Musharraf: Still Planning Emergency Delcaration? genre: Just Jihad

Pervez Musharraf

In a surprisingly candid assessment, Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf, acknowledged that his country has become a haven for Islamic extremists. The statement came during a joint appearance with Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai following a meeting to discuss issues of concern to the neighboring nations.

Last week it was thought that Musharraf intended to declare the emergency but reports suggest that he was eventually talked out of the risky move.
My own estimation is that Musharraf is still laying the groundwork for a possible emergency declaration...a move that could be used to postpone free elections that are scheduled near the end of 2007.

Musharraf, if nothing else, is a shrewd politician who isn't inclined to lose his grip on power in Pakistan. I suspect that if his prospect of holding office continues to decline...and he is unable to form a coalition that would assure his victory in an election...that he wouldn't hesitate to declare an emergency premised upon the threat posed by extremists.

As recently as last month, Pakistan sharply disputed U.S. intelligence reports of a well-established Al Qaeda and Taliban presence in tribal areas on the Pakistani side of the border, where the central government has little or no authority.

After the release of a major U.S. intelligence report in July describing those areas as a haven for these groups, Pakistani officials said they had not been provided with hard evidence to back up the claims.

In his address, however, Musharraf acknowledged that "many of our border regions, especially the tribal areas, have been deeply affected by extremism."

"There is support from these areas to Taliban activity inside Afghanistan," he said. "There is no doubt Afghan militants are supported from Pakistani soil."

Musharraf described Islamic extremists as a "dark" force afflicting both Afghanistan and Pakistan. "Our societies face a great danger in the shape of fringe groups, a small minority that preaches hate, violence and backwardness," he said.

Keep a watchful eye on Musharraf as the elections approach. He's not likely to concede defeat without having first used every means to preclude such an eventuality.

Tagged as: Afghanistan, al Qaeda, Hamid Karzai, Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, Taliban

Daniel DiRito | August 13, 2007 | 4:26 PM
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