Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Musharraf's 'Operation Blue Star'

The Hindu has the final say on the whole Lal Masjid affair, which ended rather bloodily:

It would be twisting the truth if Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf were to claim that he acted decisively to end the half-year-long confrontation with religious extremists and armed desperadoes holed up in Islamabad’s Lal Masjid and its two madrassas. While the denizens of the mosque-seminary complex offered plenty of provocation over that period, General Musharraf’s regime vacillated as no government setting store by the rule of law should. Even the final showdown happened only because of the force of circumstances.

While Pakistani papers heap praise on Musharraf for his brinkmanship, no one has asked him why this sordid event was allowed to reach such a critical stage in the first place. After all, innocent people were plucked from the streets and taken hostage, neighborhoods were terrorized, all while the government looked on.

The government was content to do nothing until Chinese nationals were kidnapped. By this time the whole affair was topping the news worldwide, giving Pakistan's already battered image another body blow. Only then Musharraf acted. Now he his celebrating, gloating over his defeated enemies like a vain prizefighter. He should not celebrate too loudly because it is a Pyrrhic victory.

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