At the beginning of 2002, Pakistan faced two monumental threats to its existence. The first was the so-called 'war against terrorism' being waged by the United States and its coalition partners against the remnants of the Taliban and wholly, up to this point, confined to activities within Afghanistan. Pakistan has been obliged to provide support to US and coalition efforts to destroy the Taliban regime. But Pakistan's decision to support the United States has been quite a difficult one for the country's leadership, and it has been far from universally popular-so unpopular that this observer would argue that Pakistan could only pursue such a policy during a period of martial law. In this sense it may be fortunate that General (now President) Parvez Musharraf has ruled Pakistan as a military dictator since October 1999. In effect, Pakistan has been forced into conflict with Pashto-speaking 'Islamists', many of whom were or are residents or citizens of Pakistan. 1 This episode also forced Pakistan to side with the forces of westernization and globalization (never popular in non-western states); that is, the US-Afghan war has forced Pakistan to take a stand which challenges its ethnic loyalties as well as its ideological rationale.
Second, and directly related to the US-Afghan war, has been the resultant deterioration of relations with India over Kashmir. The mid-January 2002 mobilization of troops on both sides of the border and along the Line of Control was the largest and most dangerous since the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. Unlike 1971, however, when Pakistan suffered military defeat and the dismemberment of its state at the hands of the Indian Army, both India and Pakistan now possess nuclear weapons. The main cause of such unprecedented sabre-rattling is the Indian contention that the 'principles' of the war in Afghanistan-to combat terrorism-should be applied to the Kashmir dispute. That is, Pakistan should suspend any aid to Kashmiri nationalists (read 'terrorists') and should rather seek to weaken their activities within Azad Kashmir. Of course, Pakistan has long