While Saddam Hussein got all the media attention yesterday, the went largely unnoticed attempt on the life of his Pakistani counterpart went largely unnoticed. The bomb went off about a minute after Musharraf’s vehicle crossed a bridge under which it was planted. Interestingly the press reported that no innocent civilians were injured because the whole area is under a security cordon – which seems to suggest that the assassins had some sympathisers within the security forces. While most people are likely to blame the jehadi outfits, elements within Pakistan’s military establishment remain within the realms of suspicion.
The location of the assassination attempt was unusual: Rawalpindi lies near the nerve center of Pakistan’s military establishment. It is considered one of the most secure cities in the country.
The bomb, described by officials as large, exploded 500 yards from the headquarters of the Pakistani Army 11th Corps and only a few miles from the Pakistani Army headquarters, where General Musharraf lives.
A senior Pakistani intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said it was unusual that someone outside General Musharraf’s close circle of aides would know the exact timing of his movements. New York Times
While Musharraf himself escaped unhurt, the assassination attempt has further damaged his claims that Pakistan is returning to ‘stability’. Secondly, the SAARC summit is only a few weeks away. With leaders of all the SAARC nations expected to turn up in Islamabad, Pakistan’s ability to ensure a peaceful and secure summit remains a concern.
This chronic instability is one of the main reasons sealing a peace deal with Pakistan is so difficult. The lack of enduring institutions does not give India a genuine partner for peace. The only enduring institution is the Army which has a vested interest to the contrary. The current ‘thawing’ of relations depends on the longevity of the current dispensation.