In your Washington Post editorial of September 30th, you observe “Democracy always favors dialogue over confrontation”, a wise and useful sentiment. Though you observe the terrorists have gained the most from the recent “verbal assaults some in the USA have made against Pakistan”, the present unhappiness of the Pakistani / American relationship requires some measure of frankness and yes, confrontation. Problems will never be solved without a clear exposition and a route to solution.
Pakistan has not behaved like an ally and cannot be one at present time. It is a nation at continuous war with itself and its neighbours and has been through its short and sad history. The disgraceful line of battle on your border with India can be seen from space. Your first order of business ought to be to extend your writ to every hectare of your own country. This you have not done. Pakistan has shabbily treated its many tribes. Corruption is endemic. Democracy depends on an educated population: Pakistan cannot rise in the world while its children do not go to school. You speak of a contest between the incendiary politics of extremism and the slow burn of democracy: the ancient dividing wall standing between the people of privilege and the poor has not been broken down. While it stands, your country remains in terrible danger.
An army without an enemy will promptly invent one to justify its own existence. Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have often served as a government in the absence of meaningful civilian leadership. The military, like money itself, is a wonderful servant but a terrible master: Pakistan’s civilian leadership must first come to terms with its failure to clean up corruption before the military will respect it. Any dispassionate observer of Pakistan will note its strong sense of patriotism: all leadership is by example and there is no substitute. Provide that good example.
Do not attempt to subtly threaten the USA with an insistence on your necessity in the war on terror, or feebly beg off your obligations for lack of resources, for this is how I interpret much of this message. You are not necessary, not even to your own people and least of all to your own military or intelligence services. You are merely tolerated. You observe your nation has suffered from terrorism and bombings but never once do you accept the notion that Pakistan’s government has become disconnected from its own people by its own corruption and malfeasance and is now considered an enemy by many of its own nominal citizens. You have done little with the billions in aid you have already been given, money we have borrowed from others. It is true you fight an ideology that feeds on brutality and coercion: that ideology has feasted on the brutality meted out first by Pakistani officials upon the Pakistani people.
As for the heroin, it all traverses the Port of Karachi. The opium might be grown in Afghanistan but it is your corrupt port officials who grow rich on the transshipment. Friend, sweep your own doorstep ere you wag your finger at the United States and what it tolerates in Afghanistan. Our business in Afghanistan is first building a nation. You have an already-built one. Govern it, if you can.
All else is predicated on this grim dictum: Pakistan will either govern itself or it will not. The USA cannot do business with a nation incapable of managing its own affairs. We in American cannot and will not tell you how to govern, but govern you must. It will begin with the consent of your own people, not America’s consent or aid or further meddling. But you cannot reasonably expect the USA to be your ally and friend while you lack the mandate of your own people. Gain that and all will be well with you and us.