10 April 2015

One cheer for Pakistan

Pakistan is a country with a lot of problems, but its legislature this week inspired some confidence in representative government by voting against giving themselves another. Saudia Arabia wanted to embroil a fellow Sunni state in the turmoil in Yemen. Sunni propaganda apparently claimed that a consolidation of Houthi (Shiite) power there threatened the security of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. However, many Pakistanis apparently blame the Saudis for inspiring and encouraging the Taliban and other Sunni extremists who've destabilized Pakistan. While they don't approve of Iranian interference in Yemen, they also recognize a need for Iranian cooperation in the ultimate pacification of Afghanistan. Had Pakistan responded positively to the Saudi call, it would have made the Yemen conflict even more of a Sunni-Shiite world war than it already is with not only the Saudis but the Iranians, the Egyptians (Sunni) and others apparently interfering. In many ways Pakistan is still plagued by Islamist excesses, but on this occasion at least it's one Muslim country behaving like a grown-up.

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