Monday, December 3, 2007

Musharraf will soldier on

The president has stepped out of uniform, but make no mistake: power in Pakistan stays with the army

By Dilip Hiro
The Guardian

"......Within the Muslim world, Pakistan's armed forces are most similar in terms of the role they play to those of Turkey, a close ally of the west since 1952, when it was accepted as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.....

Therefore, after achieving power in Pakistan, the Muslim League soon became a vehicle of unprincipled opportunists more interested in lining their pockets than in doing public good. In such an environment, the only cohesive, disciplined institution that held the country together and had clean hands was the military......

While the Turkish military hierarchy, meanwhile, has refrained from setting up an economic empire, it has left an irreversible stamp on the country's policy toward Israel. It was in 1984, during the presidency of General Kenan Evren, that Turkey signed a secret military cooperation pact with Israel......

But Turkey's armed forces are different from Pakistan's in one important aspect: they do not manufacture atom bombs.

Since Pakistan has an estimated 55 to 115 nuclear bombs, who actually holds the key to them becomes a crucial factor not only within that country but also in the capitals of all major powers in the world. The way things stand now, as a civilian president, Musharraf will insist on having that prime privilege."

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