The Waziristan War returns
Pakistan has recently been fighting a Waziristan war, and attempted a truce with the Taliban earlier in the year. The Taliban is a congeries of groups. The elements of the Pakistani inter-service intelligence who supported most of the Taliban groups, as a bulwark against Iranian, pro-Russian, or secular groups in alliance with the democrats of India or Pakistan, have been sidelined since 1999.
Yet Musharraf has been unable to exercise full control of a highly efficient and semi-praetorian intelligence service. It is the ISI which used to have its capital at Rawalpindi. It is the ISI which people are never going to understand who are not part of it. It may be that, after the exposure of A.Q.Khan and his nuclear network, the Waziristan disaster, and the rise in instability, the men of the ISI will now move to protect their investment against Musarraf by elevating Nawaz Sharif.
So--and this will upset a lot of people who read this blog--the safest and most stable course would be for Musharraf-- with the Judges, army and interests of ordinary people at heart--to govern Pakistan.
But he can't. He's fallen out with the Judges and lawyers. Ordinary people, as I noted before Christmas, are suffering from the worsening economy. His allies, the Americans, are forcing all sorts of policies on him and Britain and America are running a sort of kill-and-destroy storm over the border.
how to get out of this one? What will he do if he doesn't just suspend elections and try and hold out?
Well...why not secure Indian and Chinese diplomatic and economic cooperation; promote Nawaz Sharif; lock up Islamists, and flatter the Judges and media by appointing a full commission of inquiry into Pakistan's latest troubles under the Supreme Court? Secure the Army and make sure that the ISI is under 24 hour observation?
The danger is that India and China have no interest in extending their cooperation with each other to Pakistan; the Americans just don't learn; the Judges hate Musharraf now; hundreds of soldiers have been killed by Islamists and no controlled action can be taken against them; and the ISI is never going to be under any control. And, in the name of pretending that the Pakistan elections are the New Hampshire primary, Musharraf has been made to give up command of the Army. Oh, and they have nuclear weapons.
God help us all.