Operation Pakistan…Wakistan

I thought I would share my thoughts on the current state of Pakistan and how the recent assassination will affect things.  Most people have little idea on the history of Pakistan and really the current state of things over there.  It’s not a fun place to visit and the process of getting out of the country will test your will to travel ever again.  First a little background:

Pakistan has only existed in the current state since 1947, when the British partitioned it together with little regard for the Hindus living in Pakistan and the Muslims living in India.  Of course this led to wars between Pakistan and India and even a Pakistani civil war in 1971 that left us with the country of Bangladesh.  Then in the 80’s we used the Pakastani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to run guns and money to the mujahideen fighting the Russians in Afghanistan.  Oh the good ol’ days. 

  • Pakistan is divided into 4 semiautonomous provinces:  Punjab, Sind, Northwest Frontier Province, and Balochistan…leaving out the whole Kashmir issue
  • The Northwest Province is not under Pakistani government control and really much of the country kind of “runs itself”. 
  • Pakistan features an abundance of heroin and guns…easily accessible through Afghanistan
  • Roughly 20% of the population are Shi’a with a Sunni Majority
  • Karachi is considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world…although you can get liquor in the major hotels by declaring it for medicinal purposes

Now, Musharraff seized power in October of 1999 after overthrowing the elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.  A similar event had happened in 1977 and 1958 in Pakistan.  Same old.  Same old.  And in 1990 after 2 years on the job, prime minister Benazir Bhutto was removed from office on charges of “incompetence and corruption”.  She did return in 1993 only to be removed again in 1996 for the same reasons.  Also note that she had been in exile in Europe up until 1986.

Let’s look at the lives of some of the Bhutto’s:

  • Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was prime minister in 1973 and was sacked in 1977 in a military coup.  Then he was executed in 1979 and his sons Shahnawaz and Murtaza formed a resistance group called the AZO.
  • Shahnawaz (younger brother of Benazir) died under “mysterious”circumstances in France in 1985
  • Murtaza killed in a shoot-out with police in Karachi in 1996

Not a pleasant family history.  Now, let’s take a look at Musharaff:

  • Born in Delhi, India in 1943.  Moved to Pakistan in 1947 after its “formation”
  • Appointed to Chief army staff in 1998 and was dismissed from the job in 1999 by then prime minister Shariff…Musharaff instead sacked Shariff and claimed power
  • Is in constant struggle with his own military leaders and the ISI.  Attempts on his life are not uncommon

Ok, so now you have some idea of Pakistan’s history and the Bhutto family.  Pakistan is a mess just like so many other countries in the middle east.  It’s a brand new country made up of a number of groups who have never gotten along with each other.  These things don’t get rosy overnight.  Let’s take a closer look at Benazir who is getting the martyr treatment in the western press.

  • Read an old NY Times article discussing the corruption charges.  “The investigators estimated that the Bhutto family companies made $11.8 million from the deals, at least a third of which showed up in banking documents taken from the Swiss lawyer.”
  • Check out this Democracy Now Discussion.  ” Her second period in office was a total disaster, because not only did she do nothing for the poor or her natural constituency, but basically it became an extremely corrupt government, and she and her husband accumulated $1.5 billion through corruption. This is well known to everyone.”
  • She was never a champion to the Pakistani People, she was popular in some respects to the upper class and some middle class but millions and millions of Pakistani’s hated her.  She only recently became an “ally” of the US. 

The US decided to use her to push Musharaff either out of office or to push Washington’s democratic agenda.  I say Washington’s democratic agenda because it’s not true democracy but one in which favors the Washington agenda with little regard for the people of Pakistan.  Not saying that’s wrong…just saying that’s what it is.  Washington decided to help her return to Pakistan fully knowing that she would most likely be killed.  They had to know this was very probable taking into account that the ISI, extremists, and Musharaff himself all had reason to um..”remove her” from the situation.

I don’t think Washington cared.  In some ways they got what they wanted…there is even more pressure on Musharaff to take steps towards a democracy in Pakistan.  Will it actually happen?  Probably not.  Like I said, Pakistan is a mess and will take decades to sort out.  The one thing I hope doesn’t happen is an assassination of Musharaff because that would probably draw the US into the ground in Pakistan.  I have no idea where they would get the troops but the pressure to do something would be too great. 

In my opinion, this would bankrupt the US and pull them into another “no win” situation.  The scary part is that I’m sure other countries like Russia and China and organizations like Al Qaeda see this as well.  They could take this opportunity to umm…let’s say “aid” in Musharaff’s death.  Luckily for us, those nukes in Pakistan are pointed at India and can’t reach us.  At some point, we’ve got to let these countries sort things out on their own and without our interfering.  But, from what I have read and heard from the the Presidential candidates…this isn’t going to happen.

A call for an independent, international investigation?  Are you serious?  That is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard.  It’s so short-sighted and nothing more than “fluff”.  What if Spain had told the US to do the same after Kennedy had been assassinated?  What do you think we would have said


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