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| August 17, 2004
PAKISTAN: THE OFFENSIVE AGAINST AL-QAIDA
August 17, 2004
PAKISTAN: THE OFFENSIVE AGAINST AL-QAIDA
** Pakistani dailies support "genuine dialogue" with al-Qaida's tribal hosts.
** Writers say Pakistan must revise policies that "blindly" follow U.S. directives.
** Papers see inconsistency in U.S. statements about Islamabad's anti-terrorist record.
'Wisdom rather than emotion'-- Pakistani dailies criticized the campaign against al-Qaida operatives in Balochistan and Waziristan, and endorsed "pinpointed" rather than "widespread" action. Center-left Dawn stressed the importance of "rooting out" foreign militants while at the same time winning "wholehearted support" of the tribal area populace. The centrist News warned against government military and political offensives and instead encouraged "genuine dialogue" with al-Qaida's tribal hosts over a "force-induced response" that would further undermine the politico-security situation. Lahore's Daily Times agreed with the need to "negotiate new terms" with local tribes, categorizing the idea that changing foreign policy could "get al-Qaida to stop targeting us" as "living in a fool's paradise."
'Environment of fear'-- The Daily Times chastised General Musharraf for having "prostrated himself to the United States" and intoned that "our war against al-Qaida" should remain separate from "kowtowing to the Americans." The center-right Nation defined Pakistan's tragedy as "being made to pay for the sins of others" with a thinly veiled reference to the superpower that "dragged us into this unholy mess." Karachi-based center-left Dawn balked at the foreign media's "concocted stories" that Pakistan has "no interest" in fighting terrorism, adding that Pakistan must "root out the monster of terrorism" in its "own interest." Only widely circulated Nawa-i-Waqt empathized with mujahideen fugitives declaring, "no doubt...these so-called terrorists are our Muslim brothers" and hailing them as "better Muslims than us."
'Pot calling the kettle black'-- Populist Khabrain expressed frustration at what it saw as mixed messages to Pakistan from the U.S. regarding its role in the war on terror. President Bush on the one hand praised Musharraf because "Americans are safer now due to Pakistan's role in the war on terror," while Deputy Secretary of State Armitage declared in India that Pakistan is "not being sufficiently muscular" vis-à-vis the Taliban. Noting Washington's "failure to subdue the warlords and militant factions and provide security" in Afghanistan, the liberal Daily Times said Armitage's assertion is "a case of the pot calling the kettle black." Pakistani News noted with frustration that Armitage would only be satisfied if "Pakistan somehow or other could present Usama bin Laden on a silver platter" to Washington. Finally, independent daily Din exhorted that "Pakistan must not succumb to U.S. pressure," while pro-jihad papers decried the Pakistani government for "bearing all this insult in exchange [for] a few dollars."
EDITOR: Saxon Housman
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government. This analysis was based on 32 reports from 3 countries ranging from July 04 - August 12, 2004. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
PAKISTAN: "Bracing For An Al-Qaida Backlash"
An editorial in the Lahore-based liberal English Daily Times noted (8/12): "General Sultan's view was that the trend of al-Qaida linking up with Pakistan's own 'Islamic' militants was expected to grow strong in the coming days, the implication and meaning being that it would use the local jihadis and lashkars to carry out its attacks.... Critics of the anti-terrorist policy excoriate President Musharraf for having prostrated himself to the United States. They think that terrorism would go from Pakistan if the country's foreign policy was changed.... Our war against al-Qaida should really have nothing to do with kowtowing to the Americans. We have to clean up our internal scene before we can have the sort of economic activity we need to survive. There can be no compromise with those who resort to killing innocent people. Those who say that we should change this or that part of our foreign policy to get al-Qaida to stop targeting us are living in a fool's paradise."
"Crackdown Against Al-Qaida"
English-language pro-military Islamabad Pakistan Observer noted (8/09): "It's a known fact that al-Qaida militants had crossed over to Pakistan to escape the US military attacks on Afghanistan. And as a consequence, Pakistan has suffered a great deal. It has not only been made to endure bloody acts of terrorism such as suicide attacks on mosques...and elimination of political and religious personalities, but its leadership has also been targeted. Pakistan's Armed Forces have, however, launched military operations to flush out the al-Qaida militants from the Tribal areas. The recent arrests...have exposed the organizational strength of the network, which will certainly help the anti-terror agencies to hound the remaining culprits.... A cursory look at the al-Qaida situation in Pakistan reveals a grim scenario of potential threat of instability to the nation. It certainly calls for handling of the situation with wisdom rather than swaying in emotions."
"Challenge Of Terrorism"
An editorial in the Karachi-based center-left daily Dawn quoted (8/09): "For the umpteenth time, Islamabad has denied that al-Qaida training camps have been revived in Pakistan. This view is also shared by the Bush administration, which on Wednesday declared categorically that Pakistan was fully cooperating with the U.S. in the fight against terrorism. These denials are necessary because sections of the foreign media regularly 'discover' terrorist dens in Pakistan. The basic assumption behind such concocted stories is absurd - that Pakistan has no interest in fighting terrorism.... Pakistan has also been threatened by al-Qaida that it would pay for its perceived pro-U.S. policy. While one may differ in detail with Islamabad on its handling of specific operations - like those in Wana - it goes without saying that Pakistan has to root out the monster of terrorism in its own interest...."
"9/11 Commitment Is Not More Important Than National Security"
An editorial in Rawalpindi Nawa-i-Waqt stated (8/06): "The war-like situation in South Waziristan for a long time has been a matter of grave concern for every patriotic citizen of Pakistan.... A dangerous war front has been initiated against these mujahideen. There is no doubt in the fact that these so-called terrorists are our Muslim brothers regardless of being Arabs, Africans, or holding any other nationality. They are better Muslims than us. The people of Pakistan want their government to deal with them in a peaceful way. The tribal elders who have provided them shelter should be asked to negotiate with them, and it is expected that they can convince these mujahideen to peacefully return to their countries.... The demands from the United States and its allies continue to increase. Our independence, sovereignty, and identity as the sole Muslim nuclear power are in danger.... The situation in Pakistan is extremely precarious. An environment of fear prevails.... The situation would have been much different if we had dealt with the issues according to the requirements of our security and sovereignty instead of following the US wishes blindly. The government should now have a look at its people and forget about the promises it has made with the United States. Whatever we could do for the United States has been done, and it is sufficient. This is high time for us to focus on our domestic affairs in order to make them straight.
"Careful In Balochistan!"
An editorial in the Lahore-based liberal Daily Times quoted (8/05): "There is need to tread very carefully in Balochistan while attempting to protect the national interest there. Action against violent offenders against the law should be pinpointed rather than widespread. Agreements must be reached wherever possible and any show of force should be linked to negotiations.... Efforts should also be made to negotiate new terms with the local tribes."
"Baluchistan: Stop The Political Slide"
An op-ed by Nasim Zehra in the centrist national English daily The News asserted (8/05): "Indeed what the government must not do is go on the military and political offensive to neutralize the brewing crisis. Threats, warnings, ultimatums and maximalist positions will only worsen the situation. It could push either side 'against the wall' decreasing possibility of an amicable settlement of genuine grievances. We could then be headed towards greater difficulties, dovetailing into other unresolved challenges of politics, security and democracy. The center and the Muslim League must start a genuine dialogue with the political leaders of Balochistan, replacing its dominantly force-induced response to the deteriorating politico-security situation in Balochistan."
"Gnawing Fear Of Terrorism"
An editorial in the center-right national English daily The Nation stated (8/05): "The tragedy is that the people of Pakistan are being made to pay for the sins of others, the superpower that has dragged us into this unholy mess. First, we took the bait in Afghanistan that in time made us a haven for gunrunners and drug peddlers, and now we have taken up its cause against al-Qaida. Actual terrorists, local or foreign, deserve no mercy. Doubtful cases must be properly investigated, and not punished at foreign bidding. Every effort must be made to pave the way for harmony in society to prevail again."
"Balochistan CM Attacked?"
Center-right national English daily The Nation opined (8/04): "Coming close on the heels of an assassination attempt on Mr. Shaukat Aziz, which claimed eight lives while more than 50 persons were injured, the attack on Balochistan CM Jam Yousaf on Monday points to the government's failure to come to grips with growing terrorism.... While the entire country is in the grip of growing lawlessness, Balochistan has been bleeding for some time; and it is now difficult to keep the count of the terrorist acts occurring there in the recent past.... Every time a life is lost, both the federal and provincial governments pass the buck on to 'foreign hands' as if they are to protect the citizens from domestic miscreants alone. The Interior Minister transferred the IG Balochistan only after the killing of foreigners, but that has not improved matters. It is time the government allayed prevalent sense of alienation in Balochistan, lest it develop into a Darfur and become the focus of unwelcome world attention."
Islamabad's conservative English-language The Nation opined (8/04): "Islamabad's out-of-way support to the US has created a perception that it is acting as a US proxy.... While terrorism has to be contained, this has to be done giving priority to our own, rather than anothers priorities. The government has got the army involved in operations in Waziristan and Balochistan where it finds itself fighting its own citizens. The armed forces need to be extracted from both places and matters resolved politically. To ensure that unfortunate and dastardly incidents like the attack on Senator Aziz do not recur and the lives of the common people are secure, the government must revise its present policy of blindly carrying out US directives. However, the security apparatus must also concentrate on its real job of collecting intelligence pre-empting the threat to top state functionaries, rather than meddling in politics."
"Saudi-Pak Cooperation Against Terrorism And The Problem Of Salafi-Wahhabism"
An editorial in the Lahore-based liberal English Daily Times opined (7/27): "States like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, if they are really serious about cleaning the silt they have gathered over the years through their ill-thought policies, need to take substantial steps, not merely mouth platitudes, to stem the tide. This advice we have been giving Islamabad for a long time.... To eradicate terrorism, first do away with the contradiction that has informed the system. Nothing less will do."
"Gujrat And Wana Operations: Government Should Reevaluate Strategy"
The second-largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt claimed (7/27): "The siege of Wazir tribe is continuing for the last 55 days, which has destroyed the economy of Waziristan Agency.... This sole beneficiary of all this is the United States, which is bent upon destroying the Muslim resistance movements and committed Muslims.... It would be appropriate that Pakistan just sticks to its post 9/11 mistake of cooperating with America and reconsider its policy of pushing the country towards civil war and anarchy."
An editorial in the Karachi-based center-left independent daily Dawn asserted (7/22): "The level of fighting in the Wana area shows no signs of declining.... The bright feature of the situation is that some tribesmen are helping the government in the fight against militants, but often their support has been lackadaisical.... It will help normalize the situation in South Waziristan if the government tried to win over the tribesmen's wholehearted support. The people of the area have suffered a great deal because of the disruption in their daily life. The focus of the operations should be their welfare.... It is, in the local people's own interest to cooperate with the government in rooting out foreign militants, who are using senseless violence in the name of religion."
"The Right Reaction"
An editorial in the center-right national English daily The Nation opined (7/18): "It is a pity, though, that while Islamabad is becoming more active in protecting the rights of its nationals abroad, it seems to be relinquishing its charge of Pakistanis in the country itself when they come under suspicion of terrorism, especially by Washington's intelligence agencies. Handing them over to FBI or any other such outfit even for interrogation purposes does not befit a sovereign country."
The centrist national English daily The News asserted (7/17): "United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's assurance that Pakistan will receive advanced weapon systems if it makes a request for them, will be warmly welcomed.... Pakistan was declared a major non-NATO ally (MNNA). By all consideration, it is Pakistan's right that it should receive such assistance and US must prove it is Pakistan's ally not only by words but also by deeds. It may be mentioned that Israel is also a MNNA and is getting advanced weapon systems.... "
"Armitage On Election Trail "
Mir Jamilur Rahman in the centrist national English daily The News opined (7/17): "[Richard Armitage] would only be satisfied when Pakistan somehow or other could present Usama bin Laden on a silver platter to the American administration.... Mr. Armitage said...that Pakistan has not yet dismantled 'all' the terrorist camps and the infiltration into Occupied Kashmir continues though at a lower level.... It is called arm-twisting and pressurizing. Without mentioning what the U.S. really wants to achieve by these accusatory statements, Mr. Armitage is indirectly pressuring Pakistan to raise its level of operation in Waziristan and consider the possibilities of deploying its troops in Iraq."
"Mr. Armitage Should Appreciate The Complexities Of The Situation"
An editorial in the liberal English Daily Times quoted (7/16): "[Armitage] should avoid visiting an issue that has the potential of upsetting the delicate negotiating balance that has been created.... The other area where Mr. Armitage may need to review his position relates to Afghanistan. He appreciated Pakistan's 'muscular approach' on al-Qaida and agreed that the issue of the Taliban was more complicated because of historical ties. Nonetheless, he wants Pakistan to be more muscular in relation to the Taliban also.... Despite full support of the entire international community and a massive budget, the U.S. and the NATO-led ISAF have failed to subdue the warlords and militant factions and provide security in that country and have had to postpone the parliamentary elections twice since they were first scheduled for June this year. To that extent, Mr. Armitage's assertion about Pakistan not being sufficiently muscular on the Taliban is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.... That Pakistan is dead serious in cleansing these areas should be clear from the casualties its troops have suffered in an area where conducting such operations is far from easy."
"Old Habits Die Hard"
An editorial in the center-right national English daily The Nation opined (7/16): "Perhaps [Armitage] urging Pakistan to put a complete stop to infiltration is not justified, especially when he publicly admits that 'all of the cross border movement' and its 'control' cannot be ascribed to the Government of Pakistan.... Even though Pakistan has laid itself open to U.S. dictates, Mr. Bush and his top aides seem disinclined to differentiate between Taliban and al-Qaida and are repeatedly demanding of Islamabad to be a little more 'muscular' in dealing with the two entities.... Now that Mr. Armitage is here our Foreign Office wizards should make him answer these questions rather than obediently listen to a new 'charter of demands' and obsequiously promise compliance."
"Pakistan's Role In Fight Against Terror"
An editorial in the centrist national English daily The News stated (7/16): "It should be a matter of great satisfaction to know the way Pakistan's role in the fight against terrorism is being appreciated by the world community. Only recently President Bush acknowledged the fact that now Pakistan and Afghanistan are no longer the sanctuaries for terrorists and as a result of this cooperation, the American people are safer.... President Musharraf has proved before the international community that Pakistan is neither the patron nor the collaborator of the terrorists; neither it wants to give them refuge.... To help keep Pakistan away from such a consequence the role of Musharraf government has helped in preserving our independence, sovereignty, security, and our very existence as a nation.... However, propaganda and accusations against Pakistan in a section of the Western media is a matter that calls for serious attention...."
"Pressure To Send Troops To Iraq"
An editorial in the Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu daily Jasarat assessed (7/16): "In order to put pressure on Pakistan Richard Armitage has said in New Delhi that cross-border infiltration has not stopped in the Indian-held Kashmir. Although President Bush has already said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are no longer sanctuaries of terrorists, this latest outburst from Armitage suggest that it is aimed at forcing Pakistan to send its troops to Iraq."
"Unveiling of American Plan"
The sensationalist Urdu daily Ummat noted (7/16): "Whatever Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage might say in Pakistan, like all other American Officials, he expressed his real message in India, which got through to everyone. The double standards exercised by America are exposed at every step. Whenever it has to show closeness to Israel or India, it sheds all diplomacy and openly expresses her hatred towards the Muslims. In India he explicitly accused Pakistan of not stopping the cross border infiltration, and asked Pakistan to carry out full operation in Wana against the militants."
"America's Threatening Demands And Accusations On Pakistan"
An editorial in the Karachi-based, pro-Taliban/Jihad Urdu daily Islam stated (7/16): "Before coming to Pakistan, the Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in a press conference in India accused Pakistan of cross-border infiltration, and demanded closing of the so-called training camps. Armitage threatened Pakistan that such a situation is not acceptable to America, and Pakistan should launch a full attack on the Taliban. The tone and demanding attitude of the deputy secretary makes it very obvious that America is pressurizing Pakistan and paving way to force Pakistan into sending troops to Iraq. This only goes to prove the low status of Pakistan in the eyes of America, and an obvious message to Pakistani government who is bearing all this insult in exchange of a few dollars."
"Armitage's Unfriendly, Undiplomatic Views"
An editorial in the second largest Urdu daily Nawa-i-Waqt (7/16) opined: "As far as the Taliban and the issue of sending troops to Iraq is concerned, Pakistan should not show any weakness (and succumb to U.S. demand). Dealing with the Taliban is Hamid Karzai's headache or that of the Allied troops'; Pakistan should only be concerned about its own security and stability. The Taliban are neither Pakistan's enemies, nor has Pakistan given refuge to them. If on the one hand the Afghan government is engaging the Taliban in talks, Mullah Umar is being contacted on phone, and behind-the-scenes deals are being worked out, there is no need for Pakistan to jump into this fire.... Friendship with the U.S. is already costing us dearly, there is no need to add to our burdens."
"Remarks By The U.S. Deputy Secretary Of State And The Reality"
An editorial in the populist Urdu daily Khabrain opined (7/16): "Only a few days ago, President Bush had said that the Americans are safer now due to Pakistan's role in the war on terror, yet the U.S. Deputy Secretary is now accusing Pakistan of aiding militants. This shows a contradiction in U.S. views, and the administration must strive to remove this contradiction.... The U.S. Administration must also realize that India's installation of a fence (to stop infiltration) will not solve anything, the real solution lies in holding talks."
"U.S. Deputy Secretary's Visit To South Asia"
An editorial in the independent Urdu daily Din stated (7/16): "The U.S. stance on Pakistan's role against terrorism, as demonstrated by Deputy Secretary Armitage's statement, is that it wants Pakistan to hold identical views on the militant activities on its eastern and western borders. (The U.S. desire is that) Pakistan should view the struggle in Kashmir in the same manner that it views al-Qaida and Taliban activities in Afghanistan. This cannot be acceptable to Pakistan.... Mr. Armitage's statement that Pakistan's operations against al-Qaida are satisfactory but it needs to pay more attention to the Taliban - thereby treating them as two separate entities - is also wrong. The operation Pakistan is conducting in South Waziristan is against both al-Qaida and the Taliban remnants. As far as the issue of sending troops to Iraq is concerned, Pakistan must not succumb to U.S. pressure."
"Role Of Approver For U.S."
Right-wing pro-Islamic Jasarat in an editorial quoted (7/04): "'General Pervez Musharraf has continuously played the role of an approver for the United States since 11 September 2001. Referring to President Musharraf's slogan 'Pakistan First,' the paper said that it is nothing but 'US First' and 'General Musharraf First.' The paper said that General Musharraf's statement that Wana is al-Qaida's headquarters may invite trouble for the country. He is also fanning domestic instability through his measures. The paper advised General Musharraf to learn a lesson from the fate of previous military rulers."
"High-level Meeting On Law, Order At Aiwan-i-Sadr."
An editorial in Taliban-mouthpiece Urdu daily Islam noted (7/03): "Musharraf has said that Wana is the headquarters of al-Qaida and terrorist elements. Foreign agents and their patrons will be crushed with full force. The time of verbal claims is over, and the matter relating to internal security will have to be dealt with sternly.... The entire nation is desirous of eliminating terrorism in order to ensure the country's security. But, the Pakistani people cannot endorse the actions aimed at safeguarding the interests of the foreign countries on the pretext of fighting terrorism.... The president's admission that Wana is al-Qaida's headquarters is extremely dangerous as far as the country's interest is concerned."
INDIA: "Violence In Balochistan: The Threats Within Pakistan"
Political analyst M.B. Naqvi in an editorial page column of Bangalore-based left-of-center Deccan Herald opined (8/12): "Recent ambushes and bombings in Balochistan have rekindled the memory of the violent popular movement in 1970s ... It will not be correct to link the incidence of violence in Balochistan with the Islamic terrorist violence in the rest of the country; al-Qaida has declared war on Pakistan's government leadership for religious reasons. Al-Qaida is out to get the top government officials because the country is assisting American imperial interests and have thus become apostates, liable to be killed. The killers will be amply recompensed by God in the next world. Apart from Balochistan's sub nationalism, it is necessary to clarify that religiously motivated violence has two faces: one is the war al-Qaida is waging against Pakistani leadership, targeting top officials of state. The second is violence against Shias, Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis ... One regards the sectarian terrorists to be the other face of al-Qaida ... Violence in Balochistan is a wholly different genre: part of the war for regaining their national rights; and to make Pakistan a truly federal state. But Islamic terror and Taliban are technically a part of Balochistan.... Sub-nationalism and Islamic nationalism have jointly erupted for the first time in Pakistan's history. The expected response will be more in knee-jerk repression rather than a serious attempt to go to the roots of the problem. The state, it seems, has learnt nothing from its failures in the past 50 years."
"For Happiness Of Uncle Sam"
P.N. Khera in pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer noted (8/10): "Does Pakistan have to respond to requests only from the U.S. so that there is an 'exchange' attached to purse strings? Does Pakistan always have to turn in those whom it once supported openly and now with a gloved hand, as those now being handed over to the US were erstwhile Pakistan-supported Taliban or al-Qaida activists fighting alongside the Afghan militia? Why can't it appreciate the efforts being made by India to combat terrorism and help in closing the terror camps and other staging areas being used to facilitate infiltration into J&K? Does Pakistan have a vision for stronger and more stable South Asia? Why doesn't it genuinely look into the matter and announce an injunction against all forms of terror and prevent the use of its facilities to breed terror? Why can't Pakistan accede to the requests pending extradition of terrorists named by India? Why doesn't its leaders just stop playing games and, instead, foster hope and reconciliation? Can Pakistan be more realistic in resolving the issues relating to terrorism along the borders? These are some of the few embarrassing questions being naturally asked both inside and outside Pakistan."
Chennai-based leftist English daily News Today noted (8/10): "It is sickening to note that the world is being held captive by extremist elements who are sewing their pernicious and murderous ends by violent means in which they have specialized. This specialization relating to the planning and acquisition of weapons has in a large measure been aided by the West of which the U.S. is the standing example of hegemonism. The aid arose when the US fought for its goals first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq ... Today, the US has been made to rue for the consequences of that policy ... The US' designs of hegemonism made Pakistan the conduit of weapons ... The dragon seed of armed violence sown by western, and particularly US hegemonism has grown into a world menace empowering dissident elements and militants to stoke the fire of secession in many parts of the world.... Indeed the US, priding itself as the world's biggest democracy, is keen to extinguish it in countries which, unlike Pakistan, refuse to toe its line or serve as its lackeys."
"Islamabad's 9/11 Bonanza"
Paran Balakrishnan's analysis in the centrist Business Standard noted (7/31): "Critically, [the 9/11 report] said the battle against al-Qaida can't be fought without the Pakistanis. "It is hard to overstate the importance of Pakistan in the struggle against Islamist terrorism," it states unambiguously. It begins by describing Pakistan in less than flattering terms ... The report then outlines America's past differences with Pakistan. Most importantly, Islamabad backed the Taliban and was desperate to keep them in power even after the Americans vowed to oust them. If that isn't bad enough, there's also nuclear proliferation.... That all sounds damming. But the report then outlines how - in its view - Pakistan has thrown in its or with the US and deserved loyalty... The report outlines approvingly how - from the US point of view - Pakistan is an ally against terror. The report's recommendations will probably dash all India's hopes of US even handedness in the region.... It shouldn't be a surprise if, as we head to the negotiating table, we suddenly find Islamabad less willing to compromise."
The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer stated (7/17): "It was good of the United States Deputy Secretary of State, Armitage, to have owned up in Islamabad his observation in New Delhi that some-not all-of the infrastructure in Pakistan for supporting cross-border terrorism in India had been dismantled, and that the level of infiltration of terrorists into India was 'still too high'.... The US, however, can hardly ignore two questions. Is Pakistan doing enough to stamp out terrorism in the region? Is Washington doing enough to make it do enough?.... Armitage has himself said that while Pakistan was engaged in "full force" against the al-Qaida, it needed to be "more muscular" toward the Taliban.... The present US policy of pampering Pakistan is unlikely to prompt the latter to do it. Meanwhile, Washington would do well to remember that the upswing in its ties with New Delhi cannot be sustained indefinitely if the latter perceives it to be tilting unduly in Islamabad's favor."
CANADA: "Anger Mounting As Musharraf Leads Pakistan To The Brink Of Disaster"
Zafar Bangash, Director of Toronto Canada's Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought noted in Markham Muslimedia (7/01): "Throughout its tortuous history, Pakistan has staggered from one crisis to another; but general Pervez Musharraf has brought it to the brink of unprecedented disaster.... The army attacked Waziristan not because the tribesmen were any threat to Pakistan, but to support the US's brutal policy in Afghanistan. Pakistani rulers have historically ignored the wishes of the people, taking them in directions they do not wish to go. In his total subservience to the US, however, Musharraf has shown a brazen disregard of public opinion that borders on the scandalous. The US is hated not only by the Pakistanis but all over the world, because of its record of hegemonic brutality, of which George Bush's policies are only the latest and most blatant example.... Many junior and mid-level officers are unhappy with Musharraf's subservience to the US, especially his u-turns on Afghanistan and Kashmir, and the attack on Waziristan.... Pakistan's tragedy is that its ruling elites are thoroughly corrupt and incompetent; cowardice is their basic characteristic and subservience to alien masters their natural instinct. Leaders of so-called Islamic political parties have proved little better. At a time when the masses are ready to overthrow the corrupt order, there is no sign of any leadership to enable them to do so. Unless sincere leadership emerges from within its people, Pakistan will continue to stagger from one crisis to the next.... The country's future may be even grimmer than its present condition."
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