Saturday, November 03, 2007

Musharraf 's Emergency

Gen Pervez Musharraf was "re-elected" to the Presidency of Pakistan last month and had been awaiting the Supreme Court's decision on the legality of his election, had been until today. He announced the imposition of emergency rules and suspended the Constitution. Apparently the Supreme Court was giving him some difficulties, such as a not unanimous election approval and the release of 61 "terror suspects." Opposition parties were being, well, opposition parties. Islamic militants were on the upsurge. Western nations were not pleased with the turn of events, Condi Rice (here's a stretch) said the US "does not support extra-Constitutional measures."

Pakistan has real problems and militants in Islamabad are only a little part of it, the essentially ungoverned northern provinces bordering Afghanistan harbor the Taliban and their home grown supporters who keep tweaking the UN's nose leading to push back from there. Westerners stomping around in Pakistan is guaranteed trouble.

Musharraf said the declaration of emergency was to “preserve the democratic transition that I initiated eight years back.” Benazir Bhutto's opinion was a bit different, "Unless General Musharraf reverses the course it will be very difficult to have fair elections," she told Sky News television by telephone. "I agree with him that we are facing a political crisis, but I believe the problem is dictatorship, I don't believe the solution is dictatorship.
"The extremists need a dictatorship, and dictatorship needs extremists."

It pays to remember that Pakistan has nuclear weapons, it has a sizable lunatic fundamentalist element, and a growing lack of support for Musharraf, and push back from foreign governments. The US distraction in Iraq has allowed the Taliban's resurgence which means a growing threat to Afghanistan and Pakistan. While the US is calling on Musharraf to restore democracy there is little it is capable of doing however that situation shakes out. It is quite possible that George II's Iraqi adventure may have sown seeds in Pakistan that we may regret for decades.

1 comment:

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