Pakistan Prime Minister Seeks Tribal Support

The United States continually complains about failure on the part of the Pakistan government to curtail Taliban and al-Qaeda operations, but ultimately, the success of such operations depends on willingness of tribal chiefs to give their support to government efforts. Prime Minister Syed Yousef Raza Gilani met with tribal leaders in order to secure their cooperation. “The tribals must rise to to the occasion and help support the government in its endeavors to curb extremism and terrorism fro their areas.” He acknowledged economic development was a key point in defeating extremism by offering people improved economic conditions.

Many tribal leaders emphasized failure on the part of government forces to halt terrorist attacks on innocent villages was a prime factor in having people lose confidence their government could protect them in the volatile world of northwest Pakistan. Gilani insisted he wanted to resolve problems by peaceful means, “but can anyone of you tell me how to deal with elements bent on militancy? I am deadly against use of force but some elements are compelling the government to take harsh decisions.”

America’s emphasis on military action to defeat insurgents must be equally as focused on economic development. Force without attaining support from local populations is an invitation to disaster.