Archive for the ‘Musharraf’ Category

Indian Newspaper: Pakistan’s Zardari Has Legitimacy, But No Authority

December 4, 2008

In the wake of the carnage in Mumbai, India is contemplating another round of coercive diplomacy. But the geopolitical winds are unfavourable. In 2002, India was successful in pushing Washington to arm-twist Pakistan. The then ruler Pervez Musharraf learnt a lesson. Today, India has less left behind its push, Islamabad has a greater hold over the US and, in any case, the lights are going out in the White House.

Most Indians believe the Army mobilisation that followed the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) attack on Parliament in 2002 was much sound and fury signifying nothing. It didn’t bring peace on earth. But Islamabad did learn a lesson and paid a price — which should be the goal of any Indian response to Pakistan-based terrorist outrage.

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times

In this picture released by Pakistan People's Party, then ruling ... 
President Zardari.  No authority?
AP Photo/Pakistan People’s Party

The lesson of 2002: before 9/11, Islamabad could count on the US jumping in during any India-Pakistan terror crisis, point fingers at the two countries’ nuclear weapons and persuade New Delhi not to retaliate. After 9/11, the Bush administration told Pakistan, “If India wants to bloody your nose, they have the right.” US embassy officials rang up Indian journalists to stress that the US was no longer using the word ‘restraint’ when it came to India.

The price of 2002: India, after considering and abandoning the demand for the extradition of 20 terrorists because it feared its own courts would let them go, demanded Pakistan put an end to militant infiltration into Kashmir. New Delhi knew very well this would be a band-aid concession. But it calculated a few months of border quiet would be enough to push through a peaceful and fair Kashmir election. Its success on that front is the main reason the turbulent state has seen relatively low levels of violence since 2002.

Outwardly, it seems like India could play the same game again. Pakistan has denuded its border with India of troops. Most have been transferred to fight recalcitrant militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. If India waves a big stick, these troops would have to return to the eastern border. Washington is desperate for that not to happen as its Afghan war effort would be crippled. In theory, then, the US would be prepared to press Pakistan to cough up a concession to ensure the troop transfer doesn’t happen. However, the landscape has changed in all three countries. The most telling is that President George W. Bush is down to his last 50 days in office. There is very little desire in the US to cut the ground from under President Asif Ali Zardari’s feet. He is Mr Nice Guy and Mr Best Hope.

Which raises a question: whom exactly is there to arm-twist in Pakistan? As the recent ‘Now he’s coming, now he’s not’ farce over the ISI chief showed, Zardari only thinks he’s President. He has legitimacy, but no authority. Military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has authority, but no legitimacy.

General Kayani.  Photo Anjum Naveed/Associated Press

Read the rest:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage
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China and Pakistan’s Strategic Importance: Background

October 15, 2008

China has realized for years that Pakistan is a neighbor of strategic importance.  India is China’s number one regional revial and pakistan is India’s traditional foe.  China has supported Pakistan in its nuclear ambitions and probably assisted Pakistan in nlang range missile development — often using North Korea as a proxy.  China and akistan are also completing the largest seaport in the world at Gwadar, Pakistan….

Tarique Niazi, The Jamestown Foundation, China Brief

Four months after the U.S. ordered its troops into Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime, China and Pakistan joined hands to break ground in building a Deep Sea Port on the Arabian Sea. The project was sited in an obscure fishing village of Gwadar in Pakistan’s western province of Baluchistan, bordering Afghanistan to the northwest and Iran to the southwest. Gwadar is nautically bounded by the Persian Gulf in the west and the Gulf of Oman in the southwest.Although the Gwadar Port project has been under study since May 2001, the U.S. entrée into Kabul provided an added impetus for its speedy execution. Having set up its bases in Central, South, and West Asian countries, the U.S. virtually brought its military forces at the doorstep of China. Beijing was already wary of the strong U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, which supplies 60% of its energy needs. It was now alarmed to see the U.S. extend its reach into Asian nations that ring western China. Having no blue water navy to speak of, China feels defenseless in the Persian Gulf against any hostile action to choke off its energy supplies. This vulnerability set Beijing scrambling for alternative safe supply routes for its energy shipments.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and his Pakistani counterpart ... 
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari stand near their respective country’s flags during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 15, 2008. Zardari arrived on Tuesday for his first visit to China as president, and has said he wants his four-day trip “to remind the leadership of the world how close our relationship is”. Pakistan is set to usher in a series of agreements with China during the trip, highlighting Islamabad’s hopes that Beijing will help it through economic and diplomatic troubles.REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)
Read the rest:
http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/2528.html
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Above: JF-17 Thunder jet is a product of Pakistani and Chinese cooperation.  It is now in service in the Pakistani Air Force.

The Chinese do not easily forget old friends and do pardon some indiscretions on the part of the friend. Beijing gratefully remembers that it was Pakistan which facilitated the secret talks between China and the USA leading to establishment of diplomatic relations. Pakistan is also a security frontier for China in more ways than one.   
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Pakistan’s Ghauri missile can strike into India and other neighboring nations….

The China-Pak special relations were built by the leaders of the two countries, especially the anti- India disposition of the Pakistani leaders and army, which filted eminently with China’s South Asia strategy with a common cause. 

The periodic Pak-US alliance has been both useful to Beijing and, at times, an irritant. During the Cold War the three formed an anti-Soviet axis. After the demise of the Soviet Union, China saw the US interest in Pakistan detrimental to its security. During his visit to Pakistan in 1996, Chinese President Jiang Zemin clearly indicated that USA should not meddle in South Asia. The message was clear to Pakistan also. 

Even after removing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharrif, Gen. Musharraf maintained excellent relationship with China. Following the US attack on Taliban in Afghanistan Musharraf is reported to have made a secret visit to Beijing only for a few hours to consult with the Chinese leaders. 

In a rather surprising, but understandable reaction, the China Radio International (CRI)….

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Pakistan’s Shaheen missile

By Bhasker Roy 

Although the Chinese leaders and policymakers have been forced by India’s economic development and vibrant international relations to acknowledge New Delhi’s position in regional and international platforms, Pakistan continues to remain its main centre in South Asia. 

Beijing has invested its most in Pakistan for very pertinent reasons. China is to refer to North Korea relations as “lips to teeth”. Pakistan was its “time tested ally and friend” and an example of relations between two countries. While these expressions have changed along with new post cold war global alliances and dynamics, the importance of Pakistan to China has not diminished. If fact, it has increased in terms of China’s security calculations including energy security. 

In the last decade, China helped Pakistan as a stand alone nuclear power, invested $ 2.2 billion in the Gwadar Deep Sea Port (GDSP), and helped it in trying to maintain military parity with India. Traditionally, the Chinese military sales have been at “friendship prices” and out right assistance. The Gwader Port is a gift. The F-17 Thunder advanced fighter aircraft being jointly built and produced at Kamra is basically Chinese mode.

Read the rest:
http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers26%5Cpaper2575.html

Britain in for long haul in Pakistan: Foreign secretary

April 21, 2008

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – Visiting Foreign Secretary David Miliband Sunday said Britain wanted a long-term partnership with Pakistan to end militancy in its tribal area bordering Afghanistan.
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Miliband was in Peshawar city in northwestern Pakistan, close to the Afghanistan border, for talks with new local government leaders. He is due to meet Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in Islamabad on Monday.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband (seen here earlier this year) ... 
Foreign Secretary David Miliband has visited Peshawar city in northwestern Pakistan, close to the Afghanistan border, for talks with new government leaders.(AFP/Shaun Curry)

“Britain is going to be a partner for a long term. We are not here for a quick fix,” Miliband told a press conference later.

“We are here for a long-term partnership with the country with whom we have very strong cultural, economic and political ties.”

In Peshawar Miliband met provincial governor Owais Ghani and chief minister Amir Haider Hoti to discuss security issues and ongoing cooperation over development in Pakistan’s tribal areas, officials said.

A new government comprising secular parties has replaced the Islamist-led administration of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal which ruled the rugged and lawless North West Frontier Province between 2002-2007.

Britain is providing development aid for Pakistan, especially in its troubled tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, a known hideout for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080420/wl_sthasia_afp/pakistan
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China to loan Pakistan $500M

April 18, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — China will offer its close ally Pakistan a low-interest $500 million (315 million euro) loan to help ease its growing financial problems, Pakistan’s foreign minister said.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi made the announcement Thursday after a recent visit to China and after Pakistan hosted a protest-free, security-heavy leg of the Olympic torch relay amid Western criticism of its giant neighbor’s human rights record in Tibet.

Pakistan's nuclear-capable missile, Ghauri, is driven with its ...
Pakistan’s nuclear-capable missile, Ghauri, is driven with its mobile launcher during National Day military parade in Islamabad March 23, 2008.(Mian Khursheed/Reuters)

Qureshi, who accompanied President Pervez Musharraf on the April 10-15 trip, said that it had been “highly successful.”

“If we have any reliable friend, my experience says it is China,” Qureshi said at a news conference in the capital, Islamabad.

Qureshi is a loyalist of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, whose party defeated Musharraf’s political supporters in February elections and now leads a new coalition government.

The government has inherited an ailing economy. It faces yawning budget and balance of payments deficits driven by rising world prices for commodities such as oil.

The World Bank last month urged the new administration to take urgent action or risk a crisis, even though the economy was still growing at an annual rate of more than 6 percent.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/04/17/pakistan.china.ap/
index.html?section=cnn_latest

Freed top Pakistani judge wants job back

March 31, 2008
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press Writer

QUETTA, Pakistan – Pakistan‘s deposed chief justice arrived in his hometown Monday to a hero’s welcome as he launched a drive to win back his old job and deal another blow to embattled President Pervez Musharraf.

Pakistan’s new government freed Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and other senior judges last week, more than four months after they were dismissed and put under house arrest by the U.S.-backed president.

Hundreds of flag-waving political activists and black-suited lawyers gathered at Quetta‘s airport to greet Chaudhry as he began the first in a series of trips across the country to build support for the judges’ reinstatement.

“I hope this is an important moment for the revival and independence of the judiciary,” said Nasir Yousafzai, a high court lawyer. “We are on the verge of victory.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080331/ap_on_re_as/
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Muhammad Reports from Pakistan, March 31, 2008

March 30, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

During last few days I have missed you a lot. I hope you and your team at the Peace and Freedom will be alright. Some interesting developments have been taking place in Pakistan nowadays.

The most interesting event is the announcement of prime minister Gilani about the revoking of Frontier Crime Regulation.

The tribal areas are being governed through Frontier Crime Regulation.

The prime minister announcement has created legal vacuum in the tribal areas.

It is interesting to note that Taliban militants have welcomed the announcement as they think now the tribal areas will be handed over to them. A political observer in his comment stated that the authors of the prime minister’s speech to the National Assembly on Saturday probably had no understanding of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and the laws that govern it. Why else would Yusuf Raza Gilani announce the abolition of the Frontier Crimes Regulation without actually knowing what the 1901 British law is going to be replaced with and more importantly: what would be its implications?

Little wonder then that at least two of the PPP’s allies, both from the NWFP  the Awami National Party and the JUI (F) — came out with reservations.

The ANP acknowledged that while its leadership had been consulted about  “generalities”, it had not been consulted on the specifics of FCR, which, according to the ANP’s provincial president, Afrasiab Khattak, is the “most investigated and non-implemented law”.

The ANP, he said, would like to retain the FCR with some amendments, something that the JUI (F) and a vast majority of the tribesmen would also like to see.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman told Dawn he too was not consulted and warned that any such move would entail grave implications for Pakistan.

The FCR presently in vogue in the seven federally administered tribal regions and six Frontier Regions basically explains relationship between the state and the tribes on the one hand through an indirect form of governance; and on the other lays down procedure for dealing with inter-tribal matters.

But the British-era law has been coming in under a lot of criticism from human rights activists, the civil society as well as a section of the tribal people.

The very draconian nature of some sections of the law, chiefly the Frontier Crimes Regulation 40, a preventive law pertaining to good conduct that has been grossly misused by the political administration to keep people under detention for longer periods of time than the stipulated three years for peace-keeping it provides for on non-acceptance of sureties by the accused.

The other most controversial sections of the law pertain to collective responsibility and territorial responsibility.Section 21 (Collective Responsibility) empowers the administration to direct the confiscation of all or any member of a tribe and all or any property belonging to them or anyone of them, if the tribe, or any section or member of such a tribe, are found acting in a hostile manner towards the government or towards people in the country.

Section 22 (territorial responsibility) empowers the administration to impose a fine on an entire village if there appear to be good reasons to believe that the inhabitants of the village have connived with, or abetted in the commission of an offence or failed to render assistance in their power to discover the offender or to effect their arrest.

Article 246 and 247 of the Constitution deals with the tribal areas — both the federally administered as well as the provincially administered tribal areas. The Constitution also states that the parliament cannot legislate for the tribal regions unless the president so directs.

The irony is that legislators from Fata can take part in legislation for the whole country but not for their own regions. The power to repeal or introduce any regulation in the tribal regions thus rests with the president.Analysts warn that any move to repeal or introduce any regulation in the tribal regions would require delicate handling.

What happened in the provincially administered Malakand region following the Supreme Court’s verdict in 1995 that had declared PATA regulation as ultra vires of the Constitution is now for all to see.That decision created a legal vacuum in Malakand and led to an armed rebellion by Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi calling for the enforcement of shariah to replace the defunct PATA regulation  “a problem that continues to haunt the government in Swat.”

Analysts point out to Fata’s special status, its accession to Pakistan and the treaties that Pakistan inherited from the British Empire as a dominion state, an issue also highlighted by Maulana Fazlur Rehman in his speech to the National Assembly on Saturday.

Even if any decision has to be taken, argue these analysts, the tribal people would have to be involved and consulted while introducing any law to govern their way of life. Opinion is divided over the FCR and system of administration in Fata, but most analysts agree that FCR should be retained with some amendments, particularly by making it appealable before a special bench of the High Court.

It requires very delicate handling. Changes in the FCR are the need of the hour. But let’s not create a Malakand-like situation in Fata where the state authority has already been challenged by different militant groups.

Any drastic decision is a sure recipe for disaster, cautioned one senior government official with previous experience in the tribal region.

Dear Sir, situation in tribal areas is still tense as terrorists and security forces have been exchanging fire regularly. The areas are in the grip of terror and fear.

Thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan

Culture, Politics Hinder U.S. Effort to Bolster Pakistani Border Forces

March 30, 2008

By Candice Rondeaux and Imtiaz Ali
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, March 30, 2008; Page A17

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A project to send U.S. military advisers to train Pakistani border forces could begin as early as this summer. But the advisers, according to Western and Pakistani military officials, face serious challenges if they are to transform an ill-equipped paramilitary group into a front-line bulwark against terrorism.
Pak-army-sol.jpg
A Pakistani Army soldier in training.

Twenty-two American advisers are being tasked with training a cadre of officers in Pakistan‘s Frontier Corps in counterinsurgency and intelligence-gathering tactics, according to U.S. officials in Pakistan familiar with the plan. The goal is to bolster the force’s operations along the country’s porous 1,500-mile-long border with Afghanistan, an area that has become a hotbed for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, as well as their sympathizers.

But military analysts say that cultural and political fault lines within the Frontier Corps and Pakistan itself could prove the undoing of the U.S. program. The bulk of the force’s rank-and-file troops are ethnic Pashtuns, many of whom are wary of going into battle against a Pashtun-dominated insurgency. Commanders, meanwhile, are regular army officers who often have little in common with their subordinates.

Maj. Gen. Mohammed Alam Khattak, the top commander of the Frontier Corps….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/29/AR2008032902213.html

Taliban Welcome Pakistan’s PM Talks Offer

March 29, 2008

By Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan
March 29, 2008

Taliban fighters, who engaged the Pakistan army being considered one of the best armies of the world, have welcomed the offer of talks made by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. From the offer and response one thing becomes clear that Taliban are actually the men of these politicians and they had used them against President Pervez Musharra.

There are many people, who have been raising the questions. Is there any justification for talks with criminals as now most of the people are considering Taliban militants criminals?

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Saturday welcomed the announcement of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani he made in his first speech in the National Assembly after securing vote of confidence about scrapping the Frontier Crime Regulation through which tribal areas have been governed since independence.

“This is the demand of whole tribesmen that Shariah should be enforced in the tribal areas as the areas cannot be run through FCR enforced by the Britishers for keeping the tribesmen subjugated,” said a purported spokesman of Taliban movement Maulvi Omar while talking to local newsmen by phone from undisclosed location.

The Taliban spokesman also welcomed the offer of prime minister for talks with Taliban saying that peace could only be restored through talks. “The prime minister’s announcement creates a ray of hope for peace in the tribal areas,” he added.

It merits a mention here Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani urged militants to renounce violence and offered to hold talks with those who give up arms and join the new democratic era. Addressing the parliament after wining a unanimous vote of confidence, Gilani said terrorism was the biggest threat undermining Pakistan’s stability. “Our first priority will be restoration of law and order and elimination of terrorism from the country,” said Gilani.

Maulvi Omar demanded of the prime minister to abandon the war on terrorism launched by President Pervez Musharraf on the instruction of the United States. “Taliban are ready to respond positively to the initiatives of the present government for restoration of peace in tribal areas and other parts of the country,” he added.
“our only demand of the Taliban movement is the withdrawal of Pakistan from the US-led coalition against terrorism,” he added

From Muhammad: Ungrateful Pakistanis

March 28, 2008

By Muhammad
March 28, 2008

It always remain an irony in Pakistan as its leaders and journalists have been getting dollars from the United States, but still they have been speaking against it. Most the tribesmen think the US must change its policy and if possible dump these ungrateful Pakistani leaders and journalists.

Politician-cum-journalist from Chakwal Ayaz Amir has been telling the new leadership to abandon war on terror in which Pakistan is a frontline state. He has forgetton that Pakistanis and tribesmen are being killed by terrorists. If the United States is coming to the help of tribesmen and poor Pakistanis then he has been opposing the move.

Just read the latest article of Ayaz Amir, who has won National Assembly seat on Pakistan Muslim League ticket. He is playing the role of agent of evil forces. The following is the article published in The News International.It isn’t and never was and if our newly-inducted political leadership is dumb enough to swallow all the fiction about the so-called ‘war on terror’ that our American friends (friends?) seem keen to push down its throat, God help us.

This is George Bush’s war. This is the war, or a front in the war, orchestrated by those strategic crazies going by the name of neocons, the same geniuses who wanted to reshape the world – beginning with the reshaping of the Middle East – and gave their own people, the American people, two un-winnable wars: in Iraq and, wait for it, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was supposed to be the more ‘doable’ affair, the one they thought they had wrapped up in 2001. But it is proving as tough and intractable as Iraq, with the Taliban, alas, not finished and the war, far from being over, stretching into the remote distance.

This is not even America’s war because most Americans who care to have an opinion about their country’s foreign policy – and there are millions of Americans who don’t give a damn, this section of the American population having a hard time deciphering a map of the world – are opposed to Bush’s adventure in Iraq. And although Afghanistan doesn’t loom as large across American radar screens as Iraq, it is beginning to assume a larger presence.

Indeed, the one thing saving American and NATO forces from utter disaster in Afghanistan is the Pakistan army on this side of the Durand Line. This is the buttress shoring up the American position and that is why, with new winds blowing across Islamabad, our friends in Washington are alarmed.

Their policy towards Pakistan was shaped around one man: their favourite general, Pervez Musharraf. And now that after the recently-concluded elections his position has crumbled, and is visibly diminishing by the day, the war party in Washington is worried that Pakistan may not be as zealous as it has been in taking American orders in the ‘war on terror’.

Small wonder John Negroponte, deputy secretary of state and holder of many dark secrets about American policy in Latin America, and Richard Boucher, assistant secretary of state and a familiar face in Pakistan, were so quick to descend on Islamabad, basically wanting to get a feel about the new guys about to enter the corridors of power.

Despite what some of the headlines have been suggesting Negroponte and Boucher shouldn’t be too worried because while the new guys may have waxed eloquent about ‘parliamentary sovereignty’ – very much the new buzzword in Islamabad – no one has suggested that Pakistan is about to cut its strings with America or is about to change course dramatically.

Pakistan is hardly in a position for a radical shift all at once because the Americans are all over the place and there are so many things tying us to America that a sudden application of the scissors is simply out of the question.

Let’s not forget that the army is the key player in this equation and any rethinking of the American alliance will have to come as much from General Headquarters as from the new National Assembly. Would the army like to forego American military assistance, the five-year ‘aid’ package which has enabled it to go on an extended arms’ shopping spree? Would it like to forego the nearly hundred million dollars a month it gets for services rendered in the ‘war on terror’? Where does this money go? Does anyone even know?

Such ‘aid’ once you are hooked on it becomes an addiction. Vested interests develop and lifestyles come to depend upon this bonanza. Overcoming such an addiction is not easy.

Islamabad is a town of dealers, fixers and commission agents anyway: well-off parasites living off the inflow of American dollars. Any talk of cutting the American connection and this razzle-dazzle crowd will point accusing fingers at the new guys in town and say that they are acting ‘irresponsibly’. Deep pockets after all are not easy to fight.

Let’s not also forget that parliamentary sovereignty in this country is a bit of a fiction. We may like to think parliament is a sovereign institution but when was the last time parliament took a sovereign decision?

All our great foreign policy adventures, our various jihads and wars, never had anything to do with parliamentary debate or approval. We must rethink our American connection, and as a result of that connection the sentry and bag duty our army performs along the Afghan frontier, but for anything to come of this exercise the rethink has to be a joint undertaking between the army command and the new guys in town (actually all old guys but making a reappearance on the national scene after the extended disaster of the Musharraf years… indeed after Musharraf anything, even recycled stuff, would look new).

Unless the army command is re-educated, unless it gets rid of the strategic and war-on-terror-related nonsense which under American tutelage has become part of its collective thinking, Pakistan will know neither peace nor harmony.

Yes, there are elements in Pakistani society keen on turning the clock back, who believe passionately that the way to go forward is to return to biblical times (biblical here a metaphor for their overdrawn simplicities about the fundamentals of life). Yes, there are elements in the tribal areas who think that it is their holy duty to come to the aid of the Taliban, or anyone fighting the Americans, in Afghanistan.

We should be discouraging such elements, interdicting their movement across the border. On no account must Waziristan, north and south, become a Taliban sanctuary, a staging post for the anti-American resistance. But we shouldn’t let the Americans tell us how to go about this business. Because there is a whole history of American interference—from Vietnam and Cambodia to Iraq and Afghanistan – which testifies to that great American talent for touching a problem and turning it into a first-rate catastrophe.

Let the Taliban fight their own wars. By the same token let the Americans also fight their wars. We should have nothing to do with either of these undertakings. The Lord knows we have enough of our problems of our own to settle.

Musharraf was America’s loyal ally, Pakistan’s Ngo Din Diem and Pinochet rolled into one, and because he acted under American orders and in his zeal to please his American protectors paid no heed to the sentiments of his own people, this whole terrorism business, far from being squashed, has ballooned out of control. A problem (or call it a virus) confined to the tribal areas has spread to other parts of Pakistan. There were no suicide bombings in 2001. Now it is a phenomenon we are all familiar with.

This entire strategy, if one can dignify it thus, has backfired. Pakistan is now in the crosshairs of terrorism precisely because Musharraf hitched his wagon, and the nation’s, to Bush’s failed and imploding star. Across the globe, and this includes America, Bush is considered little better than a moron. And to think that because of one man – Musharraf –

Pakistan and its army have been tied to the apron strings of this moron.

We don’t need to court American hostility. We should be friends with America but not its lackey or satellite. We should learn to live without the high of American ‘assistance’. At any rate, it is the parasitic classes who have benefited the most from this assistance, not the majority of the Pakistani people. So what are we talking or complaining about?

If terrorism has to be fought we must do it on our own. The Americans, as we have seen, will make the problem worse. Thus the first condition of fighting terrorism is getting rid of American advice and assistance. The Frontier Corps doesn’t need to be recast by the Americans (as they propose to do). Is the new Iraqi army any better for being outfitted by the Americans?

There is even – and this is really silly – a USAID programme for the ‘capacity-building’ of MNAs and MPAs. As part of this programme there is a ‘capacity-enhancing’ centre (with newspapers and computers, etc.) right in the Parliamentary Lodges in Islamabad. Madam Speaker, your urgent attention please.) Goes to show how busy our American friends have been, and what unlikely corners they have penetrated, these past seven years.


 

Musharraf Says ‘Real Democracy’ Begins in Pakistan Now

March 23, 2008
By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Embattled President Pervez Musharraf hailed the start of a “new era of real democracy” in Pakistan and vowed Sunday to support an incoming government led by foes bent on diminishing his powers.

President Pervez Musharraf salutes as he attends the Pakistan ... 
President Pervez Musharraf salutes as he attends the Pakistan National Day parade in Islamabad, Pakistan on Sunday, March 23, 2008. Musharraf said Sunday that an ‘era of democracy’ has begun, a day after his political foes named their candidate to lead a coalition government united against him. The U.S.-backed leader spoke early Sunday at a military parade celebrating Pakistan’s national day to commemorate the March 23, 1940, resolution by Islamic leaders in British India that eventually led to the formation of Pakistan.(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

A Pakistani-made Shaheen II missile, capable of carrying nuclear ... 
A Pakistani-made Shaheen II missile, capable of carrying nuclear war heads, loaded on a trailer rolls down during the Pakistan National Day parade in Islamabad, Pakistan on Sunday, March 23, 2008. Musharraf said Sunday that an ‘era of democracy’ has begun, a day after his political foes named their candidate to lead a coalition government united against him. The U.S.-backed leader spoke early Sunday at a military parade celebrating Pakistan’s national day to commemorate the March 23, 1940, resolution by Islamic leaders in British India that eventually led to the formation of Pakistan.(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

“The journey toward democracy and development we started eight years ago is now reaching its destination,” said the former army strongman, who seized power in a 1999 coup. “A new era of real democracy has begun.”

The U.S.-backed leader was speaking at a military parade celebrating Pakistan‘s national day. Flatbed trucks rolled past his viewing stand displaying pieces of Pakistan’s nuclear-armed arsenal: camouflage-painted Shaheen missiles about 40 feet long.

Military helicopters swooped past Musharraf flying huge Pakistani flags and spewing decorative, multicolored smoke. Fighter jets flew overhead in formation of a heart.

Musharraf quit the military in November but retains sweeping presidential powers to fire parliament and the prime minister. The parties who defeated his allies in the recent elections are hoping to strip away some of his powers, as well as reverse his decision to purge the courts and review his U.S.-backed terrorism policies.

“I hope the new government can maintain peace and the fast pace of socio-economic development in Pakistan,” Musharraf said Sunday. “And I hope it will also continue our struggle against the curse of terrorism and extremism with the same force.”

On Saturday, the party of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto named former parliament speaker Yousaf Raza Gilani as its candidate for the country’s next prime minister, after routing Musharraf’s allies to win the most seats in last month’s polls.

Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party is forming a majority coalition with the party of the prime minister ousted in Musharraf’s coup, Nawaz Sharif, which came in second in the elections. Neither group took enough votes to govern alone.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080323/ap_on_re_as/pakistan_politics
;_ylt=Ap1_U52mtrjkSGDvymOwDGWs0NUE