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Pakistan’s largest city (and one of the largest in the Muslim world) exploded in riots this week following the murder of a leading politician, and the government has not yet brought it under control. This is a development of enormous significance; it is just this sort of prospective instability in Pakistan, one of the worst-composed countries in the history of Imperial cartography, that led the U.S. and other countries to tread lightly on Pakistan’s scandalous collaboration with the Taliban.

As I wrote in Asia Times Online July 25:

The 92,000 American classified military documents released by WikiLeaks add to the evidence that Pakistan’s intelligence service backs the Taliban, to the point of helping the Taliban plan assassinations of American and Afghan officials.

This raises the question: Who covered up a scandalous arrangement known to everyone with a casual acquaintance of the situation? The answer is the same as in Agatha Christie’s 1934 mystery about murder on the Orient Express, that is, everybody: former United States president George W Bush and vice president Dick Cheney, current US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, India, China and Iran. They are all terrified of facing a failed state with nuclear weapons, and prefer a functioning but treacherous one . . .

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