Pakistan – an Alternative to Musharraf? Part I

By | December 18, 2021

After a series of real or alleged hesitations, the emergency was declared on November 3, 2007, suspending all constitutional provisions and making the conflict between Musharraf and the judges irremediable. The Supreme Court, which must decide on the appeals filed against Musharraf’s candidacy for president and on the validity of his electoral victory, with a decision defined as ‘historic’ refuses to ratify the state of emergency, declaring it “null and void”, and 60 of the 97 judges of the Court refuse to take an oath under the new rules. Musharraf speaks to the country declaring: “I cannot allow this country to commit suicide”, referring to the wave of attacks that followed the assault on the Lal Masjid and the so-called ‘terrorism alert’ in the country, and 500 political opponents, activists. For Pakistan 1997, please check

The United States is certainly worried about the lack of democracy in Pakistan, but much more about the war on terror that has been at a standstill for some time now. It is easy enough for Musharraf to convince Washington, once again, of the absolute need for a strong man in government and, above all, a man loyal to the cause. While US General William J. Fallon is in Pakistan to discuss the war on terror, Musharraf draws on the only card that allows him to strengthen his shaky power. The specter of the atomic bomb in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists has been working perfectly for years now. The emergency lasts just over a month, the time it takes for Musharraf to strengthen the shaky props of his seat as dictator before giving way to ‘free and democratic’ elections, abandoning what he considers his ‘second skin’: the general’s uniform. First, however, he further adjusts the laws of the country: the power to lift the state of emergency is transferred, with an emergency decree, from the hands of the head of the Armed Forces to those of the president. While the suicide attacks and clashes between the army and fundamentalists continue, Musharraf appoints his loyalists, as the new head of the Armed Forces, General Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani, to the top of the justice, army and secret services. He then goes on to modify, with an immediately executive decree, a series of legal regulations, placing the entire nuclear arsenal and the National Command Authority under the direct control of the president. highly strategic move that allows him to personally accredit himself as a fundamental ally for the United States, worried about the possibility that the Pakistani bombs fall into disreputable hands. On the political front, the situation appears increasingly complex. Under pressure from Saudi Arabia, Nawaz Sharif, the ex-premier exiled on charges of corruption, embezzlement and hijacking, also returned to the country; however, he was excluded from the ‘national reconciliation’ decree and cannot present his candidacy in the elections. Benazir, at first willing to negotiate his re-election with the president and then suddenly declaring himself open to an alliance without conditions or almost with Sharif against Musharraf, starts to back down again.

Both Sharif and Bhutto need Musharraf to present their candidacy: both have been premieres twice and a third term is not allowed by the Constitution. The elections should take place on January 8, 2008, before the start of the month of Muharram, sacred for Shiite Muslims. But on December 27, 2007, in the midst of an electoral campaign which, according to all predictions, should be the winner, Benazir Bhutto was murdered in Rawalpindi, during yet another mob. The murder shakes the country to its very foundations, triggering street riots and protests, as well as a jumble of hypotheses on the mechanics of the attack, on the perpetrators and on the possible principals. But above all, Benazir’s death turns out to be an unprecedented political disaster for Musharraf and his government. Public opinion and the Pakistani People’s Party immediately place the responsibility for the attack on him, on the government and, above all, on the ISI. Bhutto, from being an inept and corrupt politician, turns into a martyr of democracy and freedom. At this point, Musharraf’s stock prices are swooping even in Washington. The government, after a brief investigation, accuses Baitullah Mehsud of the murder but the fundamentalist leader declines all responsibility. Former ISI chief Hamid Gul puts forward his personal hypotheses about the principals, insinuating that there are ‘foreign countries’ interested in destabilizing Pakistan and looking for a good excuse to seize the country’s nuclear arsenal. The ‘conspiracy theory’, which may seem unlikely to Western eyes, seen from Pakistan appears much less peregrine, especially if you think that the belief that the West sees the “Islamic bomb” as such and acts accordingly is deeply rooted in the country. In those days the rumor circulated, promptly denied by Islamabad, that a special team of the American Armed Forces is ready to take action and neutralize the Pakistani nuclear positions. It would be a special department, also composed of some scientists of the Nuclear Emergency Search Team, which would have orders to take control of the approximately 60 Pakistani bases in which nuclear technology is assembled and produced, if the concrete possibility of a strike occurs. State of the fundamentalists. The elections are postponed, amidst controversy and poisons, to February 18. if the concrete possibility of a coup d’état by the fundamentalists arose. The elections are postponed, amidst controversy and poisons, to February 18. if the concrete possibility of a coup d’état by the fundamentalists arose. The elections are postponed, amidst controversy and poisons, to February 18.

Pakistan Musharraf