Thursday, March 15, 2007

U.S. Congress Weary of Pakistan

In an article in Dawn, the United States Congress passed a bill restricting aid to Pakistan because of its wishy-washy support in the war against terrorism, and lack of progress on the democratic front.
It notes that since Sept 11, 2001, Pakistan has been an important partner in removing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and combating Al Qaeda and international terrorism, “engaging in operations that have led to the deaths of hundreds of Pakistani security personnel and enduring acts of terrorism and sectarian violence that have killed many innocent civilians.”

But it also notes that “senior US military and intelligence officials have stated that the Taliban and Al Qaeda have established critical sanctuaries in Pakistan from where Al Qaeda is rebuilding its global terrorist network and Taliban forces are crossing into Afghanistan and attacking Afghan, US, and International Security Assistance Force personnel.
The U.S. Congress is right to restrict aid because, let’s face it, Pakistan hasn’t been living up to its side of the bargain. By opting out of military operations along the border, especially in the sensitive Federally Administrated Tribal Areas, Pakistan has ceded an advantage to the Taliban/Al-Qaeda combine, who are not only using FATA as a sanctuary, but are staging attacks into Afghanistan.

The other issue, that goes unmentioned in the article, of course, is the man-handling, with threats of bodily harm, to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who had the temerity to question President Musharraf’s authority on certain matters. It’s hardly democratic for a President to bend the law let alone shaping it anyway he sees fit, but President Musharraf has been doing just that—changing laws by personal fiat rather than through the country's democratic institutions. His pattern of behavior is an accordance with that of a dictator.

The U.S. Congress finally sees what President Musharraf for what he is. Even Republicans, who steadfastly supported Pakistan post-9/11, are seeing the light.

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