Russia and Eurasia

Appeasing West and Militants Has Failed

0

 

Ahmed Rashid

President Pervez Musharraf again finds himself in the eye of the storm.

Al-Qa’eda is baying for his blood as a result of the carnage inside the Red Mosque and Western powers and most Pakistanis are demanding that he finally take on Islamic radicals and militant madrassas.

Since the September 11 attacks, General Musharraf has survived by riding two horses, at times bending to Western pressure to hunt down al-Qa’eda and its Pakistani protectors, while allying himself with Pakistani Islamic parties in an attempt to placate extremists.

It has been a rocky time and Pakistan is paying the price, but Gen Musharraf has preserved the three-decade old nexus between the army and the fundamentalists, which has helped to keep him and the military in power.

As a result al-Qa’eda has found the space and support to regroup in Pakistan’s tribal areas, the Afghan Taliban leadership has found a safe refuge in Balochistan province, foreign radicals like the 2005 London bombers have found easy access to al-Qa’eda central while Pakistani extremist groups have multiplied.

US and Nato forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan have become extremely frustrated at Gen Musharraf, but they have dared not put great pressure on him fearing even greater chaos, while Pakistan’s middle class has despaired at its president’s courtship of the fundamentalists.

His two-track policy has come to the end of the road. Pakistani extremists such as those who were holed up in the Red Mosque have read the army’s laxness towards them as a passport to defy the state and bring about an Islamic revolution.

Pakistani Taliban have taken over vast tracts of North West Frontier Province to establish a new base for global jihad. The army slaughtered the Red Mosque militants and Pakistani extremists and al-Qa’eda now wants Gen Musharraf’s head. He is faced with two stark choices: either go for the extremists in a consistent manner or once again succumb to them and try to appease them, putting the future of Pakistan at risk.

If he takes the first path he will need a new political mandate and support from secular national parties such as Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party, which he has treated with contempt since he seized power in a coup in 1999.

But striking a deal with Ms Bhutto will also mean holding a genuinely free and fair election by the end of the year, allowing an independent judiciary and press and sharing power with the politicians – something Gen Musharraf has been loathe doing.

He will have to reinvent himself not just rhetorically, but practically and genuinely as a democrat and liberal.

The other path is that Gen Musharraf and the army again strike controversial peace deals with the Pakistani Taliban in the NWFP, jeopardise Afghanistan’s future by allowing the Afghan Taliban to continue wreaking havoc there, allow the continued mushrooming of militant madrassas – but live with the constant risk that one day he will be targeted by the extremists.

The second path would also mean an abandonment of any pretence of democracy, the imposition of martial law and a further distancing from the West.

To ensure that Gen Musharraf takes the first path, Pakistan’s liberal politicians have to show sagacity and flexibility and Western powers must exert pressure so that he does the right thing.

The first choice carries immense risks but it is the only way that Pakistan can be saved the fate of Afghanistan and Iraq.

About the author / 

Admin

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

jga bookreview



cesran_unai


jga bookreview


jga bookreview


jga bookreview


jga bookreview


jga bookreview


jga bookreview


jga bookreview

CESRAN Blog

  • Outbidding in Times of Uncertainty – Post-conflict transitions and competitive violence.

    Large bombings, only days apart, in Bogota and Derry/Londonderry have put paid to any notions of a simple peace process in either country. These events show that the two very different conflicts display many of the same dynamics. Both countries have seen increasingly fragmented peace processes, with multiple non-state actors and intransient splinter groups vying…

  • The inherent dangers of secrecy in the US foreign policy

    Since the Vietnam War, officials of the United States have increasingly abused the essential democratic safeguards of accountability and an informed citizenry in apparent attempts to protect themselves from being held accountable for their actions. They use secrecy and disinformation to prevent the American people from obtaining the information they need to evaluate their government’s…

  • 18th Issue of Political Reflection Magazine is Out Now!

    Vol. V | No. I – January-February-March 2019 To Download the Magazine Click Here… CONTENTS 05-06…..World News by Furkan Sahin 09-14…..The Ideological Potential of Climate Change: (Post) Politics in the Age of Global Warming by Miguel Angel Zhan Dai 15-18…..Yemen Civil War: A Conflict That Has Never Ended by Dr. I. Aytac Kadioglu 21-25…..NATO: The Shifting Sands of an Alliance by…

  • CESRAN International Named again amongst the Top Think Tanks in the World

    CESRAN International is pleased to announce that it has been named again amongst the world’s best think tanks. The 2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index ranked CESRAN International 141st among the World’s “Top Think Tanks in Western Europe” 76th among the World’s “Top Environment Policy Think Tanks” 152nd among the World’s “Top Foreign Policy…

  • New Issue is Out Now!

    Vol. IV | No. V – October-November-December 2018 To Download the Magazine Click Here… CONTENTS 04-06…..World News by Furkan Sahin  08-20…..Terrorism in Syria and Beyond: An Interview with Prof. Alain Gabon by Dr. Rahman Dag 22-24…..Erdogan’s Best Shot is Still in the West by Dr. Murat Ulgul 26-30…..Raqqa vs Kobani – Terrorism vs Revolution by Dr. Rahman Dag 32-34…..Future of…

Newsletter