Pakistan under pressure

By Du Bing
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, May 12, 2011
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In the early hours of May 2 American Special Forces shot dead al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, near the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. It cannot be denied that the operation was an iconic success in the war on terror, but it also put the Pakistan government under enormous domestic and international pressure. All Pakistan's anti-terrorism efforts over the past years were erased at a stroke. And revenge attacks by the terrorists cannot be rule out, making the security situation worse.

Domestic and international pressure

The Pakistani government is feeling the heat from public opinion. Pakistan was an ally of the U.S. in the war on terror, and Hillary Clinton declared "Pakistan helped us find Bin Laden", but when the military action came, it was led by the United States, and Pakistan was merely informed of the result. This was a serious slight to Pakistan's national sovereignty.

According to the U.S., its helicopters took off from Afghanistan, but were not detected by Pakistani forces even after flying across its territory for several hours. This story is hardly likely to convince the public. The Pakistani government faces a tough task to persuade people that it is committed to safeguarding Pakistan's sovereignty.

The death of Bin Laden has also whipped up the religious feeling which is never far from the surface in Pakistani society. On the afternoon of May 2, nearly one thousand people marched in the city of Quetta, hailing bin Laden as a hero of the Islamic world and burning the US flag.

Internationally, the West is pushing Pakistan hard on anti-terrorism. The fact that Bin Laden was hiding so close to Islamabad is seen as inexcusable. Afghan President Karzai took advantage of Bin Laden's death to declare Afghanistan was no longer the chief haven for terrorists and that NATO should focus on other countries. A senior US anti-terror official said it was unimaginable that Bin Laden had been hiding in the Capital of Pakistan for years without a support system inside the country. Indian Prime Minister Singh said the international community must unite to pressure Pakistan into taking stronger action to eliminate terrorist forces on its soil. Indian Interior Minister Chidambaram said it was disquieting that Bin Laden had been hiding so near the Pakistani capital, and said there were many other terrorist organizations hiding in Pakistan. India also repeated demands for Pakistan to arrest those suspected of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

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