Back in December, I posted a diary called ”The bubbling disaster that is Pakistan”. And while I wasn’t as concerned about the lack of exposure my diary got at the time, I was a bit concerned about the lack of exposure that the issue was receiving in general. And just like LithiumCola points out in his diary about Afghanistan getting little exposure in the US media, we have a real problem on our hands with respect to Pakistan.
You remember Pakistan – our “bestest friends in the WarOnTerror™”. The same Pakistan that has recently been called the new “haven” for al Qaeda. The same Pakistan that not only already has nuclear weapons, but has sold their secrets to Iran, North Korea, Libya and other countries (and whose mastermind got off real easy, all things considered). The same Pakistan that John Negroponte himself accused of helping (or turning a blind eye to) bin Laden and his followers in their country.
Well, as I have said in the past, it is “shit meet fan time” in Pakistan.
President Musharraf is fighting for his political (and actual) life lately, as there have been numerous protests and a “healthy” amount of violence over the past few months. However, this past week has been particularly bad. Over the past 2 days alone, violence and protests have killed nearly 40 and wounded around 130. Reports called this the “worst political violence in Pakistan in years.
Musharraf has already survived two or three assassination attempts and just a couple of weeks ago, a suicide bomber killed 28 in an attempted assassination of a senior government Minster. Oh, have I mentioned that Pakistan ALREADY has nuclear weapons and has sold its secrets to not one but TWO “Axis of Evil” members?
In trying to keep his tenuous hold on his position, Musharraf recently dismissed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry for “misconduct and nepotism”. In turn, Musharraf has been accused of manipulating the election process and setting the stage for him to retain power in the upcoming elections (well, maybe there is a reason why he is so close to the Bush administration).
The dismissal back in March obviously led to outrage by the Judiciary as well as opposition parties, and most of the people killed or wounded over the past couple of days were rallying in favor of the dismissed Chief Justice, or were members of opposition parties who were rallying against Musharraf.
What makes this worse is the following quote from The Moderate Voice:
“New York-based Human Rights Watch said the government and its allies had apparently ‘deliberately sought to foment violence in Karachi’, and police stood by as ’silent spectators’.”
One of the greatest problems with the US administration is that it seemingly loves to put all its eggs in the basket provided by tin pot dictators (military and civil), while in the same breath keeps a running commentary about the virtues of democracy.
Recent polls have Musharraf at a low approval rating, and only 30% support him holding both positions of President and Army Chief. Add this to the fact that he is in a very precarious position with respect to pleasing his US masters in quelling the violence and cracking down on the Taliban or al Qaeda and not running afoul of his citizens who are not really big fans of his (to say the least).
But he is being blamed by many for allowing this violence and for instigating it with the dismissal of the Chief Justice. Couple this with the fact that there have already been numerous attempts on his life, and a recent attempt on the life of another top government official, and we could be closer than we thing to staring at a situation that is worse than what we are being led to believe about Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan AND North Korea COMBINED.
That being a country with nuclear weapons, a track record of selling those secrets, a haven for BOTH the Taliban and al Qaeda – allowing them to plan or launch attacks on NATO troops in Afghanistan, right in the backyard of our troops, a reason to actually hate the US, and the means, desire and ability to overthrow its leader.
Does anyone think that the Bush administration has thought of how to deal with this very likely scenario, let alone have the ability to deal with it?
That is the 800 pound gorilla in the Middle East.