Political confusion continues in Pakistan as opposition parties explore their alternatives in the January election for a new parliament. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned President Musharraf for “blindly’ obeying American orders on what to do in Pakistan. He said the decision whether or not to have his party boycott the elections on grounds it would not be conducted fairly awaits further discussion with Benazir Bhutto and her Pakistan People’s Party. The Punjab leader, Chaudhry Perez, expects Musharraf to nominate him to be the new prime minister and he pledged to make certain Musharraf played a key role in his administration. He envisions a troika leadership comprised of himself, Musharraf and army chief Ashfaq Kayani. Meanwhile there are reports the American military last year war gamed what to do in case Pakistan entered into a chaotic condition and concluded there would be need for US forces to seize control of nuclear facilities. According to Marine Colonel gary Anderson who participated in the war game, the bottom line of a nightmare scenario is having “nukes” in the hands of “Islamic extremists.”
Perhaps, another nightmare scenario is having US troops fight their way into control of Pakistan nuclear facilities.
Posted in Asia, George Bush, Human Rights, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bhutto, Islamic extremists, Musharraf, nuclear facilities, Pakistan, Sharif
Pakistan’s political opposition to the rule of General Musharraf is considering boycotting the upcoming parliamentary elections since they fear there will be no honest vote. Benazir Bhutto of the Pakistan People’s Party is discussing with her followers the possibility of refusing to take part in what most probably will be a rigged election. She notes that 25,000 ballots are being sent to each constituency which can be used to ensure victory for the Musharraf backed Muslim League. PTI Chief Imran Khan is beginning a hunger strike in protest to the suspension of the Constitution, but the Muttahda Majis-e-Amai(MMA) stated it would be involved in the election because boycotting would only ensure victory for the Muslim League.
Pakistan is confronting an unusual situation since apparently there are efforts on the part of Musharraf to stack the deck for his political supporters. Ordinarily, the Pakistan Supreme Court could halt such activities, but it has been replaced by Musharraf stooges. Chief Justice Abdul Dogar just ruled, “exceptional measures can be taken in exception al circumstances and the doctrine of necessity can also be applied.” In simple Pakistani, this means Musharraf can do anything he damn well pleases. Of course, this creates a dilemma for the Bush administration which backs the Pakistan leader while also claiming America wants democracy to triumph.
Muhammad Sadiq, a spokesperson for the Pakistan Foreign Office dismissed warnings from US envoy, Negroponte, for an end to the state of emergency by saying, “This is nothing new. The United States has been saying this for many days. He has reiterated it.” General Musharraf is insisting the security of his nation comes first and he will not back down from the current state of emergency until conditions have improved. In the meantime, the provincial assemblies in Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan have been dissolved and caretaker governments established. Benazir Bhutto praised the United States for insisting on an end to the state of emergency and restoration of democracy. But, in response to questions about future relations with Musharraf, she responded; “This nation is waiting for General Musharraf to give a date to retire as Army Chief.”
A problem facing American foreign policy aims is that President Bush completely misread Musharraf just as he thought President Putin of Russia was a budding democrat. General Musharraf has been close to Islamic parties which are conservative and he undoubtedly is hesitant about linking with Buhtto who is much more in the moderate class. If he gets closer to her Pakistan People’s Party, the president runs the risk of alienating his conservative Muslim supporters. Ironically, the religious conservative groups of the Nawaz League are drawing closer to moderate Bhutto which creates a complex array of conflicting groups.
Posted in Asia, George Bush, Human Rights, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Bhutto, Bush, Musharraf, Negroponte, Pakistan, state emergency