Sunday, November 11, 2007

What's really going on in Pakistan?

So far the media and special interest think tanks, like the CFR, have been telling us that Musharraf's suspension of the Constitution and cleaning house of Pak's judicial system have been for threats to his power. Ala, the Supreme Court declaring him ineligible for re-election as President.

The CFR's an example of this with their take in a Nov 9th analyses "Bhutto-Musharraf Test of Wills":

Musharraf’s state of emergency and suspension of the constitution was largely prompted by fears of an unfavorable ruling from the Supreme Court on his reelection as president. He went on to dismiss Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and several other judges who refused to give legal sanction to the emergency. Musharraf then arrested hundreds of protesters, shut down independent television news outlets, and placed political opponents and social and human rights activists under house arrest (CSMonitor). Protests have continued, with Chaudhry leading calls for a popular uprising (AsiaNews). As this Backgrounder points out, such dissent from members of the country’s judiciary is unprecedented and lawyers are emerging as a powerful pro-democracy group in the country.

Naturally, this leaves most of us victims of the western press as to wondering just what kind of friend is Musharraf anyway.

But there's more to the emergency measures story than we're hearing. And a H/T to Ray Robison for a couple of posts with some insight on how this all ties in together, along with the rise of the AQ takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

On Nov 8th, Robison posted there was
more evidence that Musharraf was declaring war on AQ.

Quotes from the Pakistan Tribune reveal that the corruption in Pak's Supreme Court had not only gotten out of hand, but that they
released 61 high profile terrorists prior to his firings.

Security Sources reveal that alleged terrorists who were earlier released by Supreme Court are being arrested again and raids are underway in this regard.

Well-placed Sources told Online that President Musharraf has said that 61 alleged terrorists were released on the orders of SC, however orders have been issued to re-arrest them.

It has been told that all of the 61 are said to be high-profile terrorists.

Further, it has also been disclosed that various have been arrested who are involved in terrorist activities in Swat and other parts of the countries. They have been kept secret and under the possession of Intelligent Agencies.

On the other, Leaders and Activists of defunct Jehadi Organisations are being traced and re-arrested again who were earlier released.

Meanwhile crackdown is still continuing in various parts of the country till the complete ouster of terrorists and extremists.

I'd say that, in itself, is probably enough reason to clean house in the Supreme Court. But, as Robison points out, there's probably an old familiar face lending a hand in identifying some of the jihadi insiders.... Bhutto's old pal, and father of the original Taliban, Maulana Fazlur Rahman.

Per the Italian newspaper, Adnkronos International,
the Maulana sanctions the state of emergency... and oh yeah, there's a few names deleted from the prospective list of detainees. Can you say "pay off"?

However Pakistan's intelligence agencies are believed to have deleted the names of PPP leaders and those of the Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam religious party led by Maulana Fazlur Rahman, from the prospective list of detainees.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman, who is also the leader of the six-party religious alliance MMA, has expressed approval for the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) issued by Musharraf under the state of emergency and told reporters that he has no problem with it.

Robison's assessment? It may just have a lot to do with the old vs new Taliban battles stoking up in Afghanistan.

A few months ago, the Maulana would have been the first guy arrested as an international terrorist, al Qaeda and Taliban supporter. However, he has flipped and is now supporting Musharraf, although he does so circumspectly lest his change of allegiance set off alarm bells with his jihad buddies.

Understanding this is key to understanding the Musharraf emergency declaration. He has aligned the forces to begin the fighting in earnest but has to "shape the battlefield" by securing those institutions that are supposed to be for democracy but instead are infested with jihad sympathizers, i.e. the courts and media.

Lest ye think Bhutto's out in the cold here, the NYT's scratches it's head in how quickly the Pakistani drama queen can change her mind and hit the party scene. By last night, she was free from the house arrest restraints, and the "guest of honor at a high-flying diplomatic reception in the Parliament building here, greeting ambassadors and exchanging nods before television cameras...".

Even the Times is figuring out that the best power play she can launch is one that works.

It is such flourishes that lead to questioning in Pakistan about the strength of her democratic ideals in practice, and a certain distrust, particularly amid signs of back-room deal-making with General Musharraf, the military ruler she is said to oppose.

“She believes she is the chosen one, that she is the daughter of Bhutto and everything else is secondary,” said Feisal Naqvi, a corporate lawyer in Lahore who knows Ms. Bhutto.

Bhutto's not a fool. So despite all the posturing over the state of emergency measures in Pakistan - fueled by Pakistan's corrupt Islamic judiciary releasing high profile terrorists - we are apt to see at three of the four old power houses, again cooperating in Pakistan. That would be Musharraf, Bhutto and the Maulana.

And it will be, once again, a tenuous relationship founded on controlling the fate of neighboring Afghanistan, as well as themselves.

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