International Politics


Martial Law in Pakistan Hampers U.S. Fight Against Extremists

November 06, 2007 12:30 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Pakistani President Musharraf’s crackdown on his pro-democracy opponents presents a quandary to U.S. policymakers, who have relied on his help in combating the region’s Islamic militants.

30-Second Summary

On Nov. 3, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf proclaimed a national state of emergency and suspended Pakistan’s constitution.

Musharraf’s declared intention was to suppress the violence that has raged across the country. However, a raft of commentators have argued that his true purpose is to extend his hold on government.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan was expected to rule in the next few days whether the election that returned Musharraf to power in October was legal. Since the emergency began, the president has removed the chief justice and forced the other supreme court judges to swear an oath of loyalty.

Now, the U.S. government has to decide whether it is willing to continue funding Musharraf. America relies on Pakistan for assistance in the fight against extremists in the Afghan-Pakistani region and has given Musharraf’s government over $10 billion in aid in the last five years.

Though U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed disappointment at Musharraf’s decision, The New York Times reports that administration officials are unlikely to stop aid to Pakistan any time soon.

This is not the first time observers have disputed Musharraf’s compatibility with American foreign policy. Questions arose in 2004 when Pakistan’s most senior nuclear scientist, A.Q. Khan, confessed to having traded nuclear technology with Libya, North Korea and Iran.

Headline Links: Crackdown imposed but mid-January election to go ahead

Background: The crackdown and nuclear proliferation

The crackdown
A.Q. Khan and nuclear proliferation

In February 2004, Abdul Qadeer Khan, better known as A.Q. Khan, confessed that he had transferred sensitive nuclear technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

Khan headed Pakistan’s nuclear development program for 25 years. Under his supervision, the country achieved its present nuclear weapons capability. For that reason, Khan is a national hero in his native Pakistan.

Musharraf issued a pardon to Khan, and in doing so caused many to question the general’s commitment to America’s security goals.

Opinion & Analysis: U.S. policy and Musharraf’s motives

Reference Material: The emergency proclamation and Pakistani public opinion

History: Pakistan and partition


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