The usual political chaos in Pakistan is expected to abate somewhat after national elections are held in February 2024. Former prime minister Imran Khan was the target of an army effort to disrupt Kahn’s effort to limit army influence over the political process. In August Khan was sentenced to three years in prison for financial misconduct and barred from participating in politics for five years. Khan expects his followers to make a strong showing in the elections and gain enough power in parliament to pardon Khan was taken to a prison near the capital to serve his sentence. Khan’s numerous followers are appealing his sentence to the high court and that may succeed. Khan was planning a political comeback in the fall elections. His major obstacle was the military. While prime minister, Khan sought to limit the economic and political power of the military and the military refused to cooperate.
The generals had become rich and free from civilian control through corruption and did not want that changed, Slowly the army gained control over or cooperation from enough political parties that they got Khan removed from his position as prime minister (PM) in April 2022. Khan lost his job as prime minister via a no-confidence vote by a parliamentary majority. He was the first PM to be removed this way. Most PMs are removed by the president of Pakistan, which is another, less messy, form of no-confidence vote. Since the founding of Pakistan in 1947, no PM has completed their five-year term. The main reason for Khan’s political allies to turn against him was economic; high unemployment and inflation, plus increasing Islamic terrorist violence and some diplomatic disasters. There was another reason, and that was Khan’s efforts to bring the Pakistani military under civilian control. There was much popular support for curbing military power, but the military refused to be curbed and managed to get Khan jailed on corruption charges. This will keep Khan from participating in the January elections and regaining his political power.
India has a more stable government and, when you take population size into account, less terrorist deaths than Pakistan. India never had a problem with the military interfering in politics because from the beginning the military was subordinate to the elected government and that never changed.
November 07, 2023: In Pakistan efforts to privatize state owned enterprises has been an expensive failure and one of the reasons the economy is in such bad shape. A recent example is the expensive failure of PSM (Pakistan Steel Mills). This cost the government $18 billion. This is but one of many cases where state-owned firms were unable to compete, and the losses have grown to the point that they were a major reason for the current economic crisis. India has far fewer state-owned enterprises and the means a more profitable and robust economy. India also lacks problems with military interference in the economy, which is common in Pakistan. There the army generals saw or created opportunities to control many enterprises. That was profitable for the generals but disastrous for the economy. Now the army and the economy find that Pakistan has a poorly performing economy and foreign lenders.
Earlier in 2023 China granted Pakistan some debt relief by deferring repayment of $2.1 billion in loans from China for two years. This included suspending interest payments. Pakistan is the largest export customer for Chinese weapons and the destination for billions in Chinese construction investments. Foreign lenders and investors, especially the IMF (international monetary fund), China and Saudi Arabia, have lost patience with Pakistan and are unwilling to take further financial risks there. One financial risk is the $77 billion debt to China and Saudi Arabia. This money is supposed to be repaid between 2023 and 2026. Pakistan doesn’t have the money to make the payments and is trying to negotiate an extension. Until this issue is resolved there will be no more loans or investments from China or Saudi Arabia. A side-effect of all this financial turmoil is high (47 percent) inflation which is felt by all Pakistanis. The primary cause of all this financial distress is the Pakistan military, which is currently controlling the government in Pakistan. The excessive military influence on Pakistani politics has been an issue since Pakistan was created after World War II. China and India did not have that problem, for different reasons. The Indian politicians insisted from the beginning that the military remain subservient to the elected government. The Chinese communists took control of the Chinese government after World War II and continually reminded the military leaders that their main job was to keep the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) in power. In Pakistan the parliament could not control the generals, who periodically took control of the government for a few years and then let the politicians return to power. During those periods when the generals were in charge, they often made poor economic decisions. One was to purchase more weapons from China than Pakistan could afford or pay for. Now Pakistan has more debt than it can handle, and related economic mistakes have put Pakistan in a debt crisis that requires an expensive and politically difficult solution. The major lenders will have to take losses and Pakistan will have to change and reduce what it spends, especially on the military. Unless the Pakistani economy is put right there is increasing risk of popular violence and a civil war.
November 06, 2023: In eastern India. the CPI (Communist Party of India) is accused of trying to revive its violent radical faction, the recently depleted Maoist communist rebels. The Communist Party (CPI) is legal in India and the leaders of the CPI do not approve of the Moist violence and have cooperated with Indian efforts to keep the Maoists from rebuilding their strength and ability launch attacks. During 2022 and 2023 to date there continue to be fewer deaths attributed to Maoist activity. The are still Maoist factions in eastern India but the Maoists are found in fewer areas. For the last decade, terrorist related deaths have been declining every year. But this year many see a slight increase. In 2022 there were 414 terrorism related deaths and so far in 2023 there have been nearly 400.
For 2022 India’s communist Maoist rebels ranked 12th out of 20 terrorist groups worldwide. Total deaths caused by the Maoists in 2022 were 98, which is down from 147 in 2021. Terrorism related deaths in India also include Islamic terrorists in northwest India (Kashmir) and tribal rebels in the northeast. The Maoists operate in eastern India, and the areas where they are active have shrunk considerably over the last decade because of energetic government efforts to eliminate them.
In 2022 there were 424 deaths in India from all forms of terrorism, compared 585 in 2021, 621 in 2019 and 940 in 2018. In 2020 54 percent of the dead were in Kashmir, which was higher than usual. Most years non-Islamic terrorist violence accounts for most of the violence but in 2020 leftist (Maoist) rebels in eastern India only accounted for 41 percent of the deaths with the five percent caused by tribal separatists in the northeast. The decline in Maoist activity began in 2009 when India assigned 75,000 additional police to deal with the Maoists. Initially this did not increase Maoist losses but did result in more dead policemen. The Maoists did lose many of their rural camps and, in general, were forced to devote more time to security and less to attacking the government or extorting money from businesses. As always, the government has failed to effectively address the social and economic problems in the countryside, where feudalism and corruption are rampant. These problems provide the Maoists with recruits, and support from many of the locals.
Eventually the government did address the local social and economic problems, and this is what deprived the Maoists of areas where they could operate. The police efforts continued and now the Maoists are only active in a small portion of eastern India, where they are more concerned with surviving than expanding or attacking the police. Civilians in Maoist infested areas are less afraid of providing police with information about Maoist movements or joining pro-government militias to resist Maoist operations. It also became easier to recruit Maoist members to become active informants. These spies are paid monthly, and the sudden affluence of their families often alerts Maoist leaders to the presence of police informants. While details about informants are kept secret, the losses suffered because police had inside information is often obvious. The Maoist decline has demoralized leftist leaders, who have not been able to come up with any way to halt or reverse the losses. Maoists are a radical faction of the once mighty Indian communist party. Many Indian communists were slow to understand why all those East European communist governments, including Russia, collapsed between 1989 and 1991. Despite that many Indians still support communism, but not the violent, ineffective and increasingly unpopular Maoists.
November 05, 2023: Pakistan has forced 150,000 illegal Afghan migrants back into Afghanistan. The migrants fled Afghanistan to escape the harsh rule of the new IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) government. The migrants were not welcome in Pakistan because they are an economic burden and a source of criminal and terrorist activity. The Afghans tend to live in refugee camps or Afghan neighborhoods in major cities like Karachi. The Afghans provide bases for various criminal organizations, especially in cities like Karachi.
November 04, 2023: In Pakistan (Punjab Province), nine members of TTP (Pakistani Taliban) attacked the Mianwali airbase and were repulsed. All the attackers died.
November 03, 2023: Since August, most of the terrorist and counter-terrorist violence has taken place in southwest Pakistan (Baluchistan) and the northwest (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). Over 400 people have died so far this year, and the violence continues.
October 31, 2023: In the Indian northwest (Kashmir) Pakistani terrorists have killed three policemen. India and Pakistan have been disagreed over who control of Kashmir or more than 70 years. India has reduced the Pakistani attacks in Kashmir by upgrading border security so that most Pakistani infiltrators are spotted and killed for forces to retreat back into Pakistan. Northeastern India ha long been the scene of tribal violence, but more intense policing coupled with increased negotiations over local grievances has reduced violent deaths ny more than 60 precent.
October 12, 2023: China and India have agreed to reduce the number of troops both are maintaining in the disputed border area of Ladakh.