West prods Pakistan on antiterror fight – with aid
The US is finalizing a $15 billion aid package, Sen. John Kerry told Indian newspapers Monday.
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"This is where pressure has to be brought," says Mr. Gohel. "It is critically important to strengthen the hand of the civilian government by aid with strings attached."Skip to next paragraph
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Though Pakistan raided camps associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba and detained several suspects last week, that momentum appears to have dissipated.
Within Pakistan, any debate about the country's need to take account for terrorist attacks allegedly launched from its soil has been drowned out by sensational accusations against India.
Public anger intensified this weekend after local media reported and the Pentagon confirmed that at least one Indian warplane flew two miles into Pakistani airspace toward Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city.
Both governments have sought to downplay the incident. India publicly denied that it happened; Pakistan said it received assurances that the incursion was a mistake. To many Pakistanis it was seen as further proof that India is trying to bait Pakistan.
"One hundred percent of people fear that an actual war with India is possible," says Taimour Afaq, a manager at a multinational company in Lahore.
The growing chorus of nations pointing their finger at Pakistan has created a siege mentality – that India is leading an international conspiracy to scapegoat Pakistan. It is a relic of Pakistani history: Three wars with India – one of which led to the independence of Pakistan's eastern portion (now Bangladesh) – have left an abiding fear that India's primary foreign-policy goal is to dismember Pakistan.
"It's difficult for Pakistan to differentiate between expression of Indian nationalist sentiment and sheer aggression," says Rasul Baksh Rais, a political scientist at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
In this context, financial aid is seen as perhaps the best way to pressure Pakistan to enact changes it might otherwise be reluctant to make. The challenge will be making the aid effective, says Gerald Price, a South Asia expert at Chatham House, a security think tank in London.
"Improving education in the tribal areas would be a great thing to do," he says. But with Al Qaeda sure to fight any intrusion, he adds: "How are you going to do it?"