ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Leaders of Pakistan’s ruling coalition discussed Tuesday how to replace former President Pervez Musharraf and what to do with the man who ruled for nine years, while militant violence underscored the challenges facing the country.
Another potentially divisive issue on the agenda is how to restore judges Musharraf fired in a desperate attempt to cling to power. The meeting ended abruptly and no progress was announced.
The retired army general resigned Monday in the face of impeachment threats from the fragile ruling coalition, which is packed with his foes. He is believed to be in his army-guarded residence near the capital, Islamabad.
How the government deals with his succession – and whether it leads to a power struggle – is a looming question at a critical time.
The militant threat is spreading in Pakistan’s northwest – with clashes between the army and insurgents killing at least 29 people since Musharraf’s exit – adding to uncertainty about the new government’s approach to tackling extremist violence. Unlike Musharraf, who took a hard line against the insurgents, the coalition has sought to negotiate peace treaties with tribal leaders in the restive northwest to curb the violence.
I beg to differ with the “hard line against the insurgents” statement. Taliban and Al Qaeda groups are running amok in Pakistan; operating within its borders as well as having moles in their Intelligence Service. There are frequent clashes with the Pakistan army and frequent terrorist attacks. Not to mention the fact that Bin Laden is still hiding there.
……Musharraf did not specify his plans during his emotional farewell speech on Monday, saying only that his future was in the hands of the people. But local media reports have suggested he might leave the country for security reasons – he is despised by Islamist militants and is widely unpopular among ordinary Pakistanis.
I don’t know why, he didn’t do a whole hell of a lot about the militants in his country.
……Musharraf seized control of the government in a 1999 coup and dominated Pakistan for years, supporting the U.S. in the war on terror. Pakistanis blamed rising violence in the country on his alliance with Washington.
For many, the final straw came last year when Musharraf imposed emergency rule and sacked dozens of judges who could challenge his rule – one of the key topics facing ruling coalition leaders on Tuesday.
As ineffectual as he was controlling the spread and influence of Islamic jihadist thugs, this makes no sense. If he was as much of a hard core anti-terrorist force as the article suggests, the Taliban would have fled Pakistan by now.
It’s hard to believe that Musharraf’s successor could be any worse. Get ready for an official takeover by a new Taliban regime.