Fareed speaks with Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, author of Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan, about the siege of Karachi airport. Watch the video for the full interview.
Ahmed, what should we make of this? One thinks of terrorism in Pakistan taking place in the northwestern frontier, in remote places. This is one of the central locations in the whole country.
Well, I think it's a watershed for the country in its half-hearted fight with terrorism and extremism.But unfortunately, I fear that neither the political government nor the military is going to bring about the kind of policy changes that are required, and which will make people understand that this is a watershed.
This attack was critical, and that Pakistan can start unraveling like what we are seeing in Iraq right now.After all, there too, we've seen an army collapse. We've seen civil society collapse. In Pakistan, you have militant groups who are very small in number, but you have large numbers of students who’ve been studying in the madrassas who could well provide backbone in the cities to a very large scale movement across the country that will really test the government and the military.
What would the policy changes be that Pakistan would have to do to fundamentally and fully confront this?
Well, I think the crux of this really sits with the army. The army started, 40 years ago, a program of training extremists and fundamentalists as a foreign policy tool in Afghanistan, in Kashmir, in India, etc. Now that foreign policy tool is now backfiring. And we're seeing these militants now come home and demanding an overthrow of the government and an Islamic system.