Thursday, 9 August 2007

Pakistan's state of emergency postponed

As it turns out, Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf did not impose emergency rule (see this post for background) — which would have quelled more civil liberties and pushed the elections back to who-knows-when — possibly due in part to pressure by Condi Rice.

"My focus in terms of the domestic scene there is that he have a free and fair election and that's what we have been talking to him about and hopefully they will," Mr Bush said at a White House news conference.

A Pakistani government spokesman said there was pressure on Gen Musharraf to declare an emergency but that he had decided not to because he was "committed to democracy".

Since we're already on the topic of Pakistan's president/military dictator, it's relevant to note that...
Mr Bush said he expected Gen Musharraf to act against al-Qaeda leaders who the US says are sheltering in the areas. Pakistan has called the US warnings "irresponsible and dangerous".

Gen Musharraf pulled out of the three-day Afghan council, or peace jirga, on combating the Taleban, citing commitments in Islamabad.

One of the reasons the US is probably still sticking with Pakistan as a GWOT ally is that its one of the only allies it has at its disposal. If Pakistan and America weren't tied that could mean more extremism because of lack of external support for Musharraf; on the other hand we have seen more extremism develop because of the US-Pakistan relationship. Sort of like with the controversial topic of troop pullout from Iraq: the US leaves there are almost no security forces and Iraq could become even more of a black hole of turmoil with Iran and the Saudis squaring off unchecked; on the other hand foreign occupation provides radicals with a rallying cry for insurgency and fuels Islamic terrorism.

Democratic elections in Pakistan are due later this year. Whoever wants to bet that Bush's wish that they'll be 'free and fair' will come true has the odds against them.


Anonymous said...

just a nitpick:

though it's peoples have brown skin and a majority of its citizens are muslim, pakistan is not in the middle east! it's this painting with broad strokes and inability to recognize how diverse and nuanced peoples and politics are at local, national, and regional levels in places not in the west that has us in the mess we're in now. please, buy a globe and a clue.

Anonymous said...

crap. that was meant for your earlier post.

clearthought said...

I know Pakistan isn't in the Middle East! However it borders Afghanistan, which is in the Mideast. Pakistan plays a role in the Middle East because of the aforementioned border, thus it affects it and has an interest in the region.

While I was writing the post you're referring to, the part that implied that Pakistan was in the Mideast did trouble me. I believe I said it was in the "region" to make myself and geographically conscious people like you feel a bit better. At the time, I just could not think of a better way to phrase it.

I appreciate your comment but would like to assure you I know my geography quite well and I am also frustrated by the lack of geographical knowledge, especially in America. It does, however, make me feel a bit better that you, 'anonymous', noticed my little geographical farce, though your assumption of my understanding of Pakistan's geographical status was incorrect.