Thursday, August 09, 2007

Political Turmoil in Pakistan Deepens

During the AFL-CIO debate Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton all jumped on Barack Obama for his statement that if we knew where al-Qaeda leaders were within Pakistan that the United States would go into Pakistan without the approval of the Musharraf government. had it been any other country but Pakistan I would have agreed with his assertion.

Pakistan is a unique situation due to their nuclear capabilities. Pervez Musharraf is trying desperately to hold onto power but the political crisis within Pakistan continues to grow.
Political turmoil in Pakistan deepened Thursday when the government raised the possibility that embattled President Gen. Pervez Musharraf might impose a state of emergency, drawing condemnation that doing so would be a desperate bid to hold onto power.

Tariq Azim, the minister for state information, said a state of emergency could not be ruled out because of "external and internal threats" and deteriorating security in Pakistan's volatile northwest near the Afghan border.

Azim also said talk from the United States about the possibility of U.S. military action against al-Qaida in Pakistan "has started alarm bells ringing and has upset the Pakistani public." He mentioned Democratic presidential hopeful Barak Obama by name as an example of someone who made such comments, saying his recent remarks were one reason the government was debating a state of emergency.
Most feel the real reason for a state of emergency would be to try to consolidate powers for Mr. Musharraf who would use the emergency declaration to quell political enemies after his unsuccessful attempt to remove the country's chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry who was likely to rule on Musharraf's bid for a new five year term.
It was not immediately clear how Musharraf might gain politically from a state of emergency, but it would give him sweeping powers, including the ability to restrict people's freedom to move, rally, and engage in political activities and assert their fundamental rights through the courts.
As we see all this political turmoil within Pakistan we must remember that it was the War in Iraq which diverted all attention away from the hunt for al-Qaeda that has allowed al-Qaeda to emerge even stronger and pose a grave threat to the dictatorial government of Pervez Musharraf. The problem for the United States, which supports this dictatorial rule, is that if this government is overthrown we most likely would be looking at a new government that supports the Taliban and al-Qaeda and has nuclear capabilities. The Bush foreign policy has made the world a much more dangerous place. We had the opportunity to fundamentally change Afghanistan and we failed. What we accomplished is destabilizing two countries, Iraq and Pakistan and leaving another, Afghanistan to twist in the wind.

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