Posts Tagged ‘Wan on Terror’

Pakistan: Why Musharraf was made to Leave?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Finally, he is gone; Musharraf announced his resignation in his televised address on 18th August. Since then people are celebrating his departure; many are dancing on the streets and distributing sweets – the very same people who did the same when he came into power in October 1999. The same people, who were cursing him for not resigning, for being confrontational and for destabilizing the country, are now calling him coward for resigning and not facing impeachment. Some hypocrites, who are supporting current Military Operation in tribal areas, are also accusing him for launching a War against its own people in FATA. Those, who have personal scores to settle, are calling shots for his trial. There is much have been said and much more will be in coming days but mostly with hatred, emotions and vengeance.

Only events in next few weeks (or days) will show if Musharraf was the reason for instability and only history will tell us if he did any good to Pakistan.

The question for now is, if he was indispensable and a strong American ally in “War on Terror”, if he turned Pakistan into a U.S. colony (as he is accused for) then why America let him go? If he was doing everything to achieve America’s objectives in the region then why he was gradually isolated and then shown the door? Why America did not want him in power anymore? If history is any guide, America never suspended support to their allies until the job was finished – like they supported Zia despite his all wrong doings until Soviets were defeated. Why this time Americans abandoned support for their best ally before the job is finished? (i.e. War on Terror)

As “War on Terror” is nowhere close to finish and America’s regional objectives are still not met, then there could only be two reasons that can make America to let Musharraf, their best ally, go (or make him leave):

  1. America found a better ally in Pakistan who can deliver more than what Musharraf was doing.
  2. Musharraf was providing resistance in meeting some of US objectives.

America would not need another (or better) ally in Pakistan if Musharraf was delivering all what they wanted. They would not have bothered dealing with many politicians when one man was giving them all they asked for. Finding a better ally only makes sense when the new ally can do better than what Musharraf was doing; though it will involve dealing with many people – people who are not sole authority either like Musharraf was.

However, if Musharraf was a resistance to some of American objectives then we need to understand those objectives first as Musharraf was not a resistance in “War on Terror”. America’s other strategic goals in the region are:

  1. Get strategic control in Afghanistan – to gain access to former USSR territory and its natural resources.
  2. Control China –Its economy is getting stronger and is capturing bigger international markets where US has (or had) control before. Also, China is increasing its fire power remarkably. China is widely seen as a new emerging power that can challenge America’s sole authority on this globe. America can keep an eye on China after getting control in Afghanistan.
  3. Promote India – India, that shares a long border with China, is only country in the region that can challenge China before it gets strong enough to challenge US.
  4. Neutralize Pakistan (or at least decrease its Military power) – To make Pakistan not able to challenge India and for India to focus on China ONLY. Pakistan has to be neutralized from its nuclear assets and its military strength has to be decreased in order for India to focus on China.

And these were the wider US objective to which Musharraf was not willing to cooperate. He was not willing to change Pakistan’s “Indian-focused” defense policy, he was not willing to corner China in the region and promote India for America’s regional interests. And for stability in Afghanistan, he has been accused many times for playing double game with America – for spending money to improve Pakistan’s “Indian-focused” defense; money that was given to fight with militants in Pak-Afghan border areas. New York Times, in this article says:

“Yet he also displayed a taste for military adventurism and sometimes reckless pursuit of Pakistan’s own goals, which were sometimes at odds with American interests.”

And also the same article mentions Musharraf as:

“Though Mr. Musharraf forged a personal bond with President Bush that assured American support for him even as his public standing declined precipitously, he produced only mixed results for Washington, increasing suspicions that he was playing a double game.”

“Yet for every decision that Mr. Musharraf calculated would help the United States, there were many that did not, leaving policy makers in Washington to wonder which side he was really on.”

Here it talks about him like this:

“For seven years, the Bush administration enabled Mr. Musharraf — believing that he was the best ally for the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. He never delivered on that promise. And Pakistan’s people deeply resent Washington for propping up the dictator.”

Musharraf’s downfall started in 2004 when he refused to hand over Dr. Abdul Qadeer to Americans and then denied any kind of access to Pakistani nuclear scientists by international agencies. Since then the situation in Pakistan started getting worst and pressure started mounting on Musharraf; in FATA militants started re-grouping, in Balochistan an armed uprising was launched, Civil Society got active, NGOs started to assemble, Media turned against Musharraf etc. Since then, any mistake committed by General did not go unnoticed – like they did before – and we witnessed huge protest rallies where civil society, NGOs, student unions, media played a gigantic part – and intentionally (or unintentionally?) helped US plan to isolate Musharraf.

“A plan to Topple Pakistan Military” provides in depth analysis of America’s objectives in the region and details as to how events took place in Pakistan to isolate Musharraf.

While Musharraf was being isolated, Hussain Haqqani’s long efforts in US to get Washington’s support for Benazir Bhutto started to flourish – Hussain Haqqani was a close ally to Benazir and her prime lobbyist in US . America, having decided to replace Musharraf with Benazir Bhutto, started to pressure him to start negotiations with Ms. Bhutto, provide her clearance from corruption charges and let her come back to Pakistan. Many believe that Musharraf went for a deal with Benazir in 2007 because he needed support to stick to the power but actually it started back in late 2004; when Asif Ali Zardari was released by Musharraf govt. after spending 8 years in jail (five of those were under Musharraf regime), when people first started talking about a deal between Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto, when Musharraf did not need to go into any deal to stick into power. It was in 2004, when America first started pushing Musharraf to negotiate a deal with Benazir Bhutto. In late 2006, after resisting America’s pressure since 2004, Musharraf started to break a deal with People’s Party (PPP) and it was long before Musharraf’s apparent downfalls started i.e. March 2007, – I said apparent because mostly Pakistani analysts link his downfall with his action to remove Chief Justice on March 2007. When PPP was secretly brokering a deal with Musharraf, through General Ashfaq Kyani – then ISI chief – and Tariq Aziz – a close Musharraf ally – the frequent un-resting events started happening in Pakistan in early 2007- Musharraf dismissing Chief Justice in March 2007 worked as catalyst towards his isolation. It was November 2007 when Musharraf’s popularity reached to its lowest.

Musharraf remained in power with immense pressure from America to bring democracy and was forced to doff his uniform and hold the elections. This time Musharraf was not allowed to get his favorable election results, like he did in 2002; rather these results were much favorable for America’s new ally – PPP.

After coming into power, PPP started to present itself as a strong ally for America, started to distance itself from China, issued an Indian favorable trade policy. Pakistan’s Military budget was openly discussed in the National Assembly for the first time, Beijing (China) is left without a Pakistani Ambassador, Prime Minister’s visited America before visiting China – opposite to all past ruler of Pakistan who visited China after they came into power – presenting a shift from China to America. Munir Akram- Pakistan’s representative in United Nation, who has been vocalist about Pakistan’s interests internationally and critical to US and Indian policies – has been replaced because India and US showed concerns about him. Hussain Haqaani was appointed as Pakistan Ambassador to US and “Business Recorder” reported his appointment as:

“In a clear indication to strictly follow Pentagon tailored-policy to keep on playing the role of frontline fighter against war on terror, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani government has called back Major General, Mahmood Ali Durrani (Retd) from Washington and appointed Hussain Haqqani as Pakistan’s ambassador to the USA”.

All this happened without any resistance (or little resistance) from Musharraf, however, when PPP govt. tried to clip ISI’s wings and brought it under Interior Ministry; a strong resistance was provided from Army and Presidency forcing PPP to de-notify its early notification.

This was when it was decided to remove Musharraf from the scene; an impeachment move was started and Musharraf was made to resign.
Soon after Musharraf left, New York Times quoted an American official saying, “Now as Musharraf has gone, there should not be any ambiguity about ISI’s role”.

And also, U.S. (and Britain) made sure that he is not trialed for any of his actions. If trialed, a whole new Pandora box will open revealing many facts and secrets that none of the stakeholders in America’s regional interests would like to be disclosed. Providing safe passage to Musharraf is in America’s own interest – it’s not just that America does not want Musharraf to be humiliated; after all he was not their best ally.

It is no coincidence that reports against Pakistan’s intelligence agency -ISI, Military, Pakistan’s nuclear assets, about militants getting stronger in Tribal Areas are continuously published in American media. It is also no coincidence that American warships are moving (or moved) from Gulf to Arabian Sea.