As the United States intensifies its pressure on Pakistan to take action against terrorist groups, the country is facing challenges from many sides. Pakistan’s military is fighting violent extremists who target Pakistani citizens and is also regaining strength, further weakening the country’s civilian government. At the same time, tensions with India are ramping up, and the religious right remains vociferous, protesting recently in Islamabad and across the country for the strict enforcement of Islamic laws. With elections set for the country in 2018, turbulence is likely to persist.
On January 16, the Global Economy and Development program and the Foreign Policy program at Brookings convened a panel of experts to discuss extremism in Pakistan and its broader implications across the region and world. Panelists included: Madiha Afzal, nonresident fellow at Brookings and adjunct assistant professor of global policy at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, and author of the newly released “Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, and the State” (Brookings, 2018); Bruce Riedel, senior fellow at Brookings, and author of “Deadly Embrace” (Brookings, 2012); and Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, who moderated and added his perspective as well.
Following their conversation, panelists took audience questions. Copies of “Pakistan Under Siege” was available for purchase and signing by the author following the event.
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[The duplicity of Pakistan's intelligence services was] baked into the stock price of U.S.-Pakistan relations. They were at times minimally responsive, but we always hit a wall. The outstanding list of Al Qaeda-affiliated figures [still operating in Pakistan] is small. But the Haqqani list is moving in the other direction.