|This report analyses the growth of political Islam in South Asia (Pakistan, Afghanistan and India’s Jammu and Kashmir Province). In Pakistan the failure of parliamentary democracy and the weakening of civil society have spurred the growth of social protest in the form of a political Islam. Pakistan is still a moderate Islamic country, but with a growing and increasingly violent Islamic militant lobby. The army is still firmly in charge but because of its patronage of the key militant groups, cannot take decisive action against them.
The Kashmir conflict has for half a century marred relations between India and Pakistan and is currently the biggest security threat in the region. The intensification of the conflict since 1989 in the form of an insurgency against Indian rule was in large measure due to growth of political Islam.
The Taliban movement was created and nurtured by Pakistan and support for its regime in Afghanistan was a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Although the Taliban regime has been defeated militarily, it can still present a long-term challenge to a future government in Afghanistan. The presence of the Al Qaeda “cells” in Pakistan’s tribal areas and in some of the major cities pose a security threat, especially if they ally themselves with the country’s most militant groups.