THE CRISIS IN PAKISTAN: CHICKENS COMING HOME TO ROOST?
"Whereas there is visible ascendancy in the activities of extremists and incidents of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, IED explosions, rocket firing and bomb explosions and the banding together of some militant groups have taken such activities to an unprecedented level of violent intensity posing a grave threat to the life and property of the citizens of Pakistan.
Whereas there has also been a spate of attacks on state infrastructure and on law enforcement agencies; Whereas some members of the judiciary are working at cross purposes with the executive and legislature in the fight against terrorism and extremism, thereby weakening the government and the nation's resolve and diluting the efficacy of its actions to control this menace; Whereas there has been increasing interference by some members of the judiciary in government policy, adversely affecting economic growth, in particular; Whereas constant interference in executive function, including but not limited to the control of terrorist activity, economic policy, price controls, downsizing of corporations and urban planning, has weakened the writ of the government; the police force has been completely demoralized and is fast losing its efficacy to fight terrorism and Intelligence Agencies have been thwarted in their activities and prevented from pursuing terrorists; Whereas some hard core militants, extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers, who were arrested and being investigated were ordered to be released. The persons so released have subsequently been involved in heinous terrorist activities, resulting in loss of human life an property. Militants across the country have, thus, been encouraged while law enforcement agencies subdued....
Accordance with the constitution and as the constitution provides no solution for this situation, there is no way out except through emergent and extraordinary measures; And whereas the situation has been reviewed in meetings with the Prime Minister, governors of all Provinces, and with chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, chiefs of the armed forces, vice-chief of army Staff and corps commanders of the Pakistan army;Now, therefore, in pursuance of the deliberations and decisions of the said meetings, I, General Pervez Musharraf, Chief of the Army Staff, proclaim emergency throughout Pakistan.
I hereby order and proclaim that the constitution of the Islamic republic of Pakistan shall remain in abeyance. This Proclamation shall come into force at once".
see: www.dawn.com "Text of the Proclamation,"
"It's a crisis that has its roots almost half a century ago, when the military in my country first seized power, in 1958. Four military dictatorships -- and most recently those of General Zia ul-Haq in the '80s and now General Musharraf -- have ruled my nation for the last 30 years, except for a few years of civilian government. And so I believe that democracy has never really been given a chance to grow or nurture in my homeland....
In the view of my party, military dictatorship, first in the '80s and now again, under General Musharraf, has fueled the forces of extremism, and military dictatorship puts into place a government that is unaccountable, that is unrepresentative, undemocratic, and disconnected from the ordinary people in the country, disconnected from the aspirations of the people who make up Pakistan. Moreover, military dictatorship is born from the power of the gun, and so it undermines the concept of the rule of law and gives birth to a culture of might, a culture of weapons, violence and intolerance.
The suppression of democracy in my homeland has had profound institutional consequences. The major infrastructure building blocks of democracy have been weakened, political parties have been marginalized, NGOs are dismantled, judges sacked and civil society undermined. And by undermining the infrastructure of democracy, the regime that is in place to date was a regime put into place by the intelligence agencies after the flawed elections of 2002. This regime has not allowed the freedom of association, the freedom of movement, the freedom of speech for moderate political forces, and so by default, the mosques and the madrassas have become the only outlet of permitted political expression in the country.
And so just as the -- we've seen the emergence of the religious parties, we've seen the emergence of the extremist groups, and just as the military dictatorship of the '80s used the so-called Islamic card to promote a military dictatorship while demonizing political parties, so too the present military establishment of this century has used the so-called Islamist card to pressurize the international community into supporting military dictatorship once again....
The U.S. intelligence recent threat assessment stated that, and I quote, "Al Qaeda and the Taliban seem to be fairly well-settled into the safe haven spaces of Pakistan. We see more training, we see more money, we see more communications, we see that activity rising." That's the most recent U.S. national intelligence threat assessment. And so it's often surprising to those of us in Pakistan who see the international community back the present regime. But this backing continues, despite the regime's failure to stop the Taliban and al Qaeda reorganizing after they were defeated, demoralized and dispersed following the events of 9/11.
This is a regime under which the religious parties have risen, for the first time, to power, and they run two of Pakistan's four federating units -- two most critical states of Pakistan, those that border Afghanistan. And even while the military dictatorship has allowed the religious parties to govern two of Pakistan's most critical four provinces, it has exiled the moderate leadership of the country, it has weakened internal law enforcement and allowed for a very bloody suppression of people's human rights....
The West's close association with a military dictatorship, in my humble view, is alienating Pakistan's people and is playing into the hands of those hardliners who blame the West for the ills of the region. And it need not be this way. A people inspired by democracy, human rights and economic opportunity will turn their back decisively against extremism....
However, without progress on the issue of fair elections, this dialogue could founder. And now, as we approach the autumn, time is running out".
Ex-Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, July 2007 in www.cfr.org
Politics in the Indian subcontinent, most especially Pakistan, has a depressingly cyclical aspect, which the latest events in the country appear to quite easily fit into. The fact that two diametrically opposed analysts by orientation and opinions(Ahmed Rashid & Sumit Ganguly in respectively: www.washingtonpost.com & www.nationalreview.com) have a very similar view of the underlying situation: Musharraf is in a political cul de sac. Of his own making of course. Just as General Ayub Khan in the 1969-1971 period, and General Zia in the period immediately before his demise in 1988, all found out is that the novelty of military rule as a 'coup de tourchon', a 'clean break', with corrupt civilian politics, eventually comes to an end. With the self-same military rule, running into the quicksand of the institutional and structural problems of Pakistani society. Problems that Musharraf, during his nearly eight years of military rule, has dismally failed to address, much less resolve: failures in economic development, failures in education, in corruption at every level, failures to resolve the ongoing tar baby of Kashmir, and the failed and draining rivalry with India. Instead, the Musharraf regime, has institutionalized the Islamic-extremist proclivities of elements of Pakistani military intelligence (ISI). With its forlorn hopes that by harnessing Islamic extremism in both Afghanistan and Kashmir, Lahore could make up its economic and military weakness vis-`a-vis New Delhi. The only result of the entire exercise was the emergence of the Taliban and its expansion after its ouster from Afghanistan, into Pakistan itself, and, the failed confrontation with India in 1998-1999, and 2002.
Where can and should Western and American policy go from here? While not in the least sanguine about either Bhutto's or Sharif's political skills, much less their honesty, it is without a doubt true, that only by overt foreign pressure on Musharraf and his regime, to climb down from his state of siege, and, turning over power to a coalition of the two ex-Prime Ministers, that the current situation in Pakistan can possibly be salvaged. Arguments being made the `apres Musharraf, le deluge, are quite senseless and idiotic. Pakistan is at the brink right now. And, there is no reason to expect that by he or a military dominated regime without him, will improve matters greatly. The only result of a continuation of the situation is a worsening of the same. While one should of course be highly skeptical about the simplistic equation of Democracy equals political stability, in the current case of Pakistan, any 'improvements' that Musharraf's regime might have brought to the country has been totally played out. Things will only get worse not better as long as the general insists that he remain in power. The best result that might possibly occur is Musharraf holding onto power, by the skin of his teeth, while the country gradually descends into anarchy.
Not the best result for American foreign policy, given all of the monies which we have bestowed upon the General and his regime since 2001.