Pakistan and the War in Terrorism

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PAKISTAN AND THE WAR ON TERRORISM

Fazal-ur-Rahman

Following the events of 9/11, Pakistan joined the US-led international coalition against terrorism. As a result of Pakistan’s sustained support and relentless efforts, the international coalition against terrorism has been able to achieve significant success in the war on terrorism. Pakistan’s contribution in the war against terrorism has been acknowledged across the world. The US leadership termed Pakistan as a ‘crucial ally’ of the US and President Musharraf a ‘courageous leader’, who has undertaken bold anti-terrorism initiatives.1 Though the pressure on Pakistan to ‘do more’ has remained constant throughout the last two years, in its support for anti-terrorism cooperation Pakistan has tried to remain mindful about domestic and regional repercussions.
In the pre-9/11 period, Pakistan was suffering from a negative image problem due to various factors, such as: its support to the Taliban since 1994; corruption of the political elites; bad economic conditions; nuclear explosions in 1998; alleged support to the Kashmiri freedom struggle; the Kargil conflict and a military coup against a democratically-elected regime in 1999, and so forth. Pakistan joined the US-led coalition in anticipation that it would help instantly addressing all these problems. The other factor that led Pakistan to join the coalition was the nature of choice given by the US administration while seeking cooperation from countries like Pakistan, either they were with the US or with the terrorists. In his speech of September 19, 2001, President Musharraf, while elaborating on the difficult situation, said that according to Islamic Shariah, if there are two difficulties at a time and a selection has to be made, it is better to opt for the lesser one. Pakistan had to choose between cooperation with the US or defiance to the US demands. Saying ‘NO’ was a sure recipe for self-destruction. Also, it was abundantly clear that joining the US-led

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