Post emergency, Musharraf not indispensable for US

November 20th, 2007 - 4:12 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 20 (ANI): A gradual shift has been observed in the US policy towards Pakistan in general, and its President General Pervez Musharraf in particular, after the latter imposed a state of emergency in the country.
According to former US diplomats and South Asian experts, Washington does not think Musharraf is indispensable in the wake of anti-emergency protests and growing Islamic extremism there.
“We are no more saying that President Musharraf is indispensable. We have dropped that line,” The Dawn quoted former US ambassador to US, Wendy Chamberlin, as saying.
With the US administration admitting on Monday that it could not do much there, the strategic experts feel that the ‘tough message’ given by US special envoy to Islamabad, John Negroponte is a pointer to the fact that Washington’s approach to Islamabad in recent days has changed.
“Pakistani politics run on logic of their own, and are best understood in that way,” said William B. Milam, a senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Centre who had also served as US envoy to Islamabad.
Chamberlin supported Negroponte’s message to Musharraf, saying, “He (Negroponte) is telling the Pakistanis that our relationship is with the people, not with an individual. We trust the army and trust the institutions there. And I think we’ve taken the right step.”
She feels that the US could no more justify its support for the military regime, in the wake of imposition of emergency there.
However, there are other experts, who feel that shunning military ties altogether with Pakistan is no solution as it could fuel more unrest there.
Robert Oakley, who also served as US ambassador to Pakistan after General Zia-ul-Haq’s death in an air crash, says that despite Washington’s disappointment with Musharraf, the US will maintain its ties to the country’s military establishment as long as Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are hiding in the tribal areas along the Afghan border.
“It’s all about maintaining stability, while working with the US to hunt down the bad guys, “William Fisher, a former State Department official, quoted an official, as saying. “The US administration will choose ‘realpolitik’ over ‘democracy promotion’ so long as a single terrorist is left in Pakistan,” Fischer added.
Stephen Cohen, a South Asia expert and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, sees Musharraf acting in a suicidal manner.
“He is either suicidal or totally ignorant of the situation,” he argues. (ANI)

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