Dispatch: Inside Pakistan After bin Laden

MIN READMay 17, 2011 | 20:49 GMT

Analyst Kamran Bokhari examines the internal struggles of the Pakistani state following U.S. intervention in the country to kill Osama bin Laden.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

There's been a lot of discussion about U.S.-Pakistani relations ever since the killing of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs. But there isn't a whole lot of attention being paid to the impact that the operation has had on the Pakistani state's ability to continue governing the country as it has for decades. A key implication of the U.S. strike that eliminated Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan has been that the country's security establishment has come under unprecedented fire from various quarters within the country's political, intellectual, and even from within the security establishment itself. The magnitude of the problem can be gauged from the fact that with an 11-hour briefing — an unprecedented briefing — given by the country's military establishment to parliament in which the ISI chief essentially owned up that there was an intelligence failure in not being able to locate Osama bin Laden even though he was living a mere three hours drive time from the capital. The ISI chief also offered to resign if parliament and government wanting him to do so. At the same time there was an unprecedented tough tone adopted by the ISI chief toward the United States, which is in keeping with the anger that is bubbling in the country toward United States and also toward the security establishment for bringing the country to a point where U.S. forces can pretty much come and go in the country at a time and place of their choosing. There is a consensus within the country that business as usual as it has been for many years — both in the way that the military has governed the country and in the way that Islamabad has had a relationship with Washington — cannot continue. Beyond this point, there are huge differences of opinion in terms of how to actually go about making the much-needed changes. At the same time there are tensions between civilians and military but it's much more complex than your usual civil-military disagreements. The military is increasingly unable to continue to govern this country in the way it has in the past. It is increasingly in need of more and more civilian input. In other words, the problems of the country have come to a point where the army will need a lot more help from the civilians. Will that be to greater democratization? It's too early to say. So the country is headed toward some form of change but it's really unclear what kind of change will come about.
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