Monday, July 09, 2007

Lal Masjid: Musharraf makes his last assault

Both sides are now locked down into a fight to the finish.

Musharraf cannot let these men go free after they have defied him publicly. He has to order the assault else he will have to accept that his time as dictator is over. Any visible signs of confidence aside, he has already shown his hand the day he requested the media to "not show the bodies". It is unclear who assured him of the media's loyalties. By giving the Americans permission to hit bases in the NWFP, Musharraf has effectively created a two front war for any that defy him there.

The Jihadis holed up inside the mosque are at looking at death either way they play this. Their best hope is that if they sit inside public pressure on Musharraf will mount to a level where he will have to abdicate instead of launching an attack on the mosque. They know Musharraf will not abdicate and he will order the assault. As long as there are little girls in the mosque, the Jihadis can buy time through negotiations for their release but when the assault comes, the Jihadis will prefer it if the hostages are killed alongside them. The end result will be a carnage Musharraf's publicity machine cannot possibly hide.

A number of the girls in this madrassa are relatives of Pakistani army servicemen or ex-servicemen. There will be no way to keep this resentment out of the services.

Watch the video of the funeral of Col. Haroon, see his brother's expression as he hugs Gen. Musharraf. That says it all.

8 Comments:

At 11:46 PM, Blogger Vivek said...

Hi,

I've been carefully reading your analysis of the situation. Thanks for shedding the light.

One thing that particularly stuck me this time is the almost silent response of New Delhi. Before, even a tremor in pak would evoke a MEA statement at least. How do you read into this? How closely, according to you, is New Delhi following these developments?

Secondly, How do you see the possibility of a high profile terrorist attack in India or a kargil like (mis)adventure, given the deteriorating situation in Pak? After all, wouldn't an incited India be an easy way for Musharraf to rally Pakistanis and PA of all leanings to his side?

Thirdly, if there is a violent Islamic fall-out as a result of this siege, how do you see this as affecting the situation in J&K?

Thanks,
Vivek

 
At 2:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

vivek,
Not only you, but others too are puzzled with the response or rather silence of GOI on this issue. Even maverick does not want to comment!!

 
At 5:58 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Vivek,

I do not want to comment on New Delhi's views of the crisis.

At this point there is no incentive for either the Pakistan Army or the Jihadis to back a terrorist attack on India. If one occurs it will be due to other actors. I think the Jihadis and the Pakistan Army want to sort things out and really there is no room for others to enter that debate. Ofcourse as I said earlier this is a subcontinental view of things, and there is no guarentee that other extra-regional actors will follow that.

In my opinion there is unlikely to be an Islamist surge in J&K because of a degradation of Pakistan Army-Islamist ties. The Pakistan Army controls the infiltration channels.

 
At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Nitin said...

While I've been a critic of GOI's handling of Pakistan, I think this silence---regardless of whether it was intentional or otherwise---is the best position at this time.

 
At 10:14 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Nitin,

The situation is very delicate.

There is no way to predict how the large population of Islamist leaning people will percieve the large numbers of civilian casualties in the assault. That is why even a number of American newspaper are pushing for the US to distance itself from Musharraf.

I think the bodies of the dead are being brought to the sports complex. One thing the Pakistanis may consider is burying the bodies at a specially designated space. Such an action might head off the rioting that will certainly follow the funerals of the hostages. I do not know if the families of the dead will be willing to let that happen.

After Bluestar completed in 1984, President Giani Zail Singh, performed kar seva at the temple. You may remember photos in India Today and Frontline showing him sweeping the temple floor and washing the feet of the devotees. This act was percieved by some in India as pandering to the Sikh religious extremists, but it was an act of atonement that the brave President carried out on behalf of the Union of India for the innocent lives lost in the conduct of Bluestar.

Brinkmanship is fine, but pulling things back from this far away is very very difficult.

 
At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maverick,

Is the video of the funeral of Lt. Col. Haroon ul Islam that you refer to on the internet? If so, could you please provide a link to it?

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello,

I saw a reuters feed from somewhere.

Try their website.

 
At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Nitin said...

Anonymous,

It's on YouTubeh

 

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