Put simply, Pakistan represents the first realistic prospect for a jihadist movement to capture a nation-state, or at the very least to control large parts of it. It would, in effect, mean that militants would have something approaching a mini-state within the country where the central government's power and influence would be non-existent, and from which they could plan and launch attacks beyond its borders. And Pakistan is not just any nation-state at threat from militant groups, but one that has nuclear weapons, a large population and economic resources; one that borders a vulnerable failed state in Afghanistan where tens of thousands of Nato forces are stationed; and one that also has as its neighbours two emerging economic superpowers, China and India. What is more, Pakistan has a long coastline open to the most economically important stretch of waterway in the world, the Gulf, from which hundreds of tankers supply oil-hungry economies. It is a nightmare scenario from which no country is immune. None of us will escape the consequences of a situation where large parts of Pakistan are politically, militarily and economically controlled by jihadists.
From Rageh Omaar at Telegraph.co.uk