March 19, 2007 5:29am CST
The United States is possibly looking at a post-Musharraf administration in Pakistan, if media reports are any indications. "If Musharraf were to fall to an assassin's bullet ... It is unlikely that there would be mass uprisings in Lahore and Karachi, or that a religious leader in the Taliban mould would rise to power," the leading U.S. daily said quoting American diplomatic and intelligence officials in Washington. "Based on the succession plan, the vice chief of the army, Gen Ahsan Saleem Hyat, would take over as the leader of the army and Mohammedmian Soomro, an ex-banker, would become president," the report said. "General Hyat, who is secular like Musharraf, would hold the real power," it said. "But it is unclear whether General Hyat would be as adept as Musharraf at keeping various interest groups within the military in line." The record of Islamic political parties at the polls over the recent does not suggest any danger of their pulling off an electoral victory, the paper said. For years, it said, notion that Musharraf is all that stands between Washington and a group of nuclear-armed mullahs has dictated just how far the White House feels it can push him to root out Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives who enjoy a relatively safe existence in Pakistan. The spectre of Islamic radicals overthrowing Musharraf has also limited the Bush administration's policy options, taking off the table any ideas about American military strikes against a resurgent Al Qaeda, which has camps in Pakistani tribal areas, the paper said. The question of how to handle Musharraf, it said, is critical at a time when intelligence officials widely agree that the Taliban is expanding its reach in Pakistan, gradually spreading from remote areas into more settled regions of the country.
1 person likes this
19 Mar 07
It is definitely a serious situation the administration finds itself in. Nobody can understate the growing influence of Islamic fundamentalists throughout much of the Islamic world, Pakistan, etc. It is in the United States' best interest to at least keep Musharraf in power as to mute the fundamentalist influences within the Pakistani authority. It'll be interesting to see whether or not Pakistan would adopt a hard line Islamic fundamentalist regime once Musharaff is gone, this could have two consequences. First, the Al Qaeda resurgence alongside the Taliban will escalate to unforeseen levels in Afghanistan. Second, the relationship between Pakistan and India will continue to become more unstable, a somewhat unsettling notion considering both have nuclear weapon capabilities.