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I agree but nothing should be done to jeopardize our more important relationship with the truly democratic India.

Kashmir student - I agree with you, but it is incredibly important to also develop good relations with Pakistan at this difficult and volatile time for that country!
Pakistan is where the terror camps are based and the madrassas which are spewing out messages of hatred and turning young people (some I am afraid from Britain) into Jihadists.
If we can persuade the rulers of Pakistan to turn towards the West and away from fundamentalism then we will have achieved a great deal.

Pakistan is a huge problem because.....

1. It is a nuclear power.

2. It is highly unstable.

3. It has a significant minority of religious extremists.

4. It has a long standing dispute with India over Kashmir and the Kashmiri Muslins have been treated very badly by India.

5. We are a very fighting difficult a war in Afghanistan which is made immensely more difficult by the wild but porous nature of the NW frontier region with Pakistan.

6. The Pakistani Army has a major stabilising influence but is demoralised following the resignation of President Musharraf. Furthermore, The Army has been infiltrated, at least to some degree, by extremists.

7. There is a large expatriate Pakistani community in the UK some of whom are extremists and most of whom oppose the war in Afghanistan.

Given that we are where we are (it might be argued, at least in part, due the 60 years of mismanagement by successive Labour and Conservative Governments), what can we do about this? None of the options I can envisage are at all pleasant.

I agree with David-at-Home`s perceptive analysis of the problem that faces us over the present state of affairs in Pakistan, and the impact this has on our national interest. If this is agreed, and there are no additional aspects of which we are unaware, it is certain that those who are now formulating Conservative foreign policy will have to establish how Pakistan`s strategic capability, intentions and opportunities will have to be faced. The impact of the effects on international stability including those relating to India, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, fundamentalist Islam and by no means least, of the problems of internal corruption within Pakistan, will all complicate matters further.
Clearly there will be no quick and easy answer. Our Commonwealth connexions might give the UK a way in but our status as a post-imperial power will probably be used by those who will seek to inhibit what we try to do.
Despite these potential difficulties however, if we can establish common goals with our allies, including the USA, and then thrash out a common policy, it might be possible to see stability, however fragile. It might also be worth looking back to the old concept of treaty alliances of SEATO and CENTO ( which originally existed to hem in Russo/Chinese communist expansionist aims) that might form the basis of a new concept of alliances which could then encourage cooperation. This time round, the inclusion of China would be beneficial so the alliances would not therefore be based on political or military containment.
The UN alternative seems too unwieldy and discredited to provide an obvious answer.

Pakistan is important in the battle against extremism but prognosis isn't currently good. The countries current government is divided, its authority low and has little or no control over many parts of its territory and institutions. The northern provinces are all but lost to the Taleban and various tribes, the intelligence agency the ISI is a powerful essentially independent force that follows its own agenda.
We can try to help, but in the end our and most European countries sphere of influence is not really large enough in the region, The big players are the US, China, Russia and India, we are pretty much on the sidelines.

There was another attempted assassination there today. Unfortunately Pakistan as a state is not a viable entity any more - it is descending into an anarchic piece of real estate.

It is not inconceivable that the country will fragment into a number of small states and that may be a good thing in many ways - except for the fact that who will control the nuclear sites. If it falls into the hands of Punjab, then we do not have to worry - but anywhere else, the west, China and Russia must take a concerted stance.

I blame America for this state of affairs - in the aftermath of WW II the Americans put to much pressure on Britain to grant independence to India - which was carried out with such haste that while India emerged democratic and stable, Pakistan fell into military domination from day 1 and within 25 years lost one half of its territory.

It is in our national interest to stay out of the internal conflicts of such an unstable nation.

I agree that problems in Pakistan present a huge problem to a British PM. But realistically what can we do there?

Wisdom from Malcolm. Not your problem. Let the Muslim world deal with this, as they will. The Gulf States are investing. They need stability to ensure a supply of non-terrorist labour. Also, they need food from Pakistani farms. Leave them to get on with it.

If you insist on helping, develop peace and trade with Iran and take our troops out of Afghanistan. Pak can not be expected to calm down completely in less than a few decades, so celebrate fuzzy progress.

If you don't like the Mayhew way, send ConHome's own Ben Rogers to have a go.

"Let the Muslim world deal with this, as they will...."

All very well, Henry and certainly we should not allow ourselves to get over-embroiled in all this - but don't forget that as well as the Gulf States investing, Saudi Arabia may well wish to do so and we have seen what happens when Saudi money is used to further the Wahhabist way of thinking....

I fear Saudi Arabian money is probably already deployed in Pakistan, funding such things as madrassas. What horrors are perpetrated in the name of religion!

John, sadly I suspect you're right!

I am pleased David Cameron touched on the radical Deobandi Madrassas in Pakistan which have indoctrinated some of Britain's Muslim communities in anti western sentiment. Unfortunately when I asked President Musharraf on a visit to the EP after the 7th July tube bombings about his promise to expel all foreign students from Pakistani Madrassas he claimed this had been done but my Indian diplomatic friends (I founded the Friends of India in the EP) then told me that all these British Asian students had dual nationality (British and Pakistani) so when in Pakistan were considered Pakistani not British hence they were not expelled from the radical Madrassas. I also think the USA must review its generous military aid to Pakistn which has not been used as intended for anti terrorist and insurgency use but instead used to build up the conventional forces with expensive kit at the international border with India where sadly Indo Pakistani relations have hotted up both in violence in Kashmir and following the terrorist attacks in Gujarat where the ISI have been accused of supporting radical islamist groups in India. Also President Karzai of Afghanistan has been making statements with regards to ISI supporting the Taleban offensive aginst his elected government.
Clearly confidence building measures are important with India but the democratically the new elected government in Islamabad is yet to demonstrate it is any more committed to permanent peace with India or defeating terrorism in the sub continent than the previous military regime-perhaps as the civilians have poorer control over the military. Nevertheless we have to remain politically in the UK fully engaged in dialogue with Pakistan for all its breaches of human right's (eg women's rights and Christian, Baluchi, Hindu and Ahmadi minorities persecution) because it is a nuclear power and we have very large comunities in Britain who maintain very strong links with Pakistan.

"the democratically the new elected government in Islamabad is yet to demonstrate it is any more committed to permanent peace with India or defeating terrorism in the sub continent than the previous military regime-perhaps as the civilians have poorer control over the military."

You're right Charles and it is early days yet! It might well be a triumph of hope over experience.
You are also quite right to emphasise the Pakistani community in Britain - many of whom - certainly amongst the older generation - feel loyalty to Britain. A number of them are very loyal and committed Conservatives too!

"But realistically what can we do there?"

Indeed what can we do, essentially the the British state has opened our flank to a terrorist producing state through their extravagant immigration policies. Well done chaps, good one!

Saudi is a gulf state Sally, but I take your point. I was indeed primarily referring in a positive way to the UAE, Bahrain and Oman.

Yes, you're quite right Henry - I always think of Saudi as being separate to the UAE, Bahrain and Oman which are the countries I think of when "The Gulf States" are mentioned as a grouping.

No Saudi is definitely a Gulf state as an active and founder member of the Gulf Cooperation Council which is the regional political and economic body of 6 Gulf states founded in 1981 and which has regular coordinatory summit meetings and includes Kuwait and Qatar as well as the others mentioned

Thank you Dr Tannock.

Thanks Charles for clarifying.

"I am pleased David Cameron touched on the radical Deobandi Madrassas---- Charles Thannock"

All foreign students other then dual Nationals who were expelled from Pakistani Deobandi Madrassas have now gone to Indian Madrassas.

After reading your comments it seems that ISI is more powerful then CIA and RAW.

You being a Friend of India has always turned a blind eye on India's breaches of human rights of its miniroties namely Muslims & Christians etc.

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