Another shrine attack. The last major one was in early July in Lahore. This time, in Karachi. Regular readers will have by now heard me talking about the dangers of sectarian war in Pakistan a good few times. So instead of hearing me go on, I thought it would be worth hearing someone else's take on the theme
A news article in the Tribune newspaper reports that the Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility and that security forces are expecting more such attacks.
"(Interior Minister) Malik said that by attacking places associated with mystic Barelvi Islam; these groups want to trigger a Deobandi-Barelvi war similar to the Shia-Sunni conflict... He said that the government law enforcement and intelligence agencies were capable enough to foil their plots."
There are all sorts of studies written by people much cleverer than me that will tell you violence in this type of conflict aims to do a lot more than just kill its immediate victims. In Pakistan, right now, it also aims to push people into ideological camps (for or against) so that the perpetrators can claim they defend a constituency and create an ideological cover for their actions. In that sense, the attacks were aimed at forcing people to think about the "who is Muslim and who is not" argument.
I would add just raising this argument where once it wouldn't be entertained at all is an achievement for extremists because, well.. if you are arguing about whether Muslims are really Muslims, whether people agree or not, you have already radicalised on the sly the discourse concerning non-Muslims, or Shia.
For example, have a look at the comments section of another Tribune article, this time a blog on the shrine that was attacked.
"...If Taleban are poisoning Islam by blowing the mosques off some Sufi followers are also indulging in evil innovations at shrines. I don't endorse neither Talibani nor Barelvi kind of Islam..."
But even though there are some Pakistanis, like "Tanzeel", who think that there is some sort of equivilancy between visiting a shrine and killing Muslims at worship, there are still others ready to push back.
"@Tanzeel Well sufi followers dont blow up mosques, they dont make it compulsory for others to follow their innovations. Comparison between taliban terrorists and sufis is just ridiculous. Its shocking that people still try to justify this mass murder by refering to the "true islam" which only they have the right to interprate and practice."
But what worries me is that Ali Khan (no relation) and the others who made similar points are on the cusp of being irrelevant to the conversation. Keep in mind that those who read an English-language newspaper online and then post replies in good English are likely to be more exposed and critical than the average member of the public. Tanzeel's point is reflective of a wider (and often more forceful) argument, and in the public arena (not just in Pakistan) an argument with any hint of nuance usually loses out to a "You are with us or against us" or "You are Muslim or you aren't" line of rhetoric.
So, I totally agree with what the interior minister says back in the first article:
"These are hard times; we are facing internal and external challenges and need national cohesion."
I wonder if a counter extremism policy and strategy would be a good place to start. Pity his government hasn't got round to formulating one.
A few days old, but my most recent article for the guys at afpak is up on their website.
"The international community uses force in Pakistan and Afghanistan as if there is no other option, when, in fact, there are other largely untried levers. A public opinion survey conducted by the New America Foundation and Terror Free Tomorrow in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) shows that militancy has little organic support in the region al Qaeda has made its base, and that the United States' image there is not beyond repair."
I tend to be a bit cautious about surveys. In my experience, the questions asked, the identity of the questioner, the self image of those being questioned and a bundle of other unquantifiables can give you pretty much any result you want. The BBC Panorama documentary I worked on last year highlighting racism was made in response to comments by the head of a UK rights body that in the UK people are "increasingly comfortable with racial diversity". I'm not sure anyone asked the people who repeatedly attacked my co-reporter and I. Maybe they were asked but their idea of what constitutes "a racial background they are comfortable having live next door" didn't extend to two Muslim recent immigrants. Or maybe, the pollsters asked the people who lived a little up the road, where the houses were nicer, the pubs didn't have a weekly Friday night bloody punch up and the kids mostly went to school. Or maybe they asked people in central Bristol and ended up speaking to some of the brightest students in the country.
However, a good survey or poll is worth its weight in gold (and I mean when its printed out and bound up). The New America Foundation's recent public opinion survey for FATA is one such survey. No survey is going to give a foolproof picture of what everyone is thinking in any given area. But in a place like FATA you need to ask some pertinent questions that give an insight into the views that affect a volatile situation. The report does that brilliantly.
Another insightful and useful report was by I to I Research in the UK who launched their Afghan Futures study in the summer. I to I took on the seriously challenging task of looking at what would make Afghans think things were improving; a challenging enough quantifiable to measure within the usual confines of independent surveying without adding all the constraints of asking people questions like that in places where their answers might get them killed. A study worth looking at while I work up to giving it the full review its findings merit.
UPDATE 1: Oh, and as Abu Muqwama has noted, I managed to pay homage to my second most favourite American in the article. So check it out for him if nothing else.
Ghaith Abdul Ahad breathes a breath of minty fresh air into the fetid Wikileaks debate. It was kind of obviously really; everyone was arguing about Pakistan's links to the Taliban, the Pakistanis denied it, the Pakistani media complained, the British PM slapped Pakistan around publicly in India, the Americans said it was OK, the Pakistanis were behaving much better now. The only people who didn't get a say in it all were the Taliban. Until Ghaith went and asked them.
"Pakistan's ongoing support of the Afghan Taliban is anything but news to insurgents who have spoken to NEWSWEEK. Requesting anonymity for security reasons, many of them readily admit their utter dependence on the country's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) not only for sanctuary and safe passage but also, some say, for much of their financial support. The logistics officer, speaking at his mud-brick compound near the border, offers an unverifiable estimate that Pakistan provides roughly 80 percent of the insurgents' funding, based on his conversations with other senior Taliban. He says the insurgents could barely cover their expenses in Kandahar province alone if not for the ISI. Not that he views them as friends. "They feed us with one hand and arrest and kill us with the other," he says."
To me, this is even better than delicious irony (a phrase I've been bandying about on twitter quite a lot recently). This is practically sublime. Wikileaks is the media world readjusting itself to the decline of investigative news media. But the only way to add context and any semblance of authentication to the raw, undigested field reports turns out to be good, old fashioned, contact-working, field reporting.
Read the whole thing. It's a rare bit of what reporting is supposed to be about.
PS: Has Ghaith left the Guardian?
[Abu Muqawama here. I think Ghaith merely took the picture for this report. The article was written, it appears by some guy named Ron Moreau. Readers may not be aware that Ghaith got his start as a photojournalist and still has a talented eye.]
Londonstani: Ah, right you are. Good on Ron Moreau. Good on Ghaith for the photo too. The minty breath praise goes to Ron. Not come across his stuff before, but I'm a big fan of this artilcle.
Just as we (by this I mean myself mainly) were wondering why the hell Pakistani militants had killed Khalid Khawaja, a man with serious militant sympathies and connections of his own, Nicholas Schmidle steps in to explain in the New Republic.
"Despite his technological and media savvy, Khawaja was nonetheless old school when it came to the generational divides among militants. The old guard feels as if it's at least partly acting on behalf of the state, while the new guard seeks to overthrow the state. Whoever steps in the way of that mission is considered an enemy-and, by extension, an American stooge. Did Khawaja see himself as a bridge between the two groups? Perhaps. But he clearly didn't make a good enough impression on the new guard."
"One of the characteristics distinguishing the new generation of militants from the old has been their deep mistrust of traditional authorities, such as the intelligence agencies, the tribal structures, and the mainstream Islamist parties....Some Western audiences might applaud the fracturing and dividing (of militant groups), assuming that smaller outfits are easier to isolate. But each new group is more violent and reckless than the next—and also more removed from the original puppet-masters in ISI headquarters. Negotiations, bribes, and settlements hold no appeal for this generation of militants."
Patrick Cockburn has great report from Bajaur in today's Independent. The access comes about as a result of a PR trip organised by the Pakistani military but Cockburn takes that into account in his analysis.
"It is hazardous to draw too many conclusions from an official tour such as the one I was on in Bajaur. There is so much one does not see. But it is impossible for foreign journalists to visit the area without official permission and protection."
The fighting in FATA needs good independent reporting. Events such as those described by Cockburn are in dire need of independent scrutiny:
"Many people have died and are still dying in this vicious and little-reported war where it is difficult to get details even when there are many dead. For instance last Saturday some 75 villagers were killed in an air strike by Pakistani jets in the Khyber district of FATA. The army at first said they were Islamic militants, but later admitted that there had been a blunder and victims were being compensated."
I have heard a good few Pakistani military people and politicians express the fear that a successful military operation now could be a source of a bigger problem in five to 10 years. Without on-the-ground independent reporting there is no voice agitating for things to be done any differently than they are now.
However, I think Cockburn nails the situation in his last paragraph:
"Peace has not returned to FATA. Local papers carry stories down-column of suspected Islamic militants' houses being burned, refugees in flight or returning, a girls' school destroyed by insurgents and many killed by American drone attacks. The army is in control, but it is not clear what would happen if it left. It may find it more difficult to get out of FATA than it was to get in."
We have touched in this blog on developments that seem to suggest the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban groups have started working ever-more closely together. This article by David Rohde of the New York Times makes spells out the case more explicitly by drawing on Antonio Giustozzi's latest book - Decoding the New Taliban: Insights form the Afghan Field.
"The Taliban and their cause have moved effortlessly across national, ethnic, and tribal boundaries. Claudio Franco describes how Pakistan's tribal areas have served as a base for the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. In December 2007, the Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud was able to create an alliance of Pakistani jihadi groups, which ranged from Sunni hard-liners eager to kill Shia, to Punjabi militants eager to kill Indian forces in Kashmir, to Pashtuns eager to topple American-backed leaders in Kabul and Islamabad. Mehsud, who was killed in an American drone strike in August 2009*, blocked Pakistani government efforts to split the Pakistani Taliban along tribal lines.
"Baitullah's masterstroke was his involvement in the creation of the TTP in December 2007," Franco writes, using the acronym for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or Taliban Movement of Pakistan. "Treating the FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas] like a section of the Muslim Ummah, and tribals as a single community of believers, the brains behind the TTP were able to introduce a mutual assistance mechanism designed to break the government's strategy."
Franco writes that the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban both operate under a loose Taliban command structure headed by the longtime Afghan Taliban commander Mullah Omar. Broad directives are issued by Mullah Omar, but local Taliban ground commanders in both countries carry out local operations as they see fit. He concludes that the Pakistani Taliban and Afghan Taliban are wings of the same broad Taliban movement. "The Afghan Taliban never appear as an external actor," he writes. "They direct the Pakistanis as if they were another of their regional Wilayat, or governorates."
Another important point to look at in the article is how the "semi wild men of the tribal lands" (as a starry-eyed aid worker in Islamabad once said) have become pretty clever at the old technology thing:
"In her essay, "Reading the Taliban," in the Giustozzi volume, Joanna Nathan marvels at the Taliban's haphazard, yet sophisticated and extremely effective p.r. strategy. A movement that seemed to reject modernity in the 1990s is now adept at using technology to monitor its enemy, disseminate its message, and shape its image. One Taliban commander operating just south of Kabul in Wardak Province, for example, recognized the publicity value of carrying out attacks near Kabul. "Being near Kabul allows the news and military events that happen here to reach all the international media outlets," he told Al Somood, the Taliban's official magazine, in 2008. "For instance, when we destroyed 54 logistics vehicles in July, local and international journalists rushed to report the event."
The idea that Taliban leaders think of informational influence as an integral part of their operational planning actually puts them a few steps ahead of their ISAF and Pakistani opponents.
Rohde makes two very nail-on-the-head conclusions.
1. All this talk of talking to the Taliban seems a little too hopeful if you consider that the Taliban (whichever branch) sees itself as doing pretty well at the moment. Why start thinking about negotiating when you feel you are winning (ie managing to stay in the fight) and your opponent is talking about leaving in a year and a bit?
2. An Afghan surge is unlikely to work while the Afghan Taliban is drawing on support from its now integrated branch on the other side of the Durand Line. However, this article was probably written before news emerged of the arrests made by Pakistan, which we talked about here and here.
But, considering the mystery surrounding Pakistan's intentions in relation to those arrests and their possible repercussions, it's worth keeping Rohde's final words in mind.
"Another scenario is more likely, and arguably more frightening. There is one prospect worse than Pakistani influence over the Afghan Taliban, and that is the Afghan Taliban’s immunity to Pakistani influence. Pakistan’s generals may find that in fact they now do not have the influence over the hard-line Afghan Taliban that they believe. A new generation of Afghan Taliban might remain unwaveringly committed to the jihad that they are waging with their Arab, Uzbek, and Pakistani brethren. They could hunker down in their tribal area strongholds and dare the Pakistani army to dislodge them. What then? As the American troop presence in the region shrinks in 2011 and 2012, the Afghan Taliban could re-emerge with a vengeance."
A just-published news report has prodded Londonstani out of a work-enduced coma:
The Christian Science Monitor reports today (24th) that the Pakistani authorities have moved against the Afghan Taliban leadership based in Pakistan (dubbed the Quetta Shura)
"In total, seven of the insurgent group’s 15-member leadership council, thought to be based in Quetta, Pakistan, including the head of military operations, have been apprehended in the past week, according to Pakistani intelligence officials.
Western and Pakistani media had previously reported the arrest of three of the 15, but this is the first confirmation of the wider scale of the Pakistan crackdown on the Taliban leadership, something the US has sought."
As the CSM rightly asks; 1 Why is Pakistan doing this now, and 2 Does it significantly damage the Afghan Taliban?
"The crackdown may to be related to efforts by some Taliban leaders to explore talks with Western and Afghan authorities independently of Pakistan, the UN official said"
There has already been much reporting of the politic-ing behind efforts to talk to the Taliban - including the use of the good offices of former Afghan Jihadis who have long since hung up their AKs (like Abdullah Anas). But this changes the game. The Pakistani on-going operation in Waziristan was delayed as the Pakistani army cut deals with Afghan Taliban leaders (among others) so as to limit the fronts it would have to fight on. Might these arrests, which look to be more than a cosmetic exercise, basically equal a declaration of war against the people it built up and then protected for so long. That is a pretty serious shift in policy.
A recent article in The New Republic about General Keyani, the Pakistani army's chief of staff, comes to mind. Michael Crowley thinks Keyani sees that American and Pakistani interests (as viewed by Keyani) are aligned and suggests that Keyani was just getting round to this move all along. But Pakistan's key interest in Afghanistan centres on making sure the people who run the place like Islamabad more than New Dehli. The only Afghanis likely to feel that way are the Taliban. How does arresting their leadership sheltering in Pakistan make them feel warm and fuzzy about Keyani's men? And how does it make them want to conduct any future potential talks with the allies through Pakistan?
As for damaging the Taliban:
“This really hurts the Taliban in the short run,” says Wahid Muzjda, a former Taliban official turned political analyst, based in Kabul.
"You can arrest Mullah Baradar, but there are many Mullah Baradars out there,” says Mr. Zaif. “The commanders are replaceable. The fighters on the ground will keep fighting.”
Seems the jury is out on that one.
UPDATE: Fixing The New Republic writer's name first name and updating headline
Since ISAF and the Pakistani forces are not doing so well at countering the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Tehreek-e-Taliban in Pakistan, it seems the two organisations have decided to compete with each other instead.
On Monday, the Taliban launched the kind of attack in Kabul that Pakistan has seen plenty of in recent months. Multiple attackers, suicide bombers, gunmen, co-ordination. Yep, it could have been Rawalpindi, Lahore or even Mumbai. The Afghans blamed the Pakistanis, as did the Indians. But amid the finger pointing, Londonstani is thinking that it's very possible that the groups carrying out these attacks are developing, deploying and then sharing tactics like its going out of fashion - even if they are officially meant to not like each other. This is all slightly alarming and suggests they aren't under the kind of pressure that ISAF forces and the Pakistanis have suggested.
If Londonstani were a Taliban commander he'd be taking it easy right now (maybe figuring out how to run double agent operations). "The information operations are going well. The seeds have been planted and the vicious circle is rolling in the right direction. The Americans and the British are running in circles while throwing money in the air and the Pakistanis are increasingly seeing the errors of their corrupt, slave rulers. All the while, the Muslim world is seeing how we take on a regional power and a superpower all at the same time. Now what? volleyball? stolen humvee racing? I know, I'll show that annoying arse Hakimullah that he's not the only one that can make like the action movies."
UPDATE: The BBC's John Simpson sums it up well with this comment: "...there are other ways to win a war than simply fighting. And persuading the world that the Taliban can strike when and how they want is one of them."... Back to the communications and comprehensive approach discussion.
Londonstani is still processing the news that the suicide bomber who killed the CIA officers in Khost was a Jordanian double agent working for the Pakistani Taliban.
Apart from reading like the backcover of a Fredrick Forsyth novel, this illustrates the point of the CNAS report AM posted in the previous entry.
The former official said that the fact that militants could carry out a successful attack using a double agent showed their strength even after a steady barrage of missile strikes fired by C.I.A. drone aircraft.
“Double agent operations are really complex,” he said. “The fact that they can pull this off shows that they are not really on the run. They have the ability to kick back and think about these things.”
This isn't even the Afghan Taliban, its the Pakistani Taliban. They are supposed to be getting hammered by the Pakistani army.
On December 4, four militants stormed a mosque used extensively by Pakistan Army personnel and killed 35 people who had gathered for Friday prayers. Among the victims were 17 children. Security forces battled the militants for an hour before three blew themselves up. The attack marked a return to the sort of well-executed, multi-pronged tactics that militants have used against the army on previous occasions. But the choice of target - Muslims at prayer - forced a response from the country's religious establishment.
Right after the attack, Interior Minister Rehman Malik called on Pakistan's religious figures to take a stand. Within hours Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman, an influential figure within the religious establishment was on television.
"We have issued a fatwa that suicide bombings, remote attacks and direct attacks against civilians or the forces of an Islamic country are haram (Islamically forbidden)", he said. "Suicide attacks are specifically forbidden because they are carried out by killing yourself, which is totally outside the rules of Islam.... Attacking mosques is totally unacceptable in the eyes of Islam."
Mufti Muneeb represents a mainstream Islamic outlook in Pakistan known as Barelvi, which encompasses the country's Sufi traditions. Much has been made of Sufis as the mainstream - largely apolitical - Islamic outlook that has the potential to provide Pakistan, as well as the wider Muslim world, with the religious legitimacy to counter the austere Salafi and more specifically the Jihadi-Takfeeri ideology that the likes of the Taliban adhere to. In 2007, the Rand Cooperation published Building Moderate Muslim Networks, which advocates engaging and bolstering the Sufi strand of Islam throughout the Muslim world.
But is it really as simple as that? The phrase might have become a cliche but Pakistan is presently the location of a very real battle for hearts and minds. Is it possible to pick a side and support it against another?
The Sufi tradition has very deep roots in Pakistan. The country is dotted with shrines that are visited by thousands of people daily from across Pakistan's ossified class structure. Londonstani's taxi driver of choice is a fairly typical adherent.
Chacha (uncle) supports eight children on about £7.40 a day, which takes him 12 hours of driving to earn. His family is from Murree, a hilly area about 2-1/2 hours drive from Islamabad. But he spends most days of the week living in a small unheated concrete room outside a small stall owned by a relative who also works in the capital. Chacha has a terrible cough, exacerbated by his constant smoking and his taste for the local Murree whiskey. If he could afford it, Chacha would go to the doctors to find out how to treat it. But unlike Londonstani, he's not too worried about it:
"You know, I thank God because health comes from Him. And when you are ill, it makes you remember your own mortality. It makes you remember that you will go back to God and you have to answer for your actions. So in that way, being ill is a blessing because it will make me closer to God."
Conventional wisdom in Pakistan states that men like Chacha uncritically accept whatever they are told by firebrand preachers - of the religious or secular variety that dominate the pulpits and the airways. Chacha, however, is nobody's fool when it comes to current affairs.
"Some people in Pakistan love America and others hate it. The ones that love it are the educated people and those who travel abroad and like fashions from abroad. They have investments in America and they travel there. So its no surprise that they love it.
"For the poor people, they don't see anything good coming from the friendship with America. All we see is that we are suffering for America's war. We didn't invade any country and start a war. The fight is between al Qaeda and America? It's nothing to do with us. But because the people in government are friends with America, we ended up fighting for them."
Despite being very clear about which section of the population he belongs in, Chacha has not resorted to a blind hatred of all things American or Western.
"All the Americans I've ever met are pretty nice people. But I think their policies are bad for our country. Sure, their government needs to look after their interests, but ours needs to look after our interests. That's not happening because the people in our government are looking after the interests of themselves, their family and their group of friends."
Chacha is a follower of Pir Ali Shah, whose shrine-complex is situated on the outskirts of Islamabad at Golra Sherif.
Golra Sherif has attracted pilgrims for near two centuries. Every week, thousands of men, women and children gather in what has become a little town in its own right to hear Qawalis (devotional songs), pray at the various tombs and eat the food laid on by the shrine's guardians.
The outlook that includes Chacha and countless other Pakistanis is being challenged by the Takfeeri-Salafi mode of thought. The Taliban is the most vocal manifestation of this outlook but my no means its sole representative. Groups like Tehreek-e-Islam and al-Huda, while not explicitly violent, promote a "return to true Islam" message which sees the Sufi traditions of the country as a corruption of the true faith. Most of these groups are in some way or another an offshoot of the Deobandi school of thought which also gave birth to the Jamaat-e-Islaami political party which is sympathetic to the Taliban.
However, Deobandis are not monolithic in their outlook. The Deobandi school of thought started in India in 1866 as a reaction to the British takeover of Muslim India. Its core message is a revival of Islam throught through Islamic learning. Mulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islaami, was a Deobandi student but others within the school of thought separated themselves from politics. The Indian branch of the Deobandi school issued a proclamation in 2008 condemning terrorism. In Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islami has repeatedly refused to condemn the Taliban.
One consequence of the war in Afghanistan is the fracturing of Pakistan's religious patchwork quilt. Whereas once the fault lines lay between Shia and Sunni, these have now spread to Barelvi and Deobandis (who are both Sunni). As the Barelvis are seen to side with the state's stance against the local Taliban and its official backing for the U.S-led presence in Afghanistan, they have become exposed to allegations that they are "stooges" of "state-sponsored Islam". This has also opened them up to attack on religious grounds by the element of Deobandi thought that sees Sufi practice as unIslamic; a point of view shared by the Wahabis, Takfiris etc, basically, the kind of people who support the Taliban outlook.
A number of sources estimate that the majority of Muslims in Pakistan, India and South Asian communities in the United Kingdom are from Barelvi backgrounds. But whereas once the Deobandi-Barelvi divide was fairly pourous and devoid of any practical meaning, today it has taken on political connotations.
And those political connotations have very serious implications. A few weeks ago, Londonstani tagged along on a series of meetings organised by a British Muslim organisation that involved many leading Barelvi figures. One of the main issues that arose was the very real threat these figures faced if they took a stand against the Taliban. The delegation from Britain visited Jamia Naemia in Lahore, a Barelvi madrassa. The visit started with a prayer at the grave of the school's founder Sarfraz Naemi, who was killed by a suicide bomber weeks after denouncing the Taliban and issuing a fatwa against suicide bombings. It mattered little that he had previously criticised the government for its support of the U.S-led invasion of Afghanistan.
The explosive religio-political landscape of Pakistan is best illustrated by the security outside the madrassa guarding one set of Islam's guardians against another.
Mufti Muneeb was present during the meetings. He made the point that the Barelvis leaders knew that they had to make a stand, but were nervous as to what this would mean for the safety of their families and followers. The statement Mufti Muneeb made after the Rawalpindi attack did not mention the Taliban specifically. In reference to the attackers, he said: "We don't know who they are. But we hear from the media and the government that they say they are acting in the name of religion. That is why we issued a fatwa to refute their claims to have religious justifications for their actions." A few days after making the statement, Mufti Muneeb and several other leaders who echoed his call were laid up in hospital with suspected poisoning.
Supporting the Barelvis materially against the Deobandis is a dangerous logic to follow. It smacks of the sort of colonial and cold war era policies that pitted one group of "natives" against another and led to decades of warfare. At the same time, it overlooks the divisions within the ranks of Pakistan's "traditional Muslims". Any effort to provide material support would flounder at the first hurdle of who to distribute it to. But one practical and realistic suggestion the Barelvis did raise was of moral support from the wider community of Islamic leadership. Despite their numbers, the Barelvis are in danger of being bullied into silence. Their stance makes them appear as government - and therefore Western - stooges. Their opponents portray them as quietist fatalists who are unwilling to stand up for the honour of Islam. And if their opponents dominate the public Islamic discourse - as they are on course to do - anyone in Pakistan who opposes armed insurrection against the state and a fight to the death against anything that hints of tolerance, moderation and discourse will be forced into silence. The medium term consequences for Pakistan, the region and the international community will be dire.