The longer Musharraf stays, the greater the difficulties for US

November 22nd, 2007 - 2:04 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 22 (ANI): The longer Musharraf remains in any position of leadership, the greater the difficulties Washington can expect, according to an analyst.
Michael Krepon of the Stimson Centre is of the view that Pakistans domestic politics has become so abnormal that modest remedies now seem insufficient while near-term solutions appear improbable.
Among the latter is the goal for free and fair national elections in January a timeframe that virtually prohibits sufficient political normalisation to make the results anything but ephemeral. Another rigged national election would add even more salt to Pakistanns open wounds, Krepon added.
Krepon argues that the US insistence on prompt national elections seems to be predicated on the false, but longstanding assumption that Musharraf remains the key to holding the country together in the face of growing centrifugal tendencies.
He says that staying the present course of demanding quick national elections and brokering a transition strategy could create an even worse dilemma.
Instead, a new transition strategy needs to be considered, one that centres on a truly impartial caretaker government to prepare for national elections that take place in a time-frame whereby all political leaders in exile can return home, and participate in a level playing field, Krepon says.
The longer Musharraf wears either of his two hats (President and Army Chief), the longer it will take for Pakistan to hold sufficiently credible elections upon which a semblance of political normalcy can resume.
He recommends that the sooner Musharraf hands over command to General Ashfaq Kayani, the better, since the army needs a full-time chief.
Too much mayhem and too many broken promises have occurred on Musharrafs watch for him to be a successful transitional figure, let alone a stabilising force in the normalisation of Pakistani politics. With or without Musharraf, the corporate interests of the Pakistan Army remain the same.
The nations well-being now depends on countering internal threats that are carving out autonomous zones in the tribal belt along the Afghan border, in portions of the Northwest Frontier Province, and in mosque complexes in Pakistans major cities.
“It is reasonable to assume that the senior officer corps that Musharraf has hand-picked shares his basic outlook on matters of crucial importance to the state. They are also likely to share his limitations in dealing with internal security problems, as well as his limitations in partnering with the US to counter the Taliban and al Qaeda,” he writes.
Krepon believes that no national assets mean more to Pakistans military leaders than the countrys nuclear weapons, the Daily Times reported.
The United States and Pakistan have been working together to help increase security and to promote best practices regarding nuclear risk-reduction measures, Krepon notes.
“Personalities change, but national interests do not at least unless and until Pakistan passes the point of no return in its dealings with the United States. That point has not yet been reached but it comes closer the longer the Bush administration equates Pakistans future with Musharrafs hold on power,” he concludes. (ANI)

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