Tag Archives: Sharif

War Games In Washington, Political Games In Pakistan

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.

Pakistan Political Parties Debate Boycott Of Elections

The political opposition to President Musharraf has yet to decide on a unified approach to dealing with the upcoming January elections. The All Parties Democratic Movement(APDM) issued a clear statement that it will engage in a boycott unless President Musharraf restores by December 15th the judiciary to its positions of authority. former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has also indicated his willingness to support a boycott unless Musharraf ensures the presence of an honest election and restoration of Pakistan Supreme Court judges to their posts. Sharif expressed his view that “we do not accept him(Musharraf) as a legitimate president. However, Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) indicated she might participate in elections if guaranteed they will be fair. She believes the issue of the judiciary should be handled apart from the electoral process.

It is doubtful if a splintered political opposition will be able to attain the success it might achieve if united, either for a boycott or for participation. A great deal depends on the reality of a fair electoral process, that is something only Musharraf can guarantee. Will he go in that direction is the real issue.

Pakistan Political Parties Debate Election Stance

The situation in Pakistan regarding the January election for parliament is still unclear as political parties explore their options. Although Secretary of State Rice said the release of 5,000 prisoners was a positive step toward restoring democracy, most political parties have yet to decide if Musharraf will actually allow a free vote. The 53 nation Commonwealth of nations bloc suspended Pakistan until that nation restores constitutional government. There appear to be two schools of thought among opposition parties as t the best strategy of combating Musharraf. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is supporting the position of its exiled leader, Nawaz Sharif that a boycott of the election is the best way to handle the current situation, but Pakistan People’s Party leader, Benazir Bhutto has authorized the party’s candidates to file papers as though they intend to run for office. However, Bhutto made clear that was not a final decision since she is working closely with her former opponent, Nawaz Sharif on how to restore democracy to Pakistan.

In the swirling confusion of Pakistan, President Bush did not help forces of democracy by announcing he had complete confidence in Musharraf’s commitment to democracy. Bush’s failure to take a strong stand by insisting on restoration of the constitution and allowing the sacked supreme court to resume its power sent a signal to Musharraf that America would stand by and watch democracy destroyed in Pakistan. Bush never ceases to announce his determination to fight terrorism, but when it comes to an actual case in which the United States can actually assist a nation to foster democracy, he walks away.

Senator Biden: What Does It Take For Bush To Grasp Reality!

Foreign Relations chairman, Senator Joseph Biden, lashed out against President Bush’s latest statement in support of Musharraf in Pakistan when he said, “And I do believe he is going to end up getting Pakistan back on the road to democracy.” Biden asked: “What exactly would it take for the president to conclude Musharraf has crossed the line? Suspend the constitution? Impose emergency law? Beat up and jail his political opponents and human rights activists?” Of course, these are the very things Musharraf has done in Pakistan. The political opponents cited by Senator Biden are moving toward a boycott of the upcoming elections because it is doubtful that President Musharraf will actually allow a democratic process to unfold, despite Bush’s hopes. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Nawaz Sharif is urging Benazir Bhutto, to go along with her Pakistan People’s Party executive committee which voted for a boycott.

Hopefully, the American public has finally understood the underlying weakness of their president, he is incapable of learning from experience. One again, Bush is placing all the chips on a failed pseudo-dictator who is now an outcast in his own nation. Just about every major political party in Pakistan stands opposed to the rule of Musharraf, but Bush is confident the reverse is true. Former political enemies like Benazir Bhutto and Nqaz Sharif are banding together in a coalition, but Bush is oblivious to the obvious– Musharraf is no longer a respected leader and the last thing he desires or can accomplish is placing Pakistan back on the road to democracy.

Bhutto Defies Musharraf In Pakistan!

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said that under no conditions would she serve in a future government containing President Musharraf as its leader. “I simply won’t be able to believe anything he says.” She indicated her Pakistan People’s Party would not participate in the upcoming January elections because they are “nothing more than a stage-managed show to return the PML(Pakistan Muslin League) to power.” The PML is the party of Musharraf. Even as she spoke, her supporters were opening fire in Karachi on police stations while another group was beginning the march that Musharraf had refused to allow her to lead. Ms. Bhutto said she would reach out to all opposition parties in Pakistan in order to form a new coalition of political groups that are committed to establishment of a democratic Pakistan government. She already is in the process of contacting Nawaz Sharif, a main political opponent, in order to secure his support for the new coalition.

Ironically, Musharraf has so fouled up the situation in Pakistan that inadvertently the president is creating a coalition of formerly disparate groups who are now ready to come together in the name of democracy. This could not have happened without the bumbling authoritarianism of Musharraf. Hopefully, America will avoid any stupid actions such as attempting to safeguard nuclear facilities and allow the new Bhutto coalition a chance to organize Pakistan.

Musharraf Empowers Military Courts To Try Civilians

The Musharraf government has amended the Army Act of 1952 in order to allow military courts to try civilians on charges ranging from treason to endangering the security of the nation. At present, there are thousands of civilians in jail because they attempted to protest the increasingly dictatorial rule of Musharraf. Prior to the change, civilians could only be placed on trial in a military court if one of the defendants was a member of the armed forces. The opposition to the state of emergency is widening as Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Muslim League pledged support to Benazir Bhutto’s proposal for a march for freedom. Previously, he had been an opponent of the Pakistan People Party’s leader.

There is no doubt President Mushharraf has done more to unite the people of Pakistan than any previous ruler of the nation. His heavy handed approach to governing is bringing previously divided groups together in an effort to bring democracy to the country. Ironically, militants are growing in power and it has nothing to do with civilian protests, yesterday a captain and five soldiers were halted at militant checkpoints in the northwest and taken hostage. While Musharraf is harassing civilians, the militants are now establishing check points where they tell the armed forces whether or not they can travel. Oh, by the way, three reporters for the British Daily Telegraph were ejected from Pakistan for using a vulgarity in their description of dictator Musharraf.