Pakistan's role in the War on Terrorism
The Talk Radio News Service; May 29, 2007
Heritage Foundation held a discussion to discuss “Judicial Crisis and the Future of Democratic Reform” in light of recent events in Pakistan. Moderated by Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation, the panel was extremely distinguished.
- Najam Sethhi, editor of “The Friday Times,” a Pakistan weekly
- Shuja Nawaz, Pakistani journalist
- Hassan Abbas, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
A short summary was given; basically, this is a trying time for Pakistan. They are fighting the Taliban, General (and President) Pervez Musharraf is becoming more autocratic and on March 9th the Chief Justice (Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry) was forcefully removed from office.
Shuja Nawz began by saying it is “Déjà vu, all over again.” What began was an “autocratic leader with liberal intentions” has degraded in to an unevenly growing economy and a President “that won’t leave soon or quietly.” Public opinion of the “War on Terror” is extremely low in Pakistan, however, and all the panelists agree that if Musharraf were to leave office and be replaced by a democratically elected official that the support of the US would cease to exist.
Hassan Abbas moved from historical to current as he discussed the future implications of change. He believes “Musharraf is delusional and incurable” and that the populace nature of resistance to him is actually bad for Islamic extremists. Furthermore, he believes the US should stay silent on the issue because its support of non-democratically elected leaders is frowned upon by the Pakistani public.
He called this a “turning point” in Pakistani government.
He also said that Musharraf’s approval is low and that is what has lead to crisis, but Najam Sethhi countered this by saying the crisis arose and Musharraf’s approval has fallen accordingly.
Either way, all the panelists agree that the next few months will be very eventful in Pakistani politics and no matter what the outcome it will have an effect on the US through Pakistan’s stability and support (or lackthereof) for the “War on Terror.”