It’s hard to refuse the FATWAT
In stark contrast to its recent moralising and sanctioneering on Burma, the United States has delivered less than a slap on Musharraf’s wrist: one meeting of defence bureaucrats has been rescheduled. Even Secretary Condi Rice’s gentlest hint of ‘reviewing aid to Pakistan’ has been promptly replaced by assurances that the dollar funnel will remain in place. It’s unlikely that
President Bush will say anything too harsh.
In the meantime, the United States is getting it from Musharraf’s people, in the open too:
General Musharraf’s supporters argued Sunday that his government — now unencumbered by legal constraints and political concerns by the emergency decree — will be in a better position to eradicate extremists and that if the United States wants that security, it must back him.
“If your agenda is to save attacks in the U.S. and eliminate Al Qaeda, only the Pakistani Army can do that,” said the close aide to General Musharraf. “For that, you will have to forget about elections in Pakistan for maybe two to three years.” [NYT]
Tribal militants released 213 Pakistan Army soldiers in South Waziristan on Sunday after the government freed 25 of their men under a prisoners’ swap made possible by a 21-member peace Jirga.
Contrary to the claims by government officials, almost all of them were booked on terrorism charges and jailed.
The militants had also demanded an end to all military deployment and operations in the areas inhabited by Mahsud tribe in South Waziristan. They wanted the removal of roadside checkpoints in their area. The government appears to have accepted most of their demands. [The News/Jang]
Update: See what we mean:
(The White House) didn’t even rise to a diplomatic slap on the wrist — and Bush aides must have realized this was not something to be proud of. Before the official briefed reporters from behind the microphone, an aide removed the oval White House seal from the lectern. And the White House ordered that the official, though he has appeared on the Sunday television talk shows, speak anonymously. [WP]