Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Lal Masjid: Crisis Point

Musharraf was supposed to attend a meeting with Karzai to allegedly sort out the border issues. It was supposed to a major photo op.

Musharraf cancelled his trip and no public reasons were given.

Reports are now emerging of a declaration of an emergency in Pakistan.

It is unclear what emergency powers he will assume (i.e. ones he does not already have).

I am sure you have all heard the politicians shouting asking him to resign and I am sure you have seen that the Lahore High Court Bar Association "elected" world famous nuclear smuggler, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan as the president in its "referendum".

No seriously people, jokes apart, it appears that the discontent inside the Army has reached a crisis point.

A declaration of an emergency at this point only means one of the following:

1) A revolt within the SSG praetorians against Musharraf. It is possible that the SSG revolts against Musharraf to restore the Ulema's faith in the Pakistan Army as an institution.

2) Extreme dissatisfaction within the Commanders, this is the sort of thing that happens a planned "reshuffle" becomes a game of musical chairs which someone (who is sufficiently powerful and close to Islamabad) does not want to play.

3) Someone is messing around with the nuclear command and control chain. This might happen if someone in the US got a little to serious about that misguided threat to invade Pakistan.

13 Comments:

At 7:17 PM, Anonymous Nitin said...

Maverick,

The simplest explanation for the declaration of emergency is that it is the method to avoid the Supreme Court from intervening in Musharraf's bid to retain power for the next five years.

Apart from a legal fig-leaf to avoid scrutiny by the judiciary, a declaration of "emergency" carries little meaning in a military dictatorship.

 
At 6:02 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Nitin,

I am aware that there is press coverage suggesting that the US has "intervened" to prevent Musharraf from declaring the "emergency".

It also appears that the news media are portraying this as an attempt by the US to prevent Musharraf from messing up what little democracy and judicial infrastructure there is in Pakistan.

Ofcourse as I am sure you very well know - I fully acknowledge that the US places democracy in Pakistan on the highest pedestal, in fact the entire US policy in Pakistan - including the highly sensitive matter of choosing the Musharraf's successor - who I am told is to play a critical role in Pakistan - is going to be entirely influenced by the American desire to see democracy in Pakistan. .. just as you know the US entered Iraq solely to bring about democracy and remove a corrupt dictator who was keen to get weapons of mass destruction. I am sure millions of Pakistanis eagerly subscribe to the idea that America is the greatest proponent of democracy in Pakistan and is the average Pakistanis' best friend.

Yes, I entirely accept the American perspective released as part of their public diplomacy effort through loyal media networks and I totally believe the need for such an exercise after an unduly harsh and perhaps rash statement by an American recently.

But you see... tragically... all this does nothing to change my perspective on the matter.

The judiciary, the bureaucracy, lawyers, the jihadi tanzeems, these are all merely pieces on a chess board. Pawns in a greater game for control over the political environment in Pakistan.

My reading of the crisis is now increasingly turning towards the notion that despite what precisely happened yesterday... the net result has been Gen. Musharraf's power degrading in Pakistan.

Authority is ultimately of a moral nature. It is that authority that has degraded.

The SSG is the eldest brother in the Army of Islam. Its relationship (as an institution) with the clergy has been very badly damaged after the recent Lal Masjid episode. The SSG will try to restore its credibility with the Islamists.

My dear friend, leave out the lies that Newspapers tell, and think only of what was going through the minds of the Sikh soldiers who served in the Indian Army after Bluestar. Was it a wonder that Indiraji was told by her highest security advisors to reduce dependence on the Delhi Police for her personal security? and what was her reaction?

Yes as Sri. Raman says, it is a seige mentality but that said - it only makes prediction somewhat easier does it not?

 
At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maverick,

If Musharaff can no longer trust his SSG praetorian guard, then who else can he depend upon to ensure his physical security and enforce loyalty to him among the Army brass? How will imposing an emergency help if the SSG can not be trusted to do the above?

The problem with a siege mentality is that it leads people to act without thinking through the risks and consequences.

 
At 2:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
one another take:- musharaff is not silly person. He knew any news of emergency leaking out will attract direct american intervention. Correct me if i am wrong:- didn't he delibrately leak information concerning imposition of emergency via his ministers. When Rice called up, he must have demanded his pound of flesh, otherwise.... emergency.
1)Musharaff in my opinion gives two hoots to democracy even if is demanded by usa(a pretence) or the pakistani masses!

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

That question: "If he does not trust the SSG, then who does he trust" is a conundrum.

It does not pay to get too wrapped up in questions like that.

The relevant part of the question is "who *can* he trust".

The "emergency" merely becomes a device to paralyse the political processes in the country. As all these political groups are ultimately propped up by factions within the Army, the paralysis forces groups *within* the Army, to renegotiate the terms of their support for him.

Anonymous,

That seems entirely plausible.

- that Musharraf demanded American support in exchange for not imposing the "emergency".

That is possibly what we are not seeing in the latest round of American publicity.

 
At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
one of my friends would always tell me this:- clever/cunning men will fall at anyone's feet to get there work done, but when time comes they will not hesitate to slits the same man's throat! (kam nikalwane ke liye per bhi pad jayenge lekin samay ane pay unke gale bhi kat degen)! same goes with musharaff! Let him once come back to power, then note his belligerency. The day his fingers ceases control over nuclear button, that day he will be toothless.
1) I am thinking of continuing in the "agreed to agree" thread! But the point is, debating is not my forte!

 
At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
look at this link [http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=90785]. Indian media is crossing limits. In olden days such acts would have followed by GOI dumping the editors in yamuna. Now no more. We do not have any more control in our country! This is what I was alluding to in the "agreed to agree" thread , when you spoke of "strong sentiments". Agreed in the making of foreign policy one cannot be guided by emotions but something must be done to stop these media men from eating away the vitals of our nation. sorry for thread hijacking!

 
At 7:13 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Anonymous,

I fully agree with you that Musharraf is a creature of opportunity, a risk junkie who will not think twice before he jumps.

But we are faced with a real problem here: there is a crisis of credibility and I am not sure if this commandogiri does anything to help.

Though we are digressing from the topic here...

Please do not feel held back on my account in the nuclear thread, if you have strong views please voice them. Our strength as a secular pluralistic democracy relies on the ability of people to voice their feelings.

My views on this matter remain somewhat constrained by the Sri. Narayanan's public comments on the issue and that is where I draw the line. I am agreeable because it is a time to be agreeable.

Internally however, I am in a bind. I know the Left front is packed with Musharraf style political opportunists and I fear that in their power lust, some of them will get a little carried away.

I don't want bloodshed, I believe in the minimal use of coercive force but by contrast the Left Front feels that the maximum use of coercive force is necessary for achieving aims. I fear there is a disconnect here. As I know for a fact that the Western industrial groups are keen to push indigenous Indian nuclear players out of the fray, and the Left has not made its position clear on national issues of such importance, I am left to assume the worst.

I note with a sense of concern that the Left is seeking a somewhat divergent posture on the nuclear issue even daring to posture as if it was going to bite the hand that feeds it. I also wonder what to make of those warnings I have recieved that some leftist groups may be keen to create Nandigram style confrontations around land acquisitions necessary for the expanded nuclear program.

As I am on a very short leash these days given the delicate political climate in New Delhi, and so that unfortunately is all I can say about this matter.

Ofcourse if someone that is not on a leash, chose to independently investigate these rumours about an alleged leftist strategy to block the construction of nuclear plants using a combination of environmental and peoples-rights front organisations, and even perhaps put their impartial findings on a website, well then I could not possibly be unhappy with such an action.

 
At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
let us get back to the topic!. I was assuming that left alongwith Congress are hand in glove in enacting a drama(similar to the one played in the US congess) to extract more concessions from the US govt! During one of the dinner sessions with the left, Narayanan had in fact patted karat publicly saying he was his younger brother!.Both of them are from kerala which makes the relationaship more curious.
In one the debates on disreputable forum , you had mentioned to me that most of the people lack information, that why they get emotional sometimes. From then on, I had adopted a practice of listening. Neverthesless let us get back to the topic! I would have been banned from disreputable forum for thread digression!

 
At 11:11 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Anonymous,

This is not the disreputable forum, although I admit I am a person of much disrepute.

No one will ban you here for speaking your mind.

Speak freely, my friend.

I am trying very hard to imagine that the left front's conduct has some value in the national security perspective.

I am as always open to being convinced of their sincerity. I mean seriously if I can work with the Pakistanis, there is no reason I cannot work with the Left front.

I need to hear a more nuanced position on national security affairs, right now all I am seeing is reactionary posturing.

 
At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
never imagined that left can stoop to such levels of behaviour. This deal is the best we could have got under present circumstances.Let us assume following two points going on from now a) That nuclear deal is best under the present circumstances b)in synch. with you on the technological issues you pointed in the "agreed to agree" thread .Nevertheless let me play the part of *devil's advocate*.
1)Don't you think in another 10+ years from now, the crowd of DCH will rapidly swell. There will be more young at heart yuppies who will be creature of comforts. What will happen we may get caught in a servile relationship that will not serve the country's interests. Think in a 30 years time when the GOI will have to act in national interests, the young at heart will howl like never before. The deal will effectively cap our nationalism where young at heart will demand comforts like never before.
2) Also what may happen that western technological companies may set up shop in India, thus weaning our bright scientists from GOI labs( that are right now helping Indian humanity). Also the IP will be at level 3/4. There will be mushrooming of level 3/4 call center type technological startups all funded by the west. The IP developed here will ultimately help who guess? The WIPRO-LM tieup is an important pointer to this matter. (i)To over come all this shortcomings GOI has to massively invest in tech sectors (civilian or military) that helps us which it is doing already.(ii) try to reach every nation in the world with nuclear power plants. It should be like this, let there be exchange of nuclear power plants in lieu of imported fuel!. With SA/Brazil or anyone for that matter if we import fuel then export power plants to them.That way we do not become overdependent on any one nation. GOI is already thinking of setting up nuclear plants in vietnam... The effort should be on a large scale. (iii). from (ii) we can conclude that we are extemely weak on manufacting sectory. We have to have some innovative ideas for this, so that from a servile relationship we end up being more self-reliable or have an equal-equal relationship with the 5 powers or else in some way be the ,masters. That will be true independence for all of us.
Happy independence day!

 
At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
a slight correction national interests might not be ,testing of nuclear weapons but it can be anything else

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Anonymous,

Sure in 30 years time the DCH will have their own DCH problems and the whining will be louder but then we will have 150 reactors all over the country producing electricity.

We can try to sell other countries reactors but the American nuclear mafia will pay the NPA double what they are getting from the Oil companies today just to screw us over.

We need allies in this game - not enemies if we are to trade in the nuclear energy market without disruption. The agreement-to-agree makes us a few friends and a few enemies. The next step is to use our new found friends to overcome our new found enemies.

If this works, we are good, other wise we are not bound by anything.

Remember every moratorium is essentially a voluntary moratorium. I don't want to comment on India's need to test, however it is true that if India tests Pakistan will follow or risk becoming irrelevant.

 

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