Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Musharraf after the Lal Masjid seizure

Musharraf may come out of the Lal Masjid incident better off than when it began. The many demonstrations against him, prompted by his firing of the Chief Justice, demonstrated a broad frustration with his leadership by the Middle Class. On the other hand, the Middle Class have become frustrated with the jehadists in their midst. According to reports they have gradually turned away from the extremists in the mosque, especially since it became known that the jehadists have used women and children as human shields.

There are various reports on how Ghazi died, but one of them is that his own men shot him as he sought to leave the mosque after he had been injured.

Without being on the ground there, one cannot guess how all these affairs will work out, but it is likely that if Musharraf uses this occasion to crack down on the other jehadists -- of whom there must be thousands, as the Army has not only been tolerating them but even supporting them -- he could gain even more popularity around the country.

But Pakistan is a conflicted country. The contradictions are so pervasive and persistent we can never be sure that what we see is what we have.

Jang and Reuters have provided the best early coverage of the event. Click on the title for the Jang report. The best reporting in the US is by the McClachy newspapers: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/17771.html, and http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/17761.html, and http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/17393.html.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Pakistani experts on the Lehrer News Hour believe that the event will weaken Musharraf's support among the Pakistani people. This would be because the Pakistan army waited so long to do anything to control the abusive behavior of the students at the Lal Masjid Madrassah. They wonder why Musharraf's regime would wait so long. In fact, they point out that Musharraf's support, such as it is, comes from the more conservative Islamist elements of the society. If this is so, Musharraf is in deeper trouble because the Army's attack on the mosque has prompted open rebellion in the tribal areas, where the Taliban and al Qaeda are in control.