Posted by: Nick Poma | November 7, 2007

Pakistan in Turmoil

Turmoil between two factions            The leader of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, has sent his country into total chaos in recent days by establishing Martial Law in the heavily Muslim country. The country has been engaged in a power struggle for some time and even at the start of the Iraq war it was considered that the General’s power was tenuous at best. Musharraf faced fierce opposition for supporting the United States in its war against Afghanistan and the Taliban; unfortunately the General’s recent actions have not done anything to improve the situation.

            The events came to an apex when the banished Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, made her triumphant return to Pakistan in a large convoy surrounded by many supporters. It was rumored that Bhutto was returning to Pakistan as part of a power sharing deal with President Musharraf. However, during the celebratory parade of her entry into the country a bomb went off killing about 140 people.

            It was already expected that the Prime Minister’s life would be in danger if she were to return to Pakistan, so the bombing came as no surprise even to Bhutto herself. However, Prime Minister Bhutto and her supporters seem to be very convinced that supporters of President Musharraf were behind the attack. Couple this with the fact that reported Taliban fighters have taken control of a city in Northern Pakistan and you have a recipe for disaster.

            President Musharraf declared martial law and the country is falling into chaos as a result. The Bush administration had placed a lot of faith in the Pakistani President and now finds that it must walk a razors edge to hold on to its ally in the “War on Terror” and not appear to be supporting a leader which has resorted to dictatorial tactics. The real trouble with this situation is that Pakistan is only an ally in the “War on Terror” because of Musharraf. For the most part, the Pakistani President’s support for America’s war in Afghanistan was very unpopular among the Pakistani people.

            Of course, we must consider the most dangerous situation of all, and that is the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power. It is in the best interest of the United States that power be held by a party which has a favorable opinion as well as, a working relationship with the United States. One thing that the U.S. and its allies cannot afford is to allow a country with nuclear capabilities to fall into the hands of Muslim extremists.

            Right now Pakistan is in a state of flux and it is possible that anything can happen in the span of a breath. As it stands the lawyers are standing defiantly against Pakistani police and the military. Which ever way this situation turns out, we must be apprehensive if another faction seizes power in Pakistan.

Sources

Website – Jane’s

http://www.janes.com/news/security/countryrisk/jtsm/jtsm071106_1_n.shtml

Website – Herald Sun

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22717343-663,00.html

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