Proliferation Press

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

Archive for the ‘Benazir Bhutto’ Category

Pakistan Update: Bhutto Successfully Returns to Karachi

Posted by K.E. White on November 3, 2007

Benazir Bhutto has returned to Pakistan, successfully voicing her dismay over Musharraf’s proclamation of emergency powers:

”Unless General Musharraf reverses the course, it will be very difficult to have fair elections,” she told Sky News television by telephone, after President General Pervez Musharraf declared the emergency and suspended the constitution.

”I agree with him that we are facing a political crisis, but believe the problem is dictatorship, I don’t believe the solution is dictatorship. We had dictatorship, the situation has got worse,” she said.

”My fear is that the forces of extremism want a two-year period in which they can expand their influence, drive NATO out of Afghanistan, and control Pakistan‘s destiny,” she said. ”If they get this two-year period, the whole world will be facing a very dangerous situation.”

Bhutto will be welcomed home not only by supporters, but by military personnel guarding her Karachi home. From The Age:

Witnesses said 100 police and paramilitary troops were deployed at her home in Karachi, apparently as a protective cordon. A bomb disposal squad was also at the scene.

Advertisements

Posted in Benazir Bhutto, Bhutto, Musharraf, Pakistan | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bhutto Returns to Pakistan

Posted by K.E. White on October 18, 2007

Benazir BhuttoI’m watching WETA-carried BBC News World coverage of Bhutto arriving at Karachi airport. Elated supporters cheer while waiting for Bhutto.

Bhutto’s return is being called the beginning of Pakistani parliamentary elections, by BBC News reporter Barabara Plett. But it’s unclear if she even be able to run for Prime Minister.

And let’s not forget the need for open and fair elections.

BBC World’s coverage seems to be lacking in one respect: Between Bhutto advisor Rehmen Chishti and BBC reporter Barbara Plett, where are the questions about the past failure of paraliamentary politics in Pakistan?

Husain Haqqani’s Between Mosque and Military portrays Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto as weak, bickering leaders—unable to effectively govern the nation.

Instead BBC’s news-anchor keeps hammering Bhutto and Chishti about the constitutionality of the deal Bhutto and Musharraf made to guarantee the former prime minister’s return. The anchor continuously reprimands the deal as undermining the rule of law in Pakistan.

The line of critique, while not unfounded, misses the point: In a country like Pakistan, where constitutional manipulation has been a Musharraf norm, it would be virtually impossible for any political progress to occur without constitutional revision.

Here are two clips on Bhutto’s return.

From AFP:

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto returned home to Pakistan after eight years in exile, defying warnings of an assassination by Al-Qaeda and vowing to restore democracy in her homeland.

Before her plane left Dubai, carrying her back from exile for the second time in a long political career, at least a quarter-million people thronged the streets of Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi to welcome her home.

She headed back to Pakistan after military president Pervez Musharraf agreed to drop corruption charges against her, hoping her immense popularity can help him cling to power in the face of mounting popular anger over his rule.

From the Telegraph:

The power-sharing agreement between Ms Bhutto and Gen Musharraf is reported to be based on an “understanding” but so far the only tangible facet of the deal has been a presidential ordinance scrapping corruption charges against the former prime minister and Mr Zardari.

Pakistan‘s supreme court is yet to rule on whether the ordinance is legal. The judiciary has also yet to rule on whether Gen Musharraf’s re-election as president while serving as army chief earlier this month was constitutional.

Most Pakistanis believe that the “marriage” between the general and the “Daughter of the East” will not last long.

Posted in Benazir Bhutto, Musharraf, Pakistan | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted in Benazir Bhutto, Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, Pakistan, Perez Musharraf, Skaukat Aziz | Leave a Comment »

Musharraf: Embattled, But Not Out…Yet

Posted by K.E. White on April 2, 2007

The judicial crisis in Pakistan continues, threatening President Pervez Musharraf’s regime. Musharraf now faces growing fundamentalist strength in the country, and the possible return of two political foes: Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto. 

But it seems the United States is betting on Musharraf to ride out the storm. 

It seems Musharraf is taking the judicial crisis seriously. So seriously that he’s detaining political opponents:

Pakistani authorities have placed a top Islamic MP under house arrest, ahead of planned protests against President Pervez Musharraf’s removal of the country’s top judge.


The chief of Pakistan’s main coalition of fundamentalist parties, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, has been detained for two days at his residence in Islamabad.

Musharraf is even trying to muzzle New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff

But Islamic and Jihadist factions are still gaining influence:

One incident shows that Pashtun militants are trying to establish their writ in the tribal areas and reacting to the pressure they are facing from the deals between as well the fighting between pro-government tribesmen.

Meanwhile, the suicide bombing in Kharian garrison last week in part was designed to underscore that the jihadist sphere of operations has now expanded into Punjab.

… 

The spread of Talebanisation from Pakistan’s border regions into its heartland could force Musharraf into sharing power with his secular opponents to salvage his own political position and roll back religious extremism.

Lastweek the International Crisis Group said, President Pervez Musharraf has failed to tackle Islamic extremism in Pakistan’s religious schools, which continue to promote a holy war against the West and foment terrorism.

“The Pakistani government has yet to take any of the overdue and necessary steps to control religious extremism,” the group said.

That’s great news for the United States. What will become of Pakistan’s improving relations with India under a jihadist regime?

Pakistan‘s foreign minister said on Sunday that a three-year-old peace process has helped Pakistan and India warm up relations, but they still need to resolve their long-standing dispute over Kashmir.

Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri said the two countries have moved beyond the tensions of 2001 when they had deployed thousands of troops along their border in an “eyeball-to-eyeball” standoff that threatened to blow up into a war.

“Now there is a sea change if you compare the situation to that,” he said at a joint news conference with his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing.

“We still need to resolve our disputes but the atmosphere is far improved,” Kasuri said.

But, wait, is America really going to support an anti-democratic Middle Eastern regime? Well, yes, but not without diplomatic some heart-burn:

Former Pakistan prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto have stepped up their overtures to the Bush administration, apparently in the belief that that the US alone can nudge President Pervez Musharraf towards holding free and fair elections.

The political rivals, engaged in forging opposition unity from their exile in Dubai and London, have also toured the US in the last month.

After a recent meeting in London, they had chided the West in general and accused it of ‘hypocrisy’ for being keen on democracy in neighbouring Afghanistan, but not in Pakistan.

But the US State Department seems sure that Musharraf will ride out the storm.

 

“I don’t think it’s too much of a question of (Musharraf) being toppled or serious unrest in country,” the official said yesterday when asked whether Washington was concerned that growing protests could lead to the military ruler’s overthrow.

“It doesn’t seem that way at the moment. I don’t see any signs of that,” said the official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, as Musharraf came under increasing pressure to quit over the judicial crisis.

Musharraf, a key US ally in the “war on terror,” has faced the biggest crisis of his eight years in power since ordering the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on March 9.

Posted in Benazir Bhutto, India, judicial crisis, Nawaz Sharif, Nicholas Kristoff, Pakistan, Pakistan fundamentalism, Pervez Musharraf, United States | Leave a Comment »