As Pakistan observes “Defence Day,” the United States is putting the finishing touches on a National Intelligence Estimate on Pakistan. And while much as the NIE on Afghanistan the document is expected to remain classified, those privy to the contents of the document say it paints a “very bleak” picture. Another summarized the conclusions as “no money, no energy, no government.”
Pakistan’s economy, already a mess when the new government took over, is struggling even worse amid the new global economic downturn, and some experts warn they could face total bankruptcy as soon as February of 2009. Foreign investment has also been curbed in the wake of last month’s massive bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.
The new report will be a key factor in future moves on US policy towards Pakistan. In the past months, the US has adopted a “the gloves have come off” strategy of escalating unilateral air strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions, The US attacks have sparked multiple complaints from the Pakistani government. Most recently, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry warned that the attacks are “helping the terrorists.”
The NIE reportedly claims that the Pakistani military is reluctant to launch an all-out campaign because of “popular opposition” to continuing US cooperation in the post-Musharraf era. Former President / Military Ruler Pervez Musharraf insisted today that his policies on the war on terror were the right decision and should be continued.