Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Pakistan Update: Economic Growth, Extreme Heat, and Musharraf’s Durability

Posted by K.E. White on June 12, 2007

Seems like Pakistani President Musharraf is safe, at least according to his chief political ally, Prime Minister Skaukat Aziz. But could he team up with a former rival?

Pakistan also joins a nuclear terrorism initiative, and suffers from severe heat.

It’s also raking in incredible economic growth.

From the International Herald Tribune:

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party now in exile in Dubai and London, is emerging as Musharraf’s chief political rival.

Aziz said she was free to return to the country before elections, but will face ongoing legal cases against her — a reference to corruption allegations dating back to her two terms in office in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“That question is better put to her,” he said when asked about her possible return. “But she has some legal issues in this country and others and perhaps she will seek legal advice from legal counsel. She has to decide what her future is.”

Bhutto’s supporters would like to return to mount a challenge to Musharraf’s rule, while some have speculated she could form an alliance with Musharraf in order to counter the growing influence of Islamist parties, some of which are believed to have thinly veiled ties to militants.

Aziz said the government has a “comfortable majority” in parliament and he therefore sees no obstacle to Musharraf, one of the United States’ allies in the war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, winning re-election in a vote scheduled to take place between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.

Musharraf seems to be playing-up his value to the United States. From Kashmir Watch:

Pakistan will join an international initiative aimed at keeping nuclear materials from the hands of terrorists, but the country’s military nuclear programme and facilities will not be covered, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Pakistan’s participation in the joint US-Russian initiative shows international recognition of Pakistan’s nuclear control measures, the ministry said in a statement late on Saturday. The initiative only applies to civilian “facilities and activities,” the ministry claimed. “Pakistan has declared that the global initiative does not cover Pakistan’s military nuclear facilities or activities,” the statement added.

“Pakistan’s participation in the global initiative is a manifestation of the fact that nuclear security and export control measures in Pakistan are at par with the latest international standards, and recognition of the important role being played by Pakistan as a partner in the global efforts against nuclear proliferation and possible nuclear terrorism,” the statement added.

For more on the Nuclear Terrorism Imitative, check out these sites:

White House Fact Sheet

US State Department Fact Sheet and Speech from Robert G. Joseph, Former Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security

Arms Control Association

Stimson Center

Meanwhile, temperatures soaring past 120 degrees Fahrenheit have killed over hundred people.

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