Mumbai attacks raise pressure on a beleaguered Pakistan
While conclusive evidence is elusive, blame is being leveled on a Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, further stressing ties between the neighbors.
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Time magazine writes that perhaps a greater cause for alarm is the added internal pressure that the attacks create in both countries. In India, they raise the fear of sectarian violence and greater hardship for the disadvantaged Muslim minority, which accounts for 13.4 percent of India's 1.1 billion people.Skip to next paragraph
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There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking, Muslim Indians have shorter life spans, worse health, lower literacy levels and lower-paying jobs. Add to that toxic brew the lingering resentment over 2002's anti-Muslim riots in the state of Gujarat. The riots, instigated by Hindu nationalists, killed some 2,000 people, most of them Muslims. To this day, few of the perpetrators have been convicted.
For Pakistan, questions over the country's role in the attacks last week "could not have come at a worse time" for the Zardari government, according to Time. The government already faces a grim laundry list of problems: a Taliban insurgency in its northwestern tribal areas, longstanding separatist claims along the Iranian border in the southwest, dozens of American military strikes within its territory, and mounting economic woes.
As a Taliban insurgency continues to simmer in the tribal areas along the Afghan border, clashes on Sunday between rival political groups in the southern metropolis of Karachi killed 13 people and wounded 70. The country is on the verge of economic collapse, its desperate pleas for financial assistance from China and Saudi Arabia last month having been rebuffed, forcing Pakistan to accept loans from the International Monetary Fund — but those loans come with stern conditions limiting government spending, the implementation of which will risk inflaming further unrest. A suspected U.S. predator drone attack in the tribal areas on Saturday — one of dozens in recent months — has further alienated a population already suspicious of U.S. interference.
Two people were killed, and a dozen trucks destroyed, when militants attacked a shipping terminal in Peshawar, Pakistan, reports the Associated Press. The trucks were part of a US and NATO supply shipment into Afghanistan, which has seen a sharp uptick of Taliban and Al Qaeda violence within the past year. Nearby, a suicide bomber struck a military checkpoint in the Swat valley, killing eight and wounding 40.