Washington is partially responsible for the Army's overwhelming influence over Pakistani polity, it points out

Finding Pakistan still unwilling to end its support to some militant groups because of their usefulness to its strategic calculus, a study by a U.S.-based research organisation has said China could join Washington in mounting pressure on Islamabad to abandon militancy as a tool of foreign and domestic policy.

While arguing for Chinese intervention, the RAND Corporation study, “Counter-insurgency in Pakistan,” seeks to cement its case by pointing out that some Uighur groups — active in north-west China — have used the Pakistani soil for training and sanctuary.

Simultaneously, the researchers suggested that the U. S. withhold some military assistance to Pakistan till it ends its support to militant groups operating from the Pakistani soil.

Mixed success

According to the study, the U. S. has had mixed success in persuading Pakistan to change course, primarily because American strategy has focused too much on carrots and too little on sticks.

This contention of the American think tank comes at a time when Islamabad has begun complaining loudly about the international community not backing its pledges with financial and material support while Pakistan is bearing the brunt of the global war on terror.

Holding the U. S. partially responsible for the Army's overwhelming influence over Pakistani polity, the study concludes that Washington provided too much assistance to the Ministry of Defence. This has, in turn, hampered counter-insurgency efforts as the Army has always projected itself as the sole institution that could protect the country; therefore, carving out a major share of the security budget for itself and leaving the police a neglected institution.

Police-led campaign

Pointing out that extensive studies of counter-insurgency have shown a police-led campaign to be more effective than one driven by the military, the study says the police system should be propped up.

In fact, the failure to develop an effective population-centric counter-insurgency strategy has been identified is one of the reasons for militancy persisting in Pakistan, it points out.

“Pakistan will not be able to deal with the militant threat over the long run unless it does a more effective job of addressing the root causes of the crisis and makes security of the civilian population – rather than destroying the enemy – its top priority,” the study concludes.

While finding fault on various counts with Pakistan's efforts to battle militancy, there is an acknowledgement in the study of how difficult the task is.

“Counter-insurgency is extraordinarily challenging; governments have won only 31 per cent of counter-insurgencies since 1945. Insurgents have won 28 per cent; 22 percent ended in a draw; and 18 per cent are ongoing.”

In Pakistan's case, the task has been made more complicated because of its support to some militant groups; a policy that “dates back to the early weeks of Statehood'' when it used non-State actors to seize Kashmir in 1947.