Pakistan finds itself at the heart of world affairs. Founded on an Islamic religious identity, Pakistan is in a tumultuous position, overwhelmed by Islamic radicalism and becoming the global epicenter of terror. It represents the key interlocutor to the ongoing, difficult war in Afghanistan. The country was saved from bankruptcy last year after a multi-billion dollar IMF loan, its education system is in tatters and being replaced by madrasas. A succession of stalemates in its political system has undermined government efforts to restore order and mount an effective counter-insurgency campaign against militants. Lurking in the shadows is the army and its associated intelligence forces, often criticised for stoking religious extremism and continuing its long-standing tensions with India. This is all occurring in a country with an estimated one hundred nuclear warheads.
Furthermore, recent anti-terror raids in the UK have focused on Pakistani nationals, although they have since been released.
Its stability is key to world security because Pakistan’s demise would have serious repercussions for global security, as militants could mount campaigns upon the West with greater ease as well as destabilise emerging superpower India.
In spite of the obvious focus adjacent to the Afghan border, there is growing concern that the insidious fear of militants is gnawing away even at Pakistan's liberal and secular institutions.
Dr Tanveer Ahmed is a Visiting Fellow at the CIS.