Pakistan: amid mounting crises, Musharraf twists and turns
By Keith Jones and Vilani Peiris
31 January 2005
In a show of bravado, Pakistan’s military-dictator president quipped he had nine lives after two sophisticated attempts on his life in December 2003. Yet 12 months later, Pervez Musharraf reneged on his pledge to step down as head of Pakistan’s armed forces by the end of 2004 and announced he shall remain chief of Pakistan’s Armed Services, as well as the country’s president, till at least 2007. Clearly the general—a man the Bush administration has repeatedly touted as a key ally in the “war on terrorism”—doubts he has many lives left.
There are credible media reports of growing dissension within the officer corps over Musharraf’s readiness to cooperate with Washington in preparing a military strike against neighbouring Iran, as well as his peace overtures toward India, which have included ratcheting down the military’s support for the anti-Indian insurgency in Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a recent report on Asia Times On-Line, “For the first time since he seized power on October 12, 1999, there are indications that [Musharraf] and some of his lieutenant-generals, who constitute the real source of his power, ... are not on the same wavelength.”