A Pakistan government spokesperson confirmed there was a cease fire in existence in the fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. “There is no announced cease fire. There is a de facto cease fire between militants and government troops.” During the past week there were secret talks between the Pakistan military leadership and members of militant groups in order to find a way to end the fighting. It is expected as part of the agreement, a tribal council, a jirga, will be formed to work on how to transform the de facto truce into something that would be more permanent.
News of the cease fire aroused the anger of supporters of the murdered Benazir Bhutto. Sheery Rehman, speaking for the Pakistan People’s Party, said: “The government is holding talks with the man who it blamed for the killing opf Benazir Bhutto.”
The central issue is what is behind the decision of al-Qada and Taliban leaders to enter into truce talks with the Pakistan army. There is no doubt leaders like Baitullah Mehsud have not abandoned their desire to transform Pakistan into an Islamic Republic. Are they temporarily ending fighting in an effort to regroup? Mehsud is too ruthless and crafty to simply end fighting unless he has a hidden reason.
Posted in Asia, Human Rights, Islam, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Bhutto killing, cease-fire, Pakistan, PPP
The government of President Msusharraf indicated it supported postponement of the scheduled election next week until February in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. However, leaders of her Pakistan Peoples Party insisted they wanted an immediate election and opposed any delay. Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaking for the PPP said: “We are ready for elections and we do not want a delay. We demand elections be held on January 8th.” His demand was supported by Buhtto ally, Nawaz Shariff, who also wants to proceed with an election. Shariff also noted armored cars are provided federal officials for protection, but none are made available to opposition candidates. Many foreign observers believe Musharraf is trying to delay the election because he fears there is a massive “sympathy vote” ready to be cast for PPP candidates.
The Musharraf government indicated it was opposed to any investigation of the Bhutto killing that involved foreign observers. Acting Prime Minister Soomro, bluntly stated: “We are a sovereign country, and we have the expertise to investigate.” No one denies that Pakistan can conduct investigations. The problem is who is doing the investigating and exactly what are they seeking to investigate. The absence of foreign involvement will result in failure to believe conclusions, not merely by the rest of the world, but by the people of Pakistan.