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«THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION Brookings Briefing THE IDEA OF PAKISTAN Moderator: STEPHEN P. COHEN Panelists: AKBAR AHMED, MARVIN WEINBAUM Wednesday, ...»

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it's limited to some of the most extremist groups which happen to be of this Deobandi persuasion. And one of the elements of Deobandism, which comes from a school of thought which emerged out of the Raj in India, one of the strongest elements there is a hostility toward the Shiia branch of Islam. And what is going on today, I think it's one of the most serious challenges facing the Musharraf government, a military-led government, in many respects, that cannot control this kind of violence which is taking place, some of it being fueled from the outside, but a great deal of it having internal origin as well.

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grappling with right now and it is one of the really corrosive elements in the country that has to be, I think, faced in a far more vigorous way than the government is prepared to do at this time. Because if it really goes after these elements, many of which are jihadi elements, it's going to be stepping on some groups that it has indeed patronized over the last decade.

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something like 13 million Shiias. It's a large population. Iran is a very defined selfconsciously Shiia nation, and it has borders with Pakistan. And there's a long history of synthesis, getting on with each other, harmony, but also conflict. So you need to put that in context.

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dominated government and there are concerns also about this Shiia crescent that may go as far as Beirut or Damascus. Does that resonate at all in that conflict in Pakistan?

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journalists who are thinking of a Shiia crescent and so on. Don't take that too seriously.

Even the Shiia government in Iraq will have problems in trying to create that kind of a crescent. A Suni crescent, yes; not a Shiia crescent.

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