SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Conflicts -- Current & Future > Other, By Region > South Asia

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-20-2006   #1
SWJED
Small Wars Journal
 
SWJED's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Largo, Florida
Posts: 3,988
Default The US & others working with Pakistan

20 July New York Times commentary - The Taliban’s Silent Partner by Robert Kaplan.

Quote:
When the American-led coalition invaded Afghanistan five years ago, pessimists warned that we would soon find ourselves in a similar situation to what Soviet forces faced in the 1980’s. They were wrong — but only about the timing. The military operation was lean and lethal, and routed the Taliban government in a few weeks. But now, just two years after Hamid Karzai was elected as the country’s first democratic leader, the coalition finds itself, like its Soviet predecessors, in control of major cities and towns, very weak in the villages, and besieged by a shadowy insurgency that uses Pakistan as its rear base.

Our backing of an enlightened government in Kabul should put us in a far stronger position than the Soviets in the fight to win back the hinterland. But it may not, and for a good reason: the involvement of our other ally in the region, Pakistan, in aiding the Taliban war machine is deeper than is commonly thought.

The United States and NATO will not prevail unless they can persuade Pakistan’s president, Pervez Musharraf, to help us more than he has. Unfortunately, based on what senior Afghans have explained in detail to American officials, Pakistan is now supporting the Taliban in a manner similar to the way it supported the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviets two decades ago.

The Taliban has two leadership cells operating inside Pakistan, presumably with the guidance and logistical support of local authorities. Senior lieutenants to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s supreme leader, are ensconced in Quetta, the capital of the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. From there they direct military operations in the south-central Afghan provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul.

Meanwhile, one of the Taliban’s savviest military commanders, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his sons operate out of Miramshah, the capital of the North Waziristan Province. From there, they run operations in Kabul and the eastern Afghan regions of Khost, Logar, Paktia and Paktika...
SWJED is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2006   #2
Ray
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calcutta, India
Posts: 1,124
Default

Brigadier Richard E Simpkins in the his book "Race to the Swift" as far back as 1985 visualised that the Islamic threat would be the spectre that would haunt the western world. It is obvious that he would not have penned such a radical thought in print without it having attained some credibility in the political and military academic circles.

However, the western political circles did not appreciate the full impact of the Islamist wave that was sweeping the world since it did not affect them, so much so many a Islamist radical movements found sanctuary in Britain and elsewhere. The Tablighi, ostensibly a pacifist Islamic movement was gnawing away at the innards of the western world and swelling the rank of Islam with converts. This was feasible since there was an influx of political asylum seekers and Asian job seekers in the West. It was only after 9/11 when it impacted the western world did the west awake to the devastating effect that this Islamic wave was impacting elsewhere around the world i.e. Kashmir, some places in Africa, West Asia etc.

Quite shortsightedly the US encouraged these radicals and gave assistance to rid Afghanistan of the Soviet bear even though USSR was, as it is, on its last legs. But then the Americans are by upbringing and psyche an impatient people who like quick fixes. This quick-fix attitude has brought about the menace of Islamic radicals who plague the earth.

Zia, the born again Islamist, grabbed the US offer and ran camps to organise, equip and control the Taliban hordes against the USSR in Afghanistan. He required this manna since he was an illegitimate usurper of the throne and required to shore up his illegitimacy and nothing is better than religion to divert attention from the miseries of daily life of a poverty stricken and illiterate mass of humanity.

The defeat of the Soviet Union brought about an illusion amongst the Moslem hordes that superpowers can be defeated if one is resolute in Islam. All said and done, no matter what the apologists have to say, the Koran is clear that the only religion that is pure and authentic is Islam. And yet, Islam was not doing well. It was proliferating at a rapid pace, but it was not the ruler of the world! This dichotomy was put to rest (at least in the Islamic mind) by the defeat of USSR in Afghanistan. It gave the impetus to achieve the impossible - world at the feet of Islam. And, why not? If a totalitarian superpower can be defeated, then surely a democratic superpower too could be brought to its knees since democracy has many an infirmity in mustering a national will.

Thus, this foundationed the current Islamic fundamentalism that is running wild with a pipe-dream. Only thing is that they don't think it is a pipe-dream.

In this Islamist dream, the Pakistani population, from whose womb the "Islamic warriors" emerged, has snatched the shining armour from Arabia as the prima Donna and champion and centre of Islam! This fact manifest itself wherein Pakistanis remain in the forefront terrorist attacks in the US (latest being the attempt to blow up a Jewish temple at Seattle). The Arabs are nowhere on the scene any more. Even in the latest meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) at Kuala Lumpur, Pakistan took the lead to condemn the Israeli bombing on Lebanon!

Pakistan is the front-line ally of the US in the War on Terror. This is but a ploy to keep Pakistan from exhibiting open terrorism so that the western actions in Afghanistan is not totally derailed. The US mollifies the Pakistani regime with lollies like F 16 etc and massages the Pakistani ego of being the most modern Islamic defence force. But the game maybe deeper than what meets the eye.

It is in the US interest to mollify and placate Pakistan. Given the commitment in Iraq and the defiance of Iran, the west is in no position to take on Pakistan should it interfere more vigorously in Afghanistan. There is no love lost between the two given the harsh words exchanged by their respective leaders about each other.

Therefore, to keep Pakistan busy, the US and its proxies are actively participating in the Balochistan liberation movement. If Balochistan remains "hot", Pakistan's attention toward Afghanistan would be diluted. Further, if liberation does come, Iran would be boxed in from both sides and the Chinese influence in Gwadar (aimed to make its presence felt in the Indian Ocean and thus challenge the US; as also have a listening post into US activities in the Middle East) removed. It maybe noted that Gwadar in no way assists Balochistan.
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=17800
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=17889

But Afghanistan and Balochistan liberated means the Tazakhistan - Afghanistan - Balochistan pipeline is through to feed the oil guzzling requirements of India and China (NIC 2020)! This miracle is very essential for the US flagging economy!

Therefore, Pakistan survival depends on delaying the US plans. Taliban is their saviour!

Last edited by Ray; 08-02-2006 at 04:13 PM.
Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2006   #3
SWJED
Small Wars Journal
 
SWJED's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Largo, Florida
Posts: 3,988
Default Pakistan: GWOT Ally or Enemy?

26 August Washington Post news analysis - Pakistan's Awkward Balancing Act on Islamic Militant Groups by Pamela Constable.

Quote:
For the past five years, Pakistan has pursued a risky, two-sided policy toward Islamic militancy, positioning itself as a major ally in the Western-led war against global terrorism while reportedly allowing homegrown Muslim insurgent groups to meddle in neighboring India and Afghanistan.

Now, two high-profile cases of terrorism -- a day of gruesome, sophisticated train bombings in India in mid-July and a plot foiled this month to blow up planes leaving Britain for the United States -- have cast a new spotlight on Pakistan's ambiguous, often starkly contradictory roles as both a source and suppressor of Islamic violence, according to Pakistani and foreign experts.

Moreover, increasing evidence of links between international attacks and groups long tolerated or nurtured in Pakistan, including the Taliban and Kashmiri separatists, are making it difficult for the military-led government here to reconcile its policy of courting religious groups at home while touting its anti-terrorist credentials abroad...

The basic problem for Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is that he is trying to please two irreconcilable groups. Abroad, the leader of this impoverished Muslim country is frantically competing with arch-rival India, a predominantly Hindu country, for American political approval and economic ties. To that end, he has worked hard to prove himself as a staunch anti-terrorism ally.

But at home, where he hopes to win election in 2007 after eight years as a self-appointed military ruler, Musharraf needs to appease Pakistan's Islamic parties to counter strong opposition from its secular ones. He also needs to keep alive the Kashmiri and Taliban insurgencies on Pakistan's borders to counter fears within military ranks that India, which has developed close ties with the Kabul government, is pressuring its smaller rival on two flanks...

Until recently, Musharraf had handled this balancing act with some success, Pakistani and foreign experts said. He formally banned several radical Islamic groups while quietly allowing them to survive. He sent thousands of troops to the Afghan border while Taliban insurgents continued to slip back and forth. Meanwhile, his security forces arrested more than 700 terrorism suspects, earning Western gratitude instead of pressure to get tougher on homegrown violence.

But this summer, a drumbeat of terrorist violence and plotting in India, Britain and Afghanistan have begun to blur the distinction between regional and international Islamic violence. Pakistan, which has a large intelligence apparatus, is now in the awkward position of denying any knowledge of local militants' links to bombings in India and Afghanistan, while claiming credit for exposing their alleged roles in the London airliner plot...

Islamabad's fragile new alliance with the West has developed only since 2001, when Musharraf renounced the Taliban and embraced the anti-terrorist cause. The U.S.-Pakistan relationship has been strained both by Musharraf's foot-dragging on democratic reforms and by India's high-profile rapprochement with Washington, including a controversial new nuclear energy agreement.

Analysts said the Musharraf government may now be playing up its role in foiling the London plot in order to reinforce its importance as a strategic Western ally.

Some observers suggested that in different ways, both Pakistan and India are using the terrorist threat to bolster their competing relations with the West. Just as Pakistan, the regional underdog, may be exaggerating its role as a terror-fighter, they noted, India, the aspirant to global influence, may be exaggerating its role as a victim of terror.

Others suggest that U.S. policy in the Middle East is making it difficult for Muslim countries such as Pakistan to remain peaceful and in control of large, impoverished populations who increasingly turn to religion and identify with the struggles of Muslims in other countries.

But critics said Pakistan's problems with Islamic violence cannot be resolved as long as the military remains in power. In an unusual move last month, a diverse group of senior former civilian and military officials wrote an open letter to Musharraf, warning that the country is becoming dangerously polarized and that a uniformed presidency only exacerbates the problem by politicizing the armed forces. The only solution, the group wrote, is a transition to a "complete and authentic democracy."
SWJED is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2006   #4
Ray
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calcutta, India
Posts: 1,124
Default

It is to massage the ego of Pakistan that it is the front line ally.

Musharraf is incongruous in the sphere of Pakistani politics and has been forced by fate into the high office since he had to undertake the coup or else he would be facing court-martial, which was what the Prime Minister Sharif had lined up for him on return from Sri Lanka.

Ever since then, he has had to play the role of a juggler, both internally and externally. The powerful forces at home that were aligned against him forced him to devise the strategy to show his "prowess" as the saviour by showing positive results taht so far was eluding Pakistan and thereby making himself acceptable both internally and in the international field.

It was evident that without the US assistance and US permission, no external funds would be available to salvage the bankrupt Pakistan or get rid of the danger of being labelled a rogue state, given the fact that all terrorist acts had its root in Pakistan.

Thus, Musharaf had no option but to align himself personally to the US policies. However, to keep himself current with the Islamists, he, every now and then had to indicate his pride as a Pakistani (condemning US air strikes within NWFP, but ensuring that the PAF is not scrambled and mauled or thus upsetting the US) and as also as a Moslem (by proclaiming the greatness of Islam, and to please the US, with a touch of moderation). He spoke against the madrassas to please the US and yet did nothing to change the status quo except for some cosmetic actions nor did he expel the foreign madrassa students inspite of vehement assertions of doing so with immediate effect.

He started the dialogue with India to keep this image of being larger than life! He is yet to match his pious platitudes with the actions against crossborder terrorism. But then, he is a master at jugglery!

To ensure his survival in Pakistan, he, with Machiavellian cunning divided the formidable opposition with bribes or threats of opening up cases of corruption (which was endemic in Pakistani politics) and cobbled up what is know as the "KIngs Party" and has clung on to his uniform (Post of Chief of the Army) since that alone is his mainstay for staying in power.

He has also killed a formidable rival, the Balochi leader Akhbar Khan Bugti and even though currently there is riots practically all over Pakistan, he will survive. He will buy up the trouble creator leaders as he has always done.

In short, he has been a politician par excellence even if not a great military commander.

It must also be mentioned that the Pakistani politicians as a group are not pro US. Even during the catastrophic earthquake that hit Kashmir, the Pakistani Senators were up in arms in the National Assembly claiming that the US and NATO assistance was basically aimed at spying on Pakistan! Even in a catastrophe, instead of being grateful and singleminded in allievating the woes, the Pakistani politicians vectored on to the sinister!

That Pakistan is not at all concerned about containing the Taliban is ever so evident. Pakistan has deployed 80,000 troops in the area along the Afghan border and yet it cannot control either the cross border terrorist movement, nor can they rid the Taliban based within or even nab a AQ operative worth the name! If they can find and kill the Balochi leader, Akhbar Khan Bugti (Musharraf was single minded in getting him since it is said that he was the mastermind behind one of the assassination attempts on Musahrraf) and who was surrounded by his own people and in his own state, then the claims that the Taliban and AQ are difficult to find and kill is too slim an excuse to believe.

To be frank, Musharraf cannot be seen that he is against the "real" defenders of Islam - the Taliban, AQ and Osama! If he does it, he shall hang by the nearest pole and he has no intentions to adorn a tree! Being the master at chicanery, he is playing the fool with the Hudood Law, wherein claiming that it is against Islam and yet ensuring that there is confusion and preventing the amendment being passed. Something on the lines of Pontius Pilate!

To please the US, on and oft a Taliban leader is caught and is always the fourth important person in AQ hierarchy! The US also plays ball since it help to keep this charade going as it is better to have a reluctant ally rather than an active foe on the Afghanistan border skewing up the works in Afghanistan at a time when the focus and the effort is totally being consumed in Iraq!

It is not that there is not a bigger game plan that the US is at. As per some Pakistani commentators, the US is neck deep in the Balochistan issue since the TAP oil and gas pipeline is planned to travel through via Afghanistan and Balochistan to the port of Gwadar. Indeed, if Balochistan declares independence with covert US help or through the "good offfices" of India, the border along Balochistan and FATA would be neutralised and Afghanistan would be in a better position to put its house in order so that the pipeline fructifies! If this happens, then the importance of Pakistan will fade as far as the US strategy is concerned and so it is a question of survival for Musharraf to ensure that Balochistan is calmed, but the terrorist threat to Afghanistan kept alive! An independent Balochistan would also be worth the while for the US because Iran will be boxed from both the flanks.

The port of Gwadar is an important issue in the US strategic map. China is assisting Pakistan in developing this port and will be using it as a listening post into US activities in the Middle East as also be able to interfere with the same when it positions some naval effort there. It will also give teeth to the Chinese strategy of "String of Pearls". Already the Chinese have naval facilities in the Myanmar Coco Islands in the Bay of Bengal. These two naval facilities of Coco Island and Gwadar will compensate for the weakness of the Chinese Navy of not being a blue water navy to protect its interests in the Indian Ocean, which is very critical since the seaway transport oil to China.

Last edited by Ray; 08-29-2006 at 06:17 PM.
Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2006   #5
Stu-6
Council Member
 
Stu-6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Occupied Virginia
Posts: 243
Default

Pakistan is a long term liability but we have few other good options. Being overly supportive of non-representative governments especially those with large dissident populations is a risky strategy. If these governments collapse the likely result is government that’s powerbase revolves around confronting the outside power that supported the earlier regime, e.g. Iran. The possibility of a similar situation in Pakistan is very real, made more so by the divides with in the existing power structure.
Stu-6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2006   #6
Mike in Hilo
Council Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Hilo, HI
Posts: 107
Default Democratic Pakistan

That Pakistan's (democratically elected) politicians are not pro-US is perhaps an understatement...Ms. Constable's implicit endorsement of the elected government alternative to Musharraf is as disappointing in its shortness of memory as it is predictable. The US seems to me to be appropriately cautious in not pushing too hard for Musharraf to democratize immediately.

During my tenure in Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto's government (first woman PM and darling of US liberals) was ebullient in publicly hailing the creation of the "Islamabad-Tehran-Beijing Axis." Progress was made in nuclear weapons development and AQ Khan flourished. The government was worryingly pro-Saddam before and during the Gulf War, until those final days when it became certain that he would lose. The electoral process served as a mechanism by which the entrenched family dynasties of landowning "feudal lords" (an appellation of unusual honesty for Pakistani politics) could cynically maintain their hold on the country while ensuring that the masses remained steeped in ignorance and powerless poverty. Furthermore, our media consistently err in forgetting that Islamic Law was introduced into Pakistan by Ms Bhutto's democratically elected, "leftist" father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and not by General Zia, who ousted him....

As for the prime minister ousted by Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif, the perennial opponent of Ms Bhutto in a series of national elections, his government was steadfast in its support of the Taleban in Afghanistan....

Last edited by Mike in Hilo; 08-31-2006 at 08:18 AM.
Mike in Hilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2006   #7
Stu-6
Council Member
 
Stu-6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Occupied Virginia
Posts: 243
Default

Over the long term I think anti-US democracies can be better than pro-US dictators. If a dictatorship is unresponsive to the population then a resistance too it will develop, if the US overtly supports the dictator this can have the effect of empowering the resistance since they can now cast the dictator as being a foreign lackey. This allows the resistance to cast their struggle in terms of us against the alien power and appeal to nationalistic instincts. If the resistance comes to power or gains significant influence a strongly anti-US policy will soon develop.
Stu-6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2006   #8
Ray
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calcutta, India
Posts: 1,124
Default

Quote:
Worse than a Mistake
By Frederic Grare

Page 1 of 1
Posted August 2006
How Pervez Musharraf is endangering himself, Pakistan, and the war on terror.

GENERAL CONFUSION: Musharraf is causing problems for himself and his allies.
General confusion: Musharraf is causing problems for himself and his allies.

Guang Niu/Getty Images

The Bush administration does not know it yet, but Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf may have just outlived his usefulness. He has already failed to confront the Taliban fighters who have made Pakistan a staging area for their attacks in Afghanistan. He has delayed and postponed promises to shore up his country’s democratic freedoms. He has even walked away from symbolic pledges to remove his own military uniform. And last weekend, the Pakistani strongman may have finally tipped the scales too far. On his orders, Pakistani security forces killed Nawab Akbar Bugti, the tribal leader and former governor of Baluchistan. The elimination of the leader of one Pakistan’s most strategically important border regions threatens the country’s territorial integrity, the war on terror, and Musharraf’s own political future. In one deft stroke, Musharraf has made himself an ally no longer worth the effort.

On August 26, Bugti was killed by Pakistani forces in a firefight close to his mountain hide-out. For 60 years, Bugti was a Baluchi nationalist leader and a key figure in the various insurgencies that have gripped Pakistan’s largest and most mineral-rich province. The Baluchis feel they are exploited by a central government they view as a colonial vehicle for Pakistan’s most populous region, the Punjab. They want more political autonomy and a greater share of their region's lucrative gas revenues.

Bugti commanded a sizable force, and he has long been a thorn in Islamabad’s side. But, unlike other leaders in Pakistan’s unruly border areas, he always deployed his forces with politics in mind and an eye on the future. Just last year, he proposed, albeit unsuccessfully, a compromise peace based on a proposal from Pakistan’s Muslim League leadership. His own stature, combined with the fact that he was in charge of the tribe controlling most of Baluchistan's natural gas reserves, made him unacceptable to the military leadership—even though he was Islamabad’s most credible partner for peace in the region.

Some argue that because the insurgency is essentially tribal, the removal of this tribal leader cuts the head off the snake. But that is a fundamental misreading of the insurgency. A prolonged, low-intensity conflict is now likely. With Bugti’s death, the insurgency will be led by far more radical elements, many of whom, including the largest tribe in Baluchistan, the Marri, will settle for nothing less than independence.

Baluchistan’s strategic location, bordering Iran, Afghanistan, and the Arabian Sea, as well as its wealth of minerals and hydrocarbons, means that Baluchi independence will always be unacceptable to Islamabad. So, the army will be ordered to redouble its efforts to crush the insurgency. But the military will struggle to control a province representing some 43 percent of the country’s territory. More forces will likely be redeployed to the region from the Afghan border. Such a move will further thin the army’s presence along the Afghan border and weaken the help it can offer NATO in the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda remnants.

Indeed, the army is already paving the way for a drawdown from the Afghan border, which would free up soldiers for Baluchistan. The Pakistani press reported several days ago that a truce is being negotiated with the Taliban in the frontier area of Waziristan. Such a move would result in the army's withdrawal from all border posts and effectively allow the Taliban to cross the border at will.

If the consequences of Bugti’s death on the ground are still difficult to predict, some of them are already apparent in the political arena. Every political party, even Musharraf’s own political allies, has condemned the killing. The division between the civilian leadership and the military is widening—a frightening trend in any country where the military has such a stranglehold on political life. If this rift continues to widen, the Pakistani military might demand that Musharraf, who is still simultaneously—although unconstitutionally—the army’s chief of staff, choose between his two positions.

The killing of Bugti has exposed a Pakistani president both unable to fulfill his commitments in the war on terror and only able to act decisively against his own people. Musharraf’s actions have reversed decades’ worth of slow progress toward national integration. Reporting restrictions will guarantee that we will not hear much from Baluchistan in the coming months. But the next thing we hear might well be an explosion that reverberates as far as Washington.

Frederic Grare is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/c...?story_id=3578
Pakistan will survive. But will be weak.
Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2006   #9
Ray
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calcutta, India
Posts: 1,124
Default

Quote:
Musharraf's Dangerous Highwire Act
Tim Lister | Bio | 30 Aug 2006
World Politics Watch Exclusive

Pervez Musharraf is no stranger to a welter of competing pressures -- domestic and external. His government remains under international pressure to root out al Qaeda and Taliban elements in frontier areas; Pakistan's Islamic parties are well-organized and growing in influence; separatists in Baluchistan are making parts of the province ungovernable just as the government tries to exploit its mineral and hydrocarbon potential. Pakistan's political institutions are weak and Islamic extremists have several times tried to assassinate the General. Set against these problems, there is one shaft of light. Pakistan's economy is now one of the fastest growing in Asia -- thanks largely to a government of technocrats that is pursuing privatization and foreign investment.

Amid these pressures, Western governments (and India) continue the clamor for more aggressive action from Pakistan in the "War on Terror." It's a clamor that's understandable -- but counter-productive.

War on Terrorism

In her provocative piece for World Politics Watch earlier this month, Bridget Johnson asked whether conflict in the Middle East would push Musharraf to abandon his "fine line" between a liberal state and a theocracy and maybe "stop offering any bit of comfort or shelter to Islamofascist elements." Setting aside the fashionable term of "Islamofascist," the choice is simplistic; there is a gulf between a theocracy and a liberal state, not a fine line. Ms. Johnson suggests that "if [Musharraf] uses the lives he has left to seriously quash radical Islam in Pakistan, he may leave a significant mark on the region." Indeed he might -- he might set off the sort of sectarian war in Pakistan that has engulfed Iraq, plunging a nuclear-armed state into chaos, with consequences well beyond its own borders. Radical Islam can't simply be quashed, by mobilizing a couple of battalions. Addressing Pakistan's manifold problems also has to take account of incendiary Sunni/Shia relations (Iraq, anyone?) and the vital role of the army as the only functioning national institution.

There is no doubting that Musharraf needs the West and needs to show the international community that he is serious in containing Islamic extremists in Pakistan, whether home-grown or of the multinational al Qaeda variety. The 9/11 Commission and others have legitimately complained that Pakistan remains a breeding ground for terrorism. Offering solutions is more problematic.

It is not as though Musharraf's government is doing nothing -- especially against al Qaeda militants. The army has lost scores of soldiers in remote and rugged Waziristan pursuing foreign fighters. Pakistan has tracked down plenty of important al Qaeda figures -- including Abu Zubaida, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Altogether it has probably arrested some 700 people allegedly linked to al Qaeda. There is also evidence of a new drive against Taliban leaders who have long gone unhindered in using the rugged territory of Baluchistan as a rear base for operations across the border. A recent raid on a hospital in Quetta netted several Taliban operatives, and a Taliban commander, Mullah Hamdullah, was also arrested.

But an overly aggressive pursuit of Islamic radicals might backfire with disastrous consequences. Trying to eradicate (as opposed to contain) militants in Waziristan and tribal areas is not feasible; it could also exacerbate ethnic tensions and cause dissension in an overstretched military. The government suffered a popular backlash after the abortive U.S. missile strike earlier this year on the border village of Damadola, which missed its intended target -- al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri -- but killed several civilians. Recently, a more subtle approach has taken hold, to try to peel away tribal leaders from foreign elements while using Special Forces to target the latter more precisely rather than risking civilian casualties. A similar state of affairs exists in Baluchistan, home to more than 200,000 Afghan refugees, smuggling routes, grinding poverty and hardline madrassas. It is truly the wild west, where eradicating support for the Taliban is a pipe dream among a well-entrenched network of Sunni Deobandi groups.

Some might describe the government's less than whole-hearted approach as appeasement; others as a prudent cost-benefit analysis. That analysis includes two elements of self-interest. Pakistan had close ties to the Taliban while it ruled Afghanistan and retains some influence over events there by allowing the organization to survive as a thorn in the Karzai government's side. (Not that Pakistani officials would ever admit to such realpolitik.) Musharraf is also aware that if western financial aid and credits are to continue, it is the ongoing nature of the struggle that preserves his and Pakistan's strategic "currency." Since 9/11, America has dismissed $1.5 billion in debt and provided Pakistan with more than $3 billion in military assistance. Its strategic value -- and status as a nuclear power -- helps to preserve Pakistan's primitive parity with India. A similar dynamic informs negotiations with India. Musharraf wants to be seen to be making progress, but not too fast. Important constituencies at home would not tolerate compromise on Kashmir, and as a "process" the relationship attracts greater attention and financial help from the West.

Home-Grown Trouble

Musharraf's action against Pakistani Islamist groups has been less consistent than operations against al Qaeda and fellow travelers. His government has taken highly visible initiatives against radical Islamic groups -- especially after the 2001 attack on India's Parliament and the July 2005 attacks in London. But these crackdowns are not sustained. For example, the order that foreign students at madrassas leave Pakistan in the wake of the London attacks in July 2005 has been defied by many of the schools and quietly dropped. There are probably still several hundred foreign students at the religious schools. One group, Lashkar-e-Taibam, has been outlawed (and also is on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations) and held responsible for several attacks on India. But it has adopted a "shell" as a charitable organization (Jawaat ud Dawa) and it maintains - openly -- a large compound near Lahore.

A broader sweep against groups like Lashkar would be possible, but unlikely to bear fruit. Their memberships are fluid and dispersed among Pakistan's teeming cities and remoter corners. They include some adherents who want to liberate Kashmir and others who migrate to a broader jihad. Some enjoy protection from powerful elements of military intelligence (ISI) as a stick with which to beat India. Mass arrests could have the effect of radicalizing opposition to Musharraf's regime, like poking a stick into a wasps' nest. Instead, the government's policy has been to target individuals with known links to terrorist acts or plots -- such as the murder of Daniel Pearl or the London subway attacks. This month Pakistani al Qaeda suspects were detained in Karachi in connection with a suicide bomb attack against a U.S. diplomat earlier this year. Not pursuing these groups and their sympathizers wholesale is designed to keep social peace in a country that is a sectarian and religious cauldron. A virulent Sunni purism retains its grip in the grimy towns of southern Punjab, stoked by firebrand preachers who have persuaded more than a few to become al Qaeda's foot soldiers. Pakistan's deep-seated religious culture won't be changed overnight. (The democratic experiment in Iraq may be instructive in this respect.) Witness the timidity with which the Musharraf government has approached the reform of Islamic laws on rape and marriage, which constitute abhorrent discrimination against women.

It's important to distinguish between underground Islamist groups like Jaish e Mohammed and Lashkar e Taiba and the "mainstream" Islamist opposition, represented by the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). By western standards, the MMA is extremely conservative -- but it does represent the values of many Pakistanis. It has benefited from Musharraf's assault on the old "dynastic" parties, led by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, who both probably would face criminal charges should they return home. As Bhutto's PPP and Sharif's PML(N) have suffered, so the Islamic opposition alliance continues to grow in influence. It doubled its vote in the 2002 elections, and now has more parliamentary seats than Sharif's party. Once promoted by Musharraf as a counterweight to the other parties, the MMA has won a majority in North West Frontier Province and is already introducing legislation based on Sharia law. Now it decries Musharraf as a "creature" of Washington and coordinates anti-American protests whenever the opportunity arises.

The popularity of the MMA -- like that of Hezbollah and Hamas -- has as much to do with its role as a social welfare provider as its politics. Its grassroots presence fills a vacuum left by the state. In Lahore, for example, the MMA has converted old movie sets into a clinic and hospital. (The symbolism is not lost on its leaders.)

But does the MMA seriously threaten Musharraf? Bridget Johnson asks: "Will the people go for a hardline regime?" The reality of Pakistani politics is that they won't have the option. The military is the only functional entity and Musharraf's command of it appears as secure as anything in Pakistan can be. Pakistanis joke: "Most countries have an army; here the army has a country." The MMA may burn effigies of Musharraf, but venting on the streets and making decisions in Islamabad are poles apart.

continued.....
Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2006   #10
Ray
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calcutta, India
Posts: 1,124
Default

Quote:
Economy

Musharraf's government is pinning substantial hopes for containing Islamic opposition and popular discontent on improving living standards. Held back by a bureaucratic straitjacket and poor infrastructure, Pakistani business has until recently been left in the dust by more competitive regional economies. That is beginning to change following the appointment of former Citibank executive Shaukat Aziz as Prime Minister. In 2005, Pakistan registered one of the fastest growth rates in the world (8.4 percent) as red tape was cut and foreign investment attracted. Some Pakistani expatriates are returning to invest at home, less out of a sense of patriotic duty than because of new opportunities.

There are massive challenges. Trade negotiations with India proceed at glacial pace. Most trade is still indirect through Dubai, and a visit last year to the only road crossing open for trade (at Wagah) revealed nothing more than a few truck loads of Indian potatoes and garlic crossing the border. Potentially, an open trading relationship with India could bring capital and markets to Pakistan, but not at this rate.

Pakistan has to sustain and learn to handle high economic growth if is to meet the challenge of a young and increasingly urbanized population, many of whom are without regular work. In the interest of transparency, the government has to tackle the fabulous perks enjoyed by the military and its interests in the commercial and agricultural sectors. Unless handled astutely, economic growth could bring about as many problems as it solves, accelerating the rush to the cities and the growth of an underemployed, unskilled "proletariat" exposed to but unable to attain wealth. Above all, massive investment and political resources need to be plowed into overhauling education, where the curriculum is dominated by religious education with little vocational instruction

Succession

This is the greatest near-term imponderable in Pakistan. Musharraf has avoided grooming a successor and despite multiple promises has not shed his uniform for civilian garb. The pro-military PML-Q party -- the largest in parliament -- has no outstanding leaders but is rather a vehicle for the General's 2007 election bid. Musharraf has hand-picked his immediate circle of military chiefs; no one in the largely technocratic government has a power base. But in reinforcing his rule he has enfeebled Pakistan's already moribund political institutions. It's unclear whether in the run-up to the elections he will seek favor from the more secular parties (rehabilitating the Bhutto or Sharif dynasties) or the Islamists. Whichever direction he tilts will constrain his room for maneuver.

Many observers in Pakistan have a grudging respect for Musharraf's ability to bring stability (especially when compared with the chaos and corruption of the previous governments). But there is also anxiety that he is beginning to develop a "cult of indispensability." Increasingly, Musharraf compares himself to Pakistan's revered founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah. At the Independence Day rally in Lahore last year, he was flanked by two enormous portraits of Jinnah -- partly to underline his secular credentials, but also to portray himself as the indispensable father of modern Pakistan; so indispensable that there was a well-guarded 50-yard gap between him and his audience.

Few Pakistani analysts regard Musharraf as a visionary who can refashion Pakistan in the style of Ataturk (his hero) into a modern, secular state. The best they hope for is that his instinct for tactical advantage, his talent for steering between the Scylla and Charibdis in pursuit of "enlightened moderation" provides stability, which in turn limits the appeal of the Islamic opposition and entrenches economic improvement. The alternative, that al Qaeda gets lucky in one of its assassination attempts, is not one they wish to entertain.

Tim Lister has covered international news for 25 years as a producer and reporter for the BBC and CNN. He has lived and worked in the Middle East, and has also worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2004, he produced the award-winning documentary "Between Hope and Fear: Journeys in the New Iraq" for CNN. He is now an independent writer and producer.
Mushrraf is paying lip service to getting rid of the AQ and instead is more keen to consolidate his position in the country.

However, this is going to be a serious problem for him.
Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2006   #11
SWJED
Small Wars Journal
 
SWJED's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Largo, Florida
Posts: 3,988
Default Pakistan: Friend or Foe?

5 September Los Angeles Times commentary - Pakistan: Friend or Foe? by Selig Harrison.

Quote:
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf is supposedly a key U.S. ally in the "war on terror." But is he, in fact, more of a liability than an asset in combating Al Qaeda and the increasingly menacing Taliban forces in Afghanistan?...

Musharraf's most vocal defender is former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who has urged continued support for him "no matter how frustrated we become at the pace of political change and the failure to eliminate Taliban fighters from the Afghan border." Musharraf is better than what might come after him, Armitage argues, and is a moderate who has done his best to fend off the entrenched forces of Islamic extremism in Pakistan.

But this argument does not hold up against mounting evidence that, as an ally, Musharraf has been an opportunist from the start who has continued to help the Taliban (just as he had done before 9/11 ) and who has gone after Al Qaeda cells in Pakistan only to the extent necessary to fend off U.S. and British pressure.

On Sept. 19, 2001, Musharraf made a revealing TV address in Urdu, not noticed at the time by most Americans, in which he reassured Pakistanis who sympathized with Al Qaeda and the Taliban that his decision to line up with the U.S. was a temporary expedient.

To Taliban sympathizers, Musharraf directed an explicit message, saying: "I have done everything for the … Taliban when the whole world was against them….We are trying our best to come out of this critical situation without any damage to Afghanistan and the Taliban." He has kept his promise to the latter.

Taliban forces continue to have unrestricted access to Pakistani border towns as staging areas and sanctuaries. Pakistani soldiers look the other way when Taliban units cross the mountains at Bormoi. With U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan suffering increasingly heavy casualties in the face of a Taliban offensive this summer, their officers no longer mince words about Pakistan's role. Col. Chris Vernon, chief of staff of British forces in southern Afghanistan, charged recently that the Pakistan border town of Chaman serves as the "major headquarters" for a guerrilla network in southeast Afghanistan.

Musharraf sees the Taliban as a pro-Pakistan counterweight to Indian influence in Afghanistan and wants to keep it strong in case Afghan President Hamid Karzai is overthrown and Afghanistan collapses into chaos. As a sop to Washington and London, he ordered raids on two small Taliban encampments in July, and he occasionally rounds up key Al Qaeda figures — but in many cases only after the FBI and CIA have confronted Pakistani police with communications intercepts pinpointing their hide-outs.

Even if Musharraf wanted to remove Taliban and Al Qaeda forces from Pakistan, his ability to do so is limited by the political pact that he made with a five-party Islamic alliance in 2004 to win state elections in the two key border provinces. As a result, Al Qaeda and Taliban activity is openly supported by local officials there, and Pakistani groups allied with Al Qaeda are thriving, notably Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba. This prevents Musharraf from carrying out his pledge to crack down on madrasas (religious schools) linked to terrorist groups.

The Islamic parties are flourishing under the protective umbrella of the Pakistani armed forces. Their growth would be slowed if secular political forces had a chance to assert themselves through free elections and a parliamentary system liberated from army manipulation. Under Musharraf, the army has seized much more power than past military regimes, installing military officers in hundreds of government posts previously held by civil servants. Army-sponsored conglomerates control multibillion-dollar enterprises and will not be easily dislodged. As a Pakistani editor commented, "Most countries have an army, but in Pakistan, the army has a country." ...
SWJED is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2006   #12
Merv Benson
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Washington, Texas
Posts: 305
Default Pakistan's Taliban truce

According to the BBC, Pakistan has entered into an agreement with Taliban tribesman that amounts to a cease fire and a deal to turn over "foreigners."

Quote:
Pakistan has signed a deal with pro-Taleban militants on the Afghan border aimed at ending years of unrest.

The North Waziristan accord calls on tribesmen to expel foreign militants and end cross-border attacks in return for a reduced military presence.

Tens of thousands of Pakistani troops are fighting foreign Islamic militants and their local supporters in the country's restive tribal belt.

Hundreds of people have been killed in violence in North Waziristan this year.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says some observers believe the deal offers the government an exit from a military strategy that has largely failed.

...

Under the accord, the Pakistani military promises to end major operations in the area.

It will pull most of its soldiers back to military camps, but will still operate border check-points.

Over the summer the military met other conditions, releasing a number of tribesmen in an apparent goodwill gesture to the militants and withdrawing soldiers from new check-posts.

Local Taleban supporters, in turn, have pledged not to harbour foreign militants, launch cross-border raids or attack Pakistani government troops or facilities.

Observers say meeting these conditions could be difficult, as the Taleban has support on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border.
The value of the agreement will depend in large part on whether the tribal leaders word is any good and what is meant by "harboring foreign militants." Does that mean they are going to turn over bin Laden and Zawahiri? Probably not.
Merv Benson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2006   #13
Ray
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calcutta, India
Posts: 1,124
Default

Quote:
Islamabad, Pakistan (AHN) - After signing a truce with pro-Taliban militants on its border with Afghanistan, Pakistan is now extending the olive branch to America's most wanted man; Osama bin Laden.

Pakistani officials tell ABC that the leader of the terror group al-Qaeda, and the mastermind of the September 11th attacks in the U.S. will not face capture if he agrees to lead a "peaceful life."

Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan says that "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen" bin Laden "would not be taken into custody.
http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7004763605

and the Treaty signed with the tribal leaders in North Waziristan.
The above are masterstrokes that Musharraf has played. Brilliant, in fact.

No longer will Pakistan's own troops battle its own people. It is a larger than life message to the Balochis - play by the rules and all will be well!

This is also a great message to fundamentalists and fundamnetalist leaning political parties and the Pakistani population that Pakistan will not fight its own people which is an unIslamic act, in that Moslems killing Moslem. A great coup.

The withdrawal of troops from North Waziristan means an open hunting season for western forces in the guise of 'Hot Pursuits" and if Osama is nabbed, then neither the Pakistani govt nor Musharraf can be held responsible. After all, the tribal leaders wanted the army to be out!

It is a brilliant move par excellence by Musharraf.

Abizaid's visit and the Canadian proclamation (that was taken back) that western troops should be placed on the Pakistan side of the border could be read in this context.

One has to see now how the cat jumps!
Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2006   #14
Ray
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calcutta, India
Posts: 1,124
Default

Below is an article that explains the undercurrents that occur in Pakistan politics.

The article was published in the Indian Army ATRAC magazine PINNACLE

Owing to the space restriction of the posting, it is in parts.

*********************************
Military Involvement in the Political Development of Pakistan and its Rationale

Introduction

Pakistan shares a common heritage with India. Its Army, like the Indian Army, had inherited the apolitical culture of the British Army.

Yet, there have been four coup d’états that toppled the civil governments of Pakistan. This is extraordinary since they should have imbibed the British ethos more than the Indians as the British were closer to the Moslems community since the bulk of their retainers were Moslems, who had less of social inhibitions that the Hindus. Unfortunately, Pakistanis apparently have not imbibed the British legacy either in their military or in governance.

Why?

The rationale for the repeated coup d’états is very complex. It has its roots in militarism that diffused through the political and social ethos of the areas that became Pakistan. It was also spawned additionally in the psychological, social and political catharsis that the events during the Partition havocked on the mindset of the migrants from India. The illusion of having been the rulers of India prior to the British and then being reduced to being the legatee of a moth eaten state called Pakistan instead of the Indian Empire, too added to a serious irritant to the Pakistani ego. Therefore, it is not surprising, given the mix stated earlier, that the population sought salvation through the more disciplined military to rid them of the chaos, deprivation and ignominy that Pakistan has sunk to owing to the ‘dis-focussed’ governments that followed Jinnah and after the assassination of Liaquat Ali. The global ascension of Nehru and India’s stature in comparison also indirectly aggrandised the consolidation of militarism egged on by obscurantist element. Unfortunately, this practice of military in governance has become more of a rule than an exception even though the popular index has diminished.

An overview of the psyche that propels the destiny of Pakistan, continually wracked by military coup d’états, is thus essential since such ‘turbulence’ affects the stability of the region and impedes the progress of the sub continent in the highly global existence. Such analysis alone can assist in collaborating to bring stability and progress to the region. It is in the world’s interest that a responsible and incorruptible democracy permanently returns to Pakistan. Had Pakistan not been carved out of India and instead was a nation with its own history, it might have been a “normal” nation. Therefore, the cause and the impact of the anti Indian psyche leading to militarism, visitations of military dictatorships and the role of the military in the ‘development’ of Pakistan must be understood.

The Social Churn of Pakistan

Carved out of India, Pakistan came into existence with five provinces – Balochistan, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Punjab, Sindh and East Bengal. Balochistan and NWFP were tribal in composition (and loosely administered, even in the British era) while Punjab, Sindh and East Bengal were peasantry predominant. Excepting in East Bengal, because of the feudal structure of areas that became Pakistan, there was a deficiency in the constitutional and institutional ethos or awareness. Axiomatically, the ‘mai baap’ (feudal lords being the sole arbiter) culture permeating the citizens’ interactivity was a way of life. There were the rich and there were the poor but hardly any middle class. There was barely any industry or commerce worth mention except to some extent in Karachi.

On the other hand, undivided Punjab, the epicentre of Pakistani politics, was the cradle for the military. During World War I, Punjab alone accounted for 66 per cent cavalry, 87 per cent artillery and 45 per cent infantry of the undivided Indian Army. It was obvious that Punjab became historically military sensitive and its administration was essentially committed to the welfare of the soldiery. The military cast it shadow in all the facets of the social milieu of Punjab. The extent of the military’s influence can be well judged by the fact that in the first two decades of the 20th Century, the Punjab government granted half a million acres of land as rewards to the soldiers. At Partition, Punjab, and to some extent the Rawalpindi district, swamped in domination in the Indian Army. There lay the foundation of the militarism that grips Punjab and in consequence, Pakistan.

Upon Partition, the Mohajirs, or migrants from India, comprised 20 percent of Pakistan’s population. They were socially aware, better educated and intellectually and politically empowered. These migrants formed the middle class and axiomatically had overwhelming representation amongst bureaucracy, judiciary, commerce and industry since the indigenous population was feudalistic and socially, educationally and politically backward. The Punjabis who were getting sidelined in governance, had never appreciated this ‘usurping of power’ by the migrants. Yet, given Jinnah’s (a Mohajir) stature as the Qaid e Azam, the Punjabis could do little to exert themselves.

Jinnah’s Moslem League dominated the political scene, which was virtually composed of the more educated, politically and socially savvy migrants of India. On the other hand, the Punjabis and other indigenous tribes staffed the military. This obviously led to a schism and the successive resurfacing of military governments was but a manifestation of the original inhabitants, predominantly the Punjabis, attempting to establish their hold on governance which they felt was rightful theirs. Thus lay the foundation of the jockeying for power between the indigenous and the migrant populations exemplified by the military and the rest, which is now history.

Last edited by Ray; 09-21-2006 at 07:27 PM.
Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2006   #15
Ray
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calcutta, India
Posts: 1,124
Default

Continued from above


Rationale for the Anti Indian Psyche – Catalyst for the Armed Forces Involvement

Interestingly, the anti Indian psyche that now forms the rasion d’être of the present shape of the Indo Pak relationship, and Pakistan’s overzealous quest to assert a Muslim identity, was not the handiwork of the indigenous Pakistani population. It was the migrants who shaped the psyche of the new nation. The migrants, being rootless, and without a common cultural and ethnic identity of their own, that they would be swamped into oblivion if sub-nationalism was allowed to develop roots in Pakistan. Being savvy, they realised that unless there was a bogey created that would divert attention, they would have no future. Hence, the whipped up the fear of India that was already prevalent because of the horrendous events of the Partition. However, realising that this phenomenon would not last, they used Islam as the bulwark since this would attain perpetuity. Hence, Islam was used as a cause célèbre in Pakistan to divert attention from sub-nationalism while propping ‘oneness’ (Islam) of the sole factor for the existence and propagation of Pakistan, and the anti Indian factor suited this line of militant Islamism immeasurably. (note: that is why Pakistanis cannot think beyond India being Hindu inspite of a huge minority of Muslims as it would not suit the agenda!) Sub-nationalism was thus pushed into an insignificant pale except to some extent in East Bengal (East {Pakistan).

The matter would have. However, in masterful sleight of hand, the indigenous population of Pakistan, which dominated the Army, with a view to best the Mohajir at their game, fed fat the Mohajir inspired hate psychosis by keeping the Kashmir issue and the bogey of India on the boil. This was also done to extract a hefty defence budget at the expense of progress in Pakistan and ensuring perks “beyond the call of duty”. Mohajirs in the Army like Musharraf, play ball to suit their personal interests. Thus, the one-upmanship game continues to the detriment of their citizenry and to the discomfort of the subcontinent and the world at large!

The anti Indian feeling has its foundation in the Partition. In India, which is a vast country, the basic tendency is for the reverberation to die out as these progress outward. Therefore, the mayhem and trauma of the Partition was experienced in Bengal and the Punjab alone and found sober repercussions in the rest of India. This was not so with the smaller Pakistan. The blood letting in these states was felt throughout Pakistan. Apart from the Punjab and East Bengal, the various elements of the Army extensively employed to control the mayhem, such as the Pakistan Miltiary Evacuation Organisation (PMEO) was also affected. Muslim, unlike other religious denominations, are more inward looking and cohesive and more subservient to their Mullahs. The mullahs had a field day. The gruesome stories reached the remote corners of Pakistan. The Hindu – Muslim animosity that caused the Partition turned into a deep rooted hatred. The Pakistani Army too got brutalised and politicised!

From Pakistan’s point of view, to add insult to injury, was the Radcliffe Award that demarcated the boundary of India and Pakistan. The Pakistanis felt shortchanged. In India, too, many felt shortchanged. However, while Indians accepted the same as a fait accompli, there being no option if Independence was to come about on schedule, the Pakistanis could not reconcile. This added to the cauldron of hatred for Indians.

The failure of being thwarted in 1947 in the annexation of Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim majority State which acceded to India; failure to capitalised on Islam to rouse the Kashmiris and being defeated in the war in 1965; the humiliating rout in 1971 with 90,000 of the best of the ‘redoubtable and invincible’ Pakistani Army being taken as prisoners of war and Pakistan torn in half; and the Kargil folly where Pakistan was ensconced in the international doghouse, have only added to the ‘hate India’ psyche. Worse still, through each defeat in the successive wars Pakistan thrust on India, was exploding the self deluding myth that Muslims are manifold braver and better than the avaricious, feeble and emaciated Hindus [little do they realise that the Nation is composed of all religious groups who are equally dedicated to the Indian nationhood!] This shattering of the psychological indoctrination, based on assumed religious superiority, makes it difficult for the Pakistanis accept the reality of India’s superiority in size and economy. The fact that in 1965 and also in Kargil, it was the Muslims who alerted the country is too insulting for Pakistanis to believe!

That India has stood tall in the international arena without buckling or aligning to any major power has added to their national shame wherein they have found their country a handmaiden of the US, mortgaging their destiny to the dictates of that country. For proud Muslims, it is yet another bitter pill and a fulcrum of jealous anger against India. Thus, that the cup if Pakistani hatred brims over, and India, in the Pakistani mindset, is the cause of their nation’s deprivations is but natural.
Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2006   #16
Ray
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calcutta, India
Posts: 1,124
Default

Continued from abvoe

*******************

Growth of Military’s Predominance

As elucidated above, the Pakistani psyche was moulded to suit the migrants’ fear of sub-nationalism rising and swamping their rootless identity, the Punjabis’ ‘loss of power’ and their abating of their predominance, the fervent focus on Islam as the saviour and the uniting force, and impertinently, a contrived fear of India. This resulted in the tussle between these various powerful focal points in the governance of Pakistan. This, in turn, resulted in a schizophrenic morass in the quest for national identity. This unholy power struggle between the various vested interest groups and the mullahs led to a chaotic state which was neither democratic nor representative.

From Independence to 1958, turmoil and strife was commonplace and brimming subsurface. The Parliament was not representative since it had been elected indirectly. Even thought the Constituent Assembly was composed of the ‘locals’, the migrants controlled the executive wing of the government. The first coup had already taken place in 1954, at the hands of the bureaucracy, and not the Army! The Governor General, Gulam Mohammed, dissolved the National Assembly and formed a so called ‘government of talent’. It was an amalgam of various ethno-regional, industrial, landed, bureaucratic and military interests. However, the illegitimacy of the arrangement led to the indirect elections of 1955 to form the Second Constituent Assembly.

The elections were being postponed repeatedly because of the fear of various lobbies losing their clout to machinate governance to suit their interest. Making matters worse were the Bengalis who, as a’ bloc’, were in the majority. Suhrawardy of Bengal loomed as a Spectre, which could upset the delicate power equation of the Mohajirs and the Punjabis! The spatial distance between East and West Pakistans being large and discontinuous, the mentalities and ethos were equally disparate. This psyche obviously did not fashion any bonhomie with the Bengalis nor with the other communities. Thus, there was an internal schism.

The elections were to be held. This would mean the power base would shift to the representatives of the people; worse still to the Bengalis, who were unpredictable and were not too steeped in the form of zeal propagated by the Mohajirs and the Punjabis. The prospect of handing power to the peoples’ representatives, did not suit the vested interests of the bureaucracy, military, feudal satraps and other niches of privilege. In this disquieting milieu, the first military coup took place.

The President Iskander Mirza invited the Army in. The Army did not alienate the vested seats of interest. However, for the Army, it was their first savour of power and it was sapid. The tables were slowly turned to bring in the supremacy of the Punjabi influence, the army being predominantly Punjabi who were the erstwhile pacesetters of the destiny of the areas that came to be Pakistan. Ayub Khan’s military rule was more benign than his successors, though during his tenure, Pakistan shifted to a Presidential form of government. He did bring in stability as also attempted to make Pakistan self reliant through industrialisation to some extent.

In 1970, General Yahyah Khan was forced by circumstances to call an election. The result resurrected the sceptre that the vested interests feared, especially the military. The elections delineated the people along ethnic, linguistic, class and sectarian niches. The worst fear fructified. Mujibur Rehman, a fiery Bengali, would become the Prime Minister! This served none’s purpose including the common Punjabis, who illogically reposed on themselves the fallacy that they were a superior race! Therefore, the turmoil in Pakistani polity suited the military and bureaucracy. ZA Bhutto, another charismatic leader, a Sindhi and West Pakistani, and the second polestar of popularity, was covertly propped up by the military. Bengalis, realising that they had been shortchanged, rose in rebellion. The rest is the sad history of Pakistan. Yahyah and his military cahoots attempted to brutally goosestep the Bengali aspirations and this came to as sorry pass. East Pakistan, plundered, raped and pillaged rose as a phoenix and emerged as Bangladesh! The military was disgraced. The Punjabi domination ebbed, as Bhutto became the undisputed leader and Prime Minister.

The military and the Punjabis could not brook this shift in the seat of power, especially since democracy was becoming a bedrock in Pakistan and the power brokers and vested interests [to some extent] banished into oblivion. Like all despots, Bhutto too overreached himself and played into the hands of the military. A popular movement against his autocracy was set afire.

Gnereal Zia ul Haq, a Bhutto protégé, had Bhutto arrested and hung. He changed the form of government to semi Presidential one through the 8th Amendment to ensure that the Army ruled supreme. The Pakistani history from Zia to Nawaz Sahrif is too recent to repeat. However, it was Sharif who clipped the wings of the military by taking away the presidential powers to dissolve the national and provincial assemblies with the 13th Amendment in April 1997, much to the chagrin of the Army.

The paternalistic attitude that still prevails in Pakistan has allowed the Army during each coup to hold the populations’ adulation initially, since the same adulation was allowed to politicians in the interim to ruin democracy through misgovernance and corruption. Thus, the cycle continues with Pakistan meandering rudderless through a variety of government, both military and civil!

The Army has mastered the politics of ‘bringing democracy to the doorstep’.
Each successive coup engineered by the Army has used this trump card to justify the act. Ayub brought in ‘Basic Democracies’ in the 1962 Constitution. It had ensured that local counsellors were elected and they acted as the Electoral College that not only elected the President but also the national and provincial assemblies. This way Ayub ensured that politics was localised and de-radicalised. It was also ensured that there was a direct link between the villages and the central government, cutting across parochial party based patronage, especially since no party had the means to field 80,000 candidates! The District Administration was supreme in the allocation of funds. Indeed, this was a novel way to ensure a ‘panchayati raj’ while having a centralised control over the progress of he country. However, this scheme alienated the intelligentsia since they had no role to play. A turmoil ensued and Ayub had to quit.

Zia also realised that ‘bringing democracy to the doorstep’ was a failsafe method to ensure continuance of his power. He promised elections twice, but postponed the same since it could be disastrous for his regime since the environment clearly indicated a pro Pakistan Peoples’ Party [Bhutto’s Party] tilt. Therefore, he wanted to test the waters. He took the tested route through local bodies’ election, which was held regularly till the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) in 1983 forced him to opt for elections. However, cleaver as he was, Zia agreed for election but on non party basis. This ensured an inbuilt safety. In any case, the Constitution empowered the President to dismiss the government at will.

President General Musharraf too has taken the route of the military dictators before him. Instead of general elections that the Nation demanded, he opted for elections to the local bodies. To ensure centralised control, Parvez constituted the National Reconstruction Board (NRB), patterned on the Bureau of National Reconstruction that Ayub had constituted. In short, it was to bring democracy to the grassroots and yet did not devolve on it the revenue raising power.

Increasingly, in spite of of the cosmetic power to the local bodies, the actual power has rested with the Central government. This type of an environment where political and religious views in deciding the fate of the Nation was stifled, the political scene became murkier. With the political and financial patronage of the Central government (i.e. the Army, with Musharraf both as the Army Chief and the President), the Central government thus engineered the elections in the Districts, which threw up very odd bedfellows. This suited Musharraf’s designs to keep the US on tenterhooks as also appease the population. In fact, it became a strife between the Army and its bedfellows versus the Rest, which is composed of rather incongruous customers and hence more instability. This instability also fits the designs of the Army.

In this context, the Army has always distrusted the politicians even more than they distrust India. They hold them in contempt as corrupt and self serving with little concern for Pakistan. That is the reason why the Army has always insisted on its hold on the foreign policy, especially after they were in disarray after resounding defeat and the disgrace of 1971. Likewise in the democratic phase from 1988 to 1999, no defence policy could be framed without the sanction of the military. Every government of Pakistan had a watchdog body composed of the military to keep an eye on the affairs of the state.

Last edited by Ray; 09-21-2006 at 07:28 PM.
Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2006   #17
Ray
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calcutta, India
Posts: 1,124
Default

Concluding part

*********************

That the politicians are not the major players in the destiny of Pakistan, especially now, is borne by the fact that when Nawaz Sahrif took some steps to normalising the relationship with India, he was overthrown. In fact, he was backstabbed by Kargil! To his credit, he was the first Punjabi politician to be ready to reconsider the intangible position of Pakistan on Kashmir (his own father opposed it!). He and Vajpayee thawed the tense situation with the Lahore Bus, exchange of prisoners, visits of commercial and cultural delegations and the Lahore Declaration including the easing of the visa protocol. He also started the Track Two diplomacy. And yet, the Army prevailed! They orchestrated an asinine plan in Kargil, defying military tenets, without planning re-supply for suystenance of the troops (the diary recovered in Dras indicated so) and then finally overthrew him! These reflect the total supremacy of the Army in governance.


Conclusion

The Pakistan military, and to some extent the bureaucracy, will continue to be at the helm of affairs in the governance of Pakistan. The rationale and the ethos for the same have been already explained in detail in this article. It is too deep seated for any quick change. The migrants, whoa re intellectually superior and form the bulk of the bureaucracy, will continue to ensure their supremacy and not allow sub-nationalism to surface or else they are doomed to oblivion. Till today, even after 56 years of Independence, they are not accepted as a part of Pakistan and are still referred to as Mohajirs (refugees). Likewise, the self proclaimed ‘superior race’ Punjabis will not abdicate their predominance and they have the Army (70% still is Punjabis) to put their money where their mouth is! Lastly, there is always the India factor, to strike the fear of God in any deviate!.

The only hope of salvation of this complex situation is the economic, social and political stability of Pakistan. This is achievable only through interpersonal interactivity of the population of Indian and Pakistan and a better commercial equation between the two countries. A prosperous nation is a contented nation.

Kashmir will axiomatically find its slot.

(PINNACLE Vol 2, No 2 October 2003)

sorry about this long post. There are no links.

Last edited by Ray; 09-21-2006 at 11:19 PM.
Ray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2006   #18
marct
Council Member
 
marct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,682
Default An upcoming 60 minutes interview

This is just an FYI

Quote:
U.S. threatened to bomb Pakistan over war on terror: Musharraf
Last Updated Thu, 21 Sep 2006 20:49:01 EDT
CBC News

The U.S. threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age" after the Sept. 11 attacks if the country refused to help America with its war on terrorism, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says.

In an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes to air on Sunday, the Pakistani leader said the threat came from then-deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage. Musharraf said it was delivered to his intelligence director.

More....

Source: CBC News
Speaking of "masterfulstrokes".....

Marc
__________________
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Senior Research Fellow,
The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
http://marctyrrell.com/
marct is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2006   #19
SWJED
Small Wars Journal
 
SWJED's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Largo, Florida
Posts: 3,988
Default Pakistani Role in Mumbai Bombings?

SWJED is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2006   #20
SWJED
Small Wars Journal
 
SWJED's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Largo, Florida
Posts: 3,988
Default Headquarters of the Taliban

24 November Der Spiegel - Headquarters of the Taliban by Susanne Koelbl.

Quote:
To understand the war in Afghanistan, one must go to Pakistan. There, in Quetta, the leaders of the Taliban find safe harbor. Afghan President Hamid Karzai claims Taliban leader Mullah Omar is living there.

Quetta is located in western Pakistan. It is the capital of Balochistan, the largest and poorest of the Pakistani provinces. Somewhat like a lunar outpost, the 800,000-resident city is situated at an altitude of nearly 1,700 meters between the sand-brown peaks of Chiltan, Takatoo, Mordar and Zarghun. Quetta originally means "fort," and it has always been just that: a fortress, where opposing forces are battling for regional hegemony.

Quetta is considered the center of terror and resistance against the Americans and their allies -- the "occupiers" of Afghanistan. In the backrooms of radical parties and in the white-washed mosques whose towers spiral decoratively skywards, the elite of the holy warriors meet regularly to organize their comeback. Right out in the open streets -- between the market stalls with pomegranates and dates, the currency exchanges and the vats where meat and beans steam on open fires -- the Taliban recruit the holy warriors who will blow themselves up as suicide bombers in Afghanistan...
Much more at the link.
SWJED is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
afghanistan, china, gwot, india, pakistan, saudi arabia

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How to beat the Taliban in Afghanistan / Pakistan (and win the war on terror) Peter Dow OEF - Afghanistan 39 03-21-2014 02:56 PM
Step 1: Decentralize Afghanistan IntelTrooper OEF - Afghanistan 15 07-25-2009 01:57 PM
NATO's Afghanistan Challenge Ray OEF - Afghanistan 38 05-30-2007 10:10 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation