Tag Archives: militants

Bhutto Continues Defiance Of Musharraf In Pakistan

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto continued her defiance of the Musharraf state of emergency even as the attorney general claimed it would only last for about another month. Musharraf is claiming the state of emergency is necessary in order to crush militants operating in the northwest area of Pakistan. It appears the president believes the first step in crushing insurgents is to arrest thousands of lawyers and activists and to imprison the chief justice of the nation. He has also closed down many TV stations apparently in a bid to prevent militants from watching their favorite TV shows, undoubtedly a novel approach to ending conflict in a nation. Ms. Bhutto was allowed to leave her home, but when she tried visiting the home of Supreme Court Justice Mohammed Chaudhry, police and military units blocked her way. Bhutto supporters shouted, “those holding guns are afraid of an unarmed girl.” Ms. Bhutto is determined to lead a long march to “get Pakistan from the clutches of dictatorship.”

The Musharraf state of emergency has most probably destroyed any vestige of popularity he had within the nation of Pakistan. It has brought to the fore Benazir Bhutto is gaining enormous popularity as the leader of opposition to Musharraf. This creates serious foreign policy problems for the Bush administration — do they continue support for Musharraf or do they switch to Bhutto?

Musharraf Packs Supreme Court To Enforce Will

President Musharraf is going to great lengths to present his recent action as legal. He got rid of most of the 17 members of the Supreme Court and replaced them with a nine member court that will do his bidding. The new Supreme Court Chief Justice, Abdul Hameed Dagar, joined with his colleagues in striking down lower court decisions which stated Musharraf had acted illegally in the imposition of martial law. I.A. Rhamin of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission said, “it is not good to curtail the powers of the judiciary and thrash the lawyers for raising their voices in favor of the supremacy off the judiciary and the rule of law.” In he meantime in northwest Pakistan, militants captures several towns without a fight. Maydan and Matta surrendered as their police and troops held up their arms in surrender and turned over their weapons to the Islamic militants.

The real question is whether or not Musharraf has sufficient power in the nation to bring to an end the insurgency in northwest regions and whether he is capable of working with political leaders in order to resolve the current crisis. If he can’t, where does that leave American foreign policy makers?

Afghans Caught In The Middle– Flee From Fighting

Six years ago a combined American and Afghan force drove the Taliban from power. Instead of remaining to completely crush the Taliban, American forces were sent to Iraq in search of those never found WMD. In their wake, a population was left to deal with government forces on one side and the Taliban on the other. Yesterday, Afghan civilians got caught in between opposing forces when a combined Afghan-US force attack a village. When the shooting ceased, a militant was dead and so were two children while several women were wounded. The object of the attack was a supposed base for suicide bombers. Last week in Khandahar province a large battle took place between coalition units and the Taliban. After the battle ceased there were dead Taliban and hundreds of farmers also left the area. As Zarif Khan noted: “Our livelihoods depend on the pomegrante crop, but the stupid Taliban came and star ted fighting.”

Newspapers report how many died or were wounded on each side, but there scant attention is paid to the cost to civilians. In this situation, hundreds of farmers fled at harvest time leaving crops in the field that no one will harvest. Is this the only way wars can be fought?

Benazir Bhutto Leaves Pakistan As Rumors Circulate Of Martial Law

Two weeks after returning to Pakistan from her exile, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto left the country for Dubai to see family members as rumors circulated that President Musharraf might declare marital law. A few days ago Bhutto had insisted she lacked time to leave the country due to her political campaign. The Pakistan Supreme Court will shortly rule on whether or not to overturn Musharraf’s recent election to the presidency. The country is also being consumed by a new outbreak of Islamic militant attacks. A recent suicide attack on an air force bus killed eight and left dozens wounded. Security forces countered the attack with a bloody assault on insurgents that resulted in the death of at least sixty in the mountains of northwest Pakistan. For each attack by security forces, there are counter attacks by militants. In the meantime, the nation awaits anxiously the Supreme Court’s decision on the presidential election. If they over turn Musharraf’s victory there is a strong possibility he will counter with martial law and proceed to maintain power.

Musharraf has been a factor in creating the current crisis. He refused to step down as president and allow a democratic election which would have affirmed the issue of civilian leadership. His response of ongoing military action will hardly end fighting in the mountains of Pakistan whose people have fought off foreign invasions for hundreds of years.