Turning the heat on Musharraf

Its that time again

First, Zalmay Khalilzad gets very vocal on Pakistan allowing the Taliban and al Qaeda use its territory for staging attacks inside Afghanistan. Then prominent American newspapers chime in with scathing op-eds on Musharraf’s past, present and future behaviour (and conveniently ignore the American support that keeps him in power).

When this happens, Musharraf gets his men to produce some results. What will it be this time?

A story in the New Republic (via Varnam)suggests that Musharraf is under pressure to deliver ‘high-value targets’ to coincide with the Democratic National Convention, in late July. That would allow President Bush to extract maximum political mileage out of the whole affair. This story looks unlikely simply because it is based on leaks from anonymous senior ISI sources. These anonymous gentlemen are likely to have a more sinister political agenda than anything the Bush-Cheney campaign can dream up. They could even be short-circuiting the pressure the Bush-Cheney campaign may have wanted to put on Musharraf; now that they have ‘cried wolf’ it will be quite hard for Bush to squeeze Musharraf without being accused of staging an arrest to suit the election campaign.

Such cynicism is the stock of vibrant democracies – giving decidedly unworthy parties the benefit of the doubt is quite common in India. But this kind of cynicism is a blessing for those who intend to manipulate the politics of democracies to their advantage.

Ensuring Musharraf delivers on his habitually-broken promises is in everyone’s interests. Election-year politicking or not, no opportunity must be lost in ensuring that Musharraf gets rid of the jihadi terrorists and gets serious about democracy in Pakistan. The signs on the ground are that he is quite far away from delivering either.

One thought on “Turning the heat on Musharraf”

  1. Party politics apart, none in Washington – whether republican or democrat – have asked for removing support to Musharraf (with the honorable exception of Dennis Kutchnik). So all this so called drama of ‘pressure-play’ is baloney. Mush is too seasoned a power-player to know DC can’t threaten him directly, for the forseeable future at least.
    So even if Mush doesn’t produce any high value targets, his regime gets to stay on. SOme civilan aid maybe reduced but Mush can well do without that now, can’t he.

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