If the 9/11 events in 2001 changed the security paradigm in the United States and elsewhere, the 9/20 deadly attack on Islamabad’s five-star Marriott Hotel meant the same to the state of Pakistan. It in fact amounts to a watershed in Pakistan’s long-held defense strategy that partially relied on proxies as a low-cost mechanism to pursue strategic objectives.
The ghastly strike left about 80 people dead sent all and sundry in a state of shock and awe. This undoubtedly underscored the gravity of what government and military officials meanwhile acknowledge as a “full-fledged insurgency” a war that has killed 10,267 Pakistanis in five years, most of them since January 2007 in nearly 100 suicide attacks. These are 6,000 Pakistani deaths more than the total number of Pakistani lives lost in the Pak-India War of 1965. Continue reading