Centrist forces in Pakistan will be demoralised, say US experts

December 28th, 2007 - 3:05 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto
Washington, Dec.28 (ANI): Centrist forces in Pakistan will be demoralised further in the wake of Benazir Bhuttos assassination on Thursday, said several American experts
According to them, the delicate diplomatic effort of the Bush Administration has been left in ruins by the tragic killing, and added that American influence on Pakistan’s internal affairs will continue to decline.
Foreign policy analysts and diplomats said that if there was one thing that Bhutto’s assassination has made clear, it was the inability of the United States to manipulate the internal political affairs of Pakistan.
The New York Times quotes former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlain, as saying that: “We are a player in the Pakistani political system. As such, the United States was partly to blame for Musharraf’s dip in popularity. This is Pakistan, and Pakistan is a very dangerous and violent place.”
“I think it was insane. I don’t think Musharraf ever wanted to share power,” said Teresita Schaffer, a Pakistan expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Stephen P. Cohen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, criticized the administration for failing to nurture Pakistan’s opposition after Musharraf’s coup in 1999.
“It should wake up anybody who thinks that Pakistan is a stable country and that we can deal only with Musharraf,” the paper quoted Cohen, as saying after the assassination.
Senator Arlen Specter, a Republican of Pennsylvania, was in Islamabad with Patrick J. Kennedy, a Democrat of Rhode Island, on a scheduled trip and they were preparing to meet Bhutto at 9 p.m. on Thursday when the news of the bombing broke.
“I think our foreign policy relied on her personality as a stabilizing force. Now, without her, we have to regroup,” Specter told reporters by telephone from Islamabad.
On Thursday, officials at the American Embassy in Islamabad reached out to members of the political party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Administration officials say the United States still wants the Pakistani elections to proceed, either as scheduled on January 8 or soon after. (ANI)

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