Pakistan Update

The violence in Pakistan grows, and the opposition parties have now named the MQM shootings in the Karachi demonstrations “The May Massacre”. This, along with Musharaaf’s suspension of the chief justice, and his handling of the Jamia Hafsa affair is usurping the moderates from support of Musharaaf’s party. More demonstrations and “wheel jams” are happening across the country. ( In a wheel jam demonstrators will block an important road, crossroads or intersection for a day or more.)

24 Women’s Action Forum demonstrators where arrested in front of Chaudry Shujaat’s house today. They were there protesting the leniency the government is showing towards the radical madrassas Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid. Story at Frontier Post.

 A bomb has gone off at a hotel in the Afghan section of Peshawar, killing the owner and his son. It was not a suicide bomb, but instead was set at the counter. The story does not mention the owner’s nationality or affiliations. UPDATE: It was as suicide bomb, initial reports in Pak papers were inaccurate. See Gateway Pundit.

The story coming from the shooting at the Jirga designed to stop Pakistan and Afghan security forces from fighting at a border checkpoint is mixed. As the conference ended it erupted into violence, with a fatal attack on one or two US soldier(s?). ISAF shot back, killing five Pakistani security forces in retaliation. More from Frontier Post:

Two US soldiers with NATO were killed and as many wounded in firing by a Pakistani soldiers at the participants of a meeting in a northwestern town of Kurram Agency on Monday, a senior official said. Defence Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi told Pajhwok Afghan News the soldier fired at ISAF, Afghan and Pakistani officials at the end of a jirga that convened to end a bloody border clash between the uneasy neighbours. Foreign troops returned fire, killing some Pakistani security personnel, said Azimi, who explained the deadly incident came as the participants were heading towards a helicopter. But the Pakistan military and the NATO-led force said one ISAF service-member was killed while four others sustained injuries in the ambush by unknown assailants. The wounded were medically evacuated to an ISAF treatment facility, said a statement issued by NATO from the Bagram Airbase. Meanwhile, a senior military officer in Islamabad blamed unidentified militants for the attack on the convoy of US and Pakistan army troops. Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said one American and one Pakistani soldier were killed in the firing. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief, two Americans and as many Pakistani soldiers were wounded. An inquiry had been ordered into the incident, he added, rejecting Azimis allegation that a Pakistani soldier had opened fire on the American troops. For his part Paktia Governor Rehmatullah Rehmat, who attended the meeting, said the talks took place in a positive ambience at a Teri Mangal school in the afternoon. But the Pakistani soldier fired at the participants walking towards the chopper. In retaliation, the ISAF soldiers shot dead up to five Pakistani troops, the governor continued. The objective behind the jirga was to bring about a ceasefire between border guards of the neighbouring countries, Rehmat said. According to Paktia police, 13 Afghans including seven policemen were killed Sunday in the clash that also left 17 Pakistani paramilitary personnel dead. Around 28 Afghan civilians were injured as the two side traded mortar fire.

What’s missing here is ISAF’s report, in the story the witness’s state one US soldier, sometimes two, and the government states it was a convoy that was ambushed, not a helicopter. This could be someone trying to instigate cross-border fighting with US troops in order to drum up more support for Jihad, which has notably withered this year in Pakistan. Since some of the army is infiltrated or sympathetic to the Taleban, it could be a set-up or enticement.

2 Replies to “Pakistan Update”

  1. Thanos,

    I’d appreciate any insight you have here as to what in the world Musharaff can possibly do to turn things around in Pakistan? It seems to me he is absolutely caught in a no win situation whatever he does and so…your insight as to any solutions would be welcomed!

  2. The good news is that there is some space between now and the elections. I think he needs to get the Chief Justice thing out of the way pronto, then win back the moderates. In the end, the army could play a part, they could move in for another coup which is how power normally gets transferred in Pakistan. I don’t see hope for him if things continue to spiral in the way they are. He’s danced a tightrope for years, and now I think I sense a shift here, he’s recently made inroads and gestures to both Russia and Iran in response to some of the chiding he’s received from the int’l press and the US.

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