Pakistan Update: Tense Week Ahead

Political Update 

Musharraf canceled his trip to the Pak-Afghan Jirga hours before he was to leave, jilting an anxious President Karzai for internal problems. The White House spokesperson stated that President Musharraf had “compelling things” to attend to.

The National Assembly is aflame, making harsh statements in response to the Obama and Tancredo posturing in the US election cycle. Tancredo’s version of mutual assured destruction is just as insane as McNamara’s was — and like McNamara’s policy it will not deter expansion of the extreme islamists, but instead embolden them; the extremists love anything they can frame as an attack on Islam itself instead of the extreme elements.

 Obama stating he would attack inside Pakistan, and his nuclear gaffe demonstrates even less understanding the problem.

A faction within PML is bandying about rumors about a possible state of emergency being declared, but I suspect this is political jockeying. With the army in the frontiers, nothing would unite everyone in the urban areas to overthrow Musharraf quicker than a state of emergency without real need. ( Let us hope that mass violence does not hit the cities, for that is when it would be needed, and probably supported.) It’s notable that some of the rumor-mongers would lose some influence and possibly position in a Musharraf-Bhutto deal.

Urban Update 

In the urban areas the government is preparing for suicide bombers and unrest, which tells me they are getting ready for real action ahead of Pakistani Independence Day. There are civil defense preparedness excercizes, and other storm readiness alerts going on as well.

 Frontiers Update

Yesterdays’ attack on militant camps in Dayan killed 12, not 10 low-level Al Qaeda. The low level fighting, and the interdictions continue with an attack here, and arrests here and here.

Note how the Taliban brands the leaders of the opposition as “criminals” while some of it might be true, it’s probably well exaggerated. Some tribal leaders do some smuggling on the side, and aren’t averse to some things that could be termed crimes under the extremists version of sharia:

Pro-Taliban militants raided a tribal village on Wednesday to avenge an attack on them by supporters of the slain leader of an alleged criminal network, police said. The militants fired three rockets into the village in the tribal town of Darra Adam Khel near Peshawar, a senior local police officer said, adding that they currently had it surrounded. Five villagers were injured when one of the rockets destroyed a house, local police officer Iftikhar Khan said. “The situation is very tense and we have called a meeting of local elders to end the siege,” Khan said. Trouble erupted when pro-Taliban militants killed the leader of an alleged criminal gang hailing from the village on Monday. Ameer Sayed was driving his car when armed men ambushed him on motorcycles. Residents said militants had warned Sayed, 45, that he would be killed if he did not stop activities that allegedly included carjacking, drug smuggling and kidnapping for ransom. On Tuesday Sayed’s supporters raided a hotel where pro-Taliban militants were staying, killing three of them, a senior administration official said. Dozens of militants brandishing AK-47s and rocket launchers then raided Sayed’s village and were blocking all entry and exit points, the official added.