Pakistan Update

20070803_ed03.jpgMusharraf met with the military leaders to discuss the Indian nuclear deal, and more meetings of the Pakistan military commanders are underway even as on the political front the coalition between PPP and PML-Q continues to jell.

The government continues to expel foreign students from madrassas who don’t have a “non-objection certificate” from their country’s government in an effort to crimp the inflow of foreign extremists. 554 students were deported, and 717 cases are under further consideration.

This continues the strategy that Musharraf has played the last few months: a steady compaign on several fronts is decrementing the support that Al Qaida can call on. He closed down several training camps last year in Kashmir, along with their madrassahs, he’s closed down an Afghan refugee camp, he’s deported foreigners, steadily tracked down the hard-core militants, and has been chipping away at the Taliban and Al Qaeda slowly and steadily.

The Supreme Court also released Javed Hashmi from prison, a military leader who is in opposition to Musharraf, and a supporter of Nawaz Sharif (PML-N.)

AQAM (Al Qaida and Allied Movements) has regrouped in the frontier, the group is smaller. The extremists flowing cross-border to Afghanistan have been thin compared to last year, and the fact that Zawahiri is now entirely focused on Pakistan shows that he sees the noose is closing.

Meanwhile the extremists have been allowed free reign in the frontiers, a move that was a calculated gamble. On the one hand, by giving them free reign he has allowed them to strut about and overturn order in the frontier, creating emnities with tribes and families. On the other hand by allowing them open control they have become stronger.

Whether the animosity they’ve created in the bazaars and villages is enough to turn the tribals mostly against them will be seen, however even if it makes some neutral instead of supporters that will be enough. The Wazirs intend to boycott the Grand Loya Jirga between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and how that will affect the equation isn’t known.

In the background of the grand strategies, the day-to-day cat and mouse game that started when the army moved into the frontiers continues. The jihadis attack police, unmanned and undermanned checkpoints, while the army still awaits orders and the outcome of more Jirgas.

18 Militants headed to meet Siddiqi Noor (I believe he’s an IED and bomb supplier/manufacturer if I recall correctly) were killed at a checkpoint by the military. Two Al Qaeda suspects were captured.  A suicide bomber was foiled trying to attack a police school, and last but not least it appears there are targeted assassination attempts being tried — this probably to kill influential tribals opposed to Al Qaeda’s war on Pakistan.