by Yasser Latif Hamdani
A popularly-elected secular government in Islamabad — which shares several broad objectives with the US in Afghanistan and the greater Muslim world — is being pressurized by an unthinking coterie of policy planners in Washington. A secular mass movement for constitution, democracy and independent judiciary threatens to become a Khomeniesque Islamic revolution of 1979 if the present wave of anti-Americanism subsists. Increased Allied pressure on Pakistan will virtually seal it. Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.
Slain Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party leads a coalition that brings together center left and center right with the marginalized ethno-nationalist forces serving as a counterweight to Islamist forces in the NWFP. It has entered into peace negotiations with the Taliban forces and, consequently, the ratio of one suicide bombing a day in Pakistan has decreased. To now try and undo it by having the Afghan President send out threats- which in any event are a violation of international law – means that the myopia has set in somewhere. The Afghan president is in a precarious position. In his own country, Karzai has various monikers: the “palace president”, the “mayor of Kabul” and even the derogatory “mouse-President”. It is unlikely that his government would survive even a single day without the Allied help. Therefore, backing him against a legitimate and popular government in Pakistan which promises to put a long-term sustainable secular democratic order- the kind envisaged by its founding father- in place is akin to being penny wise pound-foolish. Doing so would also be to the detriment of the lawyers’ movement which aims at strengthening Pakistan’s judiciary and constitution. Continue reading