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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Analysis: A Rough Ride for Pakistan

Council on Foreign Relations

October 4, 2007
Prepared by: Jayshree Bajoria

Gen. Pervez Musharraf, by most accounts, appears set to win (Reuters) a new term as president. Following a frantic week of political maneuvering, Musharraf received the Supreme Court’s nod to contest the vote while remaining in uniform so long as he sheds it if he wins. He saw off late challenges from two exiled former prime ministers, Washington’s favorite, Benazir Bhutto, and the man he ousted, Nawaz Sharif—though a deal with Bhutto can't be ruled out (BBC).

To protect his future interests, the general named a loyalist, Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the former chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy service, to succeed him (AFP) as the nation’s top military officer. Given that the election is in the hands of the national assembly plus four provincial parliaments, the opposition’s decision to boycott it virtually assures the his reelection.

But a Musharraf victory, analysts warn, does not necessarily translate to stability. The army is failing in its fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces, who have aggressively expanded their influence and operations in the tribal and border areas, pushing large parts of the country beyond government control (WashPost).

Pakistan’s army, like its population, is deeply divided over the “war on terror,” and analysts see recent incidents of mass army surrenders to smaller groups of militants as a sign that the military will not fight (NewKerala.com) an internal war on behalf of what many of its officers view as Washington’s interests.

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