Britain blind to Pakistan terror risks (redux)

The British government ‘accomodated’ Musharraf in the past. Bad mistake.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, General Pervez Musharraf suggested that Britain had paid a price for putting the right of free speech before the need to curb militant Islamic organisations that openly advocate violence.

“They should have been doing what they have been demanding of us to do — to ban extremist groups like they asked us to do here in Pakistan and which I have done,” he said. [The Sunday Times]

Gen Musharraf correctly blamed Britain — but for very wrong reasons. Britain did not pay the price for protecting the right to free speech. It paid a price for playing along in the charade that passes for Musharraf’s cooperation in the war against terror. Here’s a post from The Acorn’s archives.

8th April 2004 – Britain blind to Pakistan terror risks:
In spite of the regular certificates of good behaviour that Musharraf receives from the United States and Britain, Pakistan remains al Qaeda’s global hub. The jehadi infrastructure and operating system are intact – the madrassas remain unreformed and continue to churn out jehadi militants. Accompanied with the failure of the recent ‘spring offensive’ to net any significant al Qaeda leaders comes the revelation of a plot hatched by al Qaeda in Pakistan to bomb London.
British intelligence agencies have established a clear link between an alleged bomb plot in Britain and suspected senior al-Qaida figures in Pakistan, according to anti-terrorist sources.

Communications intercepted last month by GCHQ with the help of its American counterpart, the National Security Agency, sparked off a massive MI5 and police operation that led to the arrest of nine men of Pakistani origin last week.

A source familiar with the operation told the Guardian that the link with Pakistan would become clear. “More will surface on the external aspects,” he said.

The intercepts appear to show that al-Qaida still has some kind of command structure with a hold over what sources describe as loose networks of potential Islamist extremists here. [Guardian Online, via Winds of Change]

Instead of taking steps to protect its own national security, the Blair government is blindly following the American view that Musharraf and Pakistan are doing enough in the war against al Qaeda. In the past week it not only appeared to give a clean chit to Pakistan on the nuclear proliferation issue, but also seemed keen to accept Pakistan back into the Commonwealth. In my view, a great failing of the Blair government (as of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition) has been the outsourcing of Britain’s security strategy to the White House. As K P S Gill writes

The survival of the infrastructure of terrorism and the continued support to terrorist groups in Pakistan is, unambiguously, a global threat; and for any country, most of all, for America to believe that it will be exempt from the consequences, is nothing less than dangerously delusional.[Outlook]

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