173 PCNP 07 E bis - PAKISTAN : A CRUCIAL PLAYER FOR STABILITY IN THE REGION
RASA JUKNEVICIENE (LITHUANIA)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
II. PAKISTAN AND THE STABILITY OF AFGHANISTAN
III. EXTERNAL RELATIONS
IV. TACKLING THE INSURGENCY IN PAKISTAN
V. CORE ISSUES IN NATO-PAKISTAN RELATIONS
1. The 9/11 attacks highlighted Pakistan's strategic importance for international security. Islamabad's co-operation is crucial for the stabilisation of Afghanistan, for the fight against internationally active terrorist groups, but also for tackling the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. Despite broad agreement about Pakistan's pivotal role in these areas, views differ on whether Pakistan is more a part of the problem than a part of the solution. This brief report tries to shed light on Islamabad's security policies, particularly those that relate to NATO's operations in Afghanistan. The paper argues that Pakistan's contributions to Afghanistan's stability have not received the recognition they deserve. But Islamabad can do more to help stabilise its north-western neighbour. To that end, the NATO Allies and NATO as an organisation should engage more fully with Pakistan and provide technical assistance, training and develop a political dialogue.
II. PAKISTAN AND THE STABILITY OF AFGHANISTAN
2. Since 9/11, Pakistan has become a front-line state in defeating al-Qaeda and the Taliban and has a key role in stabilising Afghanistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan have very strong historical and cultural links and the security of both countries is closely intertwined. Developments in Afghanistan will have a profound impact on Pakistan. Likewise, events in Pakistan will impact the security of Afghanistan. In the 1980s, Pakistan played a crucial part in helping to liberate Afghanistan from Soviet occupation. At one point, an estimated 30 to 35% of the Afghan population was living in Pakistan as refugees.
3. Pakistani troops are making a meaningful contribution in fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Islamabad has shared intelligence and its security forces have arrested a number of key al-Qaeda operatives. Moreover, last year alone, Pakistan apprehended several hundred suspected Taliban and handed over most of them to the Afghan Government. Despite Pakistan's limited resources, it is contributing to reconstruction and development programmes in Afghanistan and has pledged US$300 million, of which approximately US$110 million have already been disbursed. However, Pakistan has not yet succeeded in tackling the problem of insurgency in Afghanistan and in dealing with the rise of "Talibanisation" in its tribal areas.
4. In addition, Pakistan is giving shelter to between 2.8 and 3.2 million Afghan refugees. During the visit of the Sub-Committee to Pakistan in March this year, Prime Minister Aziz and other senior Pakistani government officials underlined Pakistan's total commitment to a stable Afghanistan which would be in the "strategic, economic, political and security interest of Pakistan". They pointed out that Islamabad has stationed 80,000 troops and set up 1,000 checkpoints along the porous border in contrast to only 100 checkpoints on the Afghan side. What is more, several hundred Pakistani soldiers have been killed over the last years, considerably more than ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) has lost thus far during operations in Afghanistan. Taliban influence in the frontier provinces, especially in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as well in Afghan refugee camps in Baluchistan, weakens Islamabad's authority.
5. But Pakistan has also been criticised for not doing enough to support the government in Kabul. There are reports that Pashtun tribes in Pakistan's border areas have been sheltering Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. There is mounting pressure on Islamabad from coalition partners and the Afghan government to intensify its efforts to check cross-border movement of suspected Taliban militants. An estimated 30,000 people cross the Afghan-Pakistani border every day, the Sub-Committee was informed during its visit. Pakistani proposals to build a fence and lay land mines on the 2,250 km-long border with Afghanistan would not stop the infiltration of foreigners. Because of the rugged terrain, implementation would be difficult. What is more, such a move would alienate the Pashtun, who live on both sides of the border, and further limit their willingness to co-operate with Islamabad and ISAF. Pashtuns make up 40% of Afghanistan, but there are more Pashtuns in Pakistan, where they constitute 15% percent of the population. Similarly, Pakistan's announced plan to relocate those refugee camps that are close to the border with Afghanistan to the Afghan side would probably only aggravate the plight of refugees rather than solve existing problems. Illegal border crossings can only be prevented if Pakistan and Afghanistan improve co-operation.
6. The growing insurgency in the provinces bordering the Pakistan-Afghan frontier have led to a deterioration of bilateral relations between Islamabad and Kabul. Moreover, Afghan officials, including President Karzai, have repeatedly maintained that Islamabad continues to actively interfere in Afghanistan and tries to destabilise it, a claim that Pakistani officials persistently deny. They stress that Pakistan has nothing to gain from a "Talibanisation" of Afghanistan. President Pervez Musharraf and other Pakistani leaders have repeatedly criticised Afghanistan for trying to place the blame for its own failure on Pakistan. They have stressed that the lack of a comprehensive reconstruction effort, shortcomings in national reconciliation, delays in building up the country's physical and institutional infrastructure, and the nexus between drugs and militancy compound the security situation in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials also point out that Kabul has not enough border posts along the frontier to monitor cross-border movements. Moreover, Kabul still refuses to recognise the Durand line as the international border between the two countries and once claimed Pashtun tribal areas in Pakistan as part of Afghanistan.
7. Critics say that elements of the Pakistani security forces remain sympathetic to the Taliban and that they may not necessarily see Pakistan's counter-terrorism policy as being in Pakistan's interest. These critics have argued that Pakistan wanted to maintain the Taliban as a strategic option in case Afghanistan dissolved into civil war and chaos once again. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri dismissed such allegations in meetings with the Sub-Committee. However, the Foreign Minister and other senior officials in Islamabad acknowledged that there is "some sympathy for the Taliban in Pakistan's border regions". Pakistani interlocutors attributed this to the fact that some of the groups that are today called "Taliban" were previously called mujahideen and were considered allies in the fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The US and their allies supported them with weapons and money. Many of the "foreign" Islamist fighters have been living in the country for years and have meanwhile intermarried with local Pashtuns.
8. Pakistan's policy towards Afghanistan is shaped by its geographical location. A sense of "encirclement" is prevalent among the military and political leaderships. In addition to a fragile Afghanistan, whose instability threatens to "spill over" to its own soil, Pakistan's relations with India have been marked by tensions or outright hostility. Relations with Iran have also been unstable, alternating between co-operation and conflict.
9. Pakistan's relations with the West, particularly with the United States, Islamabad's most important partner, have been bumpy. Unlike India, which has been a leading member of the Non-Aligned Movement, Pakistan was part of a system created to contain the former Soviet Union. Islamabad's bilateral relationship with the United States has shifted back and forth from close co-operation to alienation. When relations were good, Pakistan received financial assistance, sophisticated weaponry and training. When relations deteriorated, military and training assistance was cut, which undermined Pakistani trust in the United States. Pakistan's strategic role diminished after the end of the Cold War and the absence of the US and the international community from Afghanistan led to a feeling of abandonment among Pakistanis. After the unprecedented closeness of the immediate post-9/11 alliance, a subsequent series of events have lessened confidence on both sides. These include the failure to catch Osama bin Laden, the continuing insurgency in Afghanistan, and the revelations in early 2004 of A.Q. Khan's illicit nuclear network. Pakistan feels that it has not been recognised for its contributions to the fight against terrorist groups. Official Pakistani interlocutors repeatedly pointed out to the Sub-Committee that their contribution has been greater than any other country, including the United States or any NATO country. Thus, Pakistan's only constant stable foreign policy relationship has been with China.
10. Pakistan - India: Pakistan's relations with India are complex and there is a strong perception of the Indian threat that has left a legacy of bitterness and mistrust. Pakistan views the growing presence of India and its aid to Afghanistan with suspicion, as it fears becoming "encircled" by a rival India and Afghanistan. At the end of 2002 India re-opened four consulates in Afghanistan and promised US$750 million in aid, significantly more than Islamabad.
11. Much of Islamabad's foreign and security policy is dominated by its rivalry with India that dates back to 1947, when the Indian subcontinent was partitioned and the two countries became independent of Great Britain. The countries had armed conflicts in 1947-48, 1965, and 1971. Bilateral tensions rose sharply after terrorist attacks at the Kashmir Assembly and the Indian Parliament in October and December 2001. In January 2002, nearly 1 million troops from both countries faced each other along their border and a full-scale war that could have easily escalated to a nuclear one was only closely averted.
12. At the core of the Pakistani-Indian conflict is their dispute over the territory of Kashmir. Pakistan considers that Kashmir's accession to India was illegal and undemocratic and thus is deeply dissatisfied with the region's status quo. Pakistan argues that India's continued refusal to hold a plebiscite on the question of accession denies the Kashmiri people their right to self-determination. Islamabad seeks a negotiated settlement on Kashmir.
13. Indian officials have accused Pakistan's intelligence services of trying to destabilise India by supporting militant groups that use Pakistan as a base to cross the Line of Control (LoC) to launch attacks on Indian-controlled Kashmir and on India itself. Pakistan denies this and says that it is only providing diplomatic support to these groups. While Pakistan has reduced its support for these groups in recent years, India remains concerned about this. There are also quarrels over the still undetermined maritime and land borders in the Sir Creek region (which is supposed to be rich in oil and gas) and the Siachen glacier.
14. President Musharraf has displayed a pragmatic approach since coming to power in 1999 and the bilateral relationship with India has improved, following the initiative launched in 2004 by then-Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee. The ensuing peace process, although low-key, has delivered tangible improvements, including the cease-fire along Kashmir's LoC, the opening of new cross-border train and bus lines as well as a sharp increase in Pakistani-Indian trade. However, despite frequent manifestations of goodwill on both sides, a quick settlement of core disputes between India and Pakistan seems to be difficult to achieve, as underlying tensions remain close to the surface. It will take time to overcome the deep mutual distrust.
15. The conflict over Kashmir and the related defence expenditures weigh heavily on the Pakistani economy. In comparison to India, which has 7 times its population, Pakistan's 620,000-strong military is about half that of India. Moreover, Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is a major factor in its high defence outlays. The country, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), has an estimated 24-48 HEU1-based nuclear warheads. According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Pakistan has also produced a small but unknown quantity of weapons-grade plutonium, which is sufficient for an estimated 3-5 nuclear weapons. According to a recent report by the Institute of Science for International Security (ISIS), Pakistan is building a new nuclear reactor that can produce weapons-grade plutonium thereby "increasing significantly its production of plutonium for nuclear weapons". Pakistan's primary motive for pursuing a nuclear weapons programme is to counter the perceived threat posed by its principal rival, India, which has superior conventional forces and nuclear weapons. Pakistan does not abide by a no-first-use doctrine, as President Pervez Musharraf's statements in May 2002 indicate. Defence expenditures claim the largest part of the government's budget. Estimates range from between 35% to 70% (if pensions to retired military personnel are included). Seven to eight percent of the country's GDP is spent on defence. In contrast, only 3-4% of government spending is earmarked for education.
16. In part to counter its imbalance with India, Pakistan has had longstanding military co-operation with China. These countries have had a fruitful partnership in the development of nuclear and missile technologies. China played a major role in the development of Pakistan's nuclear infrastructure, especially when increasingly stringent export controls in western countries made it difficult for Pakistan to acquire materials and technology elsewhere. In 2005, Pakistan and China signed a Co-operation and Friendship Treaty.
17. Although Pakistan has had a traditionally close relationship with Iran, Pakistan's current relations with its neighbouring Muslim state are uneasy. Iran supported Pakistan in earlier conflicts with India by providing logistical support. Pakistan assisted in Tehran's nuclear programme even before the technology transfers from the A.Q. Khan network. Pakistan reportedly signed a nuclear co-operation agreement with Iran in 1986 (although the terms of that agreement are unknown) and Iranian scientists received training in Pakistan in 1988. However, bilateral relations deteriorated during the 1990s when the two countries pursued divergent interests in Afghanistan and towards the Taliban regime as well as over competing economic opportunities in Central Asia. The bilateral relationship improved after the removal of the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and the beginning of the low-key Pakistani-Indian peace process. Both Islamabad and Tehran have congruent energy interests, as they favour building new transport routes through Pakistan towards Central Asia and particularly China and India. However, Tehran's assertive policies, especially its nuclear programme and the conflict with the international community, and particularly the United States, have put Pakistan in a difficult position. Islamabad wants to co-operate both with Tehran and with the United States, and is anxious about a possible military conflict between the two which it fears would have a significant impact on its own security.
18. If there is any doubt about Islamabad's position in tackling the insurgency and the stabilisation of Afghanistan it is probably related more to its capacity than to its commitment. Pakistan's security situation is highly complex and its security situation has deteriorated over the last year. In addition to the difficult relations with its neighbours, it is facing numerous domestic threats. There is a high threat from terrorism and sectarian violence throughout Pakistan. Weak political institutions, corruption, the inability to define its religious and ethnic identity and the continued failure to meet the needs of the people limit the government's ability to overcome these challenges.
19. Because of the complexity of the situation in Pakistan, President Musharraf and the Pakistani government walk a fine line in tackling the insurgency in the areas bordering Afghanistan. Pakistan's support for the mujahideen in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation, as well as to jihadist movements in Kashmir, has weakened the sovereignty of the state itself. Prior to 9/11, Pakistan was one of three countries that officially recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and had relatively good relations with them, namely through the intelligence services. The Pakistani government made a U-turn after 9/11, however, and supported the US-led coalition in the war against terrorist groups and in tackling terrorist groups in Afghanistan. Since then, Pakistan has received approximately US$10 billion from the United States alone and the lifting of sanctions in return. But President Pervez Musharraf's decision to join the "war on terror" has placed him in direct opposition to the country's tribal leaders who control the provinces and who are traditionally fiercely averse to any kind of government interference in their territory.
20. To stop cross-border infiltration and in response to US pressure, Islamabad deployed the army in the border regions in 2004. While initially successful - a number of training camps and local headquarters training Uzbek insurgents and other foreign militants were destroyed - the Pakistani army suffered serious casualties. Moreover, the longer the Pakistani armed forces stayed in the tribal regions, the more they were seen as an occupying force, alienating the local population and making it more difficult for Islamabad to control the area. In reality, large parts of the region that border Afghanistan, particularly in the FATA and the Northwest Frontier Province, are mostly outside government control. As it lacks the equipment and the training to take on insurgents, the effectiveness of the Pakistani army in the northwest is limited. As a result, the Pakistani armed forces have lost an estimated 700-800 soldiers in the FATA with little or no gain. A major problem in the FATA remains the lack of development and it is estimated that more than 90% of the approximately six million people in the tribal areas live below the poverty line.
21. Recognising that its approach towards the FATA did not work, the Musharraf government adapted its policy and signed an agreement with the tribal leaders in the region bordering Afghanistan last year. This agreement gives the leaders more sovereignty in the region. The deal has been criticised by the United States and other NATO member countries, who have expressed concern that the terrorist infrastructure is being rebuilt.
22. Islamabad's new emphasis, namely setting up so-called Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in the FATA to generate more economic activity for job creation and poverty reduction, is, if implemented, certainly the right approach. But it remains to be seen if the federal government in Islamabad will deliver on its promises to improve the living conditions in the border regions. Moreover, critics of the agreement with tribal leaders say that the latter have lost their past influence and that the FATA is now an almost leaderless region. The termination of the cease-fire in North Waziristan in mid-July by Pakistani militants who call themselves the "Pakistani Taliban" indicates that the agreements have not, or at least not yet, solved the problems in the border regions.
23. But even if President Musharraf's approach is vindicated, there is a significant problem with timing. Improving security in Afghanistan demands immediate defeat of the insurgency and the exclusion of insurgents from safe havens in Pakistan's border areas. In contrast, Musharraf's strategy is a longer-term solution that requires time to work and would be based on weak local authorities with relatively poor security mechanisms at their disposal.
24. President Musharraf started a wide-ranging and ambitious national reform programme in 2000 that has produced a significant increase in GDP (more than 8% between 2004 and 2005, according to the World Bank) and in currency reserves, as well as a reduction of public debt to 55.4% of GDP. But serious disparities remain within the different regions as faster economic growth and unfairly shared gas dividends have dramatically extended the gap between the provinces. The poorest provinces like Waziristan and Baluchistan, which are where the insurgency is primarily rooted, have not kept pace with the rest of the country and are clearly lagging behind Punjab, the most prosperous of Pakistan's provinces.
25. In fact, the weakness of Pakistan's political institutions remains a core problem that limits the country's ability to tackle fundamentalism and terrorism. Despite the Pakistani army being seen as a reliable provider of stability, there is an increasing danger of a disconnect between the army and the population. President Pervez Musharraf's attempt to dismiss the head of Pakistan's judiciary, Iftikhar Chaudhry, on charges of misconduct and misuse of authority, has prompted the most damaging challenge to his authority since he seized power in 1999. Mr Chaudhry's suspension has further eroded Pakistan's institutions. Moreover, the week-long siege and eventual storming of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad by the Pakistani Army epitomises the very difficult political position of the Pakistani government under President Musharraf. Musharraf has had to tread the fine line between his position as an ally to the West in the "war on terror" and as the president of a country which has allowed extremist activity. This "double-edged sword" has taken a toll on Musharraf's popularity in the West as well as in Pakistan itself. Therefore, it has been in Musharraf's interest to remain somewhat neutral when dealing with the radical parties in Pakistan - not to mention that Musharraf does depend on some fringe religious parties as political allies for his military rule, given their deep grass-roots support. At the time of writing, the consequences of the storming of the Red Mosque, during which 108 people were killed and many more wounded - according to official figures - are still unclear. Some, including the exiled opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, backed Musharraf's action because, as she said, it ended an "ambiguous" approach towards terrorism and a "policy of appeasement" towards terrorists "which has encouraged militants". But many believe that his action against the radicals inside the mosque will further decrease his popularity among the religious parties who have helped keep him in power. Pro-Taliban militants opposed to President Musharraf have been carrying out a string of attacks that are also said to be linked with the siege.
26. There is a direct link between security and democracy and the weakness of Pakistan's institutions can be ascribed, to a large degree, to shortcomings in the country's democratic culture. Much of this is due to the nation's education system, which has been plagued by corruption and inefficiency. According to the Heritage Foundation, the average adult literacy rate is a mere 43.5%, with female literacy considerably lower. Moreover, there are large provincial disparities between Punjab, which has the highest literacy rate, and Baluchistan and the northwestern border areas which have the lowest. This is crucial because a strong education system is an integral part of a moderate and tolerant society, which is challenged by extremist political parties in Pakistan. It is estimated that one of every third child is receiving education in madrassas, which offer religious education, provide food and accommodation. The importance of the madrassas reflects a continuing under-investment in the nation's human capital as well as in infrastructure. Moreover, the government has turned a blind eye to activities of fundamentalist clerics, thereby allowing some madrassas to promote radical beliefs. In addition to political participation, democracy provides a degree of transparency and, over time, the possibility of checking and, if necessary correcting, the political, economic, social and other choices of a society, thereby preventing the marginalisation of parts of the society. Although the continued pre-eminence of the military in virtually all layers of public life has provided the country with a certain kind of stability, there are also significant political, economic and social costs involved and an increasing number of critics argue that the costs outweigh the benefits.
27. The conflict with India has not only serious economic consequences, but has also hurt the democratisation process in Pakistan. One of the key challenges that Pakistan needs to address is whether it will be able to maintain its defence spending in the long term without causing considerable problems for the development of the Pakistani economy and society. One main reason for the demise of the Soviet Union was its huge defense spending, which ranged between 15 and 17% of GDP. Pakistan needs to balance its available resources with the right mix of spending and investing. Pakistan's internal and external security also depends on non-military spending and the lack of development and infrastructure in parts of the country, especially in northwestern tribal areas, has undermined Islamabad's authority and served the forces that support the Taliban.
28. NATO - Pakistan relations have developed only recently and are dominated by the situation in Afghanistan and NATO's ongoing operations there. In response to a request from Pakistan, NATO provided relief operations to cope with the October 2005 earthquake that left more than 73,000 people dead, 70,000 injured and some four million homeless. NATO provided an air-bridge, which was established through the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Relief Co-operation Council (EADRCC) and deployed by elements drawn from the NATO Response Force, which included a deployed headquarters command and control structure as well as engineering units, helicopters and military field hospitals. In close co-operation with the government of Pakistan and the United Nations, NATO's contribution to the relief operation was to maintain the air-bridge, support intra-theatre lifts, restore critical road infrastructure and provide makeshift shelter and medical support. Between 11 October 2005 and 1 February 2006 NATO forces flew 168 relief missions delivering 3,500 tons of urgently needed supplies. The Alliance also deployed engineers and medical units.
29. Pakistan also co-operates with NATO under the Tripartite Military Commission where ISAF has received full member status. To facilitate communication and co-operation, Pakistani liaison officers are stationed in Kabul and other cities in Afghanistan. Pakistani and ISAF soldiers hold regular border security meetings with coalition forces and a joint intelligence operations cell has recently been established. Moreover, just recently, NATO and Islamabad have finalised a transit agreement that enables the Alliance to move personnel and equipment through the country to Afghanistan.
30. WMD proliferation remains a concern in NATO's relationship with Pakistan. Pakistan is also a pivotal country in tackling the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery. However, the country's past proliferation behaviour has been very problematic and has undermined its credibility with the international community and the West in particular. Pakistan's most prominent nuclear scientist, A.Q. Khan, sold sensitive nuclear and missile technology around the world. The Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) assisted Iran in acquiring centrifuge uranium-enrichment capability between the late 1980s and the mid-1990s. Between the early 1990s and approximately 2002, Libya received blueprints, components, full assemblies of centrifuges, and low-enriched uranium, as well as a nuclear weapons design. Moreover, the KRL developed missiles in collaboration with Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
31. Some have argued that because of Pakistan's co-operation with Iran, DPRK and Iraq, the Pakistani government might have known about Khan's transfers. Serious questions about the Pakistani government's role in the network remain and also whether it has fully addressed Khan's proliferation behaviour. Pakistani officials placed Khan under house arrest but have denied access by foreign investigators to him.
32. Because of Pakistan's continuing struggle with fundamentalism the threat of terrorist access to weapons of mass destruction is possibly greater in Pakistan than in other countries, including Iraq, Libya, DPRK, or Iran.
33. Pakistan is strategically important in combating global extremism as well as in the stabilisation of Afghanistan. It is a potential ally for NATO and we have a strong interest in improving the capacity of Pakistani forces to tackle the insurgency. We need to recognise Islamabad's role and contribution to the security of Afghanistan and enhance the Pakistani capacity to do more.
34. In the past, Pakistan has been both part of the problem and part of the solution in the stabilisation of Afghanistan. Pakistan can do more to tackle the Taliban. However, Western policy towards Pakistan has been characterised by a lack of continuity and consistency. We must overcome the lack of trust and we should help Islamabad to avoid being isolated. Tackling the insurgency requires increased assistance from the international community, particularly the Allies. Moreover, aid given to Pakistan also needs to be better co-ordinated and the assistance provided to Islamabad needs to be linked with greater accountability.
35. We need to build a long-term partnership with Pakistan if we want to effectively address the stabilisation of Afghanistan and to defeat the Taliban and international terrorist groups. Your Rapporteur suggests that NATO should therefore engage in a political dialogue with Islamabad. Following the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to NATO Headquarters in January and the first-ever visit of a NATO Secretary General to Pakistan in early May, NATO as an organization has now begun a process of confidence building with Pakistan. Moreover, we should provide technical assistance to enable Pakistan to monitor better the border crossings. Moreover, the Alliance should consider opening more PfP training activities (on an ad hoc basis) to Pakistani participation and increase available funding for this. To date, Pakistan has been offered participation in five activities, but has not participated in these because of limited funding. Your Rapporteur hopes that funding for Pakistani participation in training activities can be increased. Moreover, NATO has developed considerable expertise in defence sector reform, including border security. The latter is also an area where the EU has taken on an increasingly important role and your Rapporteur endorses NATO and EU co-operation to strengthen Islamabad's capacity to secure its borders. In addition, if we want to engage Islamabad, we must reach out to a broader public in Pakistan. The majority of Pakistanis are critical of NATO and we must do more to inform the population about the Alliance and what it does. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly can also play a pivotal role in developing a deeper relationship with Pakistan and your Rapporteur strongly welcomes the political dialogue that the Assembly has begun with the Pakistani parliament after the visit of this Sub-Committee to Islamabad earlier this year.
36. What is more, we need to address Pakistan's proliferation behaviour. There are no contacts between NATO and Pakistan concerning the proliferation of WMD. It would be useful if NATO could establish a dialogue with Pakistani authorities in this area. For example, Pakistan could be invited to regularly participate in seminars organised by NATO and NATO's WMD Centre.
37. However, increased NATO-Pakistan engagement must not be seen as directed against India. Rather, NATO as an organisation as well as NATO member countries should support and endorse the India-Pakistan peace process. For example, it could consider opening the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative (ICI) to Pakistan and India.
38. The international community could and should help to strike a settlement on an agreed border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Tripartite Military Commission, which comprises the United States, NATO, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and provides a forum for policy co-ordination on Afghan refugees, could be used in this direction.
39. Eventually, the most effective policy towards Pakistan would be if the NATO Allies deliver on their promises in Afghanistan. The Allies must continue their engagement and must do more to stabilise the country, particularly the southern parts. Pakistan certainly has a responsibility and a strong self-interest to help its northern neighbour, but the international community that is collectively responsible for defeating the scourge of terrorism and curbing militant activities inside Afghanistan.