The foreign minister of Pakistan threatens that they will resume Nuclear testing if India does. The government is still upset about the nuclear deal with India. They say Pakistan needs civil nuclear energy every bit as much as India does, and that’s a very true statement. The catches are the instability in their government, and their lack of control in the tribal regions — without those two catches, I would wager the US would broker an equal deal with Pakistan, and with load shedding they need that badly.
Benazir Bhutto says that the extremists in the Frontiers will go away with Musharraf, however that’s wishful thinking, as Zahoor’s political cartoon deftly portrays. (Under Bhutto’s rule the Taliban was funded, trained, and fed by the government….)
Meanwhile the Presidential elections are weeks away:
The schedule for the presidential election will be announced in the first week of September, sources told Daily Times.
The presidential election, as provided in Article 41(4) of the Constitution, must be held between September 15 and October 15. “The election is more likely to be held closer to September 15 than October 15,” the sources said. The Election Commission previously announced 26-day schedules for the presidential elections won by Farooq Leghari and Rafique Tarar. “This time it may not be such a lengthy process,” the sources said, predicting that the election would be held in the third week of September.
The Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) was going to be the main opposition, but without the support of PPP and Bhutto, they are ineffective, as Nawaz Sharif points out, and PML-N is likely to resign from the government when the elections are announced. ( Without support that’s not going to be effective either.)
Decision on Uniform tomorrow? See this article.
The Pakistani military conducted three raids, one in Miranshah killing fifteen AQAM, (later stories include some civilians,) the other freed the Iranian Hostages in Balochistan, and another in Sui killed a “Militant Commander“. From the Daily times:
Pakistani security forces managed to recover 38 people, including 21 Iranian nationals, from their captors after a fierce armed clash between the two sides in the Mekran region on Monday, sources said.
The kidnappers were caught in the Dorbun area of Buleda tehsil in Mekran when they were travelling from Mand to a safer place. Once surrounded, they opened fire on the security forces resulting in the death of one kidnapper and injuries to two others.
Subsequently, 38 people, including 21 Iranian nationals who had been kidnapped on Sunday were recovered. Turbat district administration sources said the recovered had been shifted to Quetta via four helicopters. However, authorities in the Frontier Corps (FC) and the Iranian Consulate in Quetta could not immediately confirm these reports.
The Taliban attacked in three places, two ineffecive rocket assaults, and a suicide bombing that killed six security officials at a checkpoint.
A villager Jirga is working to get the Pakistani soldiers released, and they are stating that the Mehsud Taliban has agreed to it, however perhaps this is the payment.
UPDATE: The truce around the “prisoner exchange” has been breached by a Taliban attack on the army, looks like the deal for release might break down. Story at The International.