Jinnah’s Labyrinth

NEW DELHI – Three recent events vividly illustrate the dilemmas of today’s Pakistan, which are in many ways the same challenges faced by the country’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, over six decades ago.

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan met in New Delhi recently, after a gap of more than 15 months, the terrorist attacks of November 11, 2008 having frozen bilateral relations between the two countries in suspicion and mutual recrimination. The New Delhi meeting marked a temporary thaw, yet even as Pakistan’s foreign secretary returned home to Islamabad, suspected Taliban bombers had attacked an Indian medical mission in the heart of Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 11 people.

Moreover, in the Pakistani province of Waziristan, three Sikhs, a minority in Pakistan, were abducted. When the ransom could not be raised, one was beheaded.

India and the world watch such events in horror, unable to decide how to respond. As people wonder if the United States-NATO surge in Afghanistan which began last month will succeed, all of South Asia is asking even more troubling questions: Who runs Pakistan? Who is really in charge of its nuclear arsenal?