The Century Foundation International Working Group on Pakistan, chaired by Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering and comprised of 26 prominent Pakistani, American and international figures, today released Wake Up, Pakistan calling on the nation’s leaders to urgently address multiple security, economic and governance threats before they overwhelm Pakistan itself, causing negative effects throughout South Asia.
The 112 page report contains several recommendations directed at the Government of Pakistan and the International Community, including immediate steps to combat terrorism and violent extremism, improve regional connectivity, reduce regional tensions and accelerate economic growth.
“Pakistan is now in an unambiguous state of war with violent extremist groups that use terror. In the outcome of this war, the future of the world’s sixth largest country, as well as its surrounding region, hang in the balance,” said Ambassador Pickering.
“The Century Foundation International Working Group is calling for immediate action by Pakistan’s leaders to limit violent extremism and operationalize a recently-proclaimed no-tolerance approach to terrorism. For too long, distinctions have been made between good militants and bad militants, between those who exist to serve Pakistan’s foreign policy goals and those that are a direct and uncontrolled result of such policies. That era must come to an end.”
The Century Foundation International Working Group will take its message to Islamabad next week, following the launch of the report in Washington, D.C. today. The consensus report contains strong advice for the United States and the rest of the international community, arguing for greater engagement with Pakistan, beyond security and counterterrorism.
“Now that the United States has drawn down its troop level in Afghanistan and the world’s attention has turned to newer challenges, including the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and civil war in Syria, Pakistan is disappearing from the list of priorities for the international community, despite horrific, headline-grabbing violence, such as the December 2014 attack on a Peshawar school. For the international community to turn away from Pakistan is a mistake,” said Ambassador Pickering.
“It’s time for the United States and the rest of the international community to engage with Pakistan on a more equal footing, by committing concerted diplomatic effort to improving bilateral relations among countries in the region and supporting economic reforms and linkages that benefit all Pakistanis.
“Should Pakistan heed the warnings in this report we envision an outwardly engaged brighter future for Pakistan, in which it has tackled its extremism problem, increased the credibility and performance of governance, improved several key economic indicators, and embarked on the beginnings of regional cooperation and a comprehensive and stability-enhancing security policy.
“If the recommendations in Wake Up, Pakistan are not addressed, at best we forecast a continued decline in security and economic benchmarks within Pakistan and a continued pattern of strained relations among nations in the region. In short, the time has come for Pakistan to wake up.”
The Century Foundation International Working Group and its report Wake Up, Pakistan was supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York.