While Islamic terrorism and religious and ethnic strife produce most of the headlines about Pakistan, there's a lot more largely unreported misery that is rarely mentioned. Much of Pakistan is medieval in many ways and millions of Pakistanis live, literally, as serfs (a form of slavery that lasted into the 19th century in the West). While India has some of these social/economic problems, the Indians made a major effort to eliminate most of these feudal social and economic practices over half a century ago. Pakistan did not and that is one reason why per-capita economic performance in Pakistan is behind that of India. The feudalism also limits social mobility and economic activity. The wealthy feudal families dominate the economy, politics and the military. The families thought they could use Islamic radicalism as a weapon against India. But in over three decades of that there has been nothing but more misery and defeat for Pakistan. The world considers Pakistan a corrupt and unreliable sanctuary for Islamic terrorism. The people in most danger are Pakistan reformers, who keep trying to defeat the corruption and intolerance at great risk to their lives. So far, the forces of evil are winning.
While the U.S. backs the reformers in Pakistan, the American counter-terrorism efforts also help to keep the corrupt rulers in power. The American UAV program over Pakistan has, in the last eight years, found and killed over 500 Islamic terrorists. The CIA run operation seeks out key people (leaders and technicians) in various terrorist organizations. While most of the dead terrorists are internationalist (al Qaeda), many have more local ambitions (the Pakistani Taliban) and are at war with the Pakistani government. These Islamic radicals are all of a piece when it comes to maintaining their terrorist sanctuaries in the tribal territories (North Waziristan) and Baluchistan (Quetta). But the Pakistani Taliban wish to turn Pakistan (and the rest of South Asia) into a religious dictatorship while al Qaeda seeks to conquer the world to Islam. For the Pakistani ruling class, having American UAVs seeking out and killing the Pakistani Taliban leaders is very useful and often, quite literally, a lifesaver for prominent Pakistanis. The Islamic radical groups work hard to portray the UAV campaign as a murderous effort to kill Pakistanis in general. That's a very popular attitude, and Pakistani leaders go along with it, while quietly supporting the Americans. Pakistan could easily order its F-16s to shoot down the slow moving UAVs, but they don't and that's because it would not be in their interest.
The death of so many key al Qaeda personnel since 2004 has changed the terrorist organization, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Most of the deaths occurred in the last three years and that means that most of the key al Qaeda people are now Pakistanis. Arabs long dominated al Qaeda in this part of the world (where the group was created in the late 1980s), but UAV attacks caused many survivors to head back home (to prison, death or surrender for many of them) or to other al Qaeda battlefields (Somalia and Western Yemen, both of which turned out to be deadlier than Pakistan). Despite the UAV attacks, al Qaeda still enjoys its best sanctuary in Pakistan and new recruits from Pakistan, and around the world, still join the cause and are trained in remote mountain camps for local and international terrorism.
Islamic political parties in Pakistan organized dozens of demonstrations in the last three weeks, to protest, often violently, an American film accused of being critical of Islam. These demonstrations are part of an effort by the Islamic parties to establish themselves as censors for all Pakistanis. Over twenty people (mostly demonstrators) were killed in these actions and dozens of movie theaters and Western style businesses were destroyed or damaged. The Islamic parties want a much more religiously conservative lifestyle (no alcohol, movies or Western habits in general) for all Pakistanis. Most of their countrymen disagree with this, but you can't argue with a mob.
The UN has made itself very unpopular with the Pakistani military by investigating army misbehavior in Baluchistan (southwest Pakistan). The UN has been looking into ISI and military counter-terror operations in Baluchistan. There, Baluchi tribes have been fighting for more autonomy and a larger share of the revenue from natural gas fields in their territory. In response to this the government has allowed the ISI and military to kidnap, and often kill Baluchis believed involved in resistance efforts. The government denies this sort of thing is going on and the UN insisted that it be allowed to send in investigators. These were allowed in, but the ISI and military has not cooperated with them. Military controlled media has denounced the UN investigation, but independent media have called for reforms within the military and ISI and the expulsion of Islamic radicals and corrupt officers. That is not likely to happen any time soon, but you never know.
In Indian Kashmir five Islamic terrorists, all Pakistanis were killed by troops near the border. The troops also found a large supply of weapons and ammunition. The dead men appeared to have crossed the border, carrying lots of weapons and ammo, about a month ago and were trying to establish a base. Their presence was noted and troops sent to investigate.
The Maoist militants in Nepal have caused Indian trucks, many carrying essential goods, to stay out because of threats to attack Indian vehicles. The militants are seeking to ban Indian movies and other aspects of Indian culture from Nepal. The Nepalese government is led by more moderate Maoists and is trying to control the radicals before the fragile economy suffers further harm.
September 30, 2012: In an unusual switch, Pakistani police have accused nine Moslem men of blasphemy for attacking a Hindu temple during recent riots against an American film critical of Islam. The anti-American demonstrations sometimes escalated to attacks on anything considered unIslamic. The Pakistani blasphemy laws are usually only used by Moslems against non-Moslems.
September 29, 2012: In Eastern India (Chhattisgarh) Maoists attacked a rural police camp, wounding two policemen before being driven off.
September 28, 2012: In the Pakistani tribal territory city of Peshawar an experienced police bomb technician died when a bomb he was defusing went off. The police tech had just disabled one bomb and was working on the second one found that day. Most of the Islamic bombs used in the tribal territories are used in and around Peshawar.
September 26, 2012: In Pakistan (North Waziristan) a roadside bomb hit a military convoy, killing one soldier and wounding fifteen. The army has a truce with Islamic terrorists in this area, but there are so many terrorist factions, and some of them refuse to honor any truce deals.
September 25, 2012: In Indian Kashmir a clash between troops and Islamic terrorists left two terrorists and one soldier dead.
September 24, 2012: A court in Pakistan announced that an investigation had confirmed that a 14 year old Christian girl had been framed by a Moslem cleric for desecrating a Koran (the Moslem bible) several months ago. Pakistan still has severe blasphemy laws that are mostly used by Moslems against innocent Christians or each other. Efforts to repeal these laws, or at least limit their misuse, are violently resisted by Islamic political parties.
In Pakistan (North Waziristan) an American UAV fired two missiles at a terrorist base and killed five Islamic radicals. There have been 37 of these attacks so far this year, with 16 of them against targets in North Waziristan. This has led to dozens of senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders being killed and much anger among these groups against the Pakistani government (which quietly supports the UAV campaign while publically denouncing it.)
September 22, 2012: In Pakistan (North Waziristan) an American UAV fired two missiles at a terrorist base and killed four Islamic radicals.
September 21, 2012: In Indian Kashmir another village leader was killed by Islamic terrorists, causing many other village leaders to post announcements in local papers that they had resigned their leadership job. The Islamic terrorists go after official village leaders as a way to terrorize people into supporting the terrorists with shelter, food, money and recruits. This is not popular, but death threats do produce some cooperation. The army and police respond by hunting down those who made the threats. This is greatly reduced, but not entirely eliminated the problem.
September 20, 2012: India has refused to go along with Pakistani proposals to demilitarize the Siachen glacier. The offer was greeted with skepticism in India. That's because the Pakistani Army has used lies and deceptions for decades in a futile effort to gain an edge over India. This has led to the current situation, where thousands of Islamic terrorists, openly supported by Pakistani troops, continue to plan and carry out attacks on India. It happens every day in places like Kashmir. But Pakistan officially denies it all. Until the denials stop and taking responsibility begins, there will be no real peace with India. The collapse of the talks about withdrawing troops from the Siachen glacier is seen as another example of this.
A Pakistani political party denounced one of its senior members (a minister in the current government) for offering a $100,000 reward for whoever would kill the Egyptian-American man who produced a film critical of Islam. The Railways Minister is offering his own money.
September 19, 2012: In the Pakistani tribal territory city of Peshawar a car bomb intended for a military target instead killed ten civilians.
In Pakistan's northwest tribal territories (Bajaur) troops killed 29 Islamic terrorists. This was part of an operation, lasting several weeks, to destroy or drive into Afghanistan several Islamic radical groups that have tried to maintain bases in this rural area. The current operation has killed, wounded or captured several hundred Islamic terrorists.