Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Musharraf Shuffle (Update - Imran Khan Arrested)

By Cernig

The AP headlines its latest story out of Pakistan "Musharraf to Quit Army This Month". By so doing they fall for Musharraf's framing of the current crisis in Pakistan. He's hoping to deflect criticism by PR moves like today's promise to step down as chief of the army this month, or a promise to hold elections in January.

But here's the real lede - the state of emergency will still be in place when the elections are held.

It doesn't matter whether Musharraf is a dictator in uniform or a dictator out of uniform with a hand-picked loyalist in charge of the army. If the state of emergency is still in force there will be no way for opposition parties to campaign, no media coverage, and a carte-blanche for Mushie to rig the result any way he wants.

Meanwhile, the US will continue to talk tough and do exactly nothing about the Musharraf Shuffle. Why? The AP again:
The military is making backup plans in case the unrest in Pakistan begins to affect the flow of supplies to American troops fighting in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said Wednesday.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the supply lines are ``very real areas of concern'' because about 75 percent of the supplies, including 40 percent of vehicle fuel supplies, either go through or over Pakistan.

``We hope it doesn't come to this,'' Morrell told reporters. ``Right now we've seen no indications that any of our supply lines have been impacted.''

The United States has about 25,000 troops in Afghanistan. Some of their supplies arrive by air from Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan. A former supply line from Uzbekistan was shut down in 2005 when the Uzbek government retaliated against Washington for what it viewed as interference in its internal affairs.

Morrell said the U.S. wanted to ensure there was a backup plan should Pakistan's political turmoil start to affect the supply lines. ``Clearly we do not like the situation we find ourselves in right now,'' he said.

He did not say what potential alternative routes were under consideration and noted that some people have raised questions about safeguarding Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

``I can tell you, at this point, we have no concerns,'' Morrell said. ``We believe that they are under the appropriate control.''
The Pakistani dictator suckered America bigtime on the War On Terror and now he believes he has the U.S. in a cleft stick.

Update The BBC is reporting that former cricket legend and opposition political leader Imran Khan has been arrested.
Pakistani police have charged opposition figure Imran Khan under the anti-terrorism act after his first public appearance under the emergency. Details were not given but one official said Mr Khan had been disturbing the peace by attending a student protest against President Pervez Musharraf.

The city's police chief earlier accused Mr Khan of spreading hatred and inciting civil unrest. The former cricketer was detained after going to Punjab University in Lahore.
Khan was originally detained by Islamist students belonging to the Jamaat-e-Islami party, who then called police.

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