Ahmed Rashid's Pakistan dispatch from last month is harrowing:

In Pakistan there is no such broad national identity or unity. Many young Balochs today are fiercely determined to create an independent Balochistan. The ethnic identities of people in the other provinces have become a driving force for disunity. The gap between the rich and poor has never been greater, and members of the Pakistani elite have rarely acted responsibly toward the less fortunate masses.

The Taliban have gained some adherents by imposing rough forms of land redistribution in some of the areas it controls, expropriating the property of rich landlords. Education and job creation have been the least-funded policies of Pakistan's governments, whether military or civilian, and literacy levels are abysmal; there are now some 20 million youth under age seventeen who are not in school. The justice system has virtually collapsed in many areas, which is why the Taliban demand for speedy justice has some popular appeal. Moreover, the Pakistani public has to deal with the differing versions of Pakistani policy put out by the army, the political parties, the Islamic fundamentalists, and the press and other components of civil society. There is confusion about what actually constitutes a threat to the state and what is needed for nation-building.

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