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The entire world has fi nally come to accept the self-evident truth that Pakistan is a fl ourishing hub of terrorism. Terrorism has been raised to the level of an industry in Pakistan. For decades, it has been milking the US of billions of dollars as compensation for fi ghting the ‘global war on terror’ (GWOT), after being reluctantly brought to heel by President George W. Bush Junior’s blunt query: “Are you with us or against us?” That famous American turnaround came about only after the two symbols of American world economic and military dominance—the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia—were attacked using hijacked aircraft as fl ying bombs on September 09, 2001 (the infamous 9/11).

As part of its carefully crafted ‘industry’, Pakistan fed the American yearning for revenge for 9/11 with small morsels of small and middle level terrorists to help fi ll Guantanamo Bay penitentiary on Cuban soil. It kept the kingpins of Islamist terrorism like Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda in safe havens in the heart of its military establishments i.e. Osama in Abbottabad house with high walls. It took the equally astute business acumen of President Donald Trump to realise how America had been led up the garden path by Pakistan. He clamped down on military assistance to Pakistan but in the latest round of drone strikes in which several terrorists were killed inside Pakistan, it appears that the Americans are targeting only those terrorists that Pakistan wants to eliminate. The muchwanted Haqqanis are still roaming around free and ‘global terrorist’ Hafi z Saeed is preparing to become the ruler of Pakistan.

The distinction between the civil and the military in Pakistan has become totally blurred. It was under the civilian government of Benezir Bhutto that the Taliban was created in Pakistan madrassas to fl ood Afghanistan and confront the Soviet troops there and create greater strategic depth for Pakistan. The Pakistan military dictatorship under Gen Pervez Musharraf reaped the billions of dollars that the Americans poured into the Pakistani coffers to fi ght the Soviet Army in Afghanistan.

Over the past two years, there has been a major fl ux in the geopolitics of the region. Both China and Russia have moved closer to Pakistan in expectation of an American withdrawal. Within Pakistan, a coalition is being created inclusive of Hafi z Saeed, the terrorist kingpin who has turned politicians to avoid UN sanctions. He is being supported by former dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.

The emerging paradigm in Pakistan points to an ultra-hardcore Islamist political entity led by Hafi z Saeed supported wholeheartedly in the Wahhabbi military establishment, led by serving and retired military offi cers. This grouping will have control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Given the history of nuclear weapons proliferation of the Pakistan nuclear establishment, the prospects are horrendous.

This edition is well-conceived considering the changing face of Pakistan, and, our distinguished contributors have shared their well-researched thoughts for your best updates on this. I am sure you will like this edition too.

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