Karachi blast may alter political calculations in Pakistan

November 14th, 2007 - 2:32 am ICT by admin  
According to the article, the attack on Benazir Bhutto’s convoy “proves beyond doubt” the strength and reach of extremist groups in Pakistan, and the inability of the security forces to neutralise them.

It says that the suicide bombings betray the disturbing incapability of the security forces to tackle terrorism within Pakistan, and adds that such attacks will only unsettle public confidence in the Pakistan Army and “seriously question” President General Pervez Musharraf’s ability to exercise control over the situation.

The article highlights the fact that Benazir is on record as saying that terrorist and militant elements in Pakistan are “mere pawns” in the hands of some former military and intelligence officers who are opposed to her.

She believes that terrorists like Baitullah Mehsud are being manipulated, and that Musharraf is unaware of this linkage.

The article says that there is a very real possibility of Musharraf declaring an emergency in Pakistan in the wake of the Karachi blasts.

“The option of imposing an emergency would be all the more tempting for Musharraf, as he has already managed his re-election for the next five years, and can certainly do without an election for at least a year,” says the article.

What lies in store for Benazir is that all her comeback campaigns might be cancelled on security grounds and her movements will be restricted.

The forthcoming elections in Pakistan are going to be difficult to hold and handle, the article says, but adds that Benazir Bhutto’s return is part of a grand strategy being worked out by Washington to “create a stable political equation in Pakistan.”

Though Bhutto and her party have denied that her return to Pakistan is linked to the controversial deal with Musharraf, the fact remains that she could not have landed in Karachi without the Pakistan military establishment’s consent.

According to the Observer Research Foundation, her negotiations with the Musharraf regime have further dented the Pakistan People’s Party image and credibility, and the chances of an election taking place.

The foundation says that there is a widespread feeling that the pact has undermined the PPP’s main political plank. It says that these fears are not unfounded as a recent poll shows that Sharif is still more popular than Bhutto.

Musharraf, for all practical purposes, remains the final arbiter. It will not be difficult for him to manage the election in his favour. Bhutto on the other hand has a slim chance because of her mass-based support and her charisma. (ANI)

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