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Sumit Ganguly
Center on American and Global Security

David Fidler
Center on American and Global Security

George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Friday, March 14, 2008

IU center issues report identifying key issues in U.S.-Pakistan relations

March 17, 2008

Editors: Copies of the report are available electronically. The center's director and director of research are available for interviews. For assistance, contact David P. Fidler at 812-855-6403 or or George Vlahakis at 812-855-0846 or

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A new report released today (March 17) by the Center on American and Global Security (CAGS) at Indiana University identifies key issues in U.S.-Pakistan relations and makes recommendations for next steps in U.S. policy.

"U.S. policy towards Pakistan must cease to be one according nearly unconditional support to a military dictatorship that exploits terrorism as a political weapon," the report advises, "and must develop a strategic framework that works simultaneously and in a coordinated manner towards restoring democratic politics, rebuilding governance institutions, and providing security from the growing threat of Islamist militancy."

The report, "Navigating the Turning Point: The Future of U.S. Policy Towards Pakistan," comprehensively analyzes current challenges faced by the United States with respect to Pakistan and presents "policy options in the spirit of trying to prevent the United States from finding itself in the near future in the worst of all possible worlds - unilateral U.S. military action in a failed-state Pakistan against violent Islamist extremists all too happy to open another front in the global war against the United States."

The report reflects the proceedings of a CAGS policy workshop that brought together leading experts on Pakistan to discuss how the United States should re-formulate its policies towards this strategically important country. The policy workshop participants included C. Christine Fair, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation; Frederic Grare, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Marvin Weinbaum, a fellow at the Middle East Institute; and Sumit Ganguly, professor of political science at IU and director of research for CAGS.

The report offers 10 specific recommendations for future U.S. policy towards Pakistan with respect to improving security against Islamist militants, restoring democratic politics in Pakistan, and re-building Pakistan's governance institutions. The specific recommendations include:

  • Ending Pakistan's support for terrorism through comprehensive anti-militancy policies: "The United States should work with the civilian government and military authorities in Pakistan to end the Pakistani military's long-standing tactic of exploiting some militants and extremists for strategic purposes in Afghanistan and Kashmir. . . . The U.S. has only learned that this tolerance for Pakistani use of terrorist violence has reaped a bitter harvest."
  • Strengthening Pakistan's counterinsurgency capabilities: "Recent military failures in confronting the threat from Islamist militants reveal that the Pakistani military is ill-equipped and ill-trained for serious counterinsurgency operations, particularly in the frontier areas bordering on Afghanistan."
  • Consolidating gains from the February 2008 elections: "Although the February 2008 elections have . . .left recent U.S. policy towards Pakistan in shambles, the United States needs to move rapidly to help the democratic gains the election has produced become sustainable."
  • Improving Pakistan's judiciary: "Although crippled by years of political and military intervention, Pakistan's lawyers and judges mounted the protest that proved the tipping point for Musharraf's rule. The United States should work with the civilian government to help restore the independence of the judiciary and enhance its capabilities. An independent judiciary could become the rock for rule of law governance and democracy in Pakistan."

IU established CAGS last year to harness university resources and capabilities to strengthen research, teaching and service on security issues facing the United States and the world in general.