LONDON: US and British governments will have to continue to rely on General Musharraf as an ally in both the war against the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan and in the war against al-Qaeda, Western media reported. “One of the worrying factors for Western governments in the present crisis is the suspected weakness of some elements of the normally disciplined Pakistani army,” BBC said, adding that recently, 300 soldiers surrendered in South Waziristan.
“While condemning the general for his declaration of emergency, Washington and London perhaps hope that a by-product might be a stiffening of military resolve in the struggles that interest them most.” The United States cannot really afford to alienate the Pakistani military.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice threatened on Sunday to review US aid to Pakistan, which amounts to about $11bn (£5.27bn) since September 11 2001 – most of it military. But she later added that she would be “very surprised” if cooperation on counterterrorism was affected.
The Pentagon press secretary said the emergency had had no immediate impact on US military co-operation. Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said Pakistan remained an important ally in the “war on terror.” “Close coordination with the Pakistani military on operations continues,” he said.
Overall, however, this move by the general is a disappointment, to say the least, for the “forward strategy of freedom” proclaimed by President Bush in November 2003 as he championed the spread of democracy throughout the greater Middle East “and elsewhere”, as he put it.
The strategy for Pakistan was for a gradual return to democratic rule, which would show that this was the answer to fundamentalism.