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Thread: Pakistani politics (catch all)

  1. #41
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Karachi bombing

    From the (London) Daily Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...18/wpak418.xml

    This takes you to a report on the bombing in Karachi, Q & A on Benazir Bhutto and newsreek of the attack.

    Note Benazir Bhutto's husband blamed an un-named Pakistani intelligence agency; if true - "large pinch of salt" required - they killed twenty plus police officers and over a hundred civilians.

    davidbfpo

  2. #42
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default More details

    From a previously unknown website:

    http://www.pakistanpolicy.com/

    A longer report, analysis and comment. Anyone read this site before? 'Home' refers to tewo authors both Pakistanis based in the USA.

    davidbfpo

  3. #43
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default

    It seems a smaller explosion drew the cameras' attention to the second, larger and more destructive one. How does that sound David?

    I'm curious to know how close Bhutto was to being killed, and what the effect of that might have been. She may be meeting destiny anyway in the coming weeks and months, but what would her death do to Pakistan across the longer term?

  4. #44
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    Default

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21374344/

    "Bhutto: No surrender to militants
    Former Pakistani prime minister says two plotters thwarted in deadly blast"

  5. #45
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Attacking Ms Bhutto - a comment

    It seems a smaller explosion drew the cameras' attention to the second, larger and more destructive one. How does that sound David?

    I'm curious to know how close Bhutto was to being killed, and what the effect of that might have been. She may be meeting destiny anyway in the coming weeks and months, but what would her death do to Pakistan across the longer term?

    From JCustis

    There has now been an explosion in news reporting and comment.

    The original reporting suggested two explosions, one originating from a parked vehicle and the other by a suicide bomber. Now it is reported two suicide bombers, with several heads recovered. In Benazir Bhutto's TV speech she stressed why had the street lights gone out just before the attack and so reduced her security. Latest reports are that her security "stood firm" and stopped the second bomber. A bomber with 14 kilos of explosive, so a large bomb (true Stan?).

    The slow passage of the her convoy through packed crowds is hardly an easy task for securing any VIP movement, let alone in Pakistan where the threat was so high. Hence the use of the high platform armoured truck and the lucky timing she was on the toilet at the time of the attack. The loss of lighting at the time of the attack suggests - to this "armchair" commentator - that the attackers timed the attack at the location - without sight of the target!

    Ms Bhutto was lucky this time. I am no bomb expert, would she have survived sitting high up in an armoured truck? Let alone any secondary explosions - with shrapnel etc. I had the impression the cameras noted the first smaller and then went to the larger vehicle fireball - a secondary explosion (as reported now, not initially).

    On the camera aspect now. After five hours slow progress and several camera teams in the convoy further back - the first explosion would alert the cameramen. Did they note the street lighting failure?

    The death of Benazir Bhutto would mean her party, PPP, would have no leader and little popular appeal to the electorate - in the parliamentary elections due in January 2008. She is the "glue" holding it together and probably the chief reason the PPP gets funding (a proportion from abroad).

    Dispite all her faults I feel her murder would make secular and parliamentary politics very difficult to sustain in Pakistan. As Nawaz Sharif has been excluded from Pakistan - what choice would the Pakistani voter have? Very little. Musharraf's party has little credibility.

    Campaigning for Ms Bhutto in the election campaign now becomes problematical. No more "pressing the flesh" and public kept back at meetings.

    If the state / party cannot protect such a figure as Ms Bhutto, will anyone else come forward?

    In a perverse way given that the secular parties have substantial support and few Pakistanis want to see a Taliban like regime - the murder of Ms Bhutto could strengthen secular rule - if someone takes the lead. Not Musharraf!

    davidbfpo

  6. #46
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    Default Calling All Infidels!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21416647/

    "Pakistan: No foreign involvement in blast probe
    Bhutto seeks help with investigation into bloody attack that targeted her

    Updated: 1 hour, 29 minutes ago
    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A senior government official on Monday rejected a call from former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for U.S. and British experts to help investigate the devastating suicide attack on her homecoming procession."

    She ain't too bright IMO.

  7. #47
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Review of Pakistan

    From the IISS (London) a succinct analysis on this fragile nation:

    http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...atile-pakistan

    davidbfpo

  8. #48
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    Default - A Matter of Time

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21539920/

    Suicide attacker kills 5 near Musharraf's office

  9. #49
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    Default Escalation

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12913301/

    Bhutto leaves Pakistan as new violence erupts
    Opposition leader heads to Dubai; 60 alleged militants killed in fighting

    updated 33 minutes ago
    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Security forces killed at least 60 militant supporters of a pro-Taliban cleric in Pakistanís northwest, the army said Thursday, hours after a suicide attack on an air force bus killed eight and wounded 40.

  10. #50
    Council Member Brian Hanley's Avatar
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    Default Pretty obvious what Al Qaeda's stake is

    Al Qaeda has one visible route today to world power and their aim to reinstate the Caliphate, which is the game plan they tried to ignite with the 9-11 attacks. That is to take over Pakistan, and by doing so gain control of the army and its nuclear weapons. (No I don't believe Musharraf's declarations Pakistan's nukes are secure in the event of a transition for one second.)

    That is why they must either kill Bhutto and terrorize her supporters into acquiescence or drive her out of the country and cause her supporters to give up. (If they were smart they'd kill her and her family wherever they are and I'll bet they want to.) Musharraf is the inheritor of Zia's army support, and that was built by catering to the Islamists. They know it, and know that he owes his throne to them.

    If Al Qaeda loses decisively in Pakistan and gets wiped out there, then their day is done. But it doesn't look like that now. Knowing that Musharraf has sided against them, they are playing the brinksmanship game as only fanatics can do. Watch that one carefully. Al Qaeda doubtless has already made plans for how they will deploy Pakistan's nukes. And they're the kind of fanatics that believe that a good muslim will be happy to die for the cause and bad muslim should be killed because he's in the way.

    The game in Pakistan is the big game. Personally, I don't think Bhutto has a chance, although I wholeheartedly support her. Here constituency is not militant, they are mostly sheep who want nice lives and hope to be cared for by a parental state figure. (This tendency is the great hobgoblin of the developing world.)

  11. #51
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    Default Red Circles and Dead Opium Merchants

    I'm trying to compose a poem about red circles drawn on a map of Paki nukes in anticipation of a successful fundamentalist coup but the real key to Paki stability is cut off Taliban funding via disrupting the opium flow/cash, so to my hammer and tongs way of thinking, the SFers and other 'crews' need to be hunting a different kind of prey. A late night thought anyway......

  12. #52
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default

    Amazed that no one has posted on Musharraf's declaration of a state of emergency in Pakistan.

    The constitution has been suspended. Eight dissenting Supreme Court justices have been arrested, including Iftikhar Chaudhry, head Supreme Court justice and nominal leader of the "lawyers' movement" that really crystallized middle class opposition to military rule in the past few months.

    Benazir Bhutto has landed in Karachi but apparently is sitting on the tarmac. She already came out against possible declaration of a SOE on Wednesday and swore that the PPP would resist it.

    Condoleeza Rice has declared U.S. "disappointment" in the move. Admiral Mullen had declared previously that a SOE would cause the U.S. to review whether or not to continue aid to the military.

    My reaction is that General Musharraf was afraid that the Supreme Court would not sign off on his recent election as president, and this spurred the move. The increasing Islamist attacks on the security forces gave him his pretext.

    However, I think that by doing this he has shorn the Pakistani army of all its possible allies in the country. The political parties, the middle class, the civil service, the Islamists --- all are now lined up against him. Can the army stand alone when all these sectors of society are against it? Will the army stay loyal to the general?

    Things are not looking good.

  13. #53
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Final gamble?

    The state of emergency in Pakistan is well covered in this link:

    http://www.pakistanpolicy.com

    No doubt there will be much comment in the UK papers tomorrow and beyond.

    Meantime here's my initial reaction. Violence is spreading in Pakistan, mainly in NWFP and the willingness of the security forces to fight remains questionable. From my experience of Kashmiri Pakistanis they all too often prefer "sitting on the fence" and take a long time to become active.

    Watch and wait on the dice Musharraf has thrown.

    davidbfpo

  14. #54
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default BBC chimes in

    BBC-News website has this updated account of Pakistan:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7077310.stm

    How the Taliban and other violent groups opposed to Musharraf react is unclear. Let alone the impact on the situation in Afghanistan.

    davidbfpo

  15. #55
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A few more clues why

    Within an editorial in The Daily Telegraph (London) an interesting paragraph, was this the "straw that broke" Musharraf's "back":

    Gen Musharraf made up his mind to declare emergency law after hearing that the chief justice planned to summon the head of Pakistan's intelligence agencies this week to ask why hundreds of people were being held without charge.

    The editorial: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...04/wpak104.xml

    An interview or remarks by Benazir Bhutto: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...04/wpak304.xml

    davidbfpo

  16. #56
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    Default yes, we're not discussing this enough...

    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Things are not looking good.
    Agreed--in fact, I think they're looking very bad. Judging from some of the arrests that are now being reported (including Gen. Hameed Gull, the former head of ISI) there are already serious splits in the national security establishment.

    The fact that martial law seems to have been imposed over an issue of Musharraf's personal power (the impending Supreme Court ruling on his reelection) rather than on an issue of policy or principle is likely to further fracture his military support base--and, for that matter, sap the willingness of individual soldiers to fight regime opponents, including pro-Taliban elements in the FATA.

  17. #57
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default

    I think the rubber will meet the road when the first massive public demo gets underway in Karachi or Islamabad - either from the PPP or the lawyers' movement.

    How will it go? Will Musharraf order mass arrests? Will the security forces hold? If demos do go off, I cannot see how Musharraf can tolerate them if they continue --- they could paralyze the cities and really crystallize public opinion against him.

  18. #58
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    Default scenarios?

    Much will depend on who is demonstrating, and how big the numbers are.

    One can imagine a situation with big numbers, a broad coalition (including the PPP, some of the various Pakistan Muslim Leagues, the judges and lawyers, and--critically--ex-military types) that local security forces on the ground simply refuse to confront. If so, it then could go downhill rapidly for Musharraf.

    I'm far from a Pakistan expert (at all), but I suspect we see 5 scenarios at this point:

    1) Musharraf rides out the initial storm of opposition, consolidates, and filled with new purpose and a strengthened position goes after radical islamist opponents with new effectiveness. Odds: very low.

    2) Musharraf hangs on to power with badly damaged legitimacy. Elements of the army waver, are disloyal, or are simply poorly motivated. Radical recruitment and influence bolstered. Odds: moderate

    3) Opposition grows and broadens at such a rate that elements in the military refuse to support Musharraf. Caretaker government pledges elections, in which elements of broad opposition coalition maintain cooperation, resulting in strengthened, redemocratized central government. Odds: very low.

    4) Opposition grows and broadens at such a rate that elements in the military refuse to support Musharraf. Replaced by another military figure. No rapid transition to democracy; instead new military regime attempts bargains with PPP or others to broaden support base. Looks like the situation a year or two ago. Odds: low-medium

    5) Opposition grows and broadens at such a rate that elements in the military refuse to support Musharraf. Caretaker government pledges elections. Opposition fragments, elections are controversial and the results indecisive. Political infighting abounds, sapping political and governmental capacity. Odds: moderate.

    The odds of #4 increase if radical Islamist groups engage in spectacular violence in the next few weeks, alarming senior military leaders about the viability and effectiveness of a Musharraf government.

    Anyone more knowledgeable than I able to highlight what I may have missed?

  19. #59
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Some comments

    Further to the commentary.

    What will be the impact of greater instability in Pakistan on the supply lines for NATO forces in Afghanistan? Business is business yes and it is profitable for the locals. A more hostile Pakistan could reduce co-operation.

    I would suggest the secular parties will not make any alliances with the religious parties - helped by their strength being in NWFP (smallest province by population?). It is quite possible the professional groups will take the lead in organising any street protests. A revolution led by lawyers and judges!

    Who will the secular parties, professional groups and "moderates" fear the most - the religious / radical / Taliban groups or the unsteady state?

    The longer an election is postponed the worse it will be. Yes, some form of election monitoring can be offered and better if not seen as "Western". I'd suggest the Commonwealth first. No-one else seems qualified, so I'd exclude ASEAN, OIslamic Conference and OSCE. Oh yes, the UN remains.

    davidbfpo

  20. #60
    Council Member Brian Hanley's Avatar
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    Default Call me a wet blanket but

    I think Al Qaeda is going to get Pakistan. I've thought that for quite a while. If they don't it will be because they have a dictator. Unfortunately, our nation is pretty darn lacking in realpolitik thinking these days on both sides of the aisle.

    Things are going to get pretty interesting for the next president. (And the American public.)

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