181 PCTR 09 E rev 1 - Pakistan: A Test of Transatlantic Co-operation
MIKE ROSS (UNITED STATES) - RAPPORTEUR
I. THE ROLE OF PAKISTAN IN OBTAINING STABILITY AND SECURITY IN AFGHANISTAN
II. DEBATING PAKISTAN’S NUCLEAR ARSENAL
III. PAKISTAN: CURRENT SITUATION
IV. NATO POLICY TOWARDS PAKISTAN
V. THE EU AND PAKISTAN
VI. REGIONAL ISSUES
VII. THE NEED FOR A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TOWARDS PAKISTAN
MAP OF PAKISTAN - see word document
Source : US Congressional Research Service (CRS)
1. The notion that the security of Pakistan is inextricably linked to Afghanistan has led Pakistan to become an increasingly vital focal point for the Allies and for NATO as an organisation. Islamabad's contribution to the effort to curb the insurgency is crucial for the success of the international community's engagement with Afghanistan. Moreover, Pakistan the world's only Muslim nuclear power with a population of approximately 170 million plays an important role in regional and indeed global security.
2. This report examines the current situation in Pakistan and argues that the country needs the increased attention and support of the Allies. Despite the recent success of the Pakistani army in the Swat valley, the security situation remains fragile and could possibly deteriorate further in the short term. While they have recently stepped up their actions against Islamist extremists, Pakistani authorities need to reinforce the fight against insurgents and the government needs to devise and implement a more effective and co-ordinated policy to defeat both the Afghan and the Pakistani Taliban within its borders. While Islamabad’s efforts should be closely co-ordinated with those of its neighbours, continued, and if possible reinforced foreign assistance, particularly from NATO and the EU, would help foster stability. To that end, the civilian government should be strengthened, and its efforts along with those of the Pakistani army to defeat the insurgency, should be supported.
3. Pakistan is crucial in NATO-led efforts for the stabilisation of Afghanistan. Senior US military commanders estimated that militant infiltration from Pakistan accounts for about one-third of the attacks on coalition troops in Afghanistan. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and Baluchistan regions, are critical security areas for both Pakistan and Afghanistan and have emerged as the main refuge and supply-route for Taliban insurgents and al-Qaeda into Afghanistan. It is suspected that the leaders of al-Qaeda and Pakistani militant Islamist groups trained to fight in Kashmir are also located in these border regions.
4. The Taliban are also targeting NATO's supply routes to Afghanistan, particularly the Karachi-Peshawar route which continues via the Khyber Pass to Kabul. Approximately three-quarters of the food, fuel and other provisions that supply NATO forces passes through Pakistan. The Pakistani government has been unable to increase security, and since September 2008, the attacks forced several temporary closures of NATO's supply routes through the Khyber Pass. As a result of these attacks and the decreasing security in Pakistan, NATO was forced to seek alternative supply routes into Afghanistan. The continuing attacks inevitably raise concern for the deployment of additional US troops to Afghanistan, which will require a threefold increase in supplies. While some of the additional supplies will be transported via other ways (i.e., the Northern Distribution Network) much of the additional supplies will have to pass through Pakistan.
5. The Pakistani government has little authority in FATA and only limited control in the NWFP and Baluchistan. A report by the Asia Society’s Afghanistan-Pakistan Taskforce states that alQaeda has “exploited the problems in Pashtun lands to establish a safe haven among people who do not support its ideology but whose poverty, isolation, and weak governance leave them vulnerable.” Pentagon officials consider the existence of insurgent sanctuaries inside the FATA as “the greatest challenge to long-term security within Afghanistan.” FATA is widely considered the poorest and least developed part of Pakistan, with nearly 66% of households living below the poverty line. Moreover, FATA’s inhospitable terrain helps to ensure that Pashtun tribal communities are excluded from access to markets, health, and education. The situation in FATA constitutes a serious security challenge that has implications beyond Pakistan and Afghanistan. If untackled the region will provide insurgents with a suitable environment to develop new terrorist plots.
6. Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province which borders on Helmand and Kandahar provinces in Afghanistan is considered to be a sanctuary for the Afghan Taliban leadership including Mullah Omar. Moreover, it is suspected that the leaders of al-Qaeda and Pakistani militant Islamist groups trained to fight in Kashmir are also located in Pakistan’s northwestern border regions. Baluchistan, the largest but also the poorest of the provinces of Pakistan, is another area of concern for the Pakistani government. For years, Baluch nationalists have campaigned for greater autonomy and control of local resources, while rebels have also fought the Pakistani army for full independence.
7. While Pakistan, and its army in particular, has suffered significant losses in fighting the Taliban, critics have suggested that Pakistan has neither the resolve nor the capability to take on the Taliban. Others, including Afghan, Indian and US officials, have maintained that Islamabad is combating militants selectively (i.e. that the Pakistani authorities only fight against groups which are considered a threat to Pakistan while they ignore or even support other groups which operate in neighbouring Afghanistan or India).
8. Pakistan’s difficult security situation and its status as a nuclear weapons state generates significant strategic concern within the region and amongst the larger international community. This fear was further heightened following a number of attacks by militants on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities, including the 20 August 2008 incident at the Wah cantonment, widely understood to be one of Pakistan’s main nuclear assembly sites. A substantial part of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, estimated at between sixty to one hundred nuclear weapons, is located in the north and west of the country, close to unstable tribal areas dominated by Pakistani Taliban militants and al-Qaeda. Some observers have suggested that Pakistan’s nuclear assets could be obtained by terrorists.
9. However, these assumptions appear largely unwarranted. In fact, Pakistan has established a robust set of measures, as well as adequate checks and balances to ensure the security of their arsenal: Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are stored in underground facilities and unassembled, with the fissile core separated from the detonation devices and delivery vehicles; a system of Permissive Action Links (PALs) has been instituted, which requires several people to authenticate launch codes prior to a weapon being detonated; and facilities are heavily secured with personnel and physical barriers.
10. Additionally, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS)1 “command and control structures have been dramatically overhauled since 11 September 2001 and export controls and personnel security programmes have been put in place since the 2004 revelations about Pakistan’s top nuclear scientists, A.Q. Khan’s international proliferation network.” The US intelligence and defense commands have repeatedly expressed confidence regarding the security of Islamabad’s nuclear weapons, and General Petraeus recently reaffirmed this confidence on 10 May : “We have confidence in [Pakistan’s] security procedures and elements and believe that the security of those sites is adequate.” Nonetheless, the risk of the transfer of nuclear weapons, components, devices or expertise in Pakistan is a genuine concern. The international community should support and aid Pakistan to guarantee the security of their nuclear arsenal sites by keeping the integrity of the command structure, ensuring physical safety and preventing illicit proliferation from insiders.
11. The resignation of General Pervez Musharraf and the formation of a civilian government under President Asif Ali Zardari in March 2008 ended eight years of military rule in Pakistan. However, the security situation in the country continued to deteriorate and violence increased sharply. Pakistan has experienced some 2,100 terrorist attacks and approximately 8,000 people have been killed as a result of radical Islamist actions – a figure significantly higher than the corresponding number of comparable casualties in Afghanistan. Pakistani security organisations arrested over 4,000 radical Islamic suspects in 2008 alone.
12. The Pakistani Taliban, comprising a number of militant groups loosely united under the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), are controlling large parts of the FATA as well as of the NWFP. The army has conducted unprecedented and largely ineffectual counter-terrorism operations in the FATA since 2003. The civilian-led government has tried to combat militancy in the FATA through a mix of military force, negotiation with “moderate” elements and economic development. Moreover, the government has equipped local tribal militias in the FATA to assist efforts to regain control over the region. Despite these efforts, the Pakistani Taliban have gained in strength and spread from the FATA into - and even beyond - the NWFP where they have taken on the Pakistani army. A new generation of militant leaders in Pakistan’s tribal badlands is trying to intimidate or eliminate the established tribal leaders in the FATA, thereby severing the influence of the Pakistani government in the region. According to the Inspector-General of Police of the NWFP Taliban groups have merged with al-Qaeda and are spreading rapidly across the country. In addition, Pakistani Taliban are also co-operating with local Punjab-based extremist groups, which have operated in India and Kashmir, thereby threatening to destabilise Punjab, Pakistan's most populous state.
13. The development in the Swat Valley, located only 160 km Northwest of Islamabad, illustrates the ambiguous approach of the Pakistani authorities in tackling the Taliban in the past. Having failed to defeat the Taliban the military ceased operations in Swat in February 2009 and the local government reached an agreement with the Taliban. Under the agreement, the government has committed to implement sharia, end the military campaign and release Taliban prisoners, while the Taliban agreed to end attacks. The deal with the Taliban in the Swat, approved with near unanimity by the parliament, reinforced the view that the government and the army lacked the willingness or capability to fight Islamist non-state actors, who were increasingly eroding its security and stability. However, the Taliban breached the agreements, took over large parts of Malakand district and began to advance into Buner district and beyond. The Pakistani government and military thus reversed their policy and militarily engaged the Pakistani Taliban in Swat and the greater Malakand district. This – in the view of your rapporteur, long overdue – policy change is supported by a large part of the Pakistani population. Polls show a remarkable shift in Pakistani views of al-Qaeda and the Taliban within the course of a year. In 2008, approximately a third of the Pakistanis held an unfavourable opinion both of the Taliban and of alQaeda. A recent survey by the International Republican Institute, an American NGO, found that 69% of Pakistanis thought that al-Qaeda and the Taliban operating in Pakistan were “a serious problem.”
14. The army’s campaign is considered successful, claiming to have killed 1,200 insurgents, at the cost of 90 soldiers’ lives. However, the failure of the Pakistani army to capture or kill any Taliban leader during the recent operations in Swat has left suspicion among the population that the military is not serious about taking on the Islamist extremists. In the subsequent military action in the area, almost three million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have fled the area. The UN estimates that about half of those have returned home, however the heavy fighting has done significant damage to the already weak infrastructure. It is now crucial to provide sufficient relief and reconstruction as soon as possible, otherwise the success on the battlefield will be lost.
15. Despite the recent success against the insurgency in Pakistan an estimated 15,000 - 20,000 Taliban fighters are still operational. Following the extensive military operations in the NWFP, the Pakistani army started operations in FATA in late July. The reported death of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the TTP who expanded the TTP from a low-level militant group in South Waziristan to being a broad insurgent movement throughout the FATA and large parts of the NWFP, appears to have caused disarray within the Pakistani Taliban. The government and the army should take the opportunity to capitalize upon the current military success and push back the Islamist radicals. However, the real challenge for the army will be in Waziristan, where the Taliban is much stronger than in Swat and has been defeated there numerous times since 2004.
16. If the offensive is to mark a real turning point in Pakistan’s flailing war against the Taliban, the government needs to train and equip the NWFP’s police and local administration to control the regions which its soldiers have cleared, and to oversee the economic development and the relief efforts for IDPs. The broad public and political support for moving against the Taliban could quickly erode if its response to the needs of the IDPs is inadequate.
17. The volatile political situation in Pakistan only adds to the country’s challenges. The political crisis between the ruling Pakistan's People Party (PPP) under President Asif Ali Zardari and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) PML - N under Nawaz Sharif which has hampered the ability of the authorities to focus on the country's primary security and economic issues appears to be settled for now. However, the political situation remains precarious as President Asif Ali Zardari’s popularity has plunged significantly according to recent polls. In contrast, his main rival, opposition leader Nawaz Sharif is seen as the most popular politician in the country by far. Zardari is criticised for failing to control inflation and create jobs in the desperately poor country and Pakistani observers question whether he will be able to complete his term as president which ends in 2013. The weakness of the President and the simmering confrontation between the country’s two biggest parties raises the possibility that political turmoil could undercut Pakistan’s recent gains in the fight against extremists.
18. The country has free media and functioning democratic institutions, even though law enforcement is weak and there is only very limited democratic control of the armed forces and the intelligence services. Protests by Pakistani civil society activists, lawyers and representatives for the rule of law, democracy and increased independence of the judiciary have shown that Pakistani civil society has grown more vibrant. However, this vibrancy is threatened by the deteriorating security situation.
19. Providing for security puts a high premium on the country's scarce financial resources. Pakistan's military is the seventh largest in the world, however, with a large percentage of the population living below the poverty line, the country cannot afford huge defence expenditures over an extended period of time. In addition, the global financial and economic crisis is exacerbating Pakistan’s underlying long-term challenges of poverty, limited opportunities for productive employment, and persistent underdevelopment. While Pakistan’s economy delivered both solid growth and rising investments in the first seven years of this decade, the Musharraf government failed to consolidate the gains of this period to create an economic system that could offer opportunities for its citizens to establish social nets, to build infrastructure, and to invest enough in education. An estimated 40 million people are living in dire poverty. High inflation has hit Pakistan’s poor the hardest. More than 73% of Pakistanis live on less than $2 per day, and the most recent UN Human Development Index ranked Pakistan 136 out of 177 countries2.The biggest challenges are in the volatile FATA region where per capita income is approximately half the national average of $500 per annum, with nearly 66% of households living beneath the poverty line.
20. The new civilian government in Islamabad has inherited high inflation, large income inequality and a chronic lack of spending for infrastructure and education. Consolidating democracy while fighting an increasingly violent insurgency will be a long and painful process. To improve the situation, the country's leadership will have to concentrate on forging a credible political and socio-economic development strategy for Pakistan – including its impoverished and neglected tribal areas – while fighting the militants at the same time. This is not an easy task in a country that is known for corruption and inefficiency. In early November 2008, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a 23-month, $7.6 billion loan to Pakistan in order to avert a current accounts crisis and Pakistan’s default on foreign loans. Most observers agree that the conditions the IMF has attached to its loan will severely impact the country’s workers and the poor.
21. During the the Cold War, Pakistan was an important ally of the West, although co-operation was all too often characterised by diverging perceptions and interests on both sides. After 9/11, Pakistan became front state in the war against terrorism, though the Allies and NATO as an organisation have only lately recognised that the stabilisation of Afghanistan requires a comprehensive, regional approach.
22. Since NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Schaffer’s visit to Pakistan in May 2007, regular high-level political exchanges have taken place. There are also exchanges at other levels, including visits by senior officials and opinion leaders. In addition, NATO has agreed to open selected training and education courses to Pakistani officers and to establish a NATO Contact Point Embassy in Islamabad, which has been assumed by Turkey. The military-to-military cooperation between NATO and Pakistan in the context of Afghanistan includes the Tripartite Commission, a joint forum on military and security issues which brings together representatives from the NATOled International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Tripartite Commission meets regularly at various levels and is used to exchange views, as well as to discuss security matters of mutual concern. Its four main areas of cooperation are intelligence sharing, border security, countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and initiatives relating to information operations. A joint Afghan, ISAF and Pakistani intelligence centre that was opened in Kabul in January 2007 improved co-ordination within the Tripartite Commission.
23. Moreover, several NATO governments, notably the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, have recently nominated national co-ordinators for Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is a very welcome and necessary, albeit in the view of your Rapporteur overdue, development. US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke has emphasised the “imperative of a comprehensive approach with strong civilian and diplomatic efforts” because there is “no purely military solution to either Afghanistan or Pakistan”. Most experts and observers agree that such a comprehensive, regional approach will require time before being successfully implemented.
24. Since 9/11 the United States has given Pakistan approximately twelve billion dollars in military aid. However, this military, and additional economic, assistance, has failed substantially to increase the ability of Pakistani forces to mount comprehensive counter-insurgency operations. Rather than a factor of stability, Pakistan is today more a hot spot from which regional and global security threats emanate. As a consequence, the United States has used Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to attack Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders inside Pakistan. Military planners argue that limited UAV attacks are necessary as long as the Pakistani authorities are unable to find and eliminate the radical Taliban targets. The drone attacks on insurgents in Pakistan are reportedly being extended deeper inside Pakistan. Islamabad has officially condemned these drone attacks inside Pakistani territory. However, media reports suggest that these attacks are organised from Pakistani airbases. However, the increasing number of civilian casualties among Pakistanis caused by UAV attacks risks generating additional anti-Western sentiments among Pakistanis and pushing young, uneducated men into the arms of the insurgency.
25. As Pakistan's main trading partner and one of the major donors, the EU also plays an important role in the stabilisation of Pakistan. Following the election of a civilian government in Pakistan last year, the European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, pledged building a strong and stable EU-Pakistan relationship. The EU foreign ministers also stressed that the Union was committed to supporting Pakistan in building a prosperous and stable society based on the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. To that end, the EU has promised to expand trade as well as political and economic ties with Pakistan. In particular, the EU aims to support and strengthen democratic institutions, by including by providing training and capacity building of legislature and judicial reforms.
26. The European Commission provided €125 million in development co-operation to Pakistan from 2002 to 2006; of which most was spent on education, financial sector reforms and trade development. To mitigate the effects of the global financial and economic crisis the European Commission has recently increased its assistance to Pakistan to €50 million per year between 2007 and 2010. The assistance will be further increased to €72 million per annum as of 2010. In addition Pakistan receives support under the EU’s “Food Facility”. At the April 2009 donors’ conference for Pakistan organised under the auspices of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Group (FoDP), the EU promised an additional $640 million over four years. The assistance provided by the EU is a helpful contribution, though more is needed for a country of 170 million. Additional assistance provided by the EU would not necessarily have to be financial, but could comprise technical assistance and training.
27. At the first EU-Pakistan summit in Brussels on 17 June 2009, agreement was reached on substantial measures which allow for a stronger EU engagement with Pakistan. Most significantly, both sides decided to initiate a strategic dialogue on common commitments to development, education, science and technology, security, counter-terrorism, strengthening democracy and human rights. The summit was also an occasion to review the implementation of the EU-Pakistan Co-operation Agreement, with particular regard to trade and economic issues, development perspectives and regional economic co-operation. Moreover, the EU pledged to boost the EU's humanitarian relief effort for refugees displaced by the military offensive against the Taliban and a commitment to improve access to the EU market for Pakistan's exports. The agreement to start a dialogue on counter terrorism aims primarily at improving Pakistan's capabilities in the field of law enforcement and criminal justice and support for Pakistan's police forces.
28. The summit was a good first step towards a closer and mutually beneficial relationship between the EU and Pakistan which can make a significant contribution to the stability in Pakistan. It is important that the promises made at the meeting be fulfilled. The EU must now implement its financial and technical assistance while Pakistan needs to stay the course in fighting extremism and consolidating its still fragile democracy. The Pakistani government should prioritise police training and other mechanisms to enhance the capacity of civilian law enforcement agencies to maintain security after the military operation ends and bring insurgents and local criminal networks and allied serving or retired district officials to justice.
29. Until now, the Pakistani army’s counter-insurgency efforts have not been effective. This is due to two main factors, namely because the regular army is not trained for counter-insurgency, but also because the Pakistani army has remained reluctant to deploy a sufficient number of troops which would require a reduction of forces currently stationed at the frontier with India. There is an “India-centric” policy in Pakistan and India is the bête noire in the view of the army and the powerful Pakistani intelligence apparatus, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as Ahmed Rashid testified to the Political Committee in Valencia in 2008.
30. India and Pakistan have been bitter foes since their partition in 1947. Following a deterioration of their relationship under Musharraf because of the 1999 Kargil war the bilateral relationship improved and the talks over Kashmir had made substantial progress from 2004 to 2007. The Himalayan border region of Jammu and Kashmir remains at the heart of the 62-year rivalry between the nuclear-armed neighbours. Although both superpowers claim sovereignty over the whole region, the heart of Kashmir is under Indian administration, while Pakistan controls a smaller and poorer section of the territory. After 1990 Pakistan backed a separatist insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir against Indian security forces, which led to a bitter conflict that claimed about 70,000 lives, mostly civilian. However, starting under Musharraf and continued by the current president, Zardari, greater dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi has helped manage tensions over the fate of these territories and its population. Confronted with spreading Taliban insurgency in the northwest, Pakistan seems to have understood the importance of reaching an agreement with India on Kashmir. This recognition underpinned a promising four-year diplomatic effort to normalise relations between the two countries, and led Pakistan to cut back its support for Islamist militants fighting in Kashmir.
31. However, the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which were planned inside Pakistan and carried out by Pakistani citizens, threatened to reverse the progress and illustrated the fragility of Indian-Pakistan relations. After months of tension, the two sides now seem willing to resume talks. They issued a joint statement following discussions on the sidelines of a regional summit in Egypt in July 2009. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani discussed terrorism and Pakistan’s attempts to prevent terror attacks from its soil against India. However, the Indian government has to contend with lasting anger among the population over the attacks, as well as deep-rooted suspicion that Pakistan will never make peace. Moreover, Indian officials have repeatedly voiced doubt that Islamabad has the will to take on the terrorists. India has also repeatedly demanded that Pakistan shuts down what it calls the infrastructure of terrorist operations inside Pakistan. Pakistan, on the other side, has long accused India of supporting Baluch extremists and of fomenting unrest in Afghanistan, and it is concerned that New Delhi’s deepening ties to neighbouring Afghanistan are an attempt to keep Pakistan off balance.
32. Afghan officials claim that Islamabad’s intention is that of destabilising the region through continuous interference in Afghan territory. Similarly, India has accused Pakistan that it has supported and trained militants to attack targets in India-controlled Kashmir and India proper. Pakistan officials instead stress that Kabul has not enough border posts along the frontier to monitor cross-border movements. Additionally, 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.
33. It is up to India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir to reach agreement on the region. However, the international community could provide supportive, sustained, and sensitive international assistance. The European Union should make South Asia a greater priority and be more willing to take an active role promoting dialogue, co-operation, economic and social integration, as well as in encouraging democracy in Pakistan. The first EU-Pakistan Summit that took place in June 2009 can be seen as an expression of the EU’s willingness to assist Pakistan in its fight against both military insurgency and economic crisis by significantly boosting its humanitarian aid. The UN could suggest steps forward to broaden the peace process and make it more sustainable. UN agencies could expand their humanitarian missions on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC), and promote projects improving private sector development, education, healthcare and infrastructure. As far as NATO is concerned, it could increase the number of Partnership for Peace (PfP) activities which are open to officers from Pakistan and India, particularly those which are geared towards counter-terrorist training. This could promote confidence building in the longer term.
VII. THE NEED FOR A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TOWARDS PAKISTAN
34. As outlined above, Pakistan is a strategically important country for NATO Allies as well as for the EU, and their respective member nations. The stabilisation and development of Pakistan is not merely an aspect of the war in Afghanistan, but a vital Allied interest in itself. Islamabad is facing daunting challenges which it cannot tackle without outside assistance. The only viable option for preventing the country descending into chaos, which would have significant consequences that would reach far beyond Afghanistan and the region, is continued engagement with Pakistan.
35. To assist Pakistan a comprehensive strategy is needed which should comprise three main elements: a) a regional approach to stability which integrates the developments in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India; b) stronger support for democracy in Pakistan; and finally c) continued, but conditional support for the Pakistani military. Development of a co-operative, co-ordinated working relationship (among others through the Ankara Trilateral Summit between Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Composite Dialogue between Pakistan and India) among Afghanistan, Pakistan and India is essential for regional and global security and stability.
36. In this context your rapporteur wants to highlight that, earlier this year, US President Barack Obama announced a comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan which recognises that a military approach alone will not be sufficient to defeat the extremists. The US strategy emphasises the importance of helping Pakistan to weather the economic crisis and of close cooperation with the IMF, the World Bank and other international partners. President Obama has also stressed the need for a constructive diplomacy with both India and Pakistan to lessen tensions between two nuclear-armed nations. To that end the US will launch a standing, trilateral dialogue between the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan that will include regular meetings of senior foreign affairs and defence officials, including on the ministerial level. The strategy also aims at enhancing intelligence sharing and military co-operation along the border, while addressing issues of common concern like trade, energy, and economic development. Finally, President Obama has emphasised that the United States’ relationship with Pakistan is grounded on support for Pakistan's democratic institutions and the Pakistani people.
37. NATO Heads of State have welcomed and endorsed this strategy at the Summit in early April. Another very positive sign is that at an aid conference co-hosted by Japan and the World Bank on 17 April, nearly 30 countries and international organisations pledged more than $5bn to help stabilise Pakistan. Several NATO governments, notably the US, the UK, France, Germany and Sweden, have recently nominated national co-ordinators for Afghanistan and Pakistan. These coordinators are working closely with EU Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ettore Sequi, as well as with NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, Ambassador Ferdinando Gentilini, to formulate a common policy approach in the region. This is a very welcome and necessary development, albeit, in the view of your Rapporteur, long overdue. A comprehensive approach that requires international co-ordination and co-operation is necessary. In an interview with the Financial Times, President Zardari rejected the Obama administration's strategy of linking Afghanistan and Pakistan (AfPak), stating: "Afghanistan and Pakistan are distinctly different countries and cannot be lumped together for any reason."
38. The regional approach to stability must emphasise confidence building between Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. This will require short-term crisis management to avoid escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan. Any sustainable regional stabilisation needs to address the unsolved border issues between India and Pakistan, as well as between Pakistan and Afghanistan. An agreement over the Kashmir issue as well as over the Durand Line would go a long way in reducing the strategic rivalry between India and Pakistan. However, NATO Allies should not attempt to mediate directly in these disputes, but should instead encourage the respective sides to bilateral talks. It will also be important to reassure Pakistan of the long-term commitment by the Allies - and the United States in particular - to Pakistan and Afghanistan. For example, a guarantee for the territorial integrity of Pakistan by major powers, such as the United States, NATO Allies, as well as China and Russia, could help improve relations between Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. This would provide a strong incentive for Pakistan to adopt a comprehensive approach to fighting insurgency. The NATO PA, too, makes a meaningful contribution to a regional approach as parliamentarians from Pakistan and Afghanistan are invited to the Spring and Autumn Sessions and can also participate in a number of additional activities.
40. Stronger support for democracy in Pakistan is not an area where NATO can provide significant added value. However, it is an area where, besides NATO member states on a bilateral basis, the EU has an important role to play. The EU could further develop and expand its activities that are designed to strengthen the civilian government and infrastructure in Pakistan. This could include, among others, investing in Pakistan’s human capital and supporting its civil society. Existing EU programmes are geared towards addressing some of these issues, as are those of the United States, and other Allied countries. However, the funding is not sufficient. Pakistan's longer-term development challenges remain poverty and inadequate human capital, a lack of employment opportunities and inadequate energy supplies and infrastructure. More market access for Pakistani products could help its economy to improve and the EU as well as all NATO Allies should consider lifting or reducing existing tariffs on Pakistani exports, such as textiles.
42. Continued, but conditional support for the Pakistani military falls first and foremost into the realm of individual NATO member states that can make meaningful contributions. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently proposed to link all Pakistan-bound military aid to its performance against al-Qaeda and the Taliban while promising long-term development assistance to its civilian government. NATO as an alliance needs to formulate a direct policy in dealing with Pakistan. One possibility where NATO as an organisation could take on a more important role is the co-ordination of member states' bilateral co-operation and assistance programmes with Pakistan. NATO's primary contribution to increased military-to-military engagement would primarily consist of deeper political dialogue with Pakistan. Increased dialogue can also help overcome the lack of trust between Pakistan NATO Allies, particularly the United States. This lack of trust stems from mutual mis-perceptions of each side’s motivations and intentions and a shortage of person-to-person contacts.
43. The deteriorating security situation in Pakistan is a cause of concern for the country as well as for NATO Allies. Islamabad needs to devise and implement a strategy that can successfully tackle militant groups which threaten not only to destabilise Pakistan, but generate serious problems for Afghanistan as well as the whole region. With approximately 170 million inhabitants, Pakistan is the world’s second most populous Islamic State, after Indonesia. Success in the stabilisation and democratisation of Pakistan would go well beyond the country as Pakistan could be a powerful and stabilising voice in the Islamic world, building bridges with the West and promoting stability and conflict resolution in the region. However, the Pakistani government needs assistance and both NATO and the EU can do more to help. Although the options for influencing the situation from outside Pakistan appear limited, there is no viable alternative to continued and, if possible, deeper engagement. The report has made some recommendations of how NATO Allies, as well as the EU, can provide additional support for Pakistan. A comprehensive strategy which focuses on three main elements, is urgently needed:
* a regional approach to stability which integrates the developments in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India;
44. The international community can aid Pakistan in numerous capacities, but a strategy must be dependent upon Pakistan’s willingness to stand up to the Taliban and support the regional approach recently advanced by NATO and coalition forces. Moreover, the Pakistani government needs a comprehensive, functioning strategy to integrate the NWFP and the FATA into Pakistan. Support for Pakistan’s civilian-led plans for the return of IDPs to their communities is an urgent priority. The EU, and aid from foreign governments, can contribute with the relief and reconstruction efforts that empower displaced communities to determine their own needs and priorities. Failure to aid IDPs will reverse the recent successes on the battlefield in the tribal areas, and lead these individuals to turn to the Taliban and radical Islamist groups for support.
45. Pakistan has gained an important edge in its struggle against its Taliban rebels, and should now take the opportunity to re-establish political administration and local law enforcement throughout the tribal regions. The Pakistani government should prioritise police training and other mechanisms to enhance the capacity of civilian law enforcement agencies to maintain security after the military operation ends. Similar to NATO’s current efforts in Afghanistan, Western forces can help build the capacity of civilian police and advance justice reform with new training, equipment and mentors. The training of the Pakistani police and judicial system will provide an extra layer of security, and be crucial factors in bringing insurgent and local criminal networks to justice. By strengthening the police, the government will inherently make an important step forward to increase the efficacy of its institutions and provide better service for its citizens. Further reforms to increase civilian capacity are necessary and the international community should help build civilian capacity to better respond to humanitarian crisis (e.g IDPs). Lastly, the international community should encourage long-term political and constitutional reforms in the Politically Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) and FATA through support of comprehensive governance, stabilisation, and rural development programmes.