Pakistan at the crossroads

Pakistan’s Appeasement Strategy Has Failed

By AHMED RASHID

LAHORE, Pakistan — President Musharraf again finds himself in the eye of the storm. Al Qaeda is baying for his blood as a result of the carnage inside the Red Mosque, and Western powers and most Pakistanis are demanding that he finally take on Islamic radicals and militant madrassas. Since the September 11, 2001, attacks, General Musharraf has survived by riding two horses, at times bending to Western pressure to hunt down Al Qaeda and their Pakistani protectors, while allying himself with Pakistani Islamic parties in an attempt to placate extremists.

It has been a rocky time and Pakistan is paying the price, but General Musharraf has preserved the three-decade old nexus between the army and the fundamentalists, which has helped to keep him and the military in power.

Musharraf Vows To Fight Muslim Extremism

By DAVID BLAIR

President Musharraf pledged to combat Muslim extremists across Pakistan yesterday as furious crowds demonstrated against the storming of the Red Mosque and two suicide bomb attacks left six dead.

In a televised address to the nation, General Musharraf said those inside the mosque and its adjacent madrassa, or Muslim college, were “terrorists” who directly threatened Pakistan’s security. They had also tarnished Islam’s reputation as a tolerant and peaceful religion.

“What do we as a nation want?” he asked. “What kind of Islam do these people represent? In the garb of Islamic teaching they have been training for terrorism. They prepared the madrassa as a fortress for war and housed other terrorists in there.”

July 13, 2007 | 1 Comment »

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  1. Pakistan has been at a crossroads for years.

    General Musharaff has through his military rule only managed to contain Pakistani Muslim extremism from boiling over uncontrollably which it recently threatened to do when radical Muslim made the Red Mosque its stronghold to make a stand against Musharraff’s military government. Musharraff this time wisely used force to put out the radical Muslim fire before it could spread throughout Pakistan.

    Though Musharaff has again gained some semblance of control, the Pakistani Muslim extremists have yet another martyr, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the radical preacher who died inside the Red Mosque to add to their collection of martyrs and heros who Pakistani radical Islamic leadership take inspiration from and whose names and deeds they cite to stoke the fires of their radical Islamic depraved flock and to entice more Pakistanis to join them.

    Islamic radicalism has been part of Pakistan for many years. Pakistani leadership to date including General Musharraff have tried to control and contain it, sometimes aggressively, sometimes and more often by tolerating and appeasing it, but Pakistan has not made a concerted effort to root Islamic radicalims from the fabric of her society.

    Events seem to be going from bad to worse in Pakistan as regards its radical Islamists that pose an increasing threat not just to the stability of Pakistan, but to the power of its ruling elite.

    Musharraff may well have run out of his usual go to options between transient control and containment and the more attractive go to option for him of appeasement of radical Islamists. Circumstances seem to be quickly coming to the fore that Masharraff will have to opt to institute very tough, if not harsh measures to put down the Pakistani radical Islamists giving them no more hope they can extract concessions with threats and violent actions, but to do that Musharraff does need a coalition of liberal and other politicians to achieve the widest and strongest mandate for such action.

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