President Pervez Musharraf made clear to American newspapers and TV that he will not back down in the fight which has erupted between himself and Pakistan political activists. He told the New York Times that opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, could not tell him to resign and classified activists as lazy people who don’t even bother to vote. He told an American TV interviewer that “When the nation is about to be declared a failed state, tell me whether the restoration of so-called democracy is important or efforts to save the country? Of course, it is important to save the country.” In other words, is democracy more important than survival of the nation of Pakistan? As he spoke, a 100 car caravan of Bhutto supporters took off from Lahore on the opening stages of a long march for freedom. Ms. Bhutto is still confined to house arrest and when supporters attempt to visit her, they are being arrested.
President Musharraf certainly raises a key issue — which comes first, democracy or survival of a nation? However, he fails to note present problems in Pakistan occurred on his watch as president so some responsibility for it being termed a “failed state” must rest on his shoulders. Ms. Bhutto, and other political opponents, are justifiably asking whether or not Pakistan can become a functioning state only after getting rid of Musharraf. Perhaps, the emerging grand alliance of political parties covering a spectrum of views may become the coalition which can institute reforms that make Pakistan a functioning nation. The current crisis undoubtedly raises new issues for President Bush regarding aims of American foreign policy in Pakistan and Asia.
Posted in Asia, George Bush, Human Rights, Military, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Bhutto, Musharraf, Pakistan democracy, US policy
Pakistan police halted a suicide bomber less than a quarter of a mile from where President Musharraf was staying. As they approached the man, he panicked and tried running away, but when police got closer, he blew himself up. At least 8 were killed and 40 wounded, including police, women and children. Last week, Pakistan troops attacked a stronghold of a radical cleric in the northwestern district o Swat that resulted in at least a hundred being killed. President Musharraf is now living with the results of Pakistan policies for over a decade to support the Taliban in Afghanistan and encourage radical Islamic elements all over Asia. No doubt it is much easier initiating violence than turning off the spigot of bombing and death.
Benazir Bhutto vowed to continue her campaign to regain the position of prime minister despite suicide attacks upon her by Islamic radicals. Sh insists a “democratic government is better equipped” to fight extremism than a semi-dictatorship such as that of Musharraf. One can only hope she is correct.
Posted in Asia, Islam, Military, Multicultural, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Bhutto, islamic terrorism, Musharraf, Pakistan
The attempted assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto is apparently just one story in a never ending violence which is enveloping Pakistant. While Pakistani security forces attacked a cleric’s stronghold, nearby insurgents kidnapped eight police from a bus. About 2,500 soldiers took part in the assault on cleric Maulana Faziullah’s stronghold which is one of many such encampments where insurgents are trained to conduct attacks on Pakistan soldiers and society. Residents observed security forces firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and other weapons at the cleric’s forces. Militants carried out the ambush of the soldiers and fired on a helicopter carrying a general. Yesterday, a suicide car bomber hit a truck carrying troops and killed 19 soldiers and wounded 35.
The violence continues unabated in Pakistan raising fears if the present Musharraf-Bhutto alliance is capable of restoring some semblance of law and order to the nation. Benazir Bhutto claims to represent the moderate middle ground in Pakistan that wants democracy and a government capable of stimulating the economy and providing work opportunities for the masses. In her previous shot at being prime minister, Bhutto used the office to help family and friends accumulate millions of dollars through corruption. Has she learned anything during her exile? Is she capable of creating a government of the people and for the people?
Posted in Asia, Islam, Military, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Bhutto, Musharraf, Pakistan clerics, pakistan militants