Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Pakistan Coalition Government Ready To Negotiate With Terrorists

The late Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People’s Party and ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s Islamist Muslim bloc have agreed to form an anti-Musharraf coalition government headed by the PPP's Yousuf Raza Gilani as prime minister, who is set to be sworn in Tuesday.

Gilani, the former speaker of Parliament is an interesting choice, as he is basically a party hack noted for following directions. This fits in with my theory that he's only there temporarily, and that the real power in the PPP remains with Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari. Zardari will likely seek election to parliament as soon as possible and then take over the prime minister's chair,replacing Gilani.

The new coalition came together with two broad aims: first, to negotiate a live-and-let-live ceasefire with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the other Islamist factors which will end Pakistani military action against these groups and give them a free hand to continue their war against NATO in Afghanistan from secure bases.

Second, the two factors are united in ousting US ally President Pervez Musharraf and moving Pakistan away from any alliance with the US and towards either a closer alliance with the Saudis, Iran and the Islamist bloc (favored by the Muslim league and Sharif) or towards Russia and China (favored by the PPP). As a codicil to this, the coalition government has come out strongly in favor of ending the house arrest of rogue Pakistani scientist and illegal nuclear proliferator A.Q. Kahn, in defiance of the west and particularly the US.

We will probably see a strong move shortly towards kicking Musharraf out of power by reinstating the judges he had fired, especially Chief Justice Choudrey and having them declare his election by parliament in October illegal.

Musharraf has publicly declared his support for the new government, but then,it's not like he has much choice in the matter. He is likely putting most of his attention on seeing how deep his support is in the army and in the ISI intelligence services.

Depending on the answers he comes up with,we may either see another army coup (unlikely,but possible)or Musharraf `retiring' overseas with a large amount of purloined cash, the usual pattern for these things in Pakistan.

Again,let's review - this is an unstable country giving people like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda pretty much free range over its territory and providing them with a safe haven and secure base to train and recruit.

And Pakistan has nukes and ICBMs.

Add the two facts together, and what you come up with isn't exactly very reassuring..

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