Toward a New Phase in Pakistan

  • 7 September 2008

Pakistan faces an array of challenges that make the election of a new president, Assef Ali Zardari, of utmost importance at this time in the country's history. Pakistan has suffered lately, and still suffers, from internal divisions, security problems, a noticeable and dangerous increase in Taliban activities, and an obvious presence of voices of extremism, fanaticism, and violence. The latest attempt on the life of Prime Minister Youssef Gilani is a significant sign of this trend. Pakistani political forces have the responsibility to work toward overcoming the current difficulties, advancing future endeavors, and assisting the new president in ending the political and security crises the country faces and which threaten it with dire consequences.

Pakistan is undoubtedly an important and focal state regionally and internationally. It forms a pillar of regional security in Asia, is a nuclear power in the Indian subcontinent, and is a major front in the war on terrorism and extremism. Its domestic developments attract regional and international attention which has increased lately because of a rising Taliban and suicide operations that killed hundreds in a short period of time. The election of a new president represents an important opportunity to rally different energies and to rationalize differences and disputes for the sake of a successful national strategy. Such a strategy could accomplish many goals: 1) strengthening the domestic front against terrorism, extremism, and violence; 2) utilizing a rich political experience for resolving conflicts peacefully despite their depth; 3) assisting security and stability in the Indian subcontinent particularly and in the Asian continent as a whole.

Additionally, Pakistan is also very important for the Arabian Gulf area in many geographic, economic, historic, and cultural respects. GCC countries, and especially the UAE, are always keen to express their support for everything that insures Pakistani reconciliation and their rejection of all appearances of violence, terrorism, and extremism that are a threat to the stability and security of the country. And that was evident in the call His Highness President Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Aal Nahyan made to the new president offering his congratulations, hoping that the election will strengthen security and stability in Pakistan, and expressing the UAE's wishes for continued friendship and cooperation.