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Pakistan between Afghanistan and India Author(s): Hamza Alavi Reviewed work(s): Source: Middle East Report, No.

222 (Spring, 2002), pp. 24-31 Published by: Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1559267 . Accessed: 14/07/2012 09:11
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killed October Funeral for 16 Christians 2001. extremists,Bahawalpur, Pakistan, by Muslim

PIERSBENATAR/PANOS PICTURES

and India Pakistan Between Afghanistan


Hamza

Alavi

as withAfghanistan Radical Islamandthe activitiesof jihadigroupshavebeencentralto Pakistan's relationship


well as India. Butthe Pakistani militarywas already turningagainst such groups for internal reasons, before the USassault on al-Qaeda and the Talibanand this winter's confrontationwith India. akistanhas been passingthroughextremelydifficult times.First, the governmentwas drawninto supportAmerica's ing Afghan war, which was costly for it. Then, the winter saw a dangerous military confrontation with India, threatening a war that neither side wants. South Asians who are committed to values of seculardemocracyare faced with a paradox.A military rulerin Pakistanhas declareda war against Islamic funHamzaAlavi,a Pakistani, is a retired academic whotaught at the University sociology England ofManchester,

damentalism and is, apparently,pursuing secular values. By contrast,the once proudlysecularIndiahas been taken over by extremeHindu fundamentalists who came to power through the ballot box. They have threatened war against Pakistan. Secularismand democracyare at odds with each other. Islamic fundamentalism and the activities of jihadi relationshipwith groups have been central to Pakistan's as well as India. But that can be misleadAfghanistan Pakistani were alreadybeing reorientedby ing. policies
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sons, long before George W. Bush's declaration of war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and the warlike confrontation with India that began in December. In both cases, moreover, material interests are concealed behind the ideological cloak of religious fundamentalism.

Oiland theTaliban
Islamic fundamentalism was propagated in Pakistan in the 1980s by its military dictator Gen. Zia ul Haq, recruited by Reagan and assisted by the CIA to mobilize Afghan warlords to fight the Soviets in the name of Islamicjihad. Ajihadi culture was actively promoted in Pakistan (not least within the army) as well as in Afghanistan, with the help of US and Saudi money. CIA-trainedjihadi groups in both counties were armed with sophisticated weapons such as Stinger missiles. After driving the Soviets out of Afghanistan, rival warlords, all invoking Islam, and armed by the US and Pakistan, began to tear their country apart. Against that background of complete anarchy, the radical Islamist Taliban rose to power. The interests of Unocal, an American oil company, lurked behind US Afghanistan policy during the 1990s. Unocal aimed to build oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia, across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea, bypassing Iran. But the destructive civil war being fought by warlords forestalled the establishment of an effective state that could guarantee the security of the proposed pipelines. Attempts to bring the warring Afghan factions together were unsuccessful. By the end of 1994, with help from the government ofBenazir Bhutto and financial aid from Saudi Arabia, the Taliban emerged as a powerful and united force in that deeply divided country. They secured control over most of the country, driving thenPresident Burhanuddin Rabbani's forces into a small enclave in the northeast. Fazlur Rehman, head of the Pakistani Jamiat-e Ulamae Islam (JUI), had close links with the Taliban leadership and played a major part in securing the Bhutto government's support for the Taliban. In the 1993 elections Fazlur Rehman was an ally of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party. He was made Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, a position that he used to build connections with the army leadership and the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), who were already deeply involved in Afghan affairs. He had close personal contact with most Taliban leaders who had been students of deeni madaris (religious schools) run by the JUI in Pakistan. The US government soon tacitly supported the Taliban, who had effectively subordinated the sparring warlords and had also publicized their dislike of Iran as well as their determination to cut Afghanistan's flourishing opium production. In April 1996 Robin Raphel, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia visited
MIDDLE EAST REPORT 2002 222 * ? SPRING

tals.1 As Ahmed Rashid points out, by April 1996, "The Clinton administration was clearly sympathetic to the Taliban, as they were in line with Washington's antiIran policy and were important for the success of any southern pipeline from Central Asia."2 Early in 1997 Unocal brought a Taliban delegation to Washington, lobbying for US recognition, while at the same time another Taliban delegation was in Buenos Aires on the invitation of Bridas, Unocal's rival.3 By late 1997, however, world opinion was outraged by news of the extremely oppressive policies of the Taliban, especially with regard to women. US feminist groups mounted pressure against both Unocal and the Clinton administration, demanding a change in policy toward the Taliban. The women's vote was crucial for Bill Clinton in the 1996 elections and he could not ignore women's groups. The Taliban invited reprisals from the US by providing a base for bin Laden, who had declared war against the US and the Saudis and was held responsible for the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998. Ironically, it took the petty Monica Lewinsky affair, when Clinton needed a dramatic alternative focus for public attention, to precipitate an ill-planned and ineffective cruise missile attack on Afghan territory in August 1998. At that point Unocal pulled out of Afghanistan, at least for the time being. The economic rationale for a pipeline via Afghanistan and Pakistan remains. Westward pipeline routes now pushed by the US government are also insecure and more expensive than the southern route. Further, the burgeoning Southeast and East Asian markets for oil and gas could be more directly and cheaply accessed from the Baluchistan coast. After the fall of the Taliban, Unocal may be hoping that its pipeline through Afghanistan is once again politically feasible. But Hamid Karzai'stransitional government cobbled together at Bonn, made up as it is of a makeshift collection of rival warlords, lacking any political unity, is unlikely to be the basis of the stable Afghanistan that the US and Unocal are looking for. Warlords are already back in action in the countryside, defiant of the central authority, which itself is internally divided.

vs. Islamic Fundamentalism Secularism


Islamic fundamentalist parties had little influence in Pakistan until Z.A. Bhutto, with his misguided and opportunistic populism, flirted with them in the 1970s. It was Zia, however, who promoted fundamentalist Islam actively in the 1980s. With generous Saudi financing he encouraged the establishment of a chain of deeni madaris that recruited sons of pauperized peasants and Afghan refugees, offering them free room and board and "religious education." The "education," such as it was, was designed to turn the pupils into zealots. Some
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became militant cadres ofjihadi groups and were later to provide foot soldiers for the Afghan Taliban. The minds of the pupils were filled with utopian dreams about the "Islamic" society which they would create, in which no one would be left in want. Most leaders of the Afghan Taliban were products of Pakistani deeni madaris. They maintained close ties with their Pakistani mentors, notably the leaders of the two factions of the U

PakistaniJUI.

of the larger madaris (with

Morethan70 percent

longedto the puritanical

more than 40 pupils) beDeobandi-Wahhabi tradi-

corps partly lessened when Zia made his efforts to promote Isthe madaris to foster anti* lamic ideology instead. Shi'a and anti-Iranian In 1995 Islamist ideoideas. The Iranians responded in kind, but the number of Shi'a madaris was logues led by a Major General Abbasi attempted an inless than four percent of the total. The deeni madaris pro- ternal coup to dislodge the professionals. Their aim was vided recruits for extremist sectarian groups most of which to Islamize the army and Pakistan. The coup attempt were heavily armed, and sectarian violence reached a scale failed, but it was a major shock to the professionals and that Pakistan had never known before. "reinforce[d] the senior commanders' concern with proIslamist leaders acquired new ambitions. They began fessional development."4 In the aftermath many Islamto assert that Pakistan was created to establish an Islamic ist officers were weeded out. But many, especially in state and it was they, therefore, who had the right to run senior positions, remained. Musharraf and the "profesthe government. Post-Zia civilian governments (alter- sionals" were faced with difficulties in contending with nately under the Pakistan People's Party and the Muslim powerful generals committed to Islamic ideology. In opposing religious fundamentalist tendencies in the League) continued to promote Islamic fundamentalist idemeschool universities and the textbooks, army and society, Musharraf has invoked the secular valology through dia. Most Pakistanis soon came to believe that Pakistan ues of Jinnah. But Musharraf himself does not appear to be driven by any ideology. He is a "professional," a was indeed created to establish an Islamic state. The fact, however, is that the Pakistan movement had pragmatic and flexible man who believes in the armed secular foundations. The All India Muslim League was forces as the sole repository of legitimate force in socinot a religious movement at all. It was a party of West- ety and, indeed, the custodian of the nation. He has ern-educated professionals and the "salariat"-those who had no difficulty in abandoning one policy and supaspired to get government jobs. These people successfully porting another if that promises to be more profitable. resisted attempts by mullahs to gain influence in their It was easy for Musharraf to drop his earlier support for party. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founding father of Paki- the Taliban and jump on the bandwagon of Bush's war stan, spelled out the movement's secular creed in his in- against terrorism, since he had not supported the Taliban augural address to Pakistan's Constituent Assembly. on grounds of Islamic ideology. The Taliban's capture Speaking against the background of the long history of of Kabul was in effect a victory for the Pakistani forces Hindu-Muslim conflict in India before independence, he behind them-the first ever victory of Pakistan's army said that in Pakistan "Hindus will cease to be Hindus in the field. As a professional, Musharraf took pride in and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the reli- that victory. But soon it was clear to him that he was gious sense, for that is the personal faith of each indi- backing the wrong horse. Soon after taking power, Musharraf indicated his previdual, but in the political sense, as citizens of the state." It was not until the 1980s, under Zia's regime, that "secu- dilections by declaring that Kemal Atatirk, the great "Muslim" secular soldier, was his personal hero. He unlarism" was equated with apostasy. successfully tried to modify Pakistan's notorious blasphemy law, one of Zia's legacies, which was being used to persecute innocent people, especially Christians. This remove was resisted loudly and angrily by Islamists still in the "democratic" Armedjihadi groups patronized by gime of Nawaz Sharif dominated Pakistan's civil society the army. Musharraf might not have cared about mere when the 1998 army coup, that brought General Pervez public outcry, but resistance from within the army was

tion. The Saudis funded

the illiterate Soon aftertaking power, Musharraf t he exploited masses. The dominance M I of this ideology among I declaredthat Ke mal Ataturk,the the a s Pakistani officers' great "Muslim" 8 was cular soldier, was only

cies, Islamic ideology had permeated some sections of the army as well. But the dominant ideology in the army remained that of "professionalism," inculcated in Indian officers of the army by the British colonial rulers to insulate them from the appeal of nationalist movements. That ideology entailed "military honor" and loyalty to one's regiment as well as a belief in the moral superiority of the "professional" army officer over "selfseeking politicians" who

his personalhero*

Musharraf's "Secularism"

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2002 222 REPORT EAST MIDDLE ? SPRING 2002 MIDDLE REPORT 222 * SPRING EAST

onstrike,Srinagar, Kashmiri 2002. shopkeeper February

TAUSEEFMUSTAFA/AFP

another matter. The professionals had not yet consolidated their influence in the army, and Musharraf had to retreat. Musharraf's recent declaration that he will not make any attempt to repeal or modify any of the unjust and oppressive laws promulgated by Zia in the name of Islam bespeaks the strength of Islamists still in the army. It will take a long time to exorcise Zia's ghost from the minds of the Pakistani public and the army.

Sectarian Killings
The heavily armed jihadi groups were a matter of great concern to the professionals in the military establishment for reasons other than Islamic ideology. These groups were rival nodes of power vis-a-vis the army, a situation that was anathema to Musharraf's cohort. With their sophisticated weaponry, jihadi groups were a threat to the army's monopoly of legitimate force in society In the summer of 2001, armed Islamist groups went on a sectarian killing spree throughout the country, leaving hundreds of victims. Some groups targeted Shi'a professionals, killing doctors (68 in Karachi alone), engineers, civil servants and teachers. But not only Shi'a
MIDDLE EAST REPORT 222o * SPRING SPRING 2002 MIDDLE 222 EAST REPORT 2002

were killed. The head of a relatively moderate Sunni movement in Karachi was killed by rival Deobandis. Shi'agroupsretaliated,killing Sunnis. Iraniandiplomats were assassinatedby the Deobandis. Government officials, including some senior police officers, were also among those killed. Judges were afraid to try cases of sectariankillings (as well as blasphemy cases). One senior judge was assassinatedin his office by gunmen because he had found a sectariankiller guilty of murder. Pakistanipressreportsalleged that intelligence agencies were involved in the sectarian murders. Support for sectarian killers from within the state machinery was a challenge to the army professionals, placing Musharrafand his team in contention with those who sympathized with the religious extremists. This contradiction at the heart of state power had another dimension: although the professionalsheld centralpower, religious ideologues were able to manipulate the corrupt and inefficient state apparatusat the local level. The Pakistani press also reported that many activists in extremist groups were common criminals who had close ties with local police and military officers. The writ of the state ran very thin.
27
27

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........count

clared his global "waron terrorism," Musharraf knew he could depend upon the forhostile US to support him. Many in Pakistan believe Musharraf began to act t^that against religious extremist groups only at the behest of the Americans. That is manithe not case. festly Musharraf's crackdown on armed religious extremist groups began not after September 11 but well before that. However, we must also recognize that he was able to remove or sideline Islamists in the army only after he could on US backing. Among
the senior generals given

Indian solideronpatrolin Srinagar.

Writ TheArmy's Restored


Universal horror at the killings gave Musharraf an opening to regain the initiative. In June 2001, he convened a national conference of ulama at which he roundly condemned them for their narrow and dogmatic conception of Islam. His hard-hitting speech asked if Islam was about sectarian killings, and warned the ulama that they were not above the law. Musharraf could not have said as much a year earlier, but he was now more confident. That warning to religious leaders was followed by the August 14 banning of two notorious sectarian terrorist groups, the Sunni Lashkar-e Jhanghvi and the Shi'a Sipah-e
28 28

compulsory retirement after September 11 was the very ambitious and powerful Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmad, director general of the notorious ISI. In 2000, Ahmad was able to prevent a presidential visit to Afghanistan during which Musharraf had intended to persuade Mullah Omar to yield Osama bin Laden to the US. Instead, Ahmad went to Kandahar himself and gave ^the means thewri green light to the Taliban's continued refusals. In opposition to the fundamentalists' slogan of Islamic ihad, Musharrafhas raisedthe counter-slogan of "Pakistan First."To justify disarming or banning armed fundamentalist groups, he has declaredthat the "writof the state must be restored,"by which he clearly means the writ of the army. For the time being the professionals have the upper hand in the army. But the effects of ideological conditioning spanning over two decades, both within the army and in society, cannot be erased overnight. Retired generalTalat Masood reflected concerns among the professionals in the military when he pointed out that ideological "reforming and recasting will not be easy...and is likely to be met with resistance from disaffected groups, even from some elements within the establishment [meaning the army] itself."5 A cultural revolution is called for. Musharraf has said that he wants to transform Pakistan into a "modern,
" 2002 222 REPORT EAST MIDDLE MIDDLE 222 * SPRING 2002 EAST REPORT SPRING

believe that a progressive and vibrant society can be created purely by orders from above, they will be sadly mistaken. What is needed is freedom of speech and expression that might allow creative and courageous thought to flourish. For over half a century, since independence, a culture of conformity and censorship has been enforced. Old habits die hard. There is an ingrained fear of new ideas, not least among those who rule over the academic world, the media and the police, particularly vis-a-vis public meetings. There are already some signs of a new intellectual environment, but this will not flourish in a political vacuum, nor will it be painless, achieved without a struggle.

Not long thereafter, leaders and activists of these two groups were arrested in Pakistan. It was claimed, unconvincingly, that the arrests were unconnected with the New Delhi attack. That was the last thing the Musharraf government could have wanted. Pakistan had nothing to gain and much to lose by staging such a drama. The scale of Indian troop mobilization at the Pakistani border has been unprecedented. On January 14, the Washington Times quoted US officials saying that "90 percent of India'smilitary forces are now deployed outside of peacetime garrisons."India has a far bigger and better-equipped army and a much larger nuclear capacity, than Pakistan, and its economy is much larger and stronger. A war between the two nuclear South Asian countries would be a terrible disaster all around. Pakistanhas few illusions about the ultimate outcome of such a conflict. Musharraf has The Kashmir issue has been the main obstacle in the way been appealing for talks and for the return of troops on of better relations between Pakistan and India. It is time both side of the border to peacetime positions. Analysts that both countries recognized that the future of Kashmir have stressed that a war would not be easy for India either, whateverthe final outcome may is for Kashmiris to decide. Since ,,,, ,,,,,,,,, be. The Pakistani army has the the beginning of the Kashmiri ,,,,, U capacity to inflict unacceptably intifada in 1989 there has been

Kashmir

of thisin consciousness growing


Pakistan. Pakistanis support the

A new factor is shaping India'sheavy damage in

self-determination for the and Kashmiris verypassionately, abandonthat cause. Musharraf


no Pakistani government can

which the present government of India has dismissed every aphas affirmed this commitment. * He has made a distinction beproach made by the Musharraf tween "terrorism"and national government (and by an anxious liberation struggles against an occupying power, thus jus- US) for a peaceful settlement to be extremely sad and very tifying and supporting the struggle of the Kashmiri people. worrying. At the same time, he has categorically rejected any role for Immediately after the jihadi attack on the Indian parliaPakistan-basedjihadi groups in Kashmir. In 1989, Gen- ment, Musharraf condemned it unreservedly. He offered eral Aslam Beg, then head of the army, set up the ISI's joint Pakistani-Indianinvestigations to identify the culprits Kashmir Cell to control and coordinate the activities of and bring them to justice. That offer was turned down by jihadi groups. Musharraf has closed the cell down, saying India. Pakistan then asked India to provide evidence that that Pakistan-basedjihadigroups were alienating Kashmiris might enable a full Pakistaniinvestigation. That requesttoo by trying to impose the Taliban'sversion of Islam on them. was dismissed. Instead, the Indian government demanded Secondly, he has accepted that there is no military solu- that about 20 persons named in a list consisting largely of tion for the Kashmir issue. Pakistan, Musharrafsays, must Indian nationals should be deported to India. Musharraf give all political and diplomatic support to the struggle for said that Pakistanhad not given asylum to any Indian subself-determination of the Kashmiri people and try to se- jects, and that no Pakistani national would be handed over cure internationalmediation, including enforcement of UN to another country. If action against anyone was called for, resolutions on Kashmir. A.G. Bhatt, chairman of the 23- that would be done in Pakistan, under Pakistanilaws. India might have felt reassuredby the measurestaken by member All Parties Hurriyat Conference of Kashmir, has welcomed that declaration, saying that the time had come the Musharraf government against Pakistan-basedjihadi for the political process to take over. groups, as detailed in Musharraf'smajor speech on January 12. Five Islamistandjihadi groups were banned. There were large-scalearrestsofjihadi leadersand activists,perhapsmore than 2,000, and the arms ofjihadi groups were orderedconfiscated. Leadersof India'smain opposition party,the Conwith India's Pakistan was faced mid-December 2001, By threat of war in response to ajihadi attack on the Indian gressParty,and two communist partiesgenerouslyacclaimed parliament on December 13. The Indians instantly these measures. But the ruling BhartiyaJanata Party (BJP) blamed the ISI and two Pakistani jihadi groups, namely respondedcoolly, repeatingthe overworkedmantrathat they

globalpolicies :it ambition to 0 b e rec g n i z ad as a Uworld world UPakistan,


I

power.

d
as

someone who has spent the best part of his life promoting pfriendshipbetween India and

return. As

I find the way in

of War India's Threat

" SPRING MIDDLE EAST REPORT 2002 222 *

29

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Secretaryof State Colin Powell to persuade the Indian government to soften its line. At a joint press conference with Powell, Indian ForeignMinister JaswantSingh expressedhis appreciation for the January 12 speech and said that India was ready to cooperate with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. But the very next day Interior Minister L.K. Advani, while acknowledgingthe importanceof Musharraf's speech, revertedto saying that "merespeech is not enough." Indian troops would not withdraw until Pakistan handed over to India those whom he had named. Musharraf, referring to his own far-reaching actions against jihadi groups, declared: "We will not allow anyone to sit on judgment [on us]. Whatever measures we are taking for eliminating terrorism and religious extremism are aimed at reforming our own society and not to appease anyone." He was also conciliatory. "We need patience," he said. "You have to realize that they are a 20party alliance and often speak with different voices. It takes them time to arriveat an agreed position." He added, "There will be no war."

theHard Line Explaining


The present confrontation between India and Pakistanhas occurred in very different conditions from the past. In recent years, fundamentalist Hindutva ideology,

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once proud secularism. Atrocities have been committed against India'sMuslim and Christian minorities with impunity. Many in Pakistanfeel that Indian Prime Minister Atal BihariVajpayeeis not himself a warmonger.But he is under great pressure from his senior colleagues, especially, the Hindu fundamentalist Advani and George Fernandes, the chauvinistic minister of defense. Advani may be adopting an extreme hard-line position as part of a bid to succeed the aging and ailing Vajpayee. If that is Advani's ambition, his extreme fundamentalist views make it unlikely that he can hold together a fractious alliance of 20 parties. The hard line of the BJP in the dangerous military standoff with Pakistanwas attributedto posturing before the Februaryelections in four Indian states. The BJP badly lost the election in all four states (losing half of its seats in the key state of Uttar Pradeshwith its 99 million voters). Jingoism did not work, for the winning opposition parties stressed bread-and-butter issues. Nevertheless, the initial signs are that the BJP has moved even further to the right. The situation is quite unstable. Only four of India's28 states now have a BJP government. BJP leadershave declared that this does not alter their position at the center. Hopes of a postelection detente have been dashed. The speech of the president of India, when inaugurating the budget session of the parliament on February25, was hostile and aggressive.He reiteratedthat "dialoguewith Pakistan... and terrorismcannot go together" in demanding that Pakistan should first end terrorism in Kashmir and hand over the 20 persons whom India has named. Meanwhile the warlike confrontation stays.The resultsof the election are such that there will be a great deal of wheeling and dealing between parties before a clear pattern emerges. Over and above electoral sloganeering there is one new long-term factor that is shaping India's global policies: its ambition to be recognized as a world power. As the largest economic and military power in South Asia, India now desires to extend its influence elsewhere in Asia, especially in the Middle East and SoutheastAsia. Bush and Britain's Tony Blair have announced their support for India's bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The US wants India to play a key role in its strategyfor the Middle East and Southeast Asia, not least in its policy to contain China. In pursuit of its global ambitions, India has been developing close ties with Israel,especially in the field of military cooperation. In November 2001 alone, three official Israeli delegations-representing the Knesset, the Foreign Ministry and, crucially, the Ministry of Defense-visited India. These were followed in January by a three-day visit by Shimon Peres, the Israeli foreign minister, to New Delhi. Israel is scheduled to provide state-of-the-art weapon systems and militarytechnology to India, including the Phalcon airborne early warning system, which in the past the US had refused to allow Israel to supply to third parties. India alreadyhas massive military superiority over its neighbors, raising the question of the purpose of such huge investment
2002 222 REPORT EAST MIDDLE * SPRING EAST 222 * SPRING 2002 MIDDLE REPORT

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time of India'snucleartest in May 1998 may be a clue. India's nuclear bombs and delivery systems, he said, are intended for deployment against China.

in Pakistan RuleandDemocracy Military


In Pakistanthe military has exercisedpower, de facto, even when civilian governments have been in office. Successive "democratic"leaders have depended on the army'ssupport and approval to stay in office. The military has wielded a pervasiveinfluence on the shaping of state policies. Retired generalTalatMasood acknowledgedas much when he spoke of a "monumental failure of our past domestic and foreign policies in which, ironically, the military has had a crucial role to play."6 The army'sunshakablegrip was revealedwhen the right-wing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to dismiss Musharrafandput his own nominee in his place. Sharif was promptly removed by the 1998 coup, which was the army'sway of preservingits institutional autonomy. The exprime minister'scoziness with the US did not save him from being ousted. The US angrily led international pressureson Pakistan to restore democracy. The Supreme Court of Pakistan, which initially legitimated Musharraf'scoup, has now mandated that the army should restoreparliamentarygovernment by October 2002. Musharraf has agreed to do so. It is too early to see precisely how that will be done. The fact that Musharraf has appointed himself President of Pakistan for "at least five years"is not a good beginning. The constitution must also be reinstated, but no one knows how that will happen. The army has promised elections, despite its unconcealed contempt for politicians.Religiouspartieswill not be a threat; in the past they have been unable to take more than two percent of the vote and they are unlikely to do better. Neither will the two main political parties present much of a challenge. The Muslim Leaguehas been successfullyfragmented and its rival, the PakistanPeople'sParty,is demoralized, its leader in exile. There are few signs that this political vacuum will be filled soon. One of Musharraf's ministershas given up his post to set up a new party. Indications are that the new system will have two components, one of them ratherlame. The first part is likely to be based on local bodies along the lines of GeneralAyub Khan'sdiscredited"basicdemocracies," which were ideallysuited to control and manipulationby the central bureaucracy. Elections for these bodies were held in 2001. The second component would be a moth-eaten national assembly,without significant powers, which would be held up for internationalacclaim as an exemplarof army deU mocracy.All of this bearswatching. Endnotes
1 AhmedRashid,Taliban: Islam,Oil and theNew GreatGamein CentralAsia (London:I.B. Tauris,2000), p 45. 2 Ibid., p. 46. 3 Ibid., p. 170. 4 StephenCohen, ThePakistan Press,1998), p. 171. Army(Oxford:OxfordUniversity 5 Dawn,January 26, 2002. 6 Dawn,January 26, 2002.

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