Sunday, August 31, 2008

Q&A: Musharraf's removal from power

The following is a translation of an Arabic Q&A from the official website of Hizb ut-Tahrir:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Answer to Question

Question: American officials have in the past often repeated that Musharraf is an asset for the United States of America in preserving their interests and strengthening & consolidating their stronghold in the region and that he was the US’s crucial ally in occupation of Afghanistan etc… then yesterday, 18th August 2008 C.E the same United States abandoned him leaving no option for him but to resign. How did it come to that? Does it suggest a political confrontation with the British where they succeeded in dislodging Musharraf? And finally, who is likely to replace him as President of the republic?

Answer: Answer: Yes, indeed Musharraf was an asset to the US and an asset which was true to its salt. He gave his services to the US in Afghanistan and the entire region; in fact it will not be an exaggeration to say America could not have occupied Afghanistan without the services of Musharraf despite the Muslims who resisted occupation and were fought under the so-called ‘War on Terror’ and it was Musharraf who arrested a number of Muslims who fought the occupation.

While all of these are true, but it must be noted that Musharraf had of late, especially during the last year or so, had failed to pursue the American agenda. His failure was both, due to his weakened position among the people, the army and the parliament. This was a result of his excessive crimes against the Muslims specially the killings in the Swat tribal region, the Lal Masjid massacre, his shameful zeal and enthusiasm in nurturing the US and his readily offering his services not only against the concepts and sensitivities of Muslims, but also against their emotions.

Musharraf’s failures were expressed by certain American officials who said that as a result of his weakened position among the people and the army, he failed to perform as required by America. Among these statements, the one expressed by Davis McCarnon, the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan who told the American news network CNN on 7th August, 2008: “Do I believe that thee is a kind of connivance from the Pakistani intelligence? Yes, I believe so?” He added “We have observed an increasing number of foreign fighters in south eastern Afghanistan in the last year or so and we are waiting for the Pakistani authorities to move against them and deny them safe havens.”

The New York Times had reported that Steve Caps, the second in command at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) travelled to Islamabad to demand explanation from the Pakistani authorities and confront them with evidence of Pakistani intelligence connivance with the rebel network led by Jalaluddin Haqqani.

The newspaper stressed: “The Americans have intercepted communications that establish what appears to be involvement of Pakistani intelligence elements in the attack on Indian embassy in Kabul which killed 60 persons.

Thus it became clear to the US that Musharraf’s weakened position among the masses and in the government itself does not render him to perform his duties as it wishes despite Musharraf’s efforts and sacrifices in service to America.

So the United States determined that Musharraf has played his role and that he must be replaced to demonstrate to the Pakistani people that they are now safe from dictator Musharraf and then secure US interests and safeguard its influence as well as continue to fight Muslims in the name of fighting terrorism… i.e. repeat a Musharraf-like character similar to him when he was in power!

It must be mentioned that Musharraf’s removal (resignation) yesterday was not simply a matter of one day; rather it culminated gradually over four important milestones whereby he lost his sheen and shine until he announced his resignation finally on 18th August, 2008 C.E.

These important milestones are:

The First milestone: was when the US reached an understanding with the British whereby Benazir Bhutto, the PPP leader was rehabilitated and was returned from her exile in England. This US-British understanding encompassed two main matters:

First: The PPP will not object to Musharraf’s re-election as the President of Pakistan.

Second: The PPP will share power with Musharraf such that she will be the prime minister with authority and power.

Which imply that America realized that it will not be possible for Musharraf to continue in power except with the support of the secular Peoples Party because of Musharraf’s excesses, killing of Muslims and their hate & anger for him. Thus America regarded this understanding with the British as a way to salvage Musharraf’s authority even if was an impaired one.

It must be mentioned that the Peoples Party itself is a coalition and not a structured party as such, i.e. it does not have any defined concepts which its members subscribe to, rather it is a coalition of persons who share certain interests and relations. Therefore it can easily be penetrated and this became obvious to America since the PPP during the time of Benazir’s father was supported and nurtured by it, but the British managed to win over the effective leadership during Benazir’s years of exile in England.

Thus the US understanding with the British which brought in Benazir to Pakistan was the first milestone whereby Musharraf’s powers were impaired.

The Second milestone: This was when the US allowed Nawaz Shareef to return to Pakistan. Indeed Nawaz is America’s man but he had earned the US’s wrath when he failed to prevent the Pakistani army from occupying the Kargil heights in India during the Vajpayee led BJP rule.

It is known that America worked hard for years to earn loyalty of the BJP after long years of pro=British Congress rule in India.

The United States had been assisting Vajpayee politically, economically and even militarily to consolidate its rule and the Kargil occupation came as a big jolt to the BJP popularity.
Therefore the US was behind Musharraf’s coup which overthrew Nawaz Shareef with whom America remained angry and strained and also did not permit him to return.

However after Benazir’s ‘assassination’, there was a surge in PPP popularity and America was scared that it may garner majority votes in the elections and then may not honour the understanding that US has with the British and assume all power and authority alone thereby restoring British influence.
Hence it allowed Nawaz Shareef to return to Pakistan and take its share of votes and cut the PPP to size so that the PPP and Nawaz Shareef’s parties share majority votes.

This was the second stage and it was clear from Nawaz’s return that ground is being prepared for a post-Musharraf era.

The Third milestone: this was when the US forced Musharraf to give up the army command to enable general elections. It was this army command which gave Musharraf the authority and strength whenever he faced any confrontation with whether the people or the parliament.

The Fourth milestone: The current Prime Minister Reza Gilani’s recent visit to the United States, his long conversation with Bush and his return to Pakistan to initiate the process for Musharraf’s ouster.

Indeed an observer who keenly followed this meeting will note that Gilani subjugated to the US while America ensured that the PPP would support the candidature of the US sponsored nominee for the post of the republic’s president. This by its nature would secure the position of Nawaz Shareef’s party.
As a result of this visit, the US gave its green signal to the coalition government to start the impeachment process against Musharraf after having secured Gilani and PPP’s commitment to support the US’s nominee for the president’s post. This was meant to ensure that the PPP does not create hurdles for the American nominee to become the President.

In fact Gilani, as the British agent may have agreed to support the US nominee reflecting the British policy of not openly opposing the United States, but it is more likely that the US may have promised him a more prominent position in the new dispensation and he may have moved closer to the Americans.
Despite this reversal, Britain is not expected to sit quiet on this missed opportunity to share power in Pakistan after its understanding reached with the US, therefore it is likely to work with the leaders of other pro-British parties to create problems in the next president’s election unless it is given effective say in the matters as provided in its understating with the US.

Though Britain does not eye a complete command over matters in Pakistan, it will not miss an opportunity that comes it way either, therefore the elections for the president’s post that will be faced with serious hurdles until there is a fresh dialogue to reach another understanding between the US and Britain.
Irrespective of the name of the presidential nominee, it is the US which will play the effective role in the elections, and there are three possible scenarios:

The First Scenario: The candidate may be Reza Gilani; this may happen if the US is convinced of his real loyalty. The US will not like to see him toeing like the British who publicly support the US position but work behind the scenes to thwart American designs. If the United States is convinced, Gilani will be lucky. But this will mean placating the British who will not easily digest this and may create hurdles in his path among the PPP leadership.

The Second Scenario: The nominee may be from Nawaz Shareef’s party, but this will have to be from among the leadership and Shareef himself since although he is pro-America, but his image among the people is relatively tainted. Moreover the US has not fully forgotten the Kargil confrontation, hence it will not rely on nominating Shareef except if his party does not come up with a strong nominee, which is when the US will accept Nawaz’s candidature.

The Third Scenario: If both of the above possibilities fail to materialise, America may have to take recourse to the army again, since Kiyani, the army commander was elevated to head the army by Musharraf with US approval. The United States will not waste any means to politicise the armed forces to comply with the strange American democracy!

To conclude, we would say that if these agents only remember the fate of their predecessors in the colonialised countries who were thrown out like the kernel and the agent looses all his worldly privileges also just as he had already lost his religion by virtue of being the Kuffar’s agent and by his treachery to the Ummah.

If only these agents considered their fate, they could at least save their worldly privileges by being close and loyal to their people than their colonialist masters, but they think not.

18th Sha’ban, 1429 A.H
19th August, 2008 C.E


John Maszka said...

An Escalation of the War in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a Very Bad Policy.

Conservatives and liberals can argue the merits of the surge in Iraq, or the need to deal with terrorism now rather than later. I want to focus on something else: the impact of the perspective of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world. I’m not implying that it is somehow homogeneous, just relevant; more relevant than my opinion at least.

Taking the war on terror back to Afghanistan (and most likely Pakistan) is bad for a number of reasons: the perspective of the international Muslim community; the fact that a military solution has not worked thus far, so why keep kicking a dead horse (especially when it has the potential to trample you); the delicate balance of power in the immediate theatre and in the broader region; the likely negative reaction of other states; and last but not least, its potential impact on the price and availability of oil.

Pakistan’s reaction to the Bush Doctrine has been somewhat mixed. Musharraf was caught in the middle between pleasing the U.S. to ensure continued military and economic support, and the preferences of his constituents who resent the U.S. presence there. The region is already very unstable because of this tension between the US applying pressure from the outside and the internal desire of the populace to rid themselves of the unwanted American presence.

We can say the exact same thing about Afghanistan, Karzai is in a very similar position as Musharraf was. In 2006, Karzai had to start rearming the warlords to maintain order. Similarly, in September 2006, Pakistan was forced to recognize the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan - a loose group of Waziristani chieftains, closely associated with the Taliban, who now serve as the de facto security force in charge of North and South Waziristan.

If Senator Obama becomes president, and refocuses the war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the best we can hope for is another five to six years of what we’ve seen in Iraq. But this best-case scenario is very unlikely.

In addition to a multiple-front war, we would be dealing, not with a fallen state as with Iraq, but with two established states. This could possibly work in our favor as long as they continue to remain on our side. But as already mentioned, the tension is high, and there is a very delicate balance keeping Karzai in power. What if Karzai falls to a coup or assassination? And now with Musharraf stepping down, what happens if Musharraf’s successor plays to the popular demands of the people? We could find ourselves fighting the armies of the sovereign states of Afghanistan and Pakistan, in addition to insurgent forces there. If we consider the history of this region, we realize that this is not as far-fetched as it might sound on the face of it.

As we all know, the Taliban was comprised of Sunni Islamists and Pashtun nationalists (mostly from southern Afghanistan and western Pakistan). The Taliban initially enjoyed support from the U.S., Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates in the early 1980s to fight the Soviets. By 1996, the Taliban had gained control of most of Afghanistan, but its relationship with the U.S. and most of the rest of the world became strained. Most of the international community supported the Taliban’s rival, the Afghan Northern Alliance.

Still, even after the U.S. began to distance itself from the Taliban in late 1997, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates continued to officially recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Even after 9/11 when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates officially stopped recognizing the Taliban, Pakistan continued to support it. The Taliban in turn, had tremendous influence in Pakistani politics, especially among lobby groups- as it virtually controlled areas such as the Pashtun Belt (Southeast Afghanistan, and Northwest Pakistan) and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Going back to the perception of the international Muslim community … When the U.S. demanded that the Taliban turn Bin Laden over, it initially offered to turn Bin Laden over to Pakistan to be tried by an international tribunal operating according to Sharia law. But Pakistan was urged by the U.S. to refuse. Again, prior to the beginning of U.S. air strikes against Afghanistan, the Taliban offered to try Bin Laden according to Islamic law, but the U.S. refused. After the U.S. began air strikes, the Taliban offered to hand Bin Laden over to a neutral state to be tried under Islamic law, but the U.S. again refused. This is important because in the eyes of the greater international community, the war in Afghanistan was justified (at least initially). But in the eyes of the international Muslim community, especially given the Taliban’s offer to turn over Bin Laden, it was an unnecessary war. This, combined with the preemptive war in Iraq, has led many Muslims to equate the war on terror with a war on Islam. Senator Obama’s plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan will only serve to reinforce that impression.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, an Islamic political party in Pakistan, won elections in two out of four provinces in 2003, and became the third largest political party in the Pakistani parliament – with substantial support from urban areas (not just border regions). This speaks to the tremendous influence Islamic groups enjoy in Pakistan.

This strong influence is fueled by the fact that the Pashtun tribal group is over 40 million strong. The Taliban continues to receive many of its members from this group today. In fact, the Pakistani army suffered humiliating defeat at the hand of these so-called “insurgents.” Finally, in September 2006, Pakistan was forced to officially recognize the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan. Many saw the Pakistani government’s acknowledgment of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan as not only a military necessity, but also a political one as well – a concession in response to the growing internal pressure on the Musharraf administration from the people of Pakistan who resent the U.S. presence and involvement in the region.

Just consider the many, many public protests against the Pakistani government’s compliance with the United States. For instance, on January 13, 2006, the United States launched a missile strike on the village of Damadola, Pakistan. Rather than kill the targeted Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s deputy leader, the strike instead slaughtered 17 locals. This only served to further weaken the Musharraf government and further destabilize the entire area.

On October 30, 2006, the Pakistani military, under pressure from the U.S., attacked a madrasah in the Northwest Frontier province in Pakistan. Immediately following the attack, local residents, convinced the U.S. military was behind the attack, burned American flags and effigies of President Bush, and shouted “Death to America!” Outraged over an attack on school children, the local residents viewed the attack as an assault against Islam. On November 7, 2006, a suicide bomber retaliated. Further outrage ensued when President Bush extended his condolences to the families of the victims of the suicide attack, and President Musharraf did the same, without ever offering their condolences to the families of the slaughtered children.

Last year troubles escalated surrounding the Pakistani government’s siege of the Red Mosque where more than 100 people were killed. Even before Musharraf’s soldiers took the Lal Masjid the retaliations began. Suicide attacks originating from both Afghan Taliban and Pakistani tribal militants targeted military convoys and a police recruiting center.

There are countless more examples; too many to mention in detail. Likewise in Afghanistan; April 30, 2007 for example, when hundreds of Afghans protested US soldiers killing Afghan civilians. Why can’t the powers that be recognize that we’ve been in Afghanistan for nearly seven years, and in Iraq for over five; a military approach is not working. If we must focus the war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan, let’s focus on winning the hearts and minds of the beautiful people of these countries, rather than filling their hearts with bitterness and hatred toward us. With their support, we can offer them the financial and technical assistance that they need to rebuild their infrastructure, their agriculture and their economy. With their support, we can offer them the needed resources to rebuild their human capital and start attracting foreign direct investment. But without their support, we cannot possibly have any positive influence in this region at all; our only influence will be that of brute force, bribery of corrupt officials, and outright coercion. It will be a long, hard, costly and bloody endeavor, and the people of these countries will continue to suffer.

Let’s not forget that Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Let’s not also forget that this is a highly Muslim-concentrated area, the Islamic concept of duty to come to the aid of fellow Muslims would no doubt ensure a huge influx of jihadists in this type of a scenario. Why on earth would we want to intentionally provoke a situation that would not only radicalize existing moderates in the region, but could also potentially cause the influx of a concentration of radical jihadists from elsewhere into an already unstable region (that has nuclear weapons no less)? We would be begging for a nuclear proliferation problem.

We like to assume that we would have the upper hand in such a scenario. But we have been in Afghanistan since October of 2001. And we have yet to assume the upper hand. The fight in Afghanistan has the potential to become much more difficult than it already is. Nor would it be unheard of to expect other major powers to back these radical jihadists with economic and military assistance in much the same way that the US backed the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. Beyond the fact that roughly 1/5 of the world’s population is Muslim (approximately 1.5 billion people- 85% Sunni, 15% Shia, Ibadiyyas, Ahmadis and Druze), we have to remember that Muslims are the majority in 57 states (out of 195). Most of these have Sunni majorities, which gives them added political power.

China has traditionally backed Pakistan. What would China do if the US were to find itself at war with Pakistan?

India has tremendous economic and security interests in the region. Let’s not forget that while India has been in nearly continual conflict with Pakistan, primarily over the Kashmir issue, it has the second largest Muslim population in the world next to Indonesia. What happens if India were to side with the U.S. in a potential conflict with Pakistan? It will have a very difficult task justifying that position with its very large Muslim population. A U.S.-Indian alliance could also spark more terrorist attacks in the Kashmir region; it could also create added tension to the already tenuous relationship between India and Iran, which has a long history of support for Pakistan. Or, if radicals gained control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, a nuclear attack against India could spark a nuclear altercation between the two nuclear powers. Or, what if radicals then gained control of India’s nuclear arsenal?

On the other hand, what happens if India for some reason (either via a coup or due to Muslims gaining the upper hand in the long-running Hindu-Muslim conflict) were to side with Pakistan against the United States? It seems unlikely now, but not completely unrealistic considering the on-again, off-again relationship between the U.S. and every country in that region. We constantly flip-flop in our foreign policy. An attack on Pakistani soil would be a perfect example of this type of wishy-washy foreign policy, as the Bush administration guaranteed Musharraf that the U.S. would never do such a thing (as much as Karzai wants us to). Speaking of Karzai, what if he is ousted and we find ourselves at war with Afghanistan. What would India do then, given its friendship with Afghanistan?

Also consider the U.S. position on Kashmir, which has a predominantly Muslim population. Pakistan wants a plebiscite, as called for in a 1949 UN resolution, to essentially allow the people to decide which state the region should belong to. India refuses a plebiscite, claiming Kashmir and Jammu as an integral part of India. The U.S. is arming both sides through billions in aid to Pakistan and selective proliferation to India, but insists Pakistan stem terrorist activities flowing from inside its borders, and at the same time discourages India from attacking Pakistan. Yet an escalation of war in the area could backfire badly.

Beyond all that we still have to consider a slew of other states such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Russia – not to mention the central Asian states - all of which have economic and/or political and security interests in the region. How will they react to an escalation of the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Finally, what would such a scenario do to oil prices and availability? I’m 100% in favor of America developing alternative energy sources, but again that’s my opinion, and the oil conglomerates have not been listening to me. Unfortunately, the facts are that the oil lobby is a very powerful entity. Even more to the point, our country could not ween itself off of oil overnight, even if it wanted to. We have to consider what such an escalation would do to oil prices, and the overall availability of oil.

The oil embargo of 1974 (in support of Egypt and Syria in the Yom Kippur war against Israel), in retaliation against the U.S. for its support of Israel had devastating economic and political consequences on the U.S. and much of Europe. Also, the more recent boycott of Danish products across the Muslim world, in retaliation for the 2005 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, demonstrates the ability of the international Muslim community to act collectively.

Escalating the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan would also demonstrate the fickle and hypocritical nature of America’s foreign policy. We supported the Taliban when it served our interests (to oppose the Soviets in Afghanistan) in spite of clear human rights abuses. But now we condemn the Taliban (and much of the Muslim world) over the very same human rights abuses (against women … etc.), while we also continue to ignore similar or same human rights abuses in China, Saudi Arabia, Israel … etc., when it’s convenient for us to do so. We did the same thing with Saddam Hussein; arming him in spite of clear and egregious human rights abuses when he was our ally, and condemning the same actions when he wasn’t.

The U.S. practices selective proliferation with India, and selective sovereignty with those it chooses (today Pakistan, tomorrow someone other than Pakistan), while at the same time violating the sovereignty of other states- depending on its whim at the time.

The United States government insisted that the Taliban turn over Bin Laden, but the United States itself has refused on several occasions to return foreign nationals (being held on death row in America) to their state of domicile because the U.S. wanted them to face execution, and the home state did not uphold the death penalty. We also continue to refuse to acknowledge the ICC because we don’t want American military personnel tried in an international court. How is that so different from the Taliban wanting Bin Laden tried in an Islamic court?

Rather than blindly accepting that America holds some God-given moral superiority over the rest of the planet, we need to realize that everywhere, humanity has a God-given right to live, love and prosper. Our children have the right to grow up in an environment free of air strikes and constant assault from an external enemy. They have the right to attend schools without fear of being maimed and killed inside of them. And they have the right to be children, instead of orphans. No state has the right to take that away from your children, or from mine. Imagine now that Senator Obama is planning to escalate the war on terror where you live.

Anonymous said...


regarding this statemetn

'However after Benazir’s ‘assassination’, there was a surge in PPP popularity and America was scared that it may garner majority votes in the elections and then may not honour the understanding that US has with the British and assume all power and authority alone thereby restoring British influence.
Hence it allowed Nawaz Shareef to return to Pakistan and take its share of votes and cut the PPP to size so that the PPP and Nawaz Shareef’s parties share majority votes.'

From what i know Nawaz Sharif was allowed to enter Pakistan in november (september was when he tried to return and then was later deported) and the assisination took place of bhutto in december. Wasnt then SHARIF already permitted to stand in the elections before bhuttos assasination?

Anonymous said...


Good blog

Could you add mine to your list of blogs please