UK Relational Public Diplomacy in PakistanApril 8, 2011
David Cameron has been in Pakistan this week and causing a certain amount of controversy(in the UK at least) by pointing to the UK role in creating the tensions in South Asia and by agreeing to £650m of aid for education in Pakistan. In discussions of counter radicalization the state of public education in Pakistan has been a recurrent theme with the argument made that the weakness of the state school system pushes children into madrassas where they are at risk of radicalization.
Given the context it seems appropriate to post this cable from the US embassy in London reporting on a UK-US video conference from 2009 discussing British efforts to build relationships with Pakistani civil society groups. The cable expresses a degree of surprise that government funding doesn’t seem to fatally undermine the credibility of the civil society partners. It also points to the problems of developing metrics for this kind of activitity. Also note the list of different UK government agencies involved – both domestic and international. PREVENT is part of the broader CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy and has proved controversial because of the perception that it is overly focused on the muslim community and is currently under review.