that it disrupted their whole program.

Given the rising tide of anti-U.S. sentiment in Pakistan, would U.S. aid be more effective if it was delivered anonymously.

I think it would be more effective if it was delivered through multi-lateral institutions. It wouldn’t have the handicaps that USAID suffers from and it would benefit from the experience of local staff. When the U.S. brands a bag of rice or says, “This is the school we built”, it conveys to Pakistanis that the U.S. is doing something your government should be doing.

There is a reasonable idea behind the U.S. program - that more Pakistanis should understand that the U.S. is committed to their long-term prosperity and security. And the way to do that is by helping to make better institutions that will serve them.

How much impact can aid have compared with trade and investment?

In the long-run trade and investment are much more important. For example trade with India could make a huge difference, as could the elimination of quotas and tariffs for Pakistani textile imports to the U.S. and Europe. And these are the things the U.S. is really good at - trade and investment.

Post by:
Topics: Afghanistan • Aid • Development • Pakistan

soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. james2

    It doesn't seem like the government is thinking that seriously at all. Right after they decide to call China its "all-weather friend", a prolific journalist has just been killed for investigating any possible infiltration of the Pakistani Navy by Al-Qaeda. This troubling development can be found here (http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/06/20116124216513177.html).

    June 1, 2011 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • Qaisar Nawaz

      Dood, you have to see the bigger picture. Small incidents do not represent the whole nation. Yes news are bad but no good incident becomes a news. Pakistan is a nation of 187million good people, but the news you listen or read are only about few hundred people.

      June 2, 2011 at 9:51 am | Reply
      • james2

        Then can you give us any good news? The bigger picture seems to me to be to pretend like the military had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden living in a compound barely 50 km away from the capital, brainwash the public into hating the US, and tell any dissenting media or public officials (American or Pakistani) to clam up.

        June 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • hawk123

      Pkaistan problem is the most incompetent president, primeminister and members of assemblies. The stories of there corrouption is famouns all over the world they get the aid by name of poor pepole and feed there family people making properties out of the country,
      These people are more dangerious than Alqeda Or Taliban because they are open enemy of Pakistan or the world so we can fight but these peoples are snbake in sleeves

      June 2, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Reply
      • sam

        i agree a 100%

        June 3, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • Nurul Aman

      The more aid from US to Pakistan, more trouble for that country. That country must be independent of foreign aid from S. Arabia and US. They need to be on their own to take care of their own people. In doing so, the puppet civilian government must be sovereign in true sense with no influence from the Military force. Second, they need to divert its scarce resources from military build up to its econ development for fighting poverty, illiteracy and extremism (instead of dream fight against India). In addition, Pakistan must blame themselves for their own problem of institutional weaknesses and economic stagnation, which are linked to their constitution of Shariah laws and Blasphemy laws that transformed the society into a heaven of bigotry, hatred, and dangerous fanatics and violent. This dangerous backwardness of that country will only move the country into further destruction by itself. So, hey must reverse their courses into positive direction by starting a change in constitution. They must follow the institutions of India to run.

      June 2, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  2. Ahud

    If US stops Pakistan's aid, I am sure it will be a blessing for people of Pakistan, and they will learn to stand on their feet and the anemity among various factions in govt and rulers will b at an end and united public will be a real power.
    i am 100% sure USA can never stop this aid one good reason is that currently USA is not paying any levy to Pakistan for its transit rout through Pakistan and also purchasing the oil for NATO supplies at its half price once the aid is stopped US will have to pay 10 times of what she is paying at this point in the form of aid.

    June 1, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • Asim

      I agree, termination of US Aid will be a blessing for Pakistam in the long run. This aid never reaches common people of Pakistan anyways, plus 10 – 15 billion $ per year is really not that much even for a country like Pakistan.

      June 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  3. RAJ

    Fearful mind have capacity to create many wishful ideas in no time. This ideas are misguiding, if mind keep away from the reality of the past as fact. Such ideas are always from the fearful and conditioned mind where there is no love. Collective conditioned minds are concerned about Pakistan on questions of there transparency and honesty. Collective conditioned mind who wants to help them geniounly but doubt that most of the money will go to Military and ISI establishments or in wrong hands without getting any good result out of it. First we need to find out why Pakistani majority hates USA ? We need to break this wall of hatred first, this wall of resistance first then cooperation with Pakistan is possilbe. Just collective wishful ideas is not enough because such ideas are leading towards superficial adjustment with some motive to gain. Such ideas initially satisfy our intellect level temmporarily but will die down, if there is no cooperation at both end without any resistance.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Reply
    • amust

      ask for yourself, why more Pakistanis hate US, because whenever, wherever, US has intervened, brought bombs and destructions before the marshal plans ,or small aids to countries like pakistanis and then charging exhorbitant interest + condition to buy US productsa and so on. this is all to keep up the economy going on. exactly what all western econmies do, bomb and then build with loans. Iraq, no Libya. Pakistan having no oil will just be left alone like Afghanistan once the US get good foothold. it is good that you are from India which has better foreign policy.

      June 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    A peaceful solution to all future conflicts in Pakistan would be to have the country split up. Pakistan is an artificial state in a region that, ever since civilisation of mankind been swamped by foreign aggressors. Today only a few major ethnies survive the turbulences throughout history, yet their coexistence is not without conflicts. Twenty percent of the country's population control the rest politically and economically. The youth bulge is made up mainly of under priviledged. Pakistan has much to catch up, inspite of its nuclear capabilitiy.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Even though Pakistan receives aid from the U.S., it doesn't change its anti-Ameriican sentiments. The U.S. can not rely on Pakistan as its ally and has to take care of its business in the region. Pakistan is only interested in safeguarding its nuclear arsenal and focusing on beating India.

      June 2, 2011 at 5:35 am | Reply
      • ZZZZZZZ

        Just as the US focuses on beating Al Qaida and stealing oil while it's people go without healthcare and lose their homes. God has really "blessed" America.

        June 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Amber

      And j. von hettlingen, you are from India and your middle name is Captain Obvious? World is not paying attention to India but it does not mean India is a complete success story. I really don't have time otherwise I can pull out all those websites which claim that India has highest numbers of farmer suicides, honor killings, child slave labor, and other human right violations.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  5. PakDemocrat

    For several decades now Pakistan's development and progress has been crippled by a massive Defense budget – which parliament is not allowed to scrutinize in the interests of 'national security'. The India-phobia of the Pakistani generals has to be exorcised to allow its future generations to be clothed, fed and educated.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Reply
    • Raj

      Well said. There seems to be section in Pakistan that dominates politics and that is full of hate for India. They are able to hijack the political discussions and divert billions of $$$ to defense that does not help anyone except war industry in the west. All those valuable resources can be channeled to support socio-economic development of the country.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Reply
  6. amust

    I am from Pakistand and now comfortably living in US but thoughts and mind for Pakistan goes daily.
    Americans will say why don't i go back. well, I am a economic migrant and legal. so only when US econmony is in absolute shamble, will i go. as far US aid to Pakistan, i am sure if US pulls out and stop any penny going to Pakistan, Pakistan will be in much better shape.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Reply
    • Onesmallvoice

      Thank you,amust. I completely agree with that.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Reply
    • Kabir

      Really, Are you kidding me, $16 billion in Foreign Exchnage reserves and 6 days of oil supply and economy in Shambles, Pakistan will do well without aid, It will be in a financial crisis of epic propotions. Chinese dont lend no money for free and they also cant print any dollars to lend.

      June 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Reply
      • ZZZZZZZ

        @Kabir You fail to realize that Pakistan was put under sanctions right after the USSR left Afghanistan and the US had no need for Pakistan anymore. So during these sanctions what did Pakistan achieve, it became a nuclear power. I say to the US keep your AIDs and leave Pakistan alone.

        June 2, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  7. Travis

    Pakistan is a mess because of the US. the overwhelming urge to dominate and destroy the former USSR pushed US to create Jihadis, brought up OBL, spread the hate literature in Pakistan and Afghanistan, create ethnic divisions, strengthen ISI. soon as the conflict was over US returned and forgot all the demons and Frankensteins it left behind. now the demons have grown up and are rocking the world ....Pakistan is just a small entity trying to survive all the mess.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:24 am | Reply
    • Qaisar Nawaz

      And yes! USA is doing it again. after OBL's death they are again going to leave us alone. USA has to learn from history. At the start of current war USA guaranteed us that they will not do that this time but they are...

      June 2, 2011 at 9:36 am | Reply
      • Cleopaktra

        You know, I would be happy if USA left Pakistan alone. It should stop its bribe aka aid/charity to Pakistan's government and military officials. Pakistan needs to see the tough times and struggle to rebuild itself. The youth in Pakistan is tired of the mess created by government and USA. They will rise like a phoenix from the ashes if USA left them alone.

        June 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Count of MonteCristo

      Now, Pakistan has China card. But Pakistan does not want to make chu chu toys.

      June 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  8. Amit

    Its not a difficult task for Pakistan to grow and become a safer place in the world. They just need to get rid of their Indophobia (India will never attack them first – they also have a no first use nuclear policy). Secondly, the Pakistanis need to stop spending on their so called 'Islamic bombs' and on recruiting 'jehadis' and 'mujahadens' to fight in kashmir and elsewhere (911, 511 and so on)..I dont think its a great joy for most Pakis to be listed in terrorist events happening around the world but unfortunately they seem to be participating actively at the moment. The savings from such activities can be better invested in healthcare and education. Also, dont worry about Kashmir – its not running anywhere: the pen is mightier than the sword and if the Pakis really try hard through peaceful protests, they can get hold of Kashmir in future (but rather with peace)...Bon chance (I am sure though that a twisted dog's tail always remains bent though!!

    June 2, 2011 at 4:05 am | Reply
    • chris

      Amit,

      The fact is that India did invade Pakistan in 1971 and split up the country. Pakistan's Indo-phobia policy and development of nuclear weapons is a reaction to that event in history. A country's psychology/trust changes if it loses half its territory. THis is the reaction to that loss. Off course the best way out is peace between them. But that needs trust on both sides.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Reply
      • Count of MonteCristo

        What will Pakistan do when Baluchistan separates ? Whom they will blame ?

        June 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
      • India invaded?!

        At its birth, Pakistan was a 2 part country: West Pakistan (today's Pakistan) and East Pakistan (today's Bangladesh).

        In 1970 or so, Pak had an election, and the elected leader came out of East Pak. This was not at all palatable to West Pak, who regarded the East Pakistanis as second class muslims.

        To make things worse, a cyclone hit East Pak, and West Pak did not do much to help their own compatriots. The furious East Pak ppl revolted. India did not interfere..yet.

        But then West Pak sent the pak Army to East Pak. (see gendercide.org for details of what the army did). Hundreds of thousands of East Pak refugees streamed into India. http://www.gendercide.org/case_bangladesh.html

        At this point India sent in the Indian Army..defeated West Pak, got 93K prisoners, and liberated East Pak...which named itself Bangladesh.

        Cheers..

        June 2, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
      • Neo

        ROFLCOPTER...

        you seriously believe the crap that is coming out of your mouth? 1971 war was started when Pakistan Air Force (PAF) "preemptively" attacked Indian Air bases on the North and the East. They tried to imitate Israelis, but alas, Pakistan is no Israel. PAF failed miserably in their preemptive strikes and got pwned by Indian Army, from both ends. The surrender of East Pakistani Force is one of the largest military surrenders.

        That being said, read up on what and how Pakistanis treated the now called "Bangladesh"is. It's one of the worst systematic genocide that was committed against them... considering that they were their "Muslim brethren".

        June 3, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • ZZZZZZZ

      @Amit Not good to call Indians dogs. They may drink pee but that's no reason to call them dogs.

      June 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Reply
      • Amit

        Sorry but you didn't seem to get my point. I did not call anyone dogs..but the attitude of the Pakistani will be 'dogy' 🙂
        I dont see in the near future that they will ever dismantle their terror outfit: coz its a perfect proxy and Pakistan as a nation as a whole will never be blamed. Even for osama, the rumors doing the round is that 'some rouge elements in the ISI might have helped him' implying that the ISI doesn't get into all this but some culprits will be blamed for the whole thing.

        June 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • ram

      that is laughable. come what may, india will never give up kashmir.

      June 3, 2011 at 3:40 am | Reply
  9. Qaisar Nawaz

    Pakistan has the potential to be a prosperous country. People get depressed when they read news of bombs and killings but they have to know that Pakistan is going towards a better future. With the help of America we are removing the bad element from our society who are against progress of our country. In today's world no nation can progress alone. American people have to know we Pakistanis do not hate them. Yes there are elements against them but they are everywhere, you cannot make everybody happy.
    USA has to remember Pakistan helped you to become world's only super power, we are now suffering because we are helping you, we are fighting people who were our friends in the past but they were your friends too.
    We respect that you are giving us aid but we are paying the price by loss of lives of our lovely citizens.
    Better education can remove bad element, if our people have better information and resources they can make better decisions they will not become terrorists. It will be even better if you help us in education and remove trade barriers.
    You have to respect our borders, our government and our army. we will respect you more.
    We have HOPE and we WISH WELL for you.

    June 2, 2011 at 9:32 am | Reply
    • Count of MonteCristo

      To make long story short. Pakistan to America. Give me $$$$$$$.......more $$$$$$$$$$$$

      June 2, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Reply
      • mumtaz

        pakis have mastered the art of begging.
        they produce the most terrorist.
        they are numbero uno in those two aspects.
        and all pakis are proud of their acheivement.

        June 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  10. Amir

    I am 100% agree with you

    June 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  11. Girish

    Pakistan is a place for prosperity, peace and progress depending on whether you are one of the muslim majority and which part of Pakistan you belong to and which ethnic group you are from and whether you are connected to the ruling elite or the military top brass. There are very many scenic places in PaKistan and Punjab is a very fertile place. The people of India and Pakistan are culturally similar and belong to the same race but Pakistan chose military dictatorship for most of the years since independence and that has adversely affected the country. I would for the sake of decency request some of the people who have posted here to refrain from calling Pakistanis as Pakis. In Canada Pakis refers to all South Asians and it is demeaning and defaming. Pakistan is going through a bit of a rough time right now and kicking them while they are down is not appropriate. Pakistn has the same potential as India but commensurate with their size. If democracy continues in Pakistan, the potential will be realized.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Reply
    • Umme Omar

      I agree with you Girish.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  12. Johnna

    Pakistan will never be a true sovereign nation due to the constant corruption in it's government, military and secret services.
    I say NUKE the country and rid the world of a major terrorist hub! Nuff said !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • Umme Omar

      I am sorry but I think people like you are a bigger threat to the security of the whole world. Pakistanis just live in Pakistan but people like you are all over the world. Nukes are not good for anybody. They destroy the whole world.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Reply
    • Amrullah Yousafzai in Mingora, Swat

      If you nuke us, we'll nuke you back.

      June 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Reply
    • sam

      ignorance is a bliss and you are the example. Have you ever travlelled out of our zip code... Why dont you rub you 2 digit IQ and see if it make any sparks... ignorant....

      June 3, 2011 at 1:08 am | Reply
  13. Umme Omar

    I am an American Muslim and my parents are from India. For me Pakistan and Egypt are both Muslim countries and their people are my brothers and equal in my eyes. The writer claims that , a vast majority of Pakistanis are youth (youth bulge) and there is a big educated middle class population and they are better than Egyptians . But in my opinion, Egyptians are a far better people because they never resorted to violence and extremism in their uprise against their corrupt leaders. In Pakistan unless these two population groups don't come out on street and pressurize their government to eradicate corruption and create jobs and economic growth or leave the office, they will all be considered complacent and accomplice in this situation. The Egyptians did not show any anti American sentiments either. How can America help Pakistanis if they don't want to change themselves? The Egyptian media is not as free as paksitani media is. But I really don't understand what the Pakistanis are waiting for. Egyptians did not even have a leader to lead their way to democracy. Pakistanis have a leader 'Imran Kahn'. I think Pakistanis are just whiners and complainers who just want to watch TV and indulge in debates.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • curious mind

      Being an PIO "Person Of Indian Origin" just curious to know if you wanted a secular India or an Islamised sub-continent?

      June 2, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Reply
    • Count of MonteCristo

      Think. Were Indian Muslim right, demanding Muslim home land (Pakistan) from Indian soil ? If they were, then should American Muslim demand Muslim home land ( new Pakistan or Pakistan II) on American soil ? Are they waiting for critical mass?

      June 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
      • Amber

        American Muslims are not just from Indian background. We are from Middle East, Africa, Asia and even some of us are converts. American Constitution allows us religious freedom just as it allows you yours (if you are an American too). Each of us is entitled to her or his belief here. American Muslims love America because of its values but still there is some room for improvement. Now going back to the subject of India, I really believe India has to go a long way before it becomes a great country like USA. I am pretty sure, Muslims of India must have wanted a separate country for some good reasons. Why don't you look at it yourself and help India become a better place for all ethnic groups? For example I am from Indian held Kashmir, and one of those who demand freedom of self determination. India has denied us that. There are many human rights violations but Indians tend to overlook their mistakes. Peace.

        June 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
      • Neo

        Logic is simple: Everyone in the world first give preference to their country men over anything else.. only Muslims consider every other Muslim (irrespective of the nation) as their brothers. That's the first step towards religious fanaticism.

        Yes, there is a reason why Muslims wanted a separate land, and guess what, it's been obliged and granted. Now GTFO, and stay where you wanted to.

        To summarize, no one has told it that as early as 1948 Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru stated: “If today by any chance I were offered the reunion of India and Pakistan, I would decline it for obvious reasons. I do not want to carry the burden of Pakistan’s great problems.
        I have enough of my own.”

        June 3, 2011 at 1:45 am |
      • nonsense

        It is the myopic approach my Muslims to political problem is the root cause of tension, they have often abused power, looked down other faiths, tried to p l u n d e r their place of worship and now use interest of so called Muslims to brow beat secular democratic country. Enough of madness and eventual partition caused my again Islamist who wanted the whole pie of sub-continent, never will that happen again. It has to be secular approach to any issue no more religious inspired insanity. Christians, Jews and Hindus have fairly treated other faith and have established robust secular democracy. Time and again Islamist have tried to disrupt and prove otherwise. Let peace prevail in this trying times..

        June 3, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Amber

      Umme Omar I totally agree with you.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  14. El Changuito

    I was walking around in the streets of Islamabad today and I noticed that there are no women in public. Anywhere. Just lots and lots and lots of men - standing around, walking, chatting, staring (lots of staring), playing cricket, holding hands, sitting in the shade... I have no evidence linking Pakistan's current chaos/turmoil/pandemonium to extreme gender disparities - but then again, I don't have any evidence against it neither. It's always easiest to blame other people for your problems. And you're probably right, some of the time. But as ol' Mahatma Gandhi used to say, "you got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, and know when to run." Zindabad, Pakistan!

    June 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Reply
    • Count of MonteCristo

      You are supporting notion that Pakistan has become male goat lover country.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Reply
      • sam

        hey why dont you rub your 2 digit iq and see it makes any sparks.. ignorant....

        June 3, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • Furkha

      El Changuito... You are not looking at the right place... If you want to see women go to shopping places, especially places with big SALE sign, there you will see LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of women…
      Also, you have to keep in mind that women in Islam can demand to stay and home (to take care of the babies). And by the time the babies grow older they just get used to staying indoors.

      June 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Reply
    • Amber

      El Changito, I am not sure what happened in pakistan. If you were in India facing this problem, I would have said 'It is because of selective gender based abortions'. Maybe Furkha is right, you were looking at the wrong place. Most pakistani and Muslim women like to stay and work from home, take care of kids and even if they work outside, they usually tend to go in teaching and medical professions. And yes malls and shopping centres on sale days are their favourite places too. If you are still in Islamabad, you can check out their bazaras.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Reply
      • Nitin

        Gender based abortions in India: Amber, (whatever your real Muslim name is) get real. I am not denying there's a problem with that in India, but to make a ignorant comment like that? Have you been to India? Can you tell by looking at a crowd in a metro that there's a gender bias (do you see only men)?

        Biased against India you are, (as can easily be gathered from your numerous sarcastic comments about India) but you are only making yourself look foolish with those childish comments.

        June 3, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • mumtaz

      most of the burkha covered buffalos stay home and produce piglets.
      drones need some targets and blast needs some bodies to BBQ.

      June 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Reply
      • Amber

        The blasts and drones kill many civilians including small children. Have you ever seen victims of drones or blasts? Only sociopaths can find it funny. In your hate for Pakistan, You seem to forget humanity and the fact that all human beings are created equal and they all have same right of freedom, self determination, happiness and prosperity. It is not these children's fault that they were born in war zone. I wish you had some humanity left in you.

        June 2, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
  15. Count of MonteCristo

    Why ISI is not sending land mines to Chinese Muslim area ? ISI has burning heart for Indian Muslims.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • Furkha

      That’s because four of the five rivers that irrigate Pakistan comes from part of India with over 80% Muslim majority. And India has already completely blocked two rivers and making dams on the remaining.

      Rest is all common sense.

      June 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Reply
      • mumtaz

        pakis cannot forget that they were broken in two by India, in 1971.
        they are still fighiting a war to win back their pathetic pride.
        so they harbour terrorist, fund terrorism and it is comming to roost.
        how many got BBQ today in pakistan, furkha.

        June 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
      • Amber

        Really Mumtaz, Count of Monte, Chris and all the Indians on board...You really don't have any idea about Muslims. Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indian Muslims, Arab Muslims, Kashmiri Muslims..we are all one people. It really does not matter where we came from or where we live. If you people live in USA, come visit a Mosque and see it for yourself. We are all a part of a Muslim community and we really do not care about our countries of origin. War of 1971 is over for more than 40 years now. Who even thinks about it any more? Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. What about 1947? Arent you guys kind of stuck up with it? Please get over it now. It happened more than 60 years ago and now it can't be undone. Learn to live and tolerate each other. Peace.

        June 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Amber

      Count of MonteCristo,
      Trust me all Muslims have burning hearts for each other. But it does not mean they have to wage wars on India or China. If someone wants freedom from their country or dictator regimes, they should come out on roads like Egyptians and Tunisians.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  16. Woodie13

    There is potential in Pakistan – it is a democratically elected government; there is an independent judiciary and a free press.

    This is what I understand:
    Sayed Saleem Shahzad = freedom of Press.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  17. Wisdom?

    It appears USA policy has failed in Pakistan. Let's withdraw all USA personnel, military assistance and aid related to Pakistan. This should serve to commence our parallel withdrawal from Afghanistan. If militants from these countries attack the USA, it should be considered a warlike act and there should be an appropriate response. In my opinion, there's nothing more dangerous than religion fueled militancy. Let Pakistan and Afghanistan be responsible for themselves. We have more urgent things to do.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Reply
    • Oz990

      Yes create a mess and then leave?? But again that would be much better if Americans leave Pakistan. This so called aid is not even going to Pakistani public. The name I would give to this aid is BRIBE. The money is only going into the corrupt government's bank account.

      June 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  18. Phillip

    BBC Headline, 02-06/2011

    Author Arundhati Roy: India's economic success a 'lie'

    June 2, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  19. Nick Hill

    Any discussion about Pakistan without any mention of India, is not practical. When the whole thinking of the beaureaucracy and policiticians as well as the religious Mullahs centers around fanatacism and enmity of their big brother India, the future is bleak to say the least! Wake up bro's, you need to grow up and accept now that India is out of your reach and that India is not trying to gobbe you up (with all your problems, who would?). You cannot compete with the reawakened India, which is surging past most other nations. Make amends bro's, before it is too late.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Reply
    • Phillip

      Author Arundhati Roy: India's economic success a 'lie'

      June 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Reply
      • David S

        Arundhati roy is a known india baiter who believes in a utopian fantasy world not a single country in this world could match. For all her fiction writing skills, she is fearfully short of solutions to real world problems.

        June 2, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Amber

      Nick Hill, believe me or not, India is irrelevant .

      June 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Reply
      • LoveAmerica

        Amber, what about driving away the Hindu pandits from Kashmir ? Can you guys tell any one reason why muslims demanded separate country Pakistan and drove away all the Hindus ? it is because when you guys are minority you will speak all constitutional rights ,freedom of religion ,Victimization . When you become Majority Hell broke lose, first minorities will be targeted, next muslims having different views like Shias. You forget your history that 500 or 1000 years back your forefathers were forcibly converted and think like parrots. Also I know how much good(?) will you guys have for America in your heart. You guys live ,eat out of hand of democratic societies and then bite it ,when you become powerful.

        June 3, 2011 at 12:51 am |
      • Robin

        I am an Indian in Canada, and EVERY pakistani i meet here tells me pakistan attacks India because they fear India will invade them. They say they believe India has not moved on from the partition ... In fact, India couldnt be happier that majority of extremists have moved out of India.

        You posting on forums bragging that India is irrelevant for pakistan is Fake. Everything you do is India-Centric. India conducted a Nuclear test, and you followed. India jointly with russia, build a fighter jet, and You did the same with China. You try to counter India even when India has NO intention to attack you unless you set foot on Indian territory.

        You think India is wary of Pakistan, because YOU think you are a big deal... We, Indians do not think that, we could care less what pakistan does, Once again, As long as it doesnt touch India. But you have Failed, you have touched India every single time which has cause Indian retaliation or even lack of it sometimes.

        Grow up, your Elders are nothing but frustrated hate filled people trying to pass down the same to the new geenration.

        Peace.

        June 3, 2011 at 3:11 am |
      • Amber

        What I meant to say is that India cannot play any major role in the world politics today. Please try to understand Pakistan is going through a hard time. But the only people who can solve the problem are Pakistanis. I am not even a Pakistani and I am not defending them either. They should themselves do something about it. If they think their government is corrupt and their leaders take American dollars to fill their bank accounts, these Pakistani people have to do something about it ...like people of Egypt. This is exactly what my sister Umme Omar said a few posts above. Thanks and peace.

        June 3, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Nurul Aman

      Excellent points, Nick! Good for you!

      June 3, 2011 at 12:00 am | Reply
      • desi

        Excellent, wish all people of India and Pakistanis consider this way. No more links of any kind. Would however suggest Pakistanis to join Arab ME as you are very close to them religiously and politically..

        June 3, 2011 at 7:35 am |
  20. mumtaz

    pakistan is a failed state.
    paki army, paki Isi are the biggest terrorist of all.
    paki govt is corrupt.
    the problem is paki nukes.
    most pakis are terrorist supporter and are corrupt..
    pakis do beg well.

    June 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Reply
    • Amber

      Poor thing Mumtaz
      Can't find a caps Lock key on the keyboard
      Poor thing Mumtaz
      he is troubled but should be ignored
      Poor thing Mumtaz
      It is not about India but he does not get it
      Poor thing Mumtaz
      He is not blind but a little too short sighted

      June 2, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Reply
      • Bruce Campbell

        'its not about India'

        Hm. You coulda fooled me. I read Pakistanis commenting and most of them can't go 5 seconds without mentioning something (usually bad) about India.

        Personally, I feel its ALL about india. How pakistan did not get the whole kashmir from india, how it lost east pakistan in a war with india,... Basically, how to bring india down. You may have your reasons. But I feel it's hiring pakistan, not helping.

        June 3, 2011 at 12:08 am |
      • Robin

        You are right Amber, Its not about India. Its about Hindus for you guys. It wouldnt matter if India were a muslim nation, would it?

        FYI, this is the origin of Hinduism, so no matter how secular India is it will always be a Hindu majority country, But You CANNOT take that as an excuse to say India is not Secular. India is the MOST secular nation in the World!! Every region here celebrates every festival together, be it Diwali, Dusshera, EID or Christmas. You dont knwo that because You arent Indian. You ASSUME all that hate... which is pretty damn retarded. Your hate would be justified if India had been the Attacker in every war Instead of pakistan. but its the other way around.... We will hate you because we have a reason to. But we also will love you if you give us a reason to. Thats how we Indians are.. If you cannot see it, then you are lookign in the wrong direction.

        peace.

        June 3, 2011 at 3:19 am |
  21. Bruce Campbell

    I meant to say hurting, not hiring.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:11 am | Reply
  22. Hdream

    Pakistan cannot survive like this. If this country does not give value to others countries citizens then Pakistan will end up fighting against the whole world.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:30 am | Reply
  23. JUSTIN

    Pakistan recieves aid from the US to the tune of billions of dollars. Yes, they have to put up with American policies and meddling, but none-the-less, they take that aid each and every year. Yet Pakistani people are quoted monthly spewing anti-American sentiments, and blatantly support fundametalist terrorist organizations. They harbor the worlds most nortorious killer just a few miles away from their most respected military institution, then deny any responsibility for it, and then have the audacity to threaten the US with sanctions? Pakistan accepts our help, begs for it in fact, and in return makes friendly with Iran? Pakistan screams for our intervention and assistance, but won't lift a finger to help our situation in Afghanistan by allowing US military to cross their borders to pursue murderers, rapists, bigots, and zealots? I'm sorry, but it doesn't sound like Pakistan is the problem here. Why the hell do we continue to support people around the world who neither want nor deserve our assistance? The problem here is us, Americans. You don't want our help? You screw us at every opportunity? Well fine,... here's another couple billion dollars. That'll teach you!!

    June 3, 2011 at 7:28 am | Reply
  24. sharn cedar

    What do you think of this question. The people of Pakistan and the people of Indian appear to be the same ethnic group and derived from the same history. The only difference between them is the religion in Pakistan is enforced Islam, while India has freedom of religion. Is that correct? Yet the behavior and the conditions in these two countries is very different. In Pakistan, people are murdered every day, women raped and mistreated, the youth are ignorant and blame outher countries for their own problems, and there is murder even of journalists or politicians. While India is moving ahead with development, progress, intelligence, and peace. But the only actual difference is the religion, the people are the same ethnic group and the same history. What does that tell you about Islam?

    June 3, 2011 at 8:49 am | Reply
    • Abdul Ameer

      Bravo, Sharn!

      June 3, 2011 at 9:19 am | Reply
  25. Abdul Ameer

    For someone with Nancy Birdsall's experience, she is inexcusably ignorant about Pakistan. Is she even aware that the name of the country is NOT "Pakistan", but "The Islamic Republic of Pakistan"? Does she understand that this means the country is dedicated, not just to its "national" interests, but to the spread of Islam throughout the world? Is she aware that the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provides that no legislation may contradict the principles of Islam? Is she aware that there is a constitutionally ordained body of Islamic advisers to oversee all legislation of what Birdsall calls a "democracy"? Is she aware of the blasphemy laws in this "democracy"? Is she aware that the doctrines of Islam and sharia law dominate the hearts and minds of the vast majority of the Pakistani population? Has Birdsall ever bothered to familiarize herself with the doctrines of Islam which the population takes so very seriously? She must be insufferably arrogant to believe that she understands Pakistan without ever having taken the time to read the Koran which the vast majority of Pakistanis hold sacred.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:18 am | Reply
  26. Amit

    Pakis need to do one more thing. The latest plan seems to be investing in dirty bombs (low intensity nukes) and use them on a mass scale. It only multiplies the threat to the world. Pakistan will have the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in a few years while India still has a doctrine of credible minimum deterrence: It shall use them only against other nuclear states and only in retaliation. It sums up all and Pakis need not fear them at all. They need to realize that US wont support them till the end if they don't mend ways. The US has lots at stake with India and It will not jeopardize a relationship with India at Pakistan's cost hence the Pakis need to think twice whether they wish to co-operate with the Americans, eliminate the haqquani, LET and other groups. Pak now has an opportunity to show the world that its against terrorists coz anyways, the world can still unite and jointly launch an offensive against Pak once again.

    June 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  27. El Changuito

    wow. this discussion is really really depressing. amazing that you (and i'm talking to the Indians and Pakistanis, who clearly make up 90% of these comments - even those of you choosing to do so under western monikers) were neighbors and family just sixty years back. the paranoia, fear, and hatred you feel for each other is largely based on political manipulation. your governments spend your rupees on nukes while your children starve, with worse health indicators than many parts of sub-saharan africa. as someone who has spent years in South Asia, living in both Pakistan and India, I can assure you that you guys are much more similar than you realize (and that is both a compliment and a rebuking). shameful.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
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