US media warns of dangers after Musharraf exit

August 19th, 2008 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 19 (IANS) The US media Tuesday warned of the dangers posed by the added uncertainty caused by Pervez Musharraf’s resignation as Pakistan president to US efforts against Al Qaeda with one daily raising the spectre of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.”The United States has a keen national-security interest in the affairs of Pakistan due to its nuclear arsenal and the fact that it borders India - which is also a nuclear power,” the Washington Times said in an editorial.

Noting that “India and Pakistan have been embroiled in a long-standing dispute over Kashmir”, it said American officials have sought to ensure that the dispute does not erupt into a nuclear war.

“Allowing terrorists to grasp Pakistan’s nuclear weapons must not happen,” the Times said suggesting Musharraf has been a staunch US ally in these efforts since the Sep 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“He has sought a peaceful relationship with India and, despite much domestic resistance, has tried to bring the border regions under control,” the Times said.

Media analysts also cast Musharraf’s exit from the stage as a serious blow to the Bush administration, which had relied on the former general as a key partner in its anti-terror strategy.

For seven years, the Bush administration enabled “Musharraf - believing that he was the best ally for the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban”, said the New York Times. “He never delivered on that promise.

“And Pakistan’s people deeply resent Washington for propping up the dictator,” it said asking the US to now “focus American policy on his dangerous and dangerously neglected country” and provide more effective and realistic support for Pakistan’s fragile democracy.

“Pakistan’s newly elected civilian leaders must also move quickly to challenge Taliban and Al Qaeda forces - who threaten their own country’s stability - and the Pakistani intelligence and military officers who are in league with them,” the New York Times said.

The Wall Street Journal noted the administration “did little to keep “Musharraf” in office. US officials came to view him as “a spent force after he declared a state of emergency in November in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to sideline opponents”.

“US officials didn’t try to convince him to stay,” even if “they didn’t push him out. In fact, they were relieved that he left without a fight”, said ABC World News.

The Washington Post said while President George W. Bush has been personally supportive of Musharraf - to a fault, in the view of many experts on Pakistan - his administration has been gradually preparing for this moment.

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