I, among many others, have been pointing to Pakistan as a country in turmoil. This has been obvious even to the most casual of observers. It started when the United States, with all good intentions, pushed then President Musharraf to hold Parliamentary elections. This resulted in the Bhutto assassination and subsequent implementation of marshal law by Musharraf as I reported in the article Will Pakistan be Pushed Beyond the Cusp? Later I commented on the probability that President Musharraf would be forced from office and much of the uncertainty that would follow in the article titled Pakistan’s Uncertain Future. This even included a what has proven to be overly optimistic set of hopes for the future of Pakistan. A more realistic mention of potential problems with the militant Islamists taking control of Pakistan was part of my article The Problem Less Discussed. With that as a background, let us continue with the latest rumblings coming out of Pakistan.
A recent disagreement between the two major parties of the Parliamentary coalition, the possibility for an imminent dissolution of the government is a distinct possibility. The Pakistan Muslim League will meet Monday to decide whether to abandon support for the Pakistan People’s Party thus giving neither one a majority coalition. This may force one or the other to make concessions to some of the more radical elements in the Parliament in order to form a majority. Even if such a resolution can be reached, this does not guarantee the Parliament will stand. The major differences between these two of the more popular parties come down to the Pakistan People’s Party pushing for a quick election for President Musharraf’s successor and the Pakistan Muslim League desire to have more of the judges restored to their benches immediately than the Pakistan People’s Party desires. The Pakistan People’s Party is accused by the Pakistan Muslim League of attempting to rule without any input or discussion with their co-ruling coalition members. This split is proving to be a very serious matter and the continued coalition’s future is not looking good or healthy. One major contention is that the PPP is rushing the Presidential elections as they have a ready candidate and wish to eclipse any chance that the PML can place a candidate who will give viable challenge.
Should the coalition disintegrate, then Pakistan will have a period with no actual government of which to speak. Such turmoil will present the radical elements within the Pakistan northern tribal areas to possibly ally with the more extreme members if the ISI and their allies from the military for taking over the governing of Pakistan. This would place the ISI and the Taliban, a group originally spawned by members of the ISI, in charge of Pakistan and all the nuclear weapons therein. This would also give Al Queda a new training area and potentially a nuclear arsenal at their disposal. The downside of this situation is so serious that it most likely could require outside interference to keep this under some control. Should the worst-case scenario come to fruition, then the possibility of a new front in the WOT will become a probability, possibly a necessity. This new front will require some careful diplomacy and close scrutiny to protect the world from nuclear terrorism. The world cannot leave this totally up to the United States and most likely India, as the consequences will reach far beyond India alone. This may be the most crucial and dangerous situation we have faced thus far in the WOT. This should be another question placed before our candidates for President as it may likely face them upon entering office. Let us hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Beyond the Cusp