- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2008

A strange Damocles sword hangs over the head of Pakistan.

The world financial meltdown has forced Pakistan to borrow from friends and foes, while the escalating terrorism is depleting the meager cash reserves it has left in its treasury.

Most security experts are in agreement with one thing – the roots of terrorism lie in the tribal areas of Pakistan that abut Afghanistan. From there, terrorism tentacles have spread throughout Pakistan, into Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Bangladesh, and beyond. Experts also agree that Pakistan cannot by itself control the growing menace of terrorism, let alone exterminate it.

After India’s 9/11 in Mumbai, Indians of all faiths and creeds are sick to their stomach from the recurring terrorism and are angry to the point that they will be willing to risk war should India strike safe havens of terrorists in Pakistan. Interestingly, the new leadership of Pakistan is also fed up and is open to finding cooperative ways of defeating this scourge of terrorism by any means.

But are Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari (his wife, ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was gunned down by terrorists in December of 2007), and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani serious and committed to the promises they make - or is it politics as usual? Were they serious, one could explore an out-of-box solution for stamping out 90 percent of the world’s terrorists by having a million-troop Flag-March for combing the entire territory of Pakistan with an international force.



Should such a combing operation take place, Messrs. Zardari and Gillani would have a clean slate to write a new story for the people of Pakistan. Part of this story will be the re-development of the failed institutions and businesses of Pakistan, along with the much-needed progress of its citizens.

It is difficult to imagine that peace could descend on Pakistan without such a million-troop flag march.

More importantly, a side dividend of the million-troop flag march will be the capture of bin Laden either “dead or alive,” to borrow the cowboyish words of the outgoing President George W. Bush, under whose leadership terrorism flourished throughout the world.

DAVE ANAND

Trumbull, Conn.

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