Islamists Threaten Benazir Bhutto

Islamist extremists in Pakistan see their opening for control of the country slipping away with the new power-sharing deal between Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto. After the completion of the deal, radical Islamists have threatened to assassinate Bhutto if she returns to Pakistan, afraid of the burgeoning moderate coalition that threatens to further marginalize them:

Pakistani Taliban militants vowed to launch suicide bombers against Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister, when she returns home after eight years of self-imposed exile.
The path to her return was cleared when General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president, last week signed into law an amnesty quashing corruption charges against her.
The general swept to apparent victory yesterday in a presidential vote by federal and provincial politicians. He is likely to form an alliance with Ms Bhutto as premier after parliamentary polls in January – though his election must first be pronounced valid by the supreme court.
But a power-sharing deal between the two long-standing enemies has infuriated many within Pakistan. Security officials fear that it may spur the country’s Islamic extremists to greater efforts against the government.

This comes as no surprise. The return of Bhutto to Pakistani politics heralds a new era of moderate civilian control to Pakistan, cementing an alliance that will keep the Islamists at the margins. They understand this danger and have responded to it in their traditional manner — bloodthirsty violence, or at least the threat of it.
This time, the threat comes from a reliable source. Baitullah Mehsud holds 250 Pakistani soldiers hostage at the moment, and serves both the Taliban and al-Qaeda. He speaks for the Islamists, and the open nature of his threat underscores both the danger to Bhutto and the need for a moderate alliance in Pakistan at the moment. The people of Pakistan have to come together to fight the Islamist threat, and when the Taliban openly adopts assassination techniques, it reminds moderates that other differences need to take a lower priority.
Bhutto and her party appear unfazed by the threats, although the PPP has demanded government security for Bhutto when she returns. If Musharraf does not protect Bhutto and she gets killed, the situation will deteriorate quickly within Pakistan and his own political future will be at stake. Musharraf undoubtedly has already prepared for the threat, but the best defense against terrorists is a good and sustained offense. He and Bhutto need to start coordinating with American and NATO forces in Afghanistan and allow us to smash their organization in Waziristan, a move Bhutto has already supported in theory. The longer Musharraf waits, the tougher defense will be against their terrorism.

15 thoughts on “Islamists Threaten Benazir Bhutto”

  1. “Security officials fear that it may spur the country’s Islamic extremists to greater efforts against the government.”
    It was also announced that it is predicted that, sometime early tomorrow, the sun is expected to rise, most likely from the eastern region of the horizon.
    Security officials fear that it may spur the country’s Islamic extremists to greater efforts….

  2. The Islamists see Bhutto as a threat to their attempts at hegemony. They likewise see Musharaff as a threat to their existance. They will use the only weapon they have in their arsenal. Terror. But, outside of Waziristan and the Northwest, the Islamists are not dealing with an ignorant and uneducated population, readily pliable under their tutelage. Herein lies the strength of Pakistan…Bhutto understands this, as does Musharaff.

  3. Here’s the problem. Our media has one size pair of glasses; which they think “fits all.” Nope. If you try to get people to focus; but the glasses you are using stink … then it’s just a worthless enterprize.
    Visions are so different in the world, you want to be able to see things, for yourself.
    Pakistan? Ain’t paradise. But it’s run a whole lot better than Saudi Arabia!
    ANd, the whole islamic terrorist problem is funded by the Saud’s. Wanna get rid of it? Hang the Saud’s. All you’d need are 25,000 nooses. How much rope is that?
    We’ve allowed the Wahabbists to continue. And, it’s made worse because they own the Bush family business.
    Bush got scared. He didn’t accomplish what he wanted; so his “mission” is to skate till he reaches January 20, 2009.
    Condi Rice? She’s no longer invited to Camp David. Her photo-ops became “oops” events. As soon as she danced with Chirac. Not that I care.
    Israel had business to do this summer. I’d bet MOST OF WHAT THEY DID, they didn’t “share.” Though they put out for Bush to see, the satillite photos State couldn’t find. What’s wrong with out equipment?
    Condi was given the impression the Israelis were gonna wait for the diplomatic-pants-dancers to come up with a “dance.”
    I don’t know about you. But I do know there’s a BIG SILENCE. Olmert’s not talking. And, rumors are about all you’re gonna get.
    Some people don’t even believe a nuke site was destroyed. But ya know what? Who cares? Because it’s NOT there, now!
    And, that’s how you do “da business” at hand.
    While some people think the Israelis were able to “fly in,” I think they dug underground. And, they did a lot of work wearing costumes. After it went BOOM? Well, whose going in to look? You got “inspectors?”
    You don’t even have a hollywood movie industry capable of coming up with stuff that would be believable.
    And, it’s good to see that SILENCE works just fine.
    Bush seems to have his own problems.
    But where it counts, because you can’t change the players who show up at the table, Maliki’s bet worse than Bush. And, Musarraf is doing just fine.
    You know, of course, Musarraf has da-bomb. Whose to say he can’t wipe out What’s-dat-wizzy-wussy-stan?” Waz-era-da-place?
    I find it amusing the world is supposed to be waiting on the powers of the cave dwellers to climb out of their caves … and do something.
    Dunno what. Because climbing out of caves, high on mountain-tops, when there are no roads, have yet to give victories to maurauding bands.
    And, back in the days of our wild west, all we had in for tools, besides railroads to move and transport “stuff,” was the repeater rifle. Oh. And, enough ammunition.
    One thing I’d bet on: In Pakistan, the People know Musarraf can hurt them, if he wants.
    Bush? Can’t even give a good speech to save his life. Might as well say it. We’re stuck with a 2nd rater. (But he was raced against a 3rd rate dud.)
    Maybe,next time, the “players” will opt to run someone with leadership qualities. HERE! Pakistan? Nah. Butto doesn’t have that up her sleeve. Or in her sari. Sorry.

  4. Musharraf has played footsie with the devil for long enough. It’s time for him to make a choice,either he is going to let the terrorists do as they will,or he is going to let us wipe them out. Surely he doesn’t think he can save his own skin by trying to play both sides like he has done in the past. I have to admit,it has worked better than I expected it to work for him up until this point,but there comes a time when you have to commit to one side or the other. Musharraf’s time has come.

  5. We must strive to be enlightened, to tolerate & understand their mysogeny as a cultural difference that is morally equivalent to our Anglocentric obsession with the imaginary “right to life.”
    Down with Bushitler!

  6. It’s not clear yet that the Musharraf – Bhutto alliance is the great solution that we need to see emerge. Pakistani politicians- the elite class- have a tradition of closing ranks with each other, even across party lines, when their necks are on the line. It’s amazing how the ideological divide has suddenly collapsed in this case. You have to wonder if it’s more pragmatism or opportunism.
    Will this new coalition actually deliver to the middle class and help spread prospterity across all parts of society? Or is it just another cold-blooded attempt by those in power to stay in power? The answer to this question will determine whether the radical Islamists have the opportunity to bring revolution to that country.

  7. People, people, people… Didn’t you know that “Islam is peace”? They just want to make sure that there is, indeed, peace… by killing all those who stand against their weird ideas.

  8. current administration finding a new appreciation for the Geneva Convention and the Hague Conventions.
    Option #3 is that he’ll take a billion dollar pay-off and go into exile some place. Idi Amin and Yasser Arafat seemed to find the waters in France salutary for hiding out purposes. If Musharref is smart, he’ll take nuke doctor Khan with him.

  9. What do Musharraf and Bhutto have in common? Al Qaida wants to kill them. What do they not have in common with Sharif? Al Qaida does not want to kill him. I hope the court ruling on the election takes note of this as well because I doubt Al Qaida would much care for an independent secular court either.

  10. The “Daily Times” of Pakistan suggests the following in its 10/08/07 edition:
    Given these factors and the prevailing unrest, the court is unlikely to rule against him, analysts say.
    “It would be a major surprise if the SC does not endorse his win,” said Hasan Askari, the former head of the Political Science Department at Punjab University.
    “If the SC does not, there will be a very big crisis in the country.”
    Surgical martial law likely: A source close to the presidency said that Musharraf would likely introduce “surgical martial law” — presumably targeting certain institutions in a bid to minimise chaos — if the court rules against him.m.
    This seems to say the supreme court will read the political tea leaves, swallow their distaste and let the moderate alliance prevail for the time being.

  11. This is such bad analysis that i feel obliged to post for the first time (im regular reader).
    Benazir Bhutto was CORRUPT- she and her husband embezzeled millions of dollars while in power. She has been found guilty by the Swiss government (she used swiss bank accounts); Poland and France have also prepared cases against involving corruption with their companies.
    The Pakistani people are not stupid – if she comes back she will drive more people- out of disgust- to the islamic parties than if she stayed away.

  12. Jo: Thank you. I do not know the answer to the internal politics in Pakistan. Pretending that Bhutto is Democracy’s last best hope is not the way to go.

  13. Jo and Davod you offer no alternative to an alliance of moderates. Sharif will ally with the islamists if he returns. If you do not wish to see the radicals power increased,how do you plan to replace the moderates that you say are too corrupt or undemocratic?
    The Bush administration deserves credit for helping to midwife a solution that avoids a crisis in an area of very difficult problems. Just criticizing without a viable alternative is easy but not very helpful.

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