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From the UN: Could the fate of Pakistan be the most important question in the world?




A Pakistani vendor drizzles butter into a pan of hot oil to fry sweets locally known as 'jalebi' at a market in Islamabad.
A Pakistani vendor drizzles butter into a pan of hot oil to fry sweets locally known as 'jalebi' at a market in Islamabad.
TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images

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Perhaps that’s a bit of hyperbole, but consider all of the combustible elements that make up Pakistan: bordering Afghanistan and heavily influencing its government for generations; bordering the world’s largest democracy in India with the constant threat of all out warfare hanging over both countries; in possession of nuclear weapons; ruled by a shaky civilian government and a strong military with contradictory allegiances and priorities; urban and educated in some areas of the country, tribal and religiously extreme in others; a ally of the United States in some senses and one of its biggest threats in others. Pakistan is a dangerous enigma, and given its size, its location and its nuclear weapons, the future of the country is of vital interest to the entire world. The aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden illustrates the conflicts Pakistanis are confronting—many in the country expressed embarrassment that the al Qaeda leader was living such a normal life in the military town of Abbottabad, but they were equally embarrassed that the U.S. military could enter their country with impunity. American drones patrolling their skies and bombing their tribal areas is infuriating and yet the U.S. showers billions of dollars in foreign aid on Pakistan’s government. Given all of these complicated contradictions, what can Pakistan hope for the future?

Guest:

Abullah Hussain Haroon, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations