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Thread: Pakistani politics (catch all)

  1. #61
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Some new info in the latest update from the NYTIMES.

    In Karachi, Ms. Bhutto, who returned to Pakistan from Dubai hours after emergency rule was imposed, spent Sunday at her residence there. Leaders of her party, the Pakistan People’s Party, said she would fly to Islamabad on Sunday to hold talks with other opposition parties on how to proceed. But Ms. Bhutto did not show up here.

    In interviews with foreign broadcast outlets, she called on the Musharraf government to lift what she called “martial law” and to hold elections.
    Sympathizers of Ms. Bhutto, who came back to Pakistan with the backing of the United States and the specific mandate of bringing a democratic face to Pakistan, said her options for influencing the situation were limited.

    Ms. Bhutto’s most potent weapon — the potential to rally large numbers of demonstrators — was now in severe trouble, said Najem Sethi, the editor in chief of The Daily Times.

    Organizing large protests under emergency rule, and after the bomb attack on her arrival procession Oct. 18 that killed 140 people, would be very difficult for her, he said.

    “She will be very critical,” Mr. Sethi said. “But she is not going to participate in protests. She’s going to make a token representation. Behind the scenes she will work with the government for election as soon as possible.” Enver Baig, a senior leader of her party, said that the group’s strategy in the immediate future would be announced Monday.
    Benazir sitting at home and apparently unwilling to risk organizing of large street protests removes the PPP from play. Certainly some PPP leaders might be willing to go along with the lawyers in organizing street rallies, but the PPP or the PML have always been top dogs at getting massive numbers in the streets, and might be the only bodies able to do so in the face of a state of emergency. But if Benazir will not go along, then Musharraf can breathe much easier.

  2. #62
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    This all may make no difference. Based on my very limited read of the situation, and it's impact across the larger spectrum of issues we face vis-a-vis Afghanistan, Iran, AQ, etc., it looks like the US is hosed.

  3. #63
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    Default Pakistani military

    Does Musharraf face risk of a coup?
    By M Ilyas Khan
    BBC News, Karachi
    Monday, 5 November 2007, 17:52 GMT

    Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was forced to dismiss rumours circulating on Monday that he had been placed under house arrest, just two days after he declared emergency rule.

    So far, coups in Pakistan have been against civilian governments
    As things stand, there is little reason to believe that Gen Musharraf, who is both president and head of the army, is in imminent danger of being removed from office by force.

  4. #64
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pakistan: the world's most dangerous country

    The (London) Daily Telegraph, under this title Pakistan: the world's most dangerous country, has this column:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...06/wpak306.xml

    JCustis - the interests of the USA may not be met by Pakistan today, neither the USA or the wider Western interest can afford to see this dangerous country lost.

    BBC Radio 4 has just had a small item on what happens to Pakistan's nuclear weapons and contingency plans to ensure they do not fall into untrustworthy hands.

    Here the press are reporting the parliamentary elections will take place in January 2008, partly as external pressure is exerted.

    davidbfpo

  5. #65
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Stephen Cohen's comment

    Stephen Cohen is an acknowledged expert commentator on Pakistan, particularly it's army and has written an excellent review:

    http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/20...tan_cohen.aspx

    davidbfpo

  6. #66
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Cohen's analysis is, if anything, too optimistic. He still holds that a voluntary, distinguished retirement is a possibility with Musharraf. If that was the case, there would have been no need for declaration of a state of emergency. Musharraf appears to have convinced himself that the country cannot survive without himself at the helm.

    The U.S. should dissociate itself from him posthaste. Clinging to Musharraf will only ensure that Pakistani public opinion of the U.S. goes down with him. One perhaps one could argue that it couldn't possibly sink any further, but my reading of history tells me that things can always be worse, especially in Pakistan.

    The massive crackdown on the lawyers' movement appears to be having an effect, but I wonder if events may turn nasty in Rawalpindi:

    Angry protests by thousands of lawyers in Lahore and other cities on Monday demonstrated the first organized resistance to the emergency rule imposed by the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. But the abrupt arrests of many of them threatened to weaken their challenge.

    The real test of whether the opposition to General Musharraf will prevail appears to be several days off: The leader of the biggest opposition political party, Benazir Bhutto, has pledged to lead a major protest rally on Friday in Rawalpindi, the garrison city adjacent to Islamabad, the capital.


    The Musharraf government’s resolve to silence its fiercest opponents was evident in the strength of the crackdown by baton-wielding police officers who pummeled lawyers and then hauled them by the legs and arms into police wagons in Lahore.
    At one point, lawyers and police officers clashed in a pitched battle, with lawyers standing on the roof of the High Court throwing stones at the police below, and the police hurling them back. Some of the lawyers were bleeding from the head, and some passed out in clouds of tear gas.


    It was the second time this year that Pakistan’s lawyers emerged as the vanguard of resistance to the government. In the spring, the lawyers mounted big rallies in major cities when General Musharraf tried to dismiss the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who has now been fired.


    How long the lawyers can keep up their revolt now without the support of opposition political parties, which so far have been lying low, remains in question ...
    Last edited by tequila; 11-06-2007 at 09:37 AM.

  7. #67
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A review from Whitehall

    Found on the independent RUSI website, a London "think tank" (they have other roles) and well connected to the Ministry of Defence, Foriegn & Commonwealth Office and Whitehall generally, a new review of the position:

    http://www.rusi.org/research/studies...473826483022F/

    There are other comments on recent developments in the region.

    davidbfpo

  8. #68
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    From the International Herald Tribune and the Associated Press, 18 November:

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/11/...a/pakistan.php

    Quote:

    Scores killed in sectarian violence in Pakistan

    International Herald Tribune, The Associated Press
    Published: November 18, 2007

    ISLAMABAD: Fierce battles between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Pakistan's volatile northwest have left 91 people dead, officials said Sunday, despite the imposition of a state of emergency justified in part by the need to quell sectarian unrest.

    Combatants used mortars and other heavy weapons in the Shiite-majority town of Parachinar late Saturday and early Sunday, an intelligence official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

    Continuing to defy the United States, Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, declined to tell a senior American envoy when he would lift a two-week-old state of emergency, Pakistani and western officials said.

    In a two-hour, face-to-face meeting Saturday with Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, who urged the president to end the emergency, Musharraf said he would do so when security improves in the country.

    Negroponte is the United States' second highest ranking diplomat.

    In a news conference before he left Pakistan on Sunday, Negroponte said it would take time to determine whether the U.S. message had an impact.

    "In diplomacy, as you know, we don't get instant replies," he said. "I'm sure the president is seriously considering the exchange we had."

    The military said Sunday it would send soldiers to control the outbreak of violence in Parachinar. In a statement, the military said 91 people, including 11 security personnel, had been killed over the weekend.

    The violence began Friday when gunmen attacked a Sunni mosque. Sunni militiamen retaliated by attacking Shiites, the police said.

    Separately on Sunday, a passenger train was attacked near Peshawar, the capital of North-West Frontier Province, killing one passenger and injuring three, The Associated Press reported, quoting a railway official.

    -Unquote

    The article goes on to describe Negroponte's meeting with the Pak Army's 2i/c, both alone once and at least twice in the company of Gen. Musharraf. It seems quite plain that the U.S. is very much attempting to shore up the Pakistani Government's position, and that position is clearly deteriorating at an accelerated, and accelerating, pace.

  9. #69
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Michael O'Hanlon and Fred Kagan provide a good primer on what not to do in Pakistan.

    I'd like to figure out what planet these gentlemen are living on nowadays. It must be the same place from which they intend to bring in the thousands of extra American troops and "moderate Muslim" forces they will use to invade Pakistan.

    And people actually mocked Obama for saying something far less insane.
    Last edited by tequila; 11-19-2007 at 03:14 PM.

  10. #70
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Tequila,

    I always look for key phrases like "crack international" troops--then I know we have a used car salesman involved.

    It is amazing how clear the world is when you never participate in it.

    Scary, really scary...

    Tom

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Michael O'Hanlon and Fred Kagan provide a good primer on what not to do in Pakistan.
    Oh wow, that is a truly stunning piece....

  12. #72
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    Default - By Mentor and Proxy

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21909129/

    "updated 2:27 a.m. ET, Wed., Nov. 21, 2007
    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - When Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte visited Pakistan last weekend, he met once with President Pervez Musharraf, for two hours. But before he left town, he held three meetings with a lesser-known figure: Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the deputy army chief.
    ..................................
    "To understand the power of Pakistan, you have to understand that it's the military that matters. And they are kingmakers here," said Shireen M. Mazari of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad. "

  13. #73
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Cricket matters more!

    Another website reported today that the current series of Pakistan -v- India cricket matches attracts more attention from the public than politics.

    At first I was sceptical, but a colleague who has just returned from Pakistan stated the State of Emergency and politics was disregarded by most Pakistani's. Politicians are held in low esteem and reported that Musharraf was finished.

    I recall The Economist earlier this year reported that Pakistan only had two working national institutions: the Army and the national cricket team.

    So perhaps cricket is more important to the "man in the street".

    davidbfpo

  14. #74
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    In my darker moments, I sometimes wonder what percentage of the population of the United States would care if there was a military coup in this country, or if the Constitution was suspended. If the economy kept ticking along and the Super Bowl was played, would enough people care to make a difference?

    I think the average Pakistani (if there is such a thing in such a factionalized place) knows that there will, in the end, not be a real place for him at the table once the players are done shuffling pieces. The game will be played out amongst the Army's corps commanders, the machine politicians of the PML-Q and PPP and PML-N, the United States, and the Chinese. The lawyers may play a small role as well. But either way, none of these groupings truly represents a broad cross section of the Pakistani public.

  15. #75
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    - in my darker moments, I'd say about 8% and in other moments, 9%

  16. #76
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pakistani politics opens up

    Reported on the link the return of Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan; Benazir Bhutto's main secular rival and a man who opposes military rule. Interesting to note his return is a few days after Musharraf visited Saudi Arabia, where Sharif has been in exile.

    http://www.pakistanpolicy.com/

    Elsewhere the BBC report two suicide bomb attacks in Rawlpindi, including a blast on a packed bus at an ISI site.

    davidbfpo

  17. #77
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Pakistani forces take cleric's complex - LATIMES, 7 Dec.

    Security forces blew up the home of a fugitive pro-Taliban cleric Thursday after capturing two militant-held towns in northern Pakistan, the army said.

    Security forces faced no resistance in taking cleric Maulana Qazi Fazlullah's complex, which includes a seminary, hostels and a mosque, army officials said. The complex, near the town of Mingora, was abandoned when about 400 troops and police moved in, backed by tanks and helicopter gunships.

    Maj. Gen. Nasir Janjua said Fazlullah's home was blown up but the entire complex would not be demolished.

    "This has been built with the donations from our sisters and brothers," he said. "The people should decide its usage in the future."

    Fazlullah has called for a holy war against the government.

    Since Wednesday, troops have swept into the towns of Khawazakhela and Matta in the scenic Swat district, where Fazlullah's supporters have taken up arms in response to his calls for strict Islamic law. Some fled before the towns were overrun ...
    Retaking Swat's towns is a key step. If Fazlullah can be captured or killed, this could be a big step towards reclaiming Pakistani Army control over the more settled areas of the FATA.

  18. #78
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Nuclear weapons writing frenzy?

    Reported in the UK and the USA, in a way that arouses some concern:

    In the UK Guardian, referring to Frederick Kagan's writing on 1/12/07:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/S...rc=rss&feed=12

    On a US blogsite and written by Richard Sale, ex-UPI intelligence writer (id'd in a comment on the blogsite):

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_s...n-pakista.html

    On National Review Online by Henry Sokolski, on Pakistan's nuclear options due to the changing situation, especially the India-US relationship:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q...lhZTgzODk3YTI=

    Which cites a longer analysis by Thomas Donnelly on intervention options to secure Pakistan's nukes and he dismisses them:

    http://www.npec-web.org/Essays/20060528-Donnelly.pdf

    All very interesting and curious by their timing. Worst case scenario commentaries, which serve what interests? Or do they reflect increasing pessimism - in Washington - about the prospects in Pakistan?

    davidbfpo

  19. #79
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    NPR reporting that Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated by a suicide bomber at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi. Twenty others killed.

    I've also seen a Bloomberg report that she survived, but NPR is reporting now that their sources are Pak military and government spokesmen.

    edit: Confirmation now received from members of Bhutto's party, the PPP. The PPP is blaming Musharraf and the military for, at the least, not providing adequate security.

    Reports also indicate that shots were fired and that these may have killed Bhutto rather than the blast - apparently the assassin may have fired first and then blew himself up.
    Last edited by tequila; 12-27-2007 at 02:07 PM.

  20. #80
    Council Member redbullets's Avatar
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    Mainstream media is saying that she was killed. Earlier report was from a press statement by her husband saying she was critically injured.
    Joe

    Just because you haven't been hit yet does NOT mean you're doing it right.

    "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." President Dwight D. Eisenhower

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