Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Pakistan crisis deepens

By John E. Carey - posted Thursday, 26 July 2007

Pakistan is quickly slipping off to become a cauldron of violence. President Pervez Musharraf, who himself took control of the government in a military coup in October 1999, is under fire. Terrorists tried to kill Musharraf by shooting down his aircraft on July 6. This was probably the fourth assassination attempt against the president.

At the Red Mosque or Lal Masjid, Islamic extremists conducted a day-long standoff with police and military troops. The death count is said to be 102, of whom 11 are soldiers and other members of the security forces. The mosque is just a few blocks from the presidential palace.

The extremists want a government change in Pakistan in order to install a much more rigid Islamic leadership.


In the tribal areas of the area between Pakistan and northwest Pakistan, Taliban fighters have resisted all efforts to quell violence in the rugged mountains. Many intelligence leaders believe Osama bin Laden is hiding in the tribal area’s caves and mountains. The United States has just expressed displeasure in its ally’s effort to pin down the terrorists in these areas. Pakistan has resisted using troops in this area which is loosely governed by rival chieftains and the jirga - a tribal council of leaders.

Among those calling for US troops to go into the tribal areas is former Rep. Lee Hamilton, who also served as the vice chairman of the 9-11 commission. Hamilton says the Iraq war distracted the United States when it had al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden on the run in the tribal region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “This has to be carefully calibrated, worked out with the Pakistanis, but I am very concerned that you have a safe haven in Pakistan today where al-Qaida regroup, rethink, and get ready for more attacks,” Hamilton said on CNN’s Newsroom a week ago on Wednesday.

In various parts of Pakistan terrorists are bringing pressure to bear on the government by targeting Chinese nationals. China finished the largest seaport in Pakistan earlier this year at Gwadar, a coastal town in Balochistan. The port will have a naval and commercial role.

The most recent source of stress is the July 8 execution-style killing of three Chinese nationals who owned a small business in Pakistan. About 8,500 Chinese work in Pakistan and only about 2,500 US nationals. Of the Chinese, 3,500 are engineers and technicians assigned to a variety of Sino-Pakistani projects. The remaining 5,000 are engaged in private businesses.

Beijing is investing about $88 billion in the development of western China, including what is expected to be a huge reserve of untapped natural-gas and oil resources in Xinjiang.

US government officials have made very strong assertions of support for President Musharraf, even praising Pakistan as a key ally in the war against terror.


On Meet the Press on September 10, 2006, Vice President Cheney expressed strong US Government support for President Musharraf of Pakistan.

President Musharraf has been a great ally. There was, prior to 9-11, a close relationship between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban. Pakistan was one of only three nations that recognised, diplomatically recognised the government of Afghanistan at that particular time. But the fact is Musharraf has put his neck on the line in order to be effective in going after the extremist elements including al-Qaida and including the Taliban in Pakistan.

But then Cheney made a surprise visit to Pakistan in February 2006. At that time Frederic Grare, a French scholar with the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said, “Absolutely, there is growing American unease and I would certainly enlarge that to say there is a growing international unease with Pakistan” over the battle against terrorism.

Since February Musharraf’s own ability to stay in power looks more in doubt and the US Government has expressed more unease in Pakistan as a genuine player on the US side in the war against terror.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All

First published in Peace and Freedom II on July 19, 2007.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

John E. Carey has been a military analyst for 30 years.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by John E. Carey

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment Comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy